This has been a really rough couple weeks for me. On April 7th, I had my my major back surgery to correct my severe scoliosis. I had spent almost a month before busting my butt to get as much done as possible. Megan and I got the chicken coop almost completely done, and I put up a ton of meals in the freezer since I knew I wouldn’t be up to cooking after surgery for a while.
Early in the morning of the 7th my husband and I got to the hospital. And I mean early, because we had to be there at 5;45 am. Yay. Not long after I got checked in, Andy started feeling ill, and had to visit the bathroom several times to vomit. Poor dear had gotten food poisoning from the night before, so once they brought me back, he had to run back to the hotel before I was taken into surgery.
Thank goodness for my awesome nurse. She made me feel at ease, and relieved a lot of the fear and stress that I was feeling. She was also perfect at getting my IV in, sometimes my veins are tricky, but she got it on the first try. A few minutes later I was given some sleepy juice, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery.
I had been told that it was very possible that I would have to spend the first day in the ICU, just because it’s such a major surgery, but because I’m a rockstar, I didn’t need that and after about an hour in recovery, I was taken to my private room where Andy was waiting for me. I was hooked up to a pain pump that I could push every eight minutes to administer a tiny dose of pain meds. This worked great. Until I fell asleep that night. See, that as the ONLY pain meds I was getting after major surgery, and when I fell asleep for an hour and a half, all the pain meds wore off, as did the lidocaine they had packed into the wound. I was in so much pain I started having a panic attack and felt like I couldn’t breath. I mean, every time I moved it hurt, even taking a breath. While my nurse scrambled to get a hold of the doctor to get an order to push some pain meds through my IV, Andy and I started up a timer on my cell phone so I could push the pain pump button every eight minutes. Almost half an hour later the nurse finally got the pain meds administered and I started feeling better. By that point the decision was made to start me on oral pain meds in addition to my pain pump. Thank goodness, because really, the original method of pain management was so stupid.
The next day, the physical therapist showed up and I was gotten out of bed, and walked around the room a bit. That first walk was really hard. It made me dizzy and nauseated, but I made it to the chair instead of back to the bed. Probably an hour later, another physical therapist showed up and we decided to try to make a trip up and down the hall. This time it went great, and I made it up and down the hall with no issues. They decided to remove my catheter and switch entirely over to oral medication, so that meant my pain pump was removed. I even had Andy take a picture of my very swollen back so I could see what it looked like.
That day I made several trips up and down the hall. The nurses were all impressed and I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself. You know how they say “Pride goeth before the fall”? Yeh, that happened.
That night, I got up to use the bathroom, something I had done multiple times during the day. As I stood up from the toilet, I heard two very loud pops from my back, and felt a searing pain. My legs would no longer bear my weight, it was too painful. I managed to get my clothes back on properly, and called for Andy to come help me. Thank goodness I was able to wake him up. He’s such a heavy sleeper, I was worried he wouldn’t hear me and I would have to press the call button for the nurse that was in the bathroom. Andy was able to get me up and into the bed, and called our awesome nurse, who as soon as he heard Andy say that I had hurt myself and couldn’t stand up anymore HUNG UP on Andy and sprinted to our room. Bless him. He talked to my doctor, who felt it was probably a muscle spasm, but set up x-rays for the next day to make sure.
I honestly think this happened so I could learn some humility. I am very much a do it myself kind of person. I hate asking for help. I am easily embarrassed. Now I had to have my husband help me into the bathroom, pull my pants and underwear down, and sit me on the toilet before he left the room so I could do my business before I called him back in to pick me up from the toilet and pull my clothes back up. Just so you know, we are not an open door to the bathroom kind of couple. In eleven years of marriage we had never been in a bathroom while the other one was on the toilet. It was awful. It was my least favorite part of the hospital stay. I hated that more than waking up without the pain medication.
Getting x-rays was horrific. It was incredibly painful, but they did reveal that it was just a muscle spasm, and I was able to talk my doctor into giving me a dedicated muscle relaxer, instead of just the Valium that I had been taking. Then the physical therapists showed up. The first one was this poor meek young man who asked if I was ready to walk down the hall. That got a glare from me and I told him that I just wasn’t going to do it. Well, he must have gone and told the big guns, because less than an hour later my the physical therapist who got me to walk down the hall the day before was back, and she informed me that we WERE going to go for a walk. Great. Anyway, I made it. I didn’t like it, but I made it. I was given a super sexy walker, so I was able to get to and from the bathroom by myself, but Andy still had to pull my clothes up and down. Fun stuff.
We were discharged on Thursday, and the four and a half hour drive home was pretty awful. But I made it, and thanks to my pain meds I slept most of the way home. We had borrowed a recliner from family, and that’s where I’ve been living since the surgery. For the first two weeks I needed someone with me the whole time. The second week it was Megan and Melynda. Megan babysat me for the whole week, with Melynda coming over to visit and help one day.
One week post op I got my first shower which as awful, Andy had to wash me, and then I got to remove my dressing.
You can see the massive bruising all over my back. My entire back is numb, which is not my favorite feeling. Now I’m three and a half weeks out from surgery, and I am doing so much better. I’m not allowed to bend yet, and I get tired easily. I also can’t lift more than 8 pounds, so that’s a bummer. But I’m able to prepare simple meals, do some light vacuuming, and do a few other things around the house. I can also take a shower by myself, which felt like a huge accomplishment. All the steri-strips have fallen off, and I’m really pleased with how nice my scar is looking already.
It’s a good thing I’m doing better, because tomorrow we leave for a nine hour drive to Florida for my sister’s wedding. I’m a bridesmaid, and my kids are all in the wedding. It’s going to be a long weekend. And the next weekend is Goat Weekend, where we finally get our dairy goats. I’m so excited I can’t even stand it.
So that’s my fun surgery story. Hopefully it’s my last.