Injury, as discussed in previous articles, involves the injured worker, and the employer and the workplace. It involves physical and mental distress, and financial and economic pressures. In a broader context, it involves the treatment team, the insurer and possibly lawyers, and periphery and supportive teams. Something not discussed yet is the impact it has on a worker’s social network. That is friends, family, and extended connections.
Take a moment to sit quietly and consider what impact an injury would have on your life and lifestyle, if it stopped you doing the things you really enjoy. Think for a moment what it might be like to never play golf again, or swim, or surf, or ride that motorcycle or even take the kids to school. What would life be like if you’re forced to a call an Uber or cab to take the kids to school or ask friends every time? Or what would it be like to never have sex again? Many injuries result in loss of libido, and /or erectile disfunction, or severe and chronic pain.
What happens to relationships when the above happens, many injuries can result in relationship failure. Maybe ask your partner what they would think of helping you in the shower and toilet every day, and do all the housework and driving, and spend every weekend at home in a carer role.
What if your children stopped bringing friends home for visits because mum or dad is too grumpy because of the pain? What if you start to self-medicate with alcohol, or drugs? Not to mention the highly addictive nature of the opiate pain killers you’ve been on for a year or the benzos to treat the increasing anxiety, from the forced whole-of-life change. You may be thinking, “Wow! That sounds like a major totally debilitating injury.” Now have a read of the results of a serious, chronic shoulder injury: that began as a seemingly simple rotator cuff injury, and after 2 and a half years, 4 surgeries, the last to repair infection, the pain remains, the inability to lift over waist height remains, and the driving restrictions remain, along with the: loss of life quality.
Then I could describe the other stuff: the massive weight gain, the collateral kidney, heart, and liver problems from the static lifestyle and medications. The self-loathing and low self-esteem. “You’ve just pulled your shoulder,” they say. “Put some ice on it,” they say. Couple of days rest and see you at work on Monday. Don’t worry about that claim, we’ll look after you,” they say. It’s unfair dismissal to sack a worker while they are off work on an injury claim- for the first year anyway.
It sounds like I’m anti-employer, on the contrary, I am an employer myself. The point I am trying to make is that injury is a nightmare maze for all concerned. Do not shut your partner or family out, engage them and consult with them, it affects them too. It’s driven by what the specialist says and controlled by the insurer.
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