Saturday, January 26, 2013

Surgically modified scholar!

X-rays of my lumbar hardware. Image has two parts, the first is a front view of the hardware showing the four screws and two rods along with black lines to show the cage.  The bottom view is a side view showing the depth of the screws.
X-rays of my lumbar hardware
I had surgery on Wednesday, January 16th and spent until Saturday afternoon (the 19th) in the orthopedic wing of a local hospital.  It's been a roller coaster but I have absolutely no regrets right now.  Once my pain was under enough control that I could think, I could tell that a huge component of my spine instability was gone.  No more shooting pain down my legs and no leg spasms.  I was in a lot of pain, but it was different....and sometimes all it takes for a ray of hope to bust through is CHANGE!

I've been trying to put together a blog post about the whole experience, but my writing has been so disjointed that I'm leaving all of those notes for the possibility of writing something more scholarly about the whole ordeal (I'm a graduate student...I'll do a lot for lines on my CV!).  It's been hard and surreal.  I'm sleeping a lot, but never in long chunks.  I'm still clock-watching for pain medication (on an every four hour schedule), but I don't need the walker in my house as much.  I've only left my house twice, but have found that the line between "doing ok" and "dear Dog*, I've overdone it."

It's also been hard to try to get my scholarly work done.  The semester started last week, but most of my actual work has been pretty superficial.  It's hard to read and engage with an essay with a medication haze, so I read in one page chunks.  My writing process comes in fits and spurts, and many times needs to be revised and rewritten several times (this blog post has been in the works for a week, for example).  It's not so much a matter of physically writing as I have a laptop that can be used in bed and Dragon Naturally Speaking with a wireless headset to get thoughts out.  I'm just having trouble doing the cognitive work.

Author with wet auburn hair, rosy skin, green plastic glasses, no makeup, wearing a snow leopard print fuzzy bathrobe. Wall is medium blue in background with a bookshelf visible
Saturday morning breakfast scholar!
It's getting better slowly though.  I'm hoping to be physically back at my classes this week, even if it means I'm only there for a half hour or hour.  I have my first official post-operative visit with the surgeon on Friday, so I'll get to find out first-hand how everything went.  I'll also be asking a lot of "it is this a normal part of the recovery process?" questions (including some questions involving how permanent some of the nerve damage might be).

Thank you to everyone's well-wishes on this journey.  As I dig through my schoolwork and my various notes about the surgery, there will be more blog posts for you all to read (and maybe more silly photos of me snuggled in my leopard print bathrobe)!

*=Dog is one of my terms for diety, the divine presence.

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