Saturday, December 31, 2011


I made it!! Yes, I did my entire two-plus walking miles tonight without having to make a pit stop for an energy recharge! All that on top of going to Winter Park (Florida) this morning to view an exhibit at Polasek Gardens, have lunch at Panera Bread with my dear husband of almost twenty-six years and to walk about ten blocks doing some after Christmas shopping. Yeah for me, I was able to sit for about 45 minutes in one of those high padded stools at a table while eating...and I had no pain!! I even had a somewhat comfortable thirty mile ride to our destination...and back. Seems like I'm ending the year on a good note. Not to say that the year has been bad. It hasn't. I'm still healing very well from my October 2010 back surgery fusion and I'm on the road to healing from this current surgery. There have been some serious downs during the past fourteen months, but they, thankfully, don't outweigh the ups.

I did buy a new pair of walking shoes today. Doesn't seem like a big deal to those who have not had back surgery, but it's a major thing to me. I've been wearing a particular type of walking shoe for nearly eight years...not the same pair of course. I love the brand, comfort and price. But, woe is me, they are no longer I stopped at my favorite shoe store on the way home from Winter Park and was able to find a comparable pair. They are comfortable, but they are different. Different enough that they did cause a bit of muscle pain in my low back as I was walking this afternoon. I don't think, though, that they will cause an permanent problem while walking. Hopefully I've found my new 'favorite' walking shoes. If so I'll be going back and buying several pairs.

As with last year, I've noticed that there are times throughout the day when I literally feel no discomfort or pain in my back. It's a good feeling to not be constantly reminded of the surgical trauma and resulting titanium screws and rods that have invaded my body. Sometimes I almost feel 'normal'. The new normal though. I know that eventually I will have back to back days that there won't even be a twinge of anything in my back to remind me of the surgery. But until then I do pray for the strength to mentally and physically get through all the tough times.

At the advice of a friend, I tried Tylenol PM (a generic form) last night to help with sleep. I only took 1/2 of a pill along with 1 extra strength Tylenol (a generic form). I did sleep very well and was even able to sleep for a bit on my left side with a  pillow between my legs. That is a milestone for me!! Of course this evening, with all the early New Years revelers lighting off all sorts of illegal fireworks well into the new morning hours, sleep might be elusive regardless the sleep aid.

Stay safe this night...see you in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Well I made it six hours at work today even though my sleep is still not good. I did feel I had a bit more energy, which is a good thing right now. My walking routine is continuing gangbusters, as is the stationary bike at the YMCA. The improvements are small increments, but improvements nonetheless. I am grateful.

If you are getting ready to have spinal fusion I truly hope you are both mentally and physically prepared. You must committ yourself to the physical therapy, whether it is self-directed or doctor scheduled. Having gone through this twice I know that my attitude towards the therapy/exercise part has been what has helped me heal and remain somewhat flexible and able to eventually do just about everything I was able to do before both surgeries. Yes, you'll change the way you do those things, but you will still be able to do them. So please don't get discouraged if you begin to feel that you aren't making headway in your recovery. It happens to all of us. I will continue to take two steps forward and one step back...this I know from last year's experience. But it eventually did work out. I know it will again. It IS hard. I promised to tell you the truth, which I feel I have done to this point. You deserve to know what to expect, not just what a doctor/surgeon tells you to expect. Let's face it, your surgeon probably has not been through the surgery. He can only tell you what clinical information he has learned. There is no fault in that. It just is. My hope is this blog will continue to help you as you face this surgery...and as you recover....successfully.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Incisions five weeks post surgery 12/25/11
If you're still with me I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. Didn't think I'd be spending my second Christmas in a row recovering from back surgery...but that's the way it goes.

Overall the past few days have been pretty good. I went to work for almost six hours on Friday (23rd), then grocery shopping, which was quite a harrowing experience. Everyone running around paying no attention to other human beings...and those of us with back surgery on our mind and body. I almost left the store because I was so afraid of being knocked into. Sounds very high-falootin', doesn't it? But you'd understand if you were in my position. Those little bumps magnify to your back and are quite painful sometimes.

