There's this question they ask you a hundred times or more in the hospitals: on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst pain you can imagine, what's your pain right now? I'm not good at those numbers. I think I already mentioned that the July night I needed the ambulance, the pain in that leg was my 10.
The night after surgery, I don't think it got over 7 or 8. Yes, I know, my 7 or 8 might be someone else's 11 or 14. I don't remember a lot except just lying there. Once or twice I thought about how they say we don't remember labor pains.
There was a computer for medicine in the room, the billboard-bright screen aimed right at my face. Well, they always told me you don't get any sleep in the hospital.
The next morning, if I remember correctly, a physical therapist showed up (could that have been the very next morning!) The first basic skill for fusion patients is a brand new way to get out of bed safely. (This is also the first, very subtle, reminder that maybe the surgery hasn't made me good as new.) And I thought I'd been getting out of bed just fine since I was two.
This new method is called log rolling for no verifiable reason. The term log-rolling made me sure I would roll out of bed and land face down on the floor. Actually all it means is that your shoulders stay in the same plane as your pelvis--no twisting at the waist (as I had been instructed when I was first diagnosed with the spine problem, but sometimes forgot about.)
The first or second time I saw the PT, I asked about protecting the rest of my spine from the weight and solidity of the new fused lump. The PT (and all the ones to follow) assured me that this was a real danger and a real concern. To protect myself, another new idea, the BLT: no bending (in emergency, bend a bit from the hip only,) no lifting over 5 pounds or so, and again, NO twisting.
By then I had far more new information than I could enjoy.