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Spinal Cord Disorders board

Chapter 8. I feel different!

It is Decembe 29th, I wake up in the recovery room, I am grogy and the nurse is saying something to me. I try to grab the tubes from my nose and they tell me I am ok and everything is fine. I am wheeled to my room and I see my husband in the hall, he has a big smile on his face. I feel relief, I must not be paralyzed!

The nurse is constantly working with me, checking me and asking about my pain. I tell her I feel around 5, she tells me that's good. I say yes, knowing that I walked around at about a 7-8 level for months.

I get cocky, I am doped up from the anethesia and the anethesiologist had told me he would provide me extra pain support in the surgery because I had taken so much pain med prior. I am curious how things feel, I refuse offers of the morhpene. BIG MISTAKE. Gradually I am settled in and it is evening, I send my weary husband home and hope to drift off for the night. Not to be, I should have taken the pain med, the surgery meds are now worn off, and the percosette I did take isn't enough to calm my pain. I increase to an 9. However, my my arm feels good! I spend a miserable night trying to catch up to the pain, I don't sleep a wink, the hospital is a noisy place. The ice chips are good and sooth my throat which is sore. I can speak fine. My neck hurts like heck. I didn't expect it to hurt so bad, but why shouldn't it from the drilling and such! It is a different pain than the nerve pain, I'll get through it.

The surgeon comes in the morning, he says I did fine. I am able to get out of bed with no help, and am adjusting to my collar. He asks if I am ready to go home, I tell him I think I will be fine. Later that day, 24 hours from surgery I leave for home on my journey to my old life!

Chapter 9. Weeks Pass

Week One: I spend most of my days and nights in the recliner, sipping drinks, eating light soft foods, and sleeping. I have trouble swallowing my pills, they feel like they are stuck. Every bite of food takes a swallow of liquid, I have to work hard to push it down. I switch to popsicles and such. I can't really sit upright without pain, so I take advantage of the recliner. I don't need as near as much pain meds after the surgery as before. I am on 0 Neurontin.
Week Two: I begin to improve, moving around more, I venture out with a friend for a one hour lunch up the street. It takes most of my energy to get dressed, my husband helps dry my hair. She brings me back home and I spend the next day resting. I want so much to be well. I am down to 4 percosettes a day, with an extra set of tylenol interspersed. Way better than the 8-10 percs a day plus ibuprofen round the clock and 2400mg of neurontin I was on prior to surgery. I spend the rest of the week gradually moving around the house more, I walk to the mailbox each day. I miss the bed, the recliner is getting old. Swallowing is improving, now only some foods get stuck, I keep liquids handy when I eat. The pills still go down hard.
Week Three: I am feeling better every day, I walk around the block. I am down to o percosette, just two vicadin a day with extra tylenols. I start working a couple hours a day from home. I go to the grocery store with my husband. I can almost do my hair by myself, I like to wash it every day it is shoulder length. I keep increasing my sitting up. I am up to three hours at a time upright with no pain or fatique. We went to walk the mall. I made it inside and we have to leave, I am too tired and my neck hurts. My arm feels great!
Week Four: I hit a couple days of depression. I have overdone. I slow down and give my body a chance to bounce back. I am down to random pain pills, not a regular dosing schedule. A day here and there I skip the vicadin and only use Tylenol. I feel confident the bones are healing! I am building my energy store, feeling better, no naping, I didn't know I had been so sick. Now that I am getting better I see how horrible the past 6 months had been. I must have been on autopilot.
It has been six weeks post op and I started sleeping without the collar, I did that for two nights and by the third day I was starting to hurt in my neck, shoulder and arm. No weird sleeping positions, propped up with all my pillows. Dr. also told me I could take it off while sititing around the house. I did that here and there also. As excited as I was to not wear it, I found that I don't think I am ready to not wear the collar. So I put the miami J back on, and sometimes I alternate with the soft collar. I can feel the nerves are irritated but they don't hurt like before.

I am not taking much of any pain meds, including tylenol of any kind during the week, I think that has something to do with it also. I had increased my walking trying to build energy to go back to work.

I am going to try to go back to office two days this week and see how it goes. I am so ready I am not sure what to expect of my body and if it is repaired enough to keep up with the grind. I won't know until I try!

Take care,
Week 7
I went back to work 2 1/2 days in the office, and the other days from home. All together almost 35 hours of work for the week. I felt really good at he beginning of the week, but by end of week I was exhausted and hurting. I took a down day Friday and am better by Sunday.

I needed to push myself over the hump because I felt I was stuck for the past two weeks, so I stepped up my walking and really started making myself not wear the miami j. Today was first day I kept it off most of day. I have some discomfort in my arm, some in my neck in the bone, I am sure it is healing though because I can lay in positions I couldn't before. No pain meds still, just tylenol. I even slept on my side. Trying to get used to the idea that it may take a while to feel really great. I rode in the car without the collar, and today I drove to the grocery store, first time driving all by myself since surgery. I am stil happy every day that I did the surgery.