Yesterday (24th) was my best day yet since surgery. Literally no pain or discomfort for most of my waking hours. I was able to 'work' in the yard for a couple of hours. That work consisted of picking up sticks/twigs with my handle Grip-n-Grab and putting them in the trash can. And I did some supervising of my dear husband as he weeded one of the flower beds. Yes, it is still in the 80's here in Florida and things are still growing gangbusters. Also used my lightweight (bought after last years surgery) leafblower to get the leaves off the front porch and driveway. It felt good, both mentally and physically, to 'get back in the yard'. Of course, I ruined a great day by trying to max and relax, as my husband says, on the living room couch. I honestly thought my back was ready for the cushy wasn't...and in a bad way. I barely lay down for ten seconds and knew it wasn't right and tried to get up. Had to leverage myself on my side and  push off a chair at the edge of the couch. My husband was right there in case I rolled off the couch. That set off a chain of events in my back that led to a lot of pain at the new fusion level and in my right hip. I hit my bed after two extra strength Tylenol...getting up two hours later to take a Vicodin. step forward, two back. On a bright note, I had a fairly good night's sleep. Maybe I was knew I had to sleep because Santa wouldn't visit if I was awake.

Five weeks post surgery I am slowly getting back into a normal daily routine, even making a full dinner the past two nights. I'm walking a minumum of two miles a day, doing at least sixty stairs daily and keeping up with all my leg lifts and stationary marches. I've added a hamstring stretch against the wall and that feels really good. I'm still having a hard time putting on my socks from either the standing or sitting position. My back muscles get quite tense and sore after I've been moving for a few hours. My legs get quite weak after walking for a period of time, although my cardio is just fine. I'm trying to figure that one out. It's something I'm going to ask my surgeon about during my January 9th follow up. Otherwise I feel I am progressing at a decent pace and am so thankful for this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Tried work again yesterday morning. At least I'm trying. I was able to get in a good 4 1/2 hours before my body revolted. My head wanted to stay, but I thankfully listened to my body. Slept a couple of hours at my in-laws while waiting for my husband to finish work. Did I mention we both work at the same place and for his parents? This fact has made the recoveries from both these fusions so much easier, as I don't have to worry when to go back to work, I can set my own hours and I can get to all the after care appointments with ease. I am so thankful for this situation. We did go for a walk last evening. Can't miss my walk. However, after doing half the normal stair climbing and not really resting after one mile, I was one low-energy, weak-legged fusion patient. My cardio is just energy still highly sucks. I tried to put on a happy face, as I told myself that at least I accomplished something by going to work...but by early evening I was in so much pain I broke down and took 1/2 Percocet. My right hip was on fire and my low back was aching the worst since the day after surgery. It feels like a setback, though I know I just overdid it. I'm still having extreme trouble with the whole sleep process...maybe it's the pre-menopause thing going on too along with this recovery. But I am not able to get a decent  night's sleep. It's that simple. I do not want to take any type of sleep aid, as those highly interfere with anti-depressants. However I am also unable to really work out hard in order to get that exhausted feeling for a really good night's sleep like before the surgery. It's a catch-22. I guess if that's my only complaint at this point in my recovery then I am lucky. My sleep clock will reset itself once all this mumbo-jumbo with recovery is on the wane. Until then I'll continue counting sleep....err.....sheep.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I'm sitting here watching my husband through the back sunroom...he's cutting down palm fronds on our three huge Queen Palms in the back garden. I want to cry. I want to be out there with him helping. The garden is my domain, my piece of heaven. There's a part of me that feels he is invading something private. He won't let me help with anything to do with the yard or garden. And, sigh, he is right. He is so right. You will find there are many things you just have to wait to do again. It will be hard, very hard, to temporarily give up the things you love to do, those things that make your soul feel alive and your spririt sing. But the sweetness of slowly going back to those things truly does make the wait, the patience reluctantly tolerated and learned, quite satisfying for your being.

