Every day I wake up, I am normally fine. But other days, my back injury flares up. Yes it hurts, and yes I try to just deal with the pain.
There are days where it just hurts like a small pain that most people get on a daily basis. Other days, it feels like I could just fall to the ground and cry.
I have had my back injury for almost 5 years. And sad to say, I feel like I received it in the dumbest way possible.
I was working at Mohegan Sun Casino at the age of 19. The position I was in at that time was an EVS Attendant, or Environmental Services. A better word for it is a janitor in my opinion and they just made it seem fancier than it was.
I did the normal cleaning of the sections by the slot machines, cleaned bathrooms, and even cleaned up some of the restaurants and bars that the casino owned themselves.
The day I had received my back injury was pretty much like any other day to me, I just had an extra job for the night.
Racing season had just started and they had just opened up Pacer’s Clubhouse, which over looked the horse race track. This was my first time actually having to clean Pacer’s to the extent they wanted.
I started my night by helping others in their sections while I waited to start Pearl, a sushi bar which actually also has great teriyaki and hibachi food. When I clean Pearl, I had to move the heavy marble tables and the chairs so that I could vacuum the carpets. Then I would proceed to move the chairs from the bar and sweep and then mop the floor, which was just a small section.
After Pearl was cleaned up, I would proceed to help others in their sections again before Breakers, Mohegan Suns’ featured bar, closed. When Breakers closed, it was just a matter of moving their tables and chairs to sweep and mop the floors.
Then I skipped the last part of my nightly routine to go and clean up Pacer’s Clubhouse and the rest of Simulcast.
Normally, cleaning Pacer’s during the off-season only included taking out all the trash and doing a quick broom sweep on the carpets and then finishing the rest of Simulcast. But with Pacer’s actually being an active restaurant, I had to also vacuum all of the floor. Now, this wasn’t a normal straight floor either. Each row was pretty much like sitting on a large step, which continued to descend to the bottom of the window. I can’t really say how many rows there were, only because it has been about 5 years since I have really stepped foot in that part of the casino, but it sure was not something to take lightly for a section.
By the time I was even halfway done with Pacer’s, I only had about an hour and a half left to my shift. So like the responsible person that I am, I had called it into my boss how much I had done and that I was going to continue with the rest of Simulcast before the shift ended for the night.
So I did what I normally would do. I just cleaned everything up and took out the garbage. Only thing is, I felt a tightening in my back as I was taking the garbage from inside to the dumpster. This is where things changed for me, and not for the best.
I continued through the rest of my shift ignoring my back. But once it was time to head back and put my stuff away, thats when the feeling returned, but way worse. I proceeded to clock out and walked to the employee entrance to wait for my ride, even with all the pain I was feeling. What I didn’t expect was that the attendant there at the desk, whom I had become friends with over the months I had been employeed, was watching me as I proceed to lean against her desk, tears rolling down my face. After that it was filling in an incedent report and being told to take the night off from work and come back the next day, but if I wanted to see either their doctor or chiropractor it was ok.
But here was the catch. I could only see one. So either I had to go to the doctor for the pain but not get my back fixed, or I get my back fixed but have to deal with the day to day pain.
So I sucked it up and when to the chiropractor that I was given the name and number for, and proceeded to get his opinion on my back the same day I was returning to work. Well, push came to shove and he told me he wanted me to get workers’ comp for my back. Now, I am not a very trusting person. I wouldn’t trust the casino not to mess up on purpose during that time. So I told their chiropractor that I would prefer to be on light duty, this way I could ensure I was making the money I currently had without having to worry about anything…… or so I thought.
That same night I went back to work to be told, even with a light duty notice to my boss from the chiropractor, I was on the food court that night. The only help I was to recieve from others was someone else taking the trash for me and someone was going to put the chairs on the tables so that I could vacuum.
Everything started out fine, even with me moving around as little as possible not to jousle my back, by 5:00 I was vacuuming the floors. And low and behold, not even 10 minutes vacuuming, I was on the ground in pain crying my eyes out. Well, that made the second incedent at work in 3 days, so more paperwork for me!
To cut the tale short, I had to see the chiropractor once a week, the physical therapist 2 times a week, and their massage therapist 2 times a week in order for the chiropractor to even be able to work on my back at all.
3 months and a few call offs later, I was out of a job. Even though I had called off because of my back injury itself, the points still counted against me no matter what. After 3 months, they said I was back on normal duty, and what happened but after only 2 days of normal duty, I was in so much pain and I was so exhausted that I had slept through half of my shift. No matter what I would have done, my job was officially out the window.
As sad as it is to say, I always tell my friends to never work for the casino here. They treat their employees like trash. And that was from experience.
Now, 5 years down the road, I am back at my first job, which I had left for the casino. Even though its a minimum wage job, my back still acts up at times, and even flares up to the point I want to fall to the floor in pain because I just moved the wrong way while working!
So yes, I deal with this pain daily, even to the point where I couldn’t sleep on my bed without crying. Just a week ago my back flared up at work, but I pushed through and dealt with it since there is really nothing I can do about it anymore. This is just something I have to deal with because it is too much money for the chiropractor and I do not have insurance.
But things always look up! Maybe one day I won’t have to deal with this pain anymore. But until that day, I will continue to push through and hold my chin high.
‘Til Next Time!