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Some Coworkers Have Your Back, Whether You Want Them To Or Not

, , , , , , | Working | November 21, 2022

I hurt my back. The good news is that it’s not bad enough to need surgery; the bad news is that means the doctor won’t write off a note requiring medical leave. So, hopped up on painkillers and muscle relaxers, I head to work where I spend the day hunched over at my desk, doing as little physical effort as I can. My boss and all my coworkers understand, and I get a lovely day of folks doing the walking around for me and being polite and kind… except for one coworker.

She’s a self-described “medical know-it-all” despite not having any education past high school health class and general Google information. And she’s apparently decided that my bad posture is causing the pain, not the other way around, regardless of my actual normal practices or anyone else backing (heh) me up. She offers and/or threatens to “fix me” herself with a knuckle in the back and a hand on the shoulder.

Me: *Bluntly* “If you so much as try it, Human Resources will be the nicest part of the rest of the day.”

Several times that morning and afternoon, she hovered around me, making comments and “offers”, but I always brushed her off.

Then, at one point, she made her move, swooping in behind me when I was in the middle of trying to let a spasm settle. I vaguely recall feeling her grab me. I do remember hearing the cracking; my joints tend to stiffen up when still too long and then loudly pop or crack when stretched. I do not remember how I ended up on the floor, nor the noise I made that was later described as “trying to scream through a mouthful of wet cement.” But I was in more pain than I ever remember feeling, openly sobbing and shuddering, and there was a LOT of noise from my coworkers above.

That area of the office was cleared out and EMTs were called. Aside from some ugly bruising, I wasn’t much worse than I had been, and once the initial flare started to settle, I declined a trip to the hospital. I did accept when my boss’s boss came up to me in the break room and gave me an override to the normal PTO rules, letting me take the rest of the day and the following Thursday and Friday off without worrying about any notes.

By Monday, I was still sore but able to move around at least, and my first stop getting back to work was at Human Resources to fill out my side of the report. Thankfully, there was no pleading or arguing by this point; a half-dozen witnesses and a camera shut up Miss “Medical Genius” in a hurry, and rumor is that she only escaped getting fired by signing an agreement basically stating she’d never so much as touch another employee again without permission.

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