The Right Perspective

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

And Now....The Rest of the Story

When last I wrote, I was in dire circumstances.  I couldn't sit upright or stand or walk.  Essentially, I was reduced to laying on my back with my knees up at a 90 degree angle or flat on my face with a pillow under my hips.  Even those positions were somewhat painful, just much much less so.  It's kind of hard to take care of a family (much less myself) in that situation.  Driving was extreme torture because I had to sit somewhat upright and yet that caused a ton of excruciating pain.  I did it because I had to, but I know it was not at all safe.

So Thursday night, my wonderful in-laws took on the task of caring for Emily and Ethan for the weekend and I prepared for my upcoming surgery.  Friday morning dawned after a long and nearly sleepless night (not from fear, but from pain).  Andrew drove me to the surgery center while I writhed around in the passenger's seat trying to remember to breathe.  Seriously, I wasn't anywhere close to this much agony when I drove the same distance to the hospital when I was 7 cm dilated in labor with Emily. 

Anyhow, I made it to the surgery center, managed to change into the lovely green gown and slippers and then got myself in bed.  I got my I.V. hooked up in my hand (yay....not) and then answered 400 questions (in addition to all the paperwork I'd already filled out).  Andrew came back with me for a while and we talked and prayed and then the lovely nurse gave me something that she said would relax me just before she another nurse wheeled me out to surgery.  I remember leaving the room, and talking to the nurses as we walked past the desk just outside my room....and then.....nothing.

About an hour, hour and a half later, I woke up back in my previous room with a nurse watching me.   My mouth was dry like cotton and my lip hurt and I could feel my back like something had happened there, but what I noticed most was that the compression "thingys" they had on my legs no longer hurt my left leg when it inflated, which it had before the surgery.  Already, things were improving.  After I woke up a bit and Andrew came back in, the nurse got me up and walked with me around the hallways....and for the first time since early March....I had no pain.  None....Nada....Zip....Zilch!  It was unbelievable that earlier that morning I had been wheeled into the office hunched over in a wheelchair and now, after back surgery, I was up walking and feeling great. 

After eating some crackers and having some water, I took another walk and was feeling really good.  My left foot was slightly numb but the nurse said that was from the swelling and would eventually go away.  After they verified that I could indeed still pee and they gave me a dose of pain meds, I was free to go....and I rode home sitting upright and feeling fantastic.  I could have danced out of the office.

Apparently the surgeon removed about 75% of the disc material through about a two inch incision very low on my spine.  Then he superglued me back together and sent me on my way.  The nurses told us that this was their favorite surgery to work on because patients like me usually got immediate relief and felt so much better.  That was hard to believe before the surgery, but now I am a true believer.  I feel like I've been given my life back.

Now I am 5 days post-surgery and so far today haven't taken any meds.  I can feel the incision in my back, but it's not anything horribly painful.  Actually, it's starting to itch, which I thing is probably a good sign of healing.  I can walk comfortably and I've even done a little driving, which was ok'd as long as I don't do a lot of twisting to get in and out and look behind me.  I even walked through Meijer last night, which I haven't done since March....the only thing that hurt were my feet (they haven't had much use lately!) and some slight low back pain, but that's more from the swelling and was never a problem beforehand.

The best part may be that I can actually sleep comfortably again.  The last few months haven't been great for sleeping, but the last two weeks were horrible.  I had moved onto the couch or floor and even then, I couldn't sleep much from pain.  Now, I am back in bed and sleep is a beautiful thing!

So that's the rest of the story.  I still have a lifting restriction (10 lbs, this week, 10 next week) and I need to be careful not to twist and bend from the waist, but otherwise, I am a new person....and I'm not taking the ability to walk or sit for granted again.