Workplace Injuries: Is It Really That Big A Deal?
“Is it really that big a deal?” “Should I even worry about it?” “It was just a little bump, I’ve had much worse.”
These are all things that I have asked and said to myself after I sustain a slight workplace injury. I slipped on the top step and pulled something when I braced myself. I slammed my knee into a low table. A child at school thought it would be fun to jump on my back. Yes, it hurt, but I always hurt! I went from a pain level 6 to a pain level 7. I'm often at a level 8 after making breakfast…
Is it really that big a deal? Yeah, it kinda is.
It’s not ok to hurt
Yes, we are in pain every moment, every day of our lives. Waking up in the morning and getting to the shower can be the equivalent of an Olympic event. We pump ourselves full of pills and injections in the quest to hopefully feel a little normal.
However, for us, pain is normal. It’s certified guaranteed. So when something out of the ordinary happens that causes us extra pain, we might not think much about it. At least I don’t. I woke up in pain and no matter what happens, I’m going to stay in pain. Nobody can fix this pain. Why should I even worry about it?
I'll tell you why. Because your health and wellbeing is just as important as everyone else's. If not more. If a totally tip-top healthy co-worker wrenches his or her back getting a box off a shelf at your workplace, they are going to report the incident and get an ice pack. You should do the same!
(This also applies to tripping over file boxes, getting hit by falling boxes, or getting run over by a forklift carrying boxes.*)
*Box related injuries not required.
This is not normal, and you should do something about it.
I don’t want to be a bother
Yes, I am deeply engrossed in this mindset. Partially my reasoning for writing this article because I too need a bit of a push in the right direction. My initial reaction to any kind of strain or injury is to shake it off and not make a big deal out of it. It is the same mindset that made me wait two days before I went to see the doctor over a broken ankle. I was fine, I could walk, pain is all in my mind!
(Spoiler: it isn’t)
So when one day a student playfully grabbed my leg and took me down I didn’t report it. Even though I majorly strained my back trying to avoid falling on him and I seriously ripped my hypermobile hip out of place, I didn't want to be a bother and take up anyone’s time. Besides, it was the end of the day and I was sure everyone just wanted to go home.
I found out, that was not the correct choice
My back was totally out of whack the following day and my hip was nice and crunchy. I chose to report it then, and nobody was happy about that!
“All injuries at the workplace must be reported immediately after they happen," the school nurse told me. I filled out my form and talked to the principal, but for legal reasons, I guess, next day reporting is frowned upon.
Blow offs and judgement
Honestly, the other two reasons I didn't report was that I didn't want to go to Urgent Care and get what I got when I went in after a kid headbutt me in the nose. “Of course you hurt, you have ankylosing spondylitis!” Take a Tylenol and go home.
And, I am very careful about admitting my physical limitations. I have protection under ADA, but that doesn't mean it won’t cause people to think less of my abilities.
“He’s complaining because a kid hugged his leg? What a wimp.” (None of my bosses would say that, but it still doesn't feel great)
The bottom line is, for your own wellbeing, be a bother!
Protect your self worth
You are worthy of feeling the best you can. You did absolutely nothing wrong that has caused you to feel the way you do. Ankylosing spondylitis doesn't care who you are and what you do. It is a bully, and they will pick on you regardless. (Punching them in the nose or forming a posse won’t help either)
Just because you were already in pain when you were injured does not mean you shouldn't get a little TLC. If anything, it means you should get more. Our bodies don’t snap back like other people’s do. Minor injuries tend to stick around a little longer, so give yourself a fighting chance and get some help.
You will not be a bother, and yes, it really is that big a deal.
Do you use the word disability to describe your AS?