You're not going to believe this (and hubby sure didn't - he's annoyed with me) but the doctor and I got to talking about so many things we both forgot the incision. I think if his nurse was there she'd have remembered (or I would have) but we got so caught up with both my recovery and x-rays, and his recovery from his accident, that we plum forgot. We also got caught up talking about local stuff because it turns out we're neighbors - and since I live in a very remote and rural location that is a truly bizarre coincidence. He's a wonderful man and it turned into more of a conversation between friends then doctor/patient. That type of talk did accomplish one thing though - removing my brace for sleeping. It was said as "between you and I, as long as you put it back on immediately upon rising you can remove it." This is 6 weeks earlier then he usually allows, so he was doing this for a friend who was having so much trouble sleeping with it on.
Another wonderful night. As the brace comes off my body just goes...ahhhhhhhhhhh. Course, that's mostly fat talking. ;)
Over the next few weeks I'll be experimenting with getting in and out of my car myself, using a cane if necessary, shifting (my car is a standard) and mostly trying to regain some endurance. I also need to buy some clothes that will fit over this brace. I've decided either hospital scrub shirts or maternity wear, some maternity pants and maternity underwear should do it. It's a clamshell brace that I have to loosen for sitting, and it gets so bulky I really need big clothes to go over it.
I really have to figure out how to do this, because the brace is on for another 4-7 months and I can't be out of work that long. Well, I can, but I'd prefer not to. I'm the primary income, and after this month my STD will drop to 70% of income, and I'd just rather not do that. After that it pays for a long time, and the company that administers it has said they're willing, but that's a 30% drop in income. Big drop with winter heating bills looming.
The biggest issue will be endurance. Right now endurance drops and pain increases quite a bit around 1:30 every afternoon. We'll see how this goes.
Back to the incision. When I wasn't allowed to shower there were limits to what the nurse could do. She comes twice/week and each time she'd hope to see some improvement. It would be slight so she'd continue whatever she was doing. One visit it started looking angry so back on antibiotics and that's when she started using this weird pad that almost looks like gauze but is made from seaweed, and is supposed to have incredible healing properties. Well, with the brace rubbing against it, that didn't work either.
Last Monday I had the orthotics people cut out a section in the back of the brace to try and stop the rubbing. Hopefully that will help too. Now that I'm allowed to shower I figure the daily irrigation and bacitracin might do it (I can't use neosporin, allergic to it.) I also think the grease base in bacitracin may help with any rubbing that might occur, protecting it by allowing things to slide over it. We'll see - she'll be here tomorrow. I was thinking of phoning the doctor today to see if he wants me to return to look at the incision, but I'll wait until tomorrow and see what the nurse says. It would be so much easier if I could actually SEE what's going on back there. LOL I asked hubby if it looks better and he says "I'm not a doctor." I think he's still pissed I forgot to ask the doctor to look at it.
I also need to start dropping the narcotics a bit. I have to be drug free for the drive to work, then I can take small amounts of Vicodin while there but have to let it wear off in time for the drive home. Since the Vicodin itself has less and less effect (normal reaction) and I can function on it more and more, this may be possible. Also want to reduce the Lyrica so my feet return to something that resembles normal. I've monitored the swelling, and it has stopped at my ankles, so no serious problems, but wearing shoes all day will not be fun. Worse comes to worse I'll have to wear slippers to work.
All in all, we'll see how this all goes over the next few weeks. Interesting to note that in all of this, it's my back that's causing the least amount of pain. I am so grateful for my doctor's skill. There was scar tissue from my laminectomy from 25 years ago, and that had me worried, but I suspect he cleaned it out when he installed the hardware. It really is amazing to note that in spite of all the pain I'm complaining about, none of it is from the horrible back pain that sent me down this road.