My experiment went badly this morning. I tried to 'sleep' on my right side, very carefully positioning myself to be in perfect shoulder/hip/ankle alignment with a slight bend in my knees. It was not uncomfortable...until I turned over on my back ten minutes later. The pain in my right hip was sharp and throbbing, the post surgery/recovery room type of pain. A full half-hour later, which the time was spent trying to calm myself and apologize to my body for trying to do something I shouldn't have tried so soon, I gingerly got out of bed and started my day at 9:30 a.m. At this point the pain has subsided and I made a promise to myself to wait awhile before I try the new position again.

I lasted a full five hours at work on Friday (16th). Yeah for me. Pain was minimal, nothing a couple of extra strength Tylenol couldn't take care of. I was actually able to concentrate on the tasks at hand and got a lot done. My stubborn streak was saying "just stay until the day is over at 3:30 p.m." The learned, post/past surgery experienced part of me said "STOP! Go have a rest at the in-laws house." The latter voice won out and I am glad it did. I had enough energy in reserve to stop at the nail salon on the way home and get a long overdue pedicure. It's the little things that keep me on the right side of the human experience.

There is still a fair amount of achiness in the general area of the surgery. The muscles around the top of my butt crack (for lack of a proper medical term) are very sore at times. I'm guessing the insides are trying to get used to the invasion of the screws and rods and the fact that what little movement was there pre-surgery is no longer available due to the fusion. Sitting is becoming less of a problem, though the car ride in our particular vehicle (2001 Ford Explorer Sport) is still not as painless as I would like it to be. Most chairs are okay as long as there is not too much of a cushion. I can attest to the fact that if your hips are lower than your knees the pain will come....I've read that several places. I was actually able to have breakfast with a dear friend of mine yesterday morning. We even did a bit of Christmas browsing afterwards and enjoyed sitting outside Starbucks for nearly forty-five minutes enjoying our festive, over-priced drinks. You see, little by little you will get back into 'life'. It will happen slower than you wish, but it will happen. You must, though, keep up your exercises...walking, stationary bike, stair climbing, leg lifts. Even on the days when I've been at my lowest, in both spirit and energy, I have done ALL the recommended exercises, therapy, rehab....whatever you wish to call it. I cannot stress this point enough. Now, go out there and do one thing for your soul today....

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I am blessed with and grateful for:
-my health
-my sanity
-my loving husband
-my friends
-my faith & spirituality
-my job
-my home
-my sight
-my hearing
-my mobility
-my sense of humor

