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Michelle- new member-Mixed emotions of my readiness to return to work


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Hi Everyone. Sorry for this being so long.  I am so distraught, betrayed and scared.  


7/29/2018, I had a SAH.  WAS IN HOSPITAL FOR 11 DAYS.  I went to follow up with Neurosurgeon 8/23/2018.  My husband was with me so I wouldn’t forget what I was told.


The Doctor told me I could return to work with restrictions AND he wanted me to start out 2 days one week, 3 days the next week, 4 days the week after that and then finally work full time.  So on the next day, he faxed my restrictions to my HR rep.  I wasn’t aware if it had been faxed yet so I waited.  Monday comes around, I call HR REP, He says he didn’t receive the fax.


Then he proceeds to tell me that the fax machine is in another building and it would be too much trouble to get it. So I have the office fax copy to me.  I don’t receive it and I call Doctors office.  They were closed.  HR rep wanted restrictions emailed to him.  Doctors office couldn’t do that. So next day in order to fax HR rep my work restrictions, I HAVE TO go into work.  Have restrictions faxed to me then I email to  HR rep.  So after I email to him, he calls my doctor’s office to tell them restrictions were “too strict”!


 I am Medical Assistant for Geriatric patients.  Occasionally we have to help patients get up to get weighed.  So choice of restrictions listed on form cannot lift 0-10 lbs or 11-20lbs, etc.  Doc said NOTHING OVER 5 lbs.  however that wasn’t an option on this form.


So HR rep calls me and says he can’t accept restrictions because it says I can’t  bend over, stoop down or stretch arms over head.  So since it says 0-10 lbs no lifting restrictions, HR rep says I CANNOT LIFT THE PHONE RECEIVER, because it is more than 0 lbs.  Also can’t answer phones because I would have to Stretch to get to phone.  I couldn’t call and do referrals because I would have to stretch to make phone calls !!!!!!!! 


So they send me home.  HR rep calls Doctors office and tells them it has to be changed.  My Doctor wasn’t in until late the next day (Wednesday 8/29).  I had migraine with nausea.  I slept most of the day.  I go to call Doctors office and they are closed for day.

Thursday 8/30 rolls around.  Doctors office calls me stating ALL RESTRICTIONS have been REMOVED!  ??.  WHAT, really??  My Doctors office said there was no need for restrictions and I needed to back to work immediately FULL TIME!  


REALLY?  How do we go from not lifting no more than 5 lbs, no bending, stooping, etc and gradually increased work hours??  Why did he tell my husband and I one thing in the room and change them AFTER HR rep states restrictions are “too strict”?? I still get migraines at least 2 times a week and they last MOST of the day.  I don’t have anything that helps relieve them.  So I sleep it away.  


I feel my Doctor buckled under pressure from the HR rep.  I don’t feel I can trust him or the HR rep.  I have NO clue what to do.  There is no way I can work 4 days (32 hours) next week (4 because of Labor Day) after being off 4 weeks after my Stroke (SAH).  I am in tears thinking about it and feel stressed out.  So much so, I went looking for another job.  I don’t know what that is going to do but I am hurt and mad.  I feel betrayed by the HR rep and my Doctor !  


The Doctors and HR rep wanted me to come to work starting 8/31.  However I said no, that it can wait until Tuesday of next week (after Labor Day).  I didn’t tell them I have an appointment with a different Neurosurgeon 8/31.  So I am praying they will help me.  


I am going to different Neurosurgeon because I was also told I have a tumor on the back of my brain.  1st Neurosurgeon said it was no big deal.  Slow growing.  Recheck in 1 year.  Uh, NO, I don’t think so.  So that is why I am getting 2nd opinion.  According to notes on MRI where this tumor was noted, radiologist said compared to MRI in 2011 this tumors has SIGNIFICANTLY  increased in size.    


I also read some people are having severe sweating.  Me too.  Sitting in chair, freezing with jacket on next thing you know, I have fan on me.  


One thing I haven’t had chance to look up yet is ringing in both ears.  CONSTANT since SAH.  Anyone else?  


Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  



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Hi Michelle a very warm welcome to BTG :)


So very sorry you have had all this stress and worry to cope with, so very frustrating, really feel  for you.

It's not surprising you feel very let down by your Doctor & HR.


I personally would also go back to your Doctor and explain all you have above and that you certainly need a gradual phased return back to work  as he first stated and work with him and your HR. Your Doctor should give you the support you need. My Doctor had never come across someone that survived an SAH and this is very common. 


Try and keep calm, easy to say i know, but just thinking of your health, Stress is not good for you and you are still in the early stages of recovery. 


Good luck with your new Neurosurgeon and hope you get some answers to give you peace of mind.


Here are some links  may help with the constant ringing in your ears and your return to work :














You will find lots of helpful information and support here.  Wishing you well and please let us know how you get on.


Take care

Tina xx 

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Hi Michelle 


I was also told by my Surgeon not to lift heavy things just light !!


Sounds like someone is being a jobsworth there where you work.  Tell your Doc this also.  

If need be write to surgeon and ask him what weights you should lift !! 


Good luck and no stress as it isn't good for us xxxx

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Welcome to the website and I m so sorry you have to go through this. I think your HR person is someone who has no compassion and your doctor does whatever so he / she doesn’t have to deal with the HR again. Or maybe they don’t know much about the SAH. 


Get all your records from the hospital and the doctors office including procedure notes and copies of mri. Go in to the doctor , take your husband or friend who is your advocate. Voice your concerns. If you have insurance that should only be just a co pay. Write a letter to the doctor if you can’t get in. It gets filed into your chart so there s proof that you did something now. Keep a copy for yourself. Tell them you can’t go back now. Timing is important. 


I m sorry for the doctors behavior but sometimes we are bombarded by millions of messages. Don’t understand why the office closed that much. Even if its closed, there should be a number to call someone and discuss. I cant give you medical advice but  the tumor might be something slow growing and benign like meningioma and sometimes watching is the thing to do.


Goodluck . I do know what med assisstants have to do. Its not just rooming people and taking vitals. Its fighting on the phone for prior authorisations, dealing with difficult and rude patients, doing all kinds of paperwork etc so I don’t think you are ready for full time of that.

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Thank you everyone!  I greatly appreciate all the comments!  


I went to my 2nd opinion Neurosurgeon today.  She was really nice.  She said everything looked good.  


The tumor is a Meningioma, as I already knew that.  She said probably the difference in size from 2011 to 2018 was because one MRI was with contrast (2018) and one was without contrast(2011).  She said the contrast will make it look bigger than a non contrast view. Repeating MRI in 1 year was sufficient!  


As as far as returning to work, she said it was ok to return to work in just a month after a non aneurysmal SAH.  with No restrictions and working immediately full 40 hours.  That didn’t settle well with me.  I hurried up, got out of there and call my first treating Neurosurgeon.  


I had to leave message.  I told them, I was not going to return to work first week at 40 hours and I required restrictions.  I said to them, HR rep was being unreasonable and I needed restrictions and gradual return.  They called me back and said there was no need for restrictions but I could gradually increase work hours in 2 days, 3 days, 4 days and then to 5 day work week in a 4 week time frame.  They were going to tell me what days I could work.


I immediately stopped them and said NO, I WILL CHOSE MY OWN DAYS!   This Medical Assistant said she has tried 4 times to get ahold of the HR rep and he is not answering her calls.  ?.  Also she is giving in to his laziness.  He refuses to go to the other building to retrieve faxes.  I CANNOT BELIEVE that this day and time that there are no other fax machines he could use to get faxes while in this other building!  He states that he would have to email someone to check this fax machine and email it to him!


 ?. We have these things called telephones that you can use to instantly talk to someone.  Ya know the one that I cannot lift because it might harm Me!  ?


When I go back Tuesday next week, I will not take patients back.  I am ONLY going to do paper work.  If they don’t like it, tough.   This is MY life, I will do what I see fit for me.  I NEED TO BE HERE for my four kiddos!  Not this job!  Of course my manger , coworkers and doctors I work for have NO problems with this.  It is just this HR person?  



