Friday, May 15, 2015

Absolutely Positively Maybe

On May 4, 2015, I had my second back surgery.  I am 58 years old.  The most frustrating thing, besides having to live this long (thanks to The Who who made me "Hope I die before I grow old!"), is being uncomfortable.  The second most frustrating thing is being incapable.  In recovery, we call it powerlessness.  Same thing.
I have three dogs and two cats.  Have I already told you that?  They've been pretty patient since I got home on Thursday, May 7, but I'm almost completely incapable of taking care of them.  
When you have back surgery and you start feeling better, you feel like you can do stuff.  Hopefully, I learned from my last surgery that even though I may feel great, my back has to heal, which can take up to a year.  I was vacuuming and driving before the first two weeks was up on my last surgery, which was somewhat less invasive than the recent one.  This time was a fusion and it is already taking longer to heal.
This time, I can't bend over or down, reach for anything, or basically twist or turn for any reason.
Living by myself (not counting the unemployed freeloaders who pretend not to understand anything but "cookie" and blame the lack of thumbs for their laziness), it's hard to ask for help.  
The first week was pretty rough. I pretty much slept all the time.  
Since I am in recovery, people have been cooking meals for me,  volunteering to clean, do dishes, do my laundry (ugh..hated to need that one), change the dogs' water bowls. I can't even get the butter behind the eggs on the second shelf of the refrigerator.
This week, I am doing better, although I did almost trip during the first week.  Catching myself was a misstep that sent a searing electric pain in my left hip, where one of the laminectomies was performed. I've been wearing ice packs since.  Since both the ice packs are on the floor (which I can't reach, even though I have a nifty grabber provided by the hospital), I've resorted to using bags of frozen vegetables.  A Green Giant bag of frozen corn is currently held on by a back brace and thawing against the offending nerve(s). I doubt that I will eat the corn.
Stubbornness is one of my most glaring defects.  I don't know why, because it almost always gets me in trouble  Two days into the second week, pain from the surgery was at a minimal.  So, I left logic and reason behind and tried to do some things around the house.  Six or seven hours later,  I finally made myself stop.  Before the end of the night, my heels hurt. I ended up soaking my feet for awhile. 
I made sure I would not be pain-free for a couple of days. Oh yeah, I forgot, stubbornness is not my friend.  At least I maintained a rigid position to the best of my ability.
Sleeping is a challenge.  It's been pretty uncomfortable, but at least I was able to stay straight.  Lately I've been waking up in weird positions,  The nurse told me to barricade myself with pillows on either side.  Since my dogs sleep with me and love to sleep on the tiny hills blankets make. I'm pretty sure I'd wake up with a dog laying on Hill Me.  
The whole thing has worked out so much better than I expected.  The pain has been less than I thought.  My son, close friends and even people who don't really know me very well have made this process of asking for help so much easier to bear.
Today, my son took me to get my nails done.  It was a bit of a challenge, and the thought of being in a car accident was terrifying, but off we went.  Silly as it sounds, getting my nails done was a symbol of hope for a normal pain-free life, which is the only reason to endure the amount of pain caused by surgery. Not every one's surgeries are successful.  Sciatica and lumbar pain can have two different causes.  I had both and my doctor addressed each separately.  The fact is, I have a very low tolerance for pain.  When I was giving birth to my third and last child, the doctor, in a matter of fact tone, told me that he needed my cooperation, while he was leaning into me with a scalpel (found that evidence later).  I guess my screaming was interfering with his concentration. Anyway, that fact brought me to an orthopedic doctor much sooner than it would a person with a higher tolerance, in other words, before my backbone crumbled and slid into my butt bone.
These types of circumstances reveal who is a real friend and who is just moving their lips in an agreeable manner. Strangely, I don't have a resentment against anyone who said they would help and then disappeared after my surgery. I just have to remember all  the times I did the same .  Being in recovery, it's' difficult not to notice how selfish or apathetic I am...until I experience the pain, or walked in someones shoes, as the old Indian proverb goes.  
My attitude is absolutely positive about recovering from the surgery.  Of course, my absolute positive attitude may only lasts until I have to try and get the butter behind the eggs off the second shelf of the refrigerator.

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