Incisions: 12/15/2011
Four  weeks post surgery
These are all I need to continue on my healing path after these two surgeries barely more than a year apart. Today marks one month since fusion surgery of my L5-S1. It has been up and down...honestly, more downs than ups. But this seems to be the normal m.o. for these types of procedures. This year I am in much better mental state. I suffer from depression and a degree where it can be debilitating to live a normal life. Right before last years' procedure I was once again getting back on my anti-depressants. For anyone who's taken that road you can relate to how hard it is to get on these types of meds. Long, short: I've been on and off Lexapro for four years, thinking, when I was 'well', that I didn't need the med. Once off, the cycle of depression would begin again...the elevator heading to the bottom floor. As you know I am very anti-med of any kind...however I have totally given in to a death-do-us-part dependence on anti-depressants in order to maintain my sanity, my life. The whole story is fodder for another blog...but I'll leave that to others. Suffice it to say, my recovery last year was much prolonged because of my mental status and frequent severe anxiety attacks. This year, thankfully, has been much easier on the mental front. Yes, I've still had some minor episodes of frustration (depression?) over the length of time it takes to 'get on with it' regular/normal life as it was/is. But even those folks who don't suffer from clinical depression also go through issues post any surgery. It's in my handbook and a common acknowledgement when you are hospitalized, as they do offer mental counseling services as part of recovery/treatment. This is why 'my sanity' is listed as one of my blessings. I don't think the other items in my list need any explanation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Credit: TBWA, Paris
How many times have you slept through an entire night and never changed sleeping positions? This is a problem after back surgery and is why I am having such a hard time maintaining a deep sleep. You see, when you have active dreams you actually do physically react by, well, moving in your bed. Simple. Right? I'm no scientist but I can attest to the fact that my brain is constantly 'on' when I am a subconscious sort of way. It will not let me move in reaction to any dream/stimulus or in an effort to get my body into a more comfortable position. I usually fall asleep on my back. That's been my normal position all my life. More often than not I wake up on my right side, hugging a pillow. I get there without knowing when, how or why. It just happens. However, now as I 'sleep' I am fighting myself to not react normally in my 'sleep'. This constant fighting is what is keeping my real sleep to a minimum...and it's damn frustrating! You might be saying, "Why don't you just turn over on your side?" Folks, you can't just do that...the low back is not sturdy enough yet to support that type of involuntary turning without a great deal of pain (I've tried). Next time you toss around in your bed try to make a mental note of how many limbs and muscles you are using to make the moves. The low back muscles are highly involved...mine are too darn sore and weak yet to be of any help. Sounds like a minor whine to you...but I had to post so that other back surgery patients know this is normal. This non-movement during sleep also happened after last years fusion. I have re-read my daily notes from that time and did not notate when I was able to finally sleep on my side...but it did eventually happen. I was sleeping/turning/moving/running away from monsters right up until this years surgery November 17th. Sweet dreams.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Sleeping is way overrated. I say this because it's becoming an elusive thing in my life. It's not the meds, as I am only taking one Vicodin at around 6:00 p.m. every night, two calcium suppliments, one B-complex vitamin and my 10mg Lexapro. And, no, it's not the anti-depressant causing the insomnia, as I've been taking that for almost four years. I was able to sleep quite well last year, even with occasional severe anxiety attacks. This year, though, is just a total mess. Overall I'm trying to keep 'active' all day and not nap at all. It is hard to sit in a chair for any length of time, so I have to resort to my bed when I am not up walking, doing dishes, piddling around the house, etc. I read when I am in bed or watch some type of cooking show. And, yes, I do make a daily pilgrimage downtown to the local coffee shop for a small decaf, which I take an hour to drink while I read whatever newspaper is available for public perusal. Still, falling asleep, even with some type of Steve Halpern cd in the background, is just not happening. It's beyond frustrating!

I'm still having a lot of discomfort all around the surgical area. I can say that I've had many bouts of impatience this weekend. Looking at last year's log after my L4-L5 fusion I see that the discomfort went well into the three month post surgery period. So, I'm guessing this is normal. I did thirty minutes on the stationary bike yesterday at the gym. IT FELT GREAT!!! I was sweating and had NO PAIN during or after the session. I walked a little over three miles also and did all the stair climbing and stretching exercises as outlined in the post surgical handbook. Of course, by evening I was aching a bit....about a 3 on the 1-10 pain scale. To top off the day...yes, ladies, you will agree with this...I was finally able to shave my legs!! It's been nearly four weeks since the last shave and it wasn't pretty. My husband had to put the shaving cream on my legs, but I used the handy tool he made for me, propped my leg up on the toilet seat know the rest. What a great feeling it is! It's these little things that get you to feeling more and more human the days following surgery. I have to keep reminding myself, and you, that this recovery is long least one year. Seems like forever...

Friday, December 9, 2011


Four-and-a-half hours. That is as long as I made it today at work. The forty minute car ride is not included in that time. I ran out of energy very quickly and ended up napping for a couple of hours at my in-laws home which is only four miles from our work. My husband finished out his day and we came home. I am trulyl hoping that car rides will become more comfortable as time passes, as it was an extremely painful ride home. The very end of my tailbone, where the new screws are, just ached and I got several jolting 'electrical shocks' to that area while riding home. We still went for a two-mile walk and I did the stairs and other therapy exercises. But I barely made it home. I had a few muscle spasms in my mid-left back. I do feel a bit discouraged. I know there are ups and downs with this. But I felt as though I was making rapid advancement and just like that I feel like it's only been a couple of days since surgery instead of three weeks. I would like to see some kind of study that explains why your energy level(s) wane so much after surgery. And truthfully this really isn't a major surgery in my book, as it is done on an outpatient basis. Maybe it's my impatience that makes this so hard to accept. I am so car ride shy that I even begged off going to the gym for bike riding tonight. Even though it is only four miles from our home I just am not in the mood for that kind of pain right now. I'm headed for the shower and an early bedtime tonight, as I only slept about five hours last night. Goodnight...

