Friday, November 25, 2011


Decided this morning that I need to change my dosage time interval for my pain meds. I have been doing the Percocet every 3 hours and the Robaxin every 6 hours. They coincide with each other four times a day, which is great. I use the alarm clock feature on my cell phone to wake me up to take the meds during the night. The past few nights I have been sound asleep when the alarm has gone off. I take my meds, reset the alarm for three hours and have a bit of a hard time falling back to sleep. Of course, when I wake up to take the dosage(s) I am in little to no pain. I do want to keep the pain meds in my system constantly for at least the first two weeks, so I don't want to go LONG periods of time without taking a dose. Last year I tried to wean off the pain meds at day 10 post operation. HUGE mistake. But, I figure I could go longer during night hours without the pain meds...possibly a 4-hour interval instead of three. I also think this will greatly help me get a better night's rest...I am going to try this time schedule tonight.

I bit the bullet today and decided to take the long walk downtown to a set of stairs I'm very familiar with  to begin the stair climbing rehab part of recovery. I say long walk with tongue in cheek, as it is only 3/4 of a mile...piece of cake for me. It was slow going to the park that has the stairs, but we made it. My patient handbook suggests do three sets of fifteen stairs per day. You have to take each step ONE AT A TIME and not walk them normally...making each step a 'landing' with both feet. Sounds easy, huh? It's actually harder than you think because you have to THINK about each step...up and down...and, it is also a bit painful because you are stretching some muscles/tendons/ligaments, whatever, that have become quite tight after surgery. The surgical area will also tend to pull and twitch with some minor pain around the incisions. Of course, I did 5 sets of up and down, with my marching in place exercises in between each set. I do twenty of those each set. Things felt good at the time...

After a little bit of Christmas window shopping, we picked up the mail at the post office and headed home. It took every bit of my remaining energy to take a shower, brush my teeth and ease into bed. I was totally wiped out and my right hip was just aching to no end. Yes, those who know me are reading this and nodding their head, they know me well and I always push the limit...that's just me. And I pay for it. And I paid for it. Learn from me, double the recommended exercises has a tendency to double the pain and exhaustion. I actually took a 1 1/2 hour nap...something I'm trying NOT to do during the day in order to have a regular night's rest. The morning walk was just under two miles...and this evening we did a slow 7/10 mile walk, with some mild pain in my right hip.

Everyone will be different when it comes to exercise and rehab after this type of surgery. If you are scheduled for a spinal fusion and DON'T have any exercise routine in place at the time, I would highly suggest you at least try to start taking walks, pain permitting. The folks I've heard of who feel their back surgery failed seem all to have something in common; they did not have ANY type of exercise routine in place before surgery...of course this made it near impossible to get into exercise when you are in such PAIN after surgery. You will make excuse after excuse to remain 'motionless'. IT WON'T WORK! You will end up blaming your surgeon for the 'failed back surgery' and, dare I say, you will be in more pain for life after the surgery. One thing I truly wish back surgeons would do is to screen patients more closely about their activity lifestyle. You are responsible for your recovery...why not make it easier on yourself and commit to an exercise routine...not only will it help your general health, it will certainly increase the odds of a successful outcome for the surgery longterm.

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