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Hi Michelle


I am glad you found the site so you can be reassured that it takes time and it is very early days for you. I am so surprised your doctors have suggested such a quick return. I saw my neurologist on Friday and he said at 3 months I was rushing things.


I think you are the only other person I know of to have a meningioma and an NASAH. I thought I was alone in that group


What an awful person this HR rep sounds. 



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Cheer up Michelle,

You do not need stress, you do what is right for you xxxx 

I know after my SAH I was in cuckooland and after shunt was fitted I became slowly but surely better.  But to hold a job down and run a house would have done my brain in ..scuse the pun!!   Look after No.1 You and kids xxxx 

Good luck 


Win xxxxxxx


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I already used what time I had while I was in the hospital.  


The blood in my spinal fluid has moved to my back now, I guess.  I have terrible back pain in my lower back.  Headache for 2 days.  


He does have me gradually returning.  2 days this week, three days next week, then 4 and then finally, a full week. 


I have yet to hear from the wonderful (sarcastically speaking) HR rep to know if he has approved my return.  

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I am so sorry you are under such pressure.  At one month, post bleed, I was still pretty much a zombie, resting, sleeping constantly. It is incredible to me you have to go through this. And I am so sorry. Please ask for help at home. I pray your children are old enough to help take care of mommy, even though she looks fine on the outside.  And I pray that God continues to give you strength to advocate for your health.

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Wow!  I can’t believe you are being treated so unfairly. I’m so sorry you are going through this.  Personally speaking, I was in the hospital for one month.  I didn’t go back to any kind of work until I was 3 months into recovery and then it was only 2 morning classes a week.  I’m a support worker for preschool children in their neighbourhood preschools.


I worked 20 hrs a week prior to my bleed, then 5 hrs a week for approx 3 weeks, then 10 hrs for 2 weeks, then back to my regular hours.  My work was very supportive, and my doctor basically followed my lead as to how tired I was after my sessions. I can’t imagine having to go through the stress you are while recovering ?.


I do hope you are able to find some relief.  Keep us updated. 

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I am telling ya, it is my Human Resources person causing it.  And my doctor caving in to the rep.  I work with elderly patients.  I am just so worried that IF a patient were to fall or something and I was needed to catch them or something.  Do I catch them and risk putting that pressure on the brain or let them fall?  


I still get headaches as well.  They are liveable but I still get them.  The backache's are bad at times but again, liveable.  


I did go to work Thursday and Friday - all day, last week.  I did fine.  I was a bit scared but did pretty good.


They said (in my medical records) That the bleed wasn't "bad".  So I guess they thought I didn't need to be off any longer.  I don't know!  


I was so upset with the HR rep that I went looking for another job.  I have that interview today.  It is 13 miles closer to my home.  No highway driving BUT the pay is about $1.50 LESS.  So I am not sure if I want this job or not.  


One "good" thing is...  Since December 2017, everytime I would vomit, I would get those headaches that felt like I was getting hit in the head with a hammer.  Thursday the 6th, I ate my lunch and for some reason, it made me sick.  When I was vomiting, NO headache or ANY PAIN in my head!  So just maybe it healed itself.  As the Docs did nothing to the bleed because when they did the angiogram, they could not find the source or place of the bleed.  I did not have an aneurysm.   So I guess that is also why they thought it was ok for me to go back to work.

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What I do when nobody listens to me at Docs, I write a letter as I know I will cry so my letters go like this.


"I've written a letter to you as nowdays I cry easier and find it hard to remember what I wanted to say". 


Then put all your worries down and tell them you know your body better than anyone else and how you feel but do not think they can really understand.  Take no Prisoners Michelle when it comes to health and less stress and more happy thoughts !!


Good luck as you do not need it after what you've been through xxxx  Now let a smile break over face xxxx

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Driving less is always good but you will have to adjust to a new environment and the one that you don’t know yet. 

And the pay is slightly less.


I love my older patients but they need more time. They move slower, they can’t hear, they don’t see. They are fall risks. Sometimes they have all the time in the world but you don’t and they don’t understand that so have to have lots of patience. I do enjoy their life exp since I have holocaust survivors and people who were in Second World War. 


Hope you can make a good decision after writing down pros and cons.

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