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Slept in until 10:30 a.m. this morning. Ugh!! Makes me feel like a slug...a sore slug. I guess I needed the sleep. We hit the gym (YMCA) last night for this first time post surgery. I tried the stationary bike for twenty minutes at a very low resistance. Got a pretty good heartrate going....I really love a good cardio workout! Figured I would try a mile or two on the treadmill....NO GO!! Extremely painful even at a snails pace. I was unable to do the treadmill after last year's surgery for about five months. I could/can walk all over town, even the sometimes challenging hills, but the treadmill is just plain painful right now. So, I abandoned that after one-and-a-half minutes. We came home and walked about two miles in the neighborhood instead. No problems. Overall I did almost four miles yesterday. However, this morning my butt muscles and deep down in my hip bones, for lack of a better description, were very sore. I'm guessing it was the stationary bike. It's amazing to me how quickly one falls out of shape when not doing a normal exercise routine. I don't mean gaining weight (which I haven't, lost four pounds) but just the overall fitness that goes so quickly. I know I'll build back up to an hour-and-a-half workout over time, but it's still a bit hard to accept right now. I promised myself and my husband to NOT push it too hard this year...let nature take its healing course as it always does.

The day wasn't a total waste even after having awaken at such a late hour. I did some computer stuff, ate breakfast (at 11:00 a.m.), wandered downtown for a cup of decaf, read a great deal of the New York Times, hit the post office, did the stair climbing exercise at the park, watered some yard plants, showered, cleverly wiped up some cat yack off the floor, read for about two hours, watched some television, ate dinner and am now posting. We're going to walk a couple of miles after I'm done here. I'm still doing one Vicodin late afternoon...the pain just builds up over the day to a point where I need instant relief, not only for peace of mind, but in order to help me sleep pain-free. I need a good night's sleep tonight because tomorrow morning I will head to work for a few hours for the first time since surgery three weeks ago. The forty minute ride to work will itself be quite a challenge....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Thought you'd like to see how well the scars are healing. I am so thankful the swelling has reduced so quickly this year. One of the most painful parts of this surgery is doing the log roll in and out of bed and the pressure that occurs on the areas that are swelled up. Your bed is not as soft as you would like to think and those swollen pressure points are the worst part of trying to get comfortable in bed. The surface bruising appears to be gone. I do feel a lot of deep tissue pain at times. There area at the L5-S1 fusion level is very sore at times...deep down sore. It did not hurt at all until a couple of days ago. I will guess this will pass too.

You will have to make a lot of adjustments to your lifestyle after this type of surgery. It is inevitable. You just have to accept that. Ladies, even with adding a routine of flexible stretches I will contend you will not ever shave your legs the same way again. Luckily my dear husband is a machinist and man of many design talents. I described what I needed in order to shave my legs and in about an hour or so he made this holder for me out of aluminum tubing. The one end is slightly crimped in order to accept a rubber handled disposable razor. It's a friction fit that works just great. He painted it with rough textured black paint and put grooves in the end for a better grip with wet hands. I intend to use it the rest of my life, as I want to put as little stress on my low back as possible in all areas of activity. I've used this several times and it works just great.

