Friday, October 26, 2012
Spine fusion--What? No turtle suit?
Months ago, when I was still trying to evade the surgery, I saw a man wearing what was apparently a brace - much of his front torso was covered with a plastic shell like a turtle shell. I was sure I would have to wear such a thing if I had the surgery. How the devil did he even get in and out of the car? No. Please no!
Fast forward to the second day in the hospital. The PT (physical therapist) presents me with a huge, heavily padded black thing with many vertical posts and lots of strings. It would frighten any NFL stalwart or the average stevedore. My new brace.
I sit on the edge of the bed while they put this thing around me. It fastens with velcro in the front. My breasts are squashed somewhere inside it. The PT directs me to hold up my bust while he re-fastens the velcro. I have been measured for this, but it's clearly too tall. I wonder who will hold up my bust while I put the thing on at home.
There are two strings with little velcro fasterners on the ends. They more or less snug the middle of the thing closer to my waist. If I put it on over my pants, then I can't get them off to go to the bathroom. I compromise and sort of pull my pants over the brace. So much for modern health design.
I get it away from him and figure out how to fasten it shut when I take it off so it's corralled on the handle of my walker-- if it falls on the floor I'm not allowed to bend over and get it. There is no one at home to pick it up.
I soon learn that the thing will settle on or near my incision and hurt. At times I tell the nurses that it hurts. They nod. I remind myself that it's not the turtle suit.
The occupational therapist tells me I'm buying a set of tools. One is a flimsy sponge on a stick. I can use it to wash my feet. One is a flimsy "grabber." They confess it will break if I use it to push off my socks. Clearly socks are about all it is strong enough to pick up.
The bright side is that the nurses are kind, and I have some some dear frinds who come and spend time with me. And the friend who gets me to eat some bits of turkey and yams. And some lovely flowers from my daughters. And I can stand up and walk a step or two. Progress.