This post will bring me up to actually getting my spine fused, exactly one year and one week from my injury…
After making the decision to go for surgery, I stopped pushing in physio as it was obvious that I was not getting better with increased core strength, and instead I participated in a pre-hab program. Essentially I did the same exercises as before, but I didn’t push if it hurt. I was back at work for one four-hour shift a week, and it was incredibly hard to go in and focus on managing a pharmacy with pain killers in my system and months of sleeping irregularly. But I did it because it helped to do something. At this point I was feeling sorry for myself in that I felt useless and more like a burden than a pleasure to those I loved. Because I was always in pain I had isolated myself to avoid talking about how I felt and how much everyone else was accomplishing. It was a combination of the two that made me feel like I didn’t add anything to the lives around me, I was always avoiding contact.
My best friend gave birth in the middle of my injury and I as so happy for her, I love her death and I love her little one just as much, but there was also this part of me screaming ‘when can I start dreaming and planning!’ and ‘why me?’ (As I said, this is the time I felt the most sorry for myself. I had already been trying to recover from this injury for almost a year with very little progress and I now was faced with another year at least, and up to two or three years for a full recovery. It was scary and infuriating. I had fought so hard and gotten nowhere.) I distanced myself from her just a bit, and I really didn’t realize it until just this week when she called me for the first time since moving hours away at the beginning of April. I realized how much I missed her and how much I had been missing her the last few months when she was here. I guess I didn’t make as much of an effort to see her as I could. Now I miss her horribly and would do just about anything to see her, but it is impossible until I can at least ride in a car for prolonged periods. Anyways, Darling if you are reading this, I am sorry if you have missed me as much as I missed you. You know who you are!
Okay, enough of that. I guess I just wanted to show just how much I had isolated myself. I went through every strong emotion I can name in the weeks after getting my surgery date. Part of me hoped I would wake up better someday, even though I knew it was impossible. Another part of me was looking forward to a solution, and yet another was as scared as I have ever been.
I was so nervous I actually had a couple of anxiety attacks, so I tried to keep myself busy. I still went to physio twice a week and for a massage once a week, I managed to clean the apartment with the help of my cousin (thank you!)
But the dark hours of the night are long ones, and I hadn’t slept the night through in almost a year. I tortured myself with all the what-if’s I could think of, and then I remembered I was living something of a waking nightmare… The what-if’s were worth the chance to be pain-free.
Not that I accepted it calmly… Quite the opposite in fact. While I tried to keep it together on the outside, inside I was wailing. I was so scared, anxious and a thousand other panicky emotions I can’t describe. Suffice to say, there were a lot of tear and blank stares on my part. I learned everything I could about my operation and recovery but not matter what I did, I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I would wake up with metal in back with a forty percent chance of being the same or worse than before the surgery. I didn’t know how to feel, so for the most part I tried to bury it. When you do that though, your emotions tend to surface at inopportune times.
I remember being brought into the surgical suite and my eyes were streaming with tears, I was begging them to let me off the table, I tried to convince them it was all a huge mistake and I could handle the pain… I was freaking out! When they went to lower the anesthesia mask I cried harder and a nurse grabbed my hand (and I have no idea who she was or what she looked like because she already had her mask and scrubs on, but I would like to say thank you!) and squeezed it looking right at me and said, ‘it will be okay, we’ ll take care of you’… I believed her and that is really the last thing I remember. I was under for the scariest operation of my life.
In my next blog I will focus on waking up and the worst five days ever… My nightmares in the hospital.
As always, thanks for reading! -S.