A tool that you should have around your home regardless if anyone has had back surgery is something like this Grip 'n Grab. I bought this last year before my previous surgery. They are about $25.00 and are available at Lowe's and other stores of that nature. The ones advertised on television are twice as expensive as this one and they both do the same thing. I use it for everything! When I go back to working in the yard I will pick up sticks with it...again. I can lift the food bowls for refilling for the cats, the towels off the floor, position my shoes for putting on...everything. The rubber tips help to keep the heaviest (about 5 pounds) objects from slipping from your grip. Please get one of these before your procedure. You will use it. Why not make your life easier while you are recovering.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


So yesterday I totally overdid it. Period. My fault. My pain. Period. I am someone who has to do something everyday. Can I sit around and read all day? Well, yes, if I have to. But more likely than not I like to keep moving. So you can clearly imagine how this surgery puts so many restrictions on me and my daily routine. I post this because I want you to realize this is what you will face if you are an active person who is scheduled for this type of procedure. I can't speak from the viewpoint of a someone who just likes laying around all day. So, if that's you then you probably don't want to read this post. I also have a creative vein or two running through my body. The outlet for that has always been my garden. But since I am unable to do any type of yardwork for at least three months, I fell back on my other outlet....baking. Which I did for six hours yesterday. Yes, six hours on my feet on top of walking nearly three miles. I ignored the pain until I finally broke around 6:00 p.m. I took a Vicodin and Robaxin and cried. I went against all I know to be right, all I know the surgeon told me not to do and paid dearly for it. There is a bit of solace in this mindset though...I am normal. That was proven by this series of YouTube videos by Dawn Underwood. These are excellent and she's a fellow patient after my heart. She, too, overdoes it and pays the price like I did/do. I highly recommend her series. I have watched most of them and can say they are as close to the real experience of spinal fusion surgery as I've read or seen.

As for me, I will be okay. I spent most of the day reading in bed, did some dishes and walked almost three miles...not all at once. I am in a bit of pain as I write this tonight. It feels like a few inner things are loosening up and I have some muscle pain in both buttocks and upper back. I'm actually going to a city council meeting tonight for the first time in over a year. I quit going last year before my surgery and was just not in the right frame of mind or physical condition to go again until now. Plus, I was a fiend with my workout schedule post first fusion last year and didn't want to miss one night. Hopefully, I can sit there for a while without screaming in pain....not from the surgery but from the idiocy that occurs in government at all levels.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Certainly I must be getting better by now. Yesterday, though, really whacked me hard and I honestly don't know why. I did a couple hours of work work for my job, a bit of reading and went grocery shopping with my husband for the first time since surgery. And, damn, if I wasn't totally out of energy by 3:00 p.m. I did take a Vicodin at noon...just couldn't hold out any longer. But otherwise it was what I would consider a slow, lazy day in my book. Yes, yes, I know I am recuperating and there is a reason why they tell you to take six weeks off from work. There is also a reminder in the surgery handbook that states something like 'just because you are staying home that does not give you an excuse to engage in home chores and regular activities.' Yeah, I know. But I gotta be me...and that just sucks sometimes because I am such a go-go-go person. My mind is running but my body can't keep up right now. It's a hard compromise to make. We did eventually walk downtown late evening in order for me to do the stairs in the park. For the first time since surgery I honestly thought I was not going to make it home. My legs were like jelly and I had odd pains everywhere: my buttocks were sore, my right side was going into muscle spasms and there were all sorts of 'electrical' twinges around the incision areas. It was quite scary and humbling. The body will tell you when it is done. It will tell you to slow down. It will shout at you to give it a rest. Sometimes I'm just hard of hearing and my body makes me slow down to give it a chance to recoup. When we got home from the walk I took another Vicodin and a Robaxin (muscle relaxer), cleaned up and hit the bed. Ahhhhhh...never more happy to be in my own bed.

One of my favorite authors Michael Perry states in his best selling book Truck: A Love Story: "We are in possession of a machine that is set on self-destruct." That, my friends, is our body...plain and simple. Those of us who have gone through any surgery need to be aware that as with any machine we must treat it with kindness and try to get the most miles out of it. It is up to us to listen to the doctors heed them fully and not rush the natural healing process. I have to write this to myself so I can read it and it will sink just a bit more into my hard head. My husband stated the obvious last evening; "Yes, the doctor said you could walk all you want....but I don't think he meant all at one time."

