Friday, July 23, 2010

It has been a week!

I've exceeded I think just about everyone's expectations in my level of functioning. The visiting nurse and physical therapist stopped in and while we had a great chat it was the last time I will be seeing them since  I am walking between 2-3 miles every day now! While the pain is controlled by the percocet I am able to do the walking with minimal pain for the most part. The trick is to time the walks with the pain meds, or really to time the most painful part of your day with the pain meds. Lots of hills here mean finding flat roads to walk on gets repetitive, however the mall is a 1/2 mile away, so at least its air conditioned, and I fit in with all the geriatrics with my cane on their early morning/bad weather walks.

All the people who are helping me are indispensible--whether getting your socks on, or picking up something you dropped, or going out and getting you something that makes you feel better when no amount of meds does--it makes all the difference. My poor wife has been stuck with all the chores and house maintenance for a while, I think I might be stuck doing this stuff for a few years after this!

I've been doubling up on calcium, vitamin D, taking MVIs, lots of meat, fish, and some veggies to give my body whatever it needs. Since dropping the 40lbs in the last 3 months I have lots of room and this way by body is in a "building" mode rather than a losing mode. Pain meds are slowing down, but waking up and going to bed are the hardest. The initial wake up I am sore like I've just run a marathon while having the flu--and before bed much the same. From the surgical reduction of the spondylolisthesis the bones, muscles, tendons that have atrophied in the past are now being used in all sorts of different ways, and I can tell you they protest. Then there is the pain from the rods underneath the skin. I am definitely becoming more used to them, but the back brace or any firm back chair/bed still aggravates one in particular.

The abdominal incision is healing well and the tenderness is much less, however there is still pain at the end of urination, quite odd. I assume it is from the bladder being stretched as everything was moved around. The 4% chance of retrograde ejaculation (potential sterilizing ALIF complication from movement), while a big motivator for a surgeon to go PLIF only, in my case worked in my favor and luckily no damage was done. Abdominal strength is back with little pain, the trauma surgeon who assisted with the anterior portion was definitely quite skilled and a few days I feel very little from the abdominal part at all. Also, always a concern with abdominal surgery, all bowel function is returned with no issues thanks to early mobilization and good diet--but I'll spare the details here.

Out of so many blogs that I read, so many accounts of this type of surgery, I feel truly blessed with how well it has gone for me so far. The pain has been manageable, I am able to ambulate (with the back brace), spend the majority of my day in less pain than prior to surgery (though with meds now), and get a 2-3 month break from work! Though I'm really hoping it fuses early and I will be able to return early (what can I say, I'm committed.)

The horror stories online made me think I was in for 3-12 months of hell, and while it still "pending" as to how it will turn out, the idea of finally being able to live proper without handicap, is something that even if it was, would still be worth it.

As they say I suppose its a matter of outlook as well, but unfortunately no pain meds or surgery can ever fix that.

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