All MacBU Personal

Lying down on the job

Well, the nerve, it’s not so good. I had an MRI last week and saw Dr. Peter Nora for a neurosurgical consult on Monday. There’s no immediate damage or need for surgery, but the MRI showed a definitive herniation at L5-S1 (not my personal MRI, but a decent example of one like mine), just like I’ve had twice before. Dr. Nora strongly recommended I take several weeks to minimize prolonged periods of sitting and standing, to take pressure off the disk and give my body a chance to solve the nerve irritation on its own.
That’s a great idea, but what about work? I’m still quite mentally fit (aside from the foggy effects of taking Percocet to dull the pain) and didn’t relish the idea of spending 3 weeks staring at the ceiling. Luckily, Microsoft has a great HR and benefits team, and I have an understanding manager (who happens to be a long-time friend and is actually the very first person I met at Microsoft on my first day as an intern in 1995!). Together with my general doctor, we crafted a formal ‘accomodation’ plan that acknowledges my limitations and still allows me to work from home part-time (and account for the rest of my time with sick leave). This way I get to be productive, keep my mind off of my back, and yet not stress my system with long commutes or hours sitting at my desk. I’ve got a laptop at home and can use Apple Remote Desktop to drive my Mac Pro at work, and thus can do pretty much anything from my bed that I could do at work.
The one tricky thing is that as a development lead, I have several people who report to me, and I need to be able to meet with them on a regular basis. Handily enough, between the new A/V capabilities of Microsoft Messenger 7 and the nice corded mic on my cell phone, I can attend meetings and talk to all my direct reports face to face. I did a number of one-on-one meetings that way today, and it seemed to work rather well.
So, I’m spending my days lying on my nice comfy bed with a couple of pillows and a freaking hot MacBook Pro. Not exactly where I’d like to be, but given the circumstances, I’ll take that over a stay in the hospital or a blah view of my ceiling. And, *knock on wood*, with any luck I’ll avoid a third surgery and be physically back in the office soon.

One reply on “Lying down on the job”

Sorry to hear about your back..
hope you get better soon.
fingers crossed that the nerve compression isn’t causing you any *embarrassing* incidents. 🙂

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