Following post op instructions for spine surgery patients is a lot harder than I imagined. I came through the surgery last Wednesday with such style and grace that they said I could go home as soon as the doctor washed his hands and went out to the waiting room to tell Kara that I was free to leave. I hadnt even sat up completely before they ordered a wheelchair, pushed me out the door, and dumped me into Karas car. When I attended a class for spine surgery patients last Sunday, I was told that I would need to stay overnight at least one night and maybe 3. I would be issued a back brace, encouraged to walk 3 times a day, use a walker, and avoid going up and down steps. It was pretty scary, so much so that I thought maybe my sciatica wasnt that bad after all.
Well, it seemed we just fast forwarded through all that, and I was home in a matter of 3 hours tops. We were thrilled. I was dreading having to spend even 1 night in the hospital, so when they pushed me out the door, I thought I was home free. Not so fast, my body said.
After the anesthetic wore off, my back started to realize that somebody had done something drastic. In that class, the nurse demonstrated how we should get into a sitting position and to a standing position without leaning forward, and with absolutely no bending over. Have you ever tried putting on your shoes without leaning over? And do you have any idea how many times a day I have to pick up something from the floor? Suddenly, putting a pan of water down for Pippen seemed like a monumental task. Im not Catholic, but Ive developed a talent for genuflecting all day to perform one task or another that requires retrieving something lower than waist level. Im also doing a lot of second position plies, like when Im brushing my teeth or tossing tissues into a waste basket.
Kara was here for the surgery and the days immediately following, and she was an absolute blessing. I got really good at asking for her to bring me a cup of tea or fix a sandwich or fetch my pain pills. She went home today, however, and now Im faced with many more deep knee bends and squats. I truly appreciated Karas help, and she was a kind and tireless care-giver throughout this whole event, but now that Im on my own, Im even more thankful that she took time away from her family to take care of me. I am continually making such momentous decisions as Do I really need to put these clean socks in the bottom drawer, where they belong, or can I just leave them out? Do I really need to make up my bed? To brush Pippen? To load the dishwasher? To pick up my bath towel from the floor? We have no idea how many times a day we make a certain move until we suddenly cannot do it anymore. Leaning forward or bending creates excruciating pain. My post surgery checkup is not for another 3 weeks, but Im praying my back will forgive me long before that for letting some doctor mess with it. I had 3 prayers going into this surgery, first to live through it, secondly, that nothing would go wrong, and third, that it fixes the sciatic nerve problem. 2 of them have been answered, but now I have an extra one, that my back will eventually be able to bend and fold like before. I have big plans for a strong and supple back, like hiking, skiing, and cycling. In the meantime, Ill just practice my kneeling, genuflecting, and deep knee bends, and Ill be stronger for it.