Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spine Surgery: One Week Post-Op

So an entire week has passed since I've had surgery and so much has happened how do I write it all down?  And yet...  at the same time...  so little has happened how do I find anything to write about?

How can it be both?   Easy!!   First I'll talk about the "so little".   The biggest question anyone asks me is "How am I doing?" and "How did the surgery go?"

How do I answer these questions?   I don't know, so I end up giving generic and vague answers.   The answers >I< want and care about are months in the future.   I want this surgery to fix some serious problems I have and I want to live a much fuller life with considerably less pain.   And I am not likely to know these outcomes until they arrive. 

 I know what the surgeon has told me, which is limited.  I only saw him briefly after surgery and wasn't in any condition to ask him detailed questions.  He said he was pleased with the results and confident of ultimate success.   I see him again next week and will know more.

So what do I do all day every day?   Not much.  I spend an insane amount of time in bed.   I can't stand for long unless I'm walking.   I can't sit for long.  Doctors orders.  I can't exercise, except for walking.   I'm allowed to get up and walk as much as I can, but I'll tell you, after spinal surgery it aint easy to just get up and go walking.

 Most of this first week the time in bed hasn't been too bad.  I slept so much.  But I'm all caught up on sleep and now I spend a lot of time just laying in bed bored out of my skull.   I'm actually considering taking up talking on the phone more.  Oh life would be good if I had a phone addiction!   Anyone have hours to kill talking on the phone?   (Just kidding.  Maybe?)

 The Mental Fog that plagued me so strongly is lifting.  It still hits me.  My limited time sitting at the computer isn't the most productive yet.  I find myself still just staring at it too much.  I'm usually quite the multitasker while at the computer but find it hard yet to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

Yet I've come a long way in one week.   I walked 2 miles yesterday.  I'm not sure how many people are walking 2 miles a day 7 days post-op from major spine surgery but I bet I'm on the high end of that curve.   

 My physical therapist seemed surprised with how far I was walking before I left the hospital.  

 My occupational therapists seemed almost unhappy that she had absolutely nothing to offer me.   On my first visit with her, less than 24 hours after surgery, I was able to get on/off a toilet by myself without any assistance or aides.    On her next visit, the next day, I was able to fully dress myself, including shoes and socks, even the cumbersome compression socks they insist I wear.   I admit, getting up off the toilet by myself was not easy.  Neither was putting on those compression socks.  But she seemed so insistent that I'd need help that I was determined to do it myself.  A week later these tasks are quite a bit easier.

The day after coming home I walked a whole mile.  Not all at once.  Since then I've been walking more and I now walk three times a day and am up to two miles a day.  I hope to be up to to three miles a day within the next week.

I take very little pain medication.   Which isn't to say I'm not in any pain.  I'm in considerable pain.  But the pain meds only dull it and come at a high cost.  They contribute to nausea and make me far more content to sit in misery than to push through and get up on my feet walking.   This is the vicious cycle and evil allure of pain meds.  They convince you that you can't function without them...   yet they leave you content to function less than you would otherwise.   Not good.   I've lived with enough pain the past years that it doesn't scare me.  I'll take a pill or two, but only after I've done my walking, and only to make it more comfortable to rest.

So to answer the questions?  

How did surgery go?  It went as well as can be expected and we'll know in time if it was successful.     

How am I doing?    I am doing.  I can't say I'm doing good or bad at this time.   If it is all for a better outcome then I will look back on these weeks/months as just another part of my journey, and view them in a positive light and worth it.   If there isn't a positive outcome then I've put myself through considerable pain and torture for what?  

There isn't any point in not remaining positive and hoping and working for the best possible outcome, and that is where I choose to keep my head.   Your continued prayers and positive energy my way is appreciated!

-Ray    aka  Norm 


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