Recovering from major surgery is a full time job. That’s why you haven’t seen anything from me lately. Following spinal fusion, my focus has just been to get through the day. Pain meds and strict instructions not to bend, lift, or twist, have limited not only my activity, but also my powers of concentration. Slowly, little by little, the curtain of mental fog is starting to part, and I’m recognizing that there is more to my day than when I can take the next pill, what I should eat for lunch, how I’m going to manage certain tasks without bending, lifting or twisting, and binge-watching a show on Netflix.
Six days passed before I felt like wearing clothes. I had been greeting guests and helpers in my pajamas and robe, which, after all, I felt was the appropriate dress code for a person who was accepting prepared meals from a stream of church volunteers. I am extremely grateful to my friends at Stonybrook Church, who not only brought me food, but also did little chores around the house, like loading the dishwasher, and retrieving the clothes from the washer and putting them in the dryer. Yes, that task requires bending, so for now, somebody else has to do that. Good thing I was a volunteer coordinator for over 22 years in my pre-retirement life, so I could schedule all the helpers and orchestrate my day so that certain tasks, like picking up a dropped object from the floor could be done by the next helper coming with a meal.
My daughter Kara was my guardian angel through this whole ordeal, staying with me 24/7 during the surgery and hospital stay. My son Steve did his part too, but it was Kara who made the greater sacrifice, flying in from out of state, leaving her family for 7 days, and being my advocate in the hospital, an absolute must for any overnight patient, and I was there for 4 nights. For most of that time, I wasn’t there mentally, due to a bad reaction to the cocktail of pain meds they gave me.
I’m also very grateful for special friends like Tricia and Dan, who have given Dora the much-needed exercise I’m not able to provide. Filling Dora’s water bowl was a challenge, so I had to remember to ask each visitor to check on her water. Several folks have come to take Dora for a walk, since I am not allowed to walk her yet. Just yesterday, I got to walk for a whole 6 minutes with the physical therapist. My doctor warned me that I would feel so good after this surgery that I would be tempted to overdo, which would impede my progress, and that the only therapy for me is to walk. Nothing could make me happier. I can’t wait until I’m allowed to put Dora’s harness on and give her the forward command. She’s been rather spoiled by her volunteer walkers, as they’ve let her sniff and eat grass, both of which are a no-no.
On the 10th day, I had no visitors, and I had to face getting all 3 meals on my own. But my freezer was full of leftovers, so it was just a matter of making choices.
As I became more independent with tasks to take care of myself, my dog, and my house, I began to be more aware of little jobs I had been neglecting. I made doctors’ appointments, made transportation arrangements, answered emails, and yes, started thinking about this blog. It was time to let you know that I am back among the living.