Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SPINE FUSION Defining rehab terms

Since there is so much rehab lingo and more abbreviations than an ad for government technical writer, I really need to clear some things up:

Lumbar spine -  near your waist (I'm sure there is a more exact description) but I'm giving you what some medical types use in conversations.  And of course I can't see back there.

BLT - you will not find this item on hospital menus.  It's about what we fusion types are not allowed to do, especially lumbar patients:

    B is for bending (a definite no-no) and B is for Barbie.  In an emergency, lumbar problems patients can do what I am going to call the Barbie and Ken bend--from the hip and only from the hip, not the waist. Since I'm no longer 29 or even ... never mind) squatting instead of bending to pick up things is rarely an option.  It took what seemed like a half hour to pick up a large grape off the kitchen floor so I wouldn't slip on it and break my neck.)

What causes bending?  For instance, our overpriced cell phone/robot slips out of our fingers or pocket and heads for that stream of mystery liquid beside the curb--we BEND with lightening speed, by reflex, to save it and our entire communications life. This reflex has been in our DNA since the first caveman had a red-hot spear point fall out of the fire and hit his foot. We can't help bending.   But now we must not bend.

   L is for lifting.  Picking up anything heavier than your thermos bottle, well actually anything more than 5 pounds for post-op patients, is not allowed.  My laptop weighs 5 1/2 pounds.  (Never mind how I found out.) I want to go back to work. Between no bending and no lifting, even a file clerk job is out of the question.  As for corporate work, the million-string black brace is very hard to hide under a white shirt.  Have you ever seen someone try to lift a walker onto the bus? 

   T  Twisting is perhaps the worst mistake.  No, they're all the worst.  But what are you going to do when you're in Priscilla's Gourmet Coffee shop (having arrived there without climbing onto a bus) and you know positively that the voice from the table behind you is definitely George Clooney.  (Ok. We both know George doesn't go there for fear of being trampled.  This is just an example.  Work with me.) 

We hear George and our brain flips our upper torso around for a quick  peek.  The only way I can think of to avoid this is to sit with my back firmly against the wall so no famous people can get behind me.  Must remember Barbie doesn't twist, either.  And you can forget fund-raiser dances because somebody will grab you to demonstrate a so-called dance step, and you're back in rehab.

If this little bloginar was of no help, I hope it at least made you smile.


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