Friday, December 08, 2006

A New Doctor and New Prospects

Yesterday, Lisa and I went over to San Francisco for a consultation with a neurosurgeon. It was also a chance for us to (finally) meet my case manager in person. The visit was as eye-opening for her as it was to Lisa and me.

Up until now, my workers' comp insurers have been planning my case based on my original surgeon's assessment that I will reach my maximum improvement in January. This, despite the fact that my physiatrist and everyone else I've talked to, say that recovery from this type of injury can take 18 months to three years (or more). It would seem that the insurance company will be resetting its calendar for my case.

The other revelation from this exam is the news that the hardware in my back is subject to metal fatigue and breakage over the course of time. All we ever heard before on this subject was that my surgeon did not, as a rule, remove the hardware once the backbones successfully fused together. Immediately, both Lisa and I imagined metal rods violently snapping, etc. Fortunately, these failures are most often discovered when people complain of an increase in back pain and x-rays detect the trouble. Minimally invasive surgery is usually the remedy. Not a huge worry.

But then nothing causes a huge worry, lately. When you wake up in a hospital bed, as I did, with very little access to sensation or control below the waist, most other setbacks seem small in contrast and anything you recover is a gift.


In the wide-ranging conversation we had yesterday with my case manager, we discussed the results of my vocational rehabilitation assessment. Getting some kind of job has been very much on my mind lately but I keep running into some formidable obstacles. What I need is a job where I can work between 2 and 6 hours a day, maybe 2 to 4 days a week (depending on my strength and pain levels). A job where I can take the day off whenever I need to and suddenly hang up on people so I can make it to the bathroom. A desk, and probably a comfortable couch, within 15 feet of the bathroom. A job where it won't matter if my medication temporarily renders me a brain-dead zomboid. A job where no one will mind if I attend meetings lying down. I've consulted the list again and ruled out reptile farmer and a few others. Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

After reading your last paragraph, it is clear that you still have your sense of humor intact. That is very important....and good luck on the job with the couch thingy.

dorks anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dorks anonymous said...

Sounds like you need to open a little botique. You can keep whatever hours you feel, or hire some peons to take the brunt of it. You could make it company policy to hang up on all customers within the first 50 seconds of conversation. It would add to the mystique of your store, and result in weeklies describing your place of business as "edgy" in their reviews. Your merchandise could be whatever your artsy friends want to get rid of. If you set up in a touristy area, you could sucker customers into purchases they think are good representations of local flavor.

Anonymous said...

Robb... I was particularly interested in the flight surgeon suggestion. Go for it! Limited hours...bathroom nearby.... can catch a nap next to your patient.... so... this is ideal in my mind! What's holding you up from signing on for this????


Pyratemates said...

You can always become a politician. All the comforts you need as listed and the job description you want and need also seems right for this line of work.

Anonymous said...

You could become a webmaster! =) You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer and Internet connection, you can work as much or as little as you want (though, it is addictive, so you might find yourself working more than you anticipated!), and you meet the nicest people. =)

ericaflory said...

how about instead of a stand up comedian, a horizontal comedian?

Lock Wench said...

Work between 2-6 hours a day? Check
Take a day off whenever? Check
Suddenly hang up on people? Check
Desk,couch,& bathroom close? Check
Brain-dead zomboid? Check
Attend meetings lying down? Check

You need to become an entertainment lawyer. You've just described my ex-boss, and he made a heap of money doing exactly those things.

"Nice Counts"

Anonymous said...


What about editing? I have a friend who is an English teacher and while she was on months of bedrest with a difficult pregnancy she did some online editing for $.

Hope all is well.

Much love,
Laura Hackman

Anonymous said...

Clearly your options are numerous. However, I would think that an "aptitude test giver" would be right up your alley.


knitica said...

Ok, dewdrop gets the prize, although I also love options like politician and entertainment lawyer.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? Seems like that sort of work from home thing is good, as long as you can keep getting disability until you publish. Also, there are always those adds to do medical paperwork and billing from home.

Anonymous said...

Heck, Robb, sounds like you could get a job planning the Iraq war, those idiots in charge of it now don't even bother to consider how things are going, (much less want to talk about it) so perhaps if you could invest 1 solid hour a day in thinking how to win it, you should be able to get a government job. Pentagon corner office sound OK?

Signed, Annalisa

Ps- I have been thinking a lot about the 6 Million Dollar Man Show opening line "We can rebuild him, we can make him better". Maybe we should call up those guys about addressing the metal stuff in your spine, eh?


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