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Pain minus a narcotic pain killer really does suck! Does this mean I'm an addict? Well, I know I'm not, but I do know this's nice to have a stash of the good stuff just in case you really need them. As I mentioned before I had a lot of Percocet left over from the last surgery because I had been given two separate at the emergency room two weeks before surgery and one after surgery. Total number of pills was 160...yes, 160. I eased myself off Percocet last year by extending the time interval between doses and finally taking smaller and smaller doses...until, ta-da, all was okay. That took about four weeks. I had dozens of pills left over that came in real handy from time to time the few months following the surgery when I would really overdo it and have severe pain that extra strength Tylenol just wouldn't take care of on it's own. Right now I do not have enough Percocet to ease off like before (even though I had begun to schedule longer intervals between doses a few days ago as part of easing off) and I can say I am in a slight panic mode. I truly thought the surgeon would give me another prescription. Can you just stop these things cold turkey or do you need the easing off? Trust me, I am getting pain now in areas that were before void of pain at all. It is not fun. And, trust me again, the extra strength Tylenol is NOT taking care of the pain. My husband said that maybe having the pain to remind me I am still recovering is a good thing because I have a tendency to overdo it and could do damage to a fragile surgery that needs time to fuse/heal. I know he's right, as I did overdo it today by walking downtown, doing the stair climbing exercises (5 times) and standing on my feet for nearly two hours to wait and watch the Christmas Parade. Then I came home and did some much needed edging around the lawn....just overall a bad day with pain as the cherry on top. I know I'll get past this pain problem. I did last year, but have to admit it was much easier with the narcotic pain meds. The plus for today pain in my right hip at all!!! Yeah!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Two weeks post surgery! I've made it this far and went even further today than I have in two weeks. My follow-up with the surgeon was this afternoon. I was a bit apprehensive about the car trip, as it is a forty mile ride. It was quite difficult getting into the car and took me a few minutes to properly adjust the seat and my 'quilted blankie' that I use to support my back while traveling. But, we made it with minimal pain, even though they are doing major road work on the highway out to the hospital....and you know what that means; lots of bad road to bridge transitions and rough paved detours. Yeah, those little bumps that the rest of you take in stride are like lightning bolts in the backs of those of us who have had back surgery.

Three x-rays were taken of the newly installed hardware. All looks quite good according to the surgeon. I trust him implicitly, as he's been doing this for thirty some years. The only thing I could discern from the x-rays was a 'lump of coal' in my intestines. Anyway, he was pleased with the results. We showed him and his assistant the blisters and the areas that had blisters that already burst and were healing. They both agreed that I reacted to the Dermabond and the full skin adhesive that was applied. Otherwise there is no sign of infection and he was pleased at the healing advancement of the incisions. I can say that the swelling has gone down significantly and very light bruising is all that remains. I showed his assistant the photo of the bloodied gauze post surgery and she stated that that is normal is some circumstances. The pain in my right hip should go away in time according to the surgeon. I know that it did last year, but I am always on alert and state the problems so they are notated in my medical records. He stated the obvious, which is there is a whole lot of internal swelling and pinching going on all over and near the surgical area and it takes time for all of this to slowly go down, hence pressure will back off certain nerves/muscles and pain will be relieved. This photo was taken this morning and does show improvement, don't you think? The best news I heard, though, was he cleared me for riding the stationary bike and for swimming. And he said I could also walk as much as I like..which I've been doing anyway, pain/discomfort allowing. That is my early Christmas present and the only one I need this year.

I did ask for another prescription of Percocet and the doctor stated that I can now switch to extra strength Tylenol, saving the remaining Percocet to aid in sleeping on those nights when the pain might be elevated. I actually felt good enough to stop and eat lunch with my husband at Panera and I did a bit of walking across the parking lot to the Best Buy to purchase some laptop accessories. This is the first full day out for me since surgery November 17. I did get a bit achy on the way home and was nearly out of energy upon arriving home around 4:00 p.m. It was a long day for sure and did reinforce the fact that I am still recovering and my energy level is still not near 100%. I should sleep well tonight.