Part one of my surgical story ended when the nurse rolled me out the door and helped me get into the backseat of the car. Strangely enough, this part of the whole surgery ordeal had concerned me the most in the days leading up to my back surgery. For days, I debated about which car we should drive, and where I would ride in it on the one hour and fifteen minute trip back home. I wanted to be as comfortable as possible.
We ended up driving the PT Cruiser, and I ended up riding home in the backseat of it. I prepared a soft place in the backseat, complete with a pillow, and made sure I had room to lay down on the seat (with my legs bent). I only sat about ten minutes into the trip before my head hit that pillow instead of my back. It felt much better to lie on my side than to sit up! The ride didn’t seem that long, but I was happy when we arrived home.
The second thing I was concerned about, prior to surgery, was being in a lot of pain, afterward. In fact, I’d instructed Ed to make sure the doctor sent me home with some kind of pain killer before we left the Surgery Center! I needn’t have worried, because they sent me home with a prescription for a bottle of 100 caplets, and told me I could take up to two of them at a time, if necessary. I took them around the clock for two days, and they kept me comfortable. By day three, post surgery, I was feeling better, and began to stretch out the time between doses of pain meds. By day five, I didn’t even need them anymore!
Although I had very little back pain after day four, I’d begun having some strange feelings in my left leg by day three. My left leg is the one that had been affected by sciatica. These strange feelings were similar to sciatica–some numbness, some tightness, and some pain, but the sensations were much less intense after the surgery. These sensations in my leg concerned me, but I reminded myself it takes an inflamed nerve a while to calm down and heal.
I’d been instructed to walk and take deep breaths after surgery, so that’s what I did every chance I got in the days following surgery. I’d walk back and forth all through the house. I’d take lots of deep breaths to make sure my lungs stayed clear. Thankfully, my sore throat [from the breathing tube] had gone away by day three.
I basically alternated between sitting in a chair or lying on the couch for seven days. I did my walking in between. I watched a lot of television, took a lot of naps, and the time passed quickly. Before I knew it, I’d made it through week one.
The most difficult thing I encountered all week was remembering not to twist or bend! It’s almost impossible to do anything without bending over, at least a little. I was thankful when week one was over and I was allowed to bend again, although I’m still not supposed to do it repeatedly.
The most frustrating thing was being told not to take a shower for an entire week! I had to rely on Ed to help with my ‘sponge bath’ each day. On day 4, I broke this rule, a little, by sitting on a shower stool and using only the hand-held shower nozzle. Ed taped plastic over my surgical bandage, and I took extra care to keep the water away from my back. It felt good to have a little of my dignity back, and it felt great to feel running water on my skin again! I also went to my hair stylist and had my hair washed, which helped my feelings greatly, as well.
The last of the steri-strips came off the incision on post-surgery day 10 (with a little help). I can hardly see the incision, but it appears to only be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. There are no visible stitches, since they’re all under the skin, with the top layer of skin glued shut. It’s amazing to me that a person can operate on your spine through such a tiny incision. I guess that’s why it’s called microscopic surgery. My incision is still tender, but it’s a lot better than it was.
I was warned, pre-surgery, if I “did too much” during my recovery period, I’d “know it” the following day. I found out exactly what they meant yesterday! My back ached if I tried to bend, and I felt tired. Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. I’m going to have to slow down and depend on others for a little while longer.
Speaking of depending on others, my support system has been wonderful. Thanks to my daughter and daughter-in-law, who live close by, Ed and I didn’t have to worry about supper for five whole nights, following surgery. As always, Ed has stepped up to the plate and taken care of the house, as well as me. Ed’s really been honoring those vows, “in sickness and in health”, for quite a while, now.
Today is day 11, post-op. I’ve been feeling better with each passing day (except for my setback from overdoing). I began walking outside this week, and I’m trying to slowly get back into my routine of walking outside twice a day.
I cooked supper twice this week, but I don’t mind telling you I was exhausted by the time I finished. (Why is everything in my kitchen located either very high or very low?) I think cooking may be what helped me to “overdo it”this week. I guess cooking may not be considered “light housework”.
I’m still feeling some of those sensations in my left leg, but they seem to be getting less frequent, and the intensity is lessening. I’m hoping and praying these ‘sensations’ will disappear in time. My post-op check up is October 15. It would be nice if they’re gone before then!