Monday, January 7, 2013

SPINAL FUSION - have you just said yes to surgery?

What I wish they'd told me:  And what I wish I'd done:

"Here is what you will be able to do in three to six months, probably. . . "  I didn't get that much info on my future.  I wish I had asked but it's natural to be in a little shock when you get the news that you need surgery.

Pain medicine can make you nauseous or have other side effects.  I should have known, since one N-said table had made me nauseous in the past.

Not being able to lace your own walking shoes is annoying and feels like you're an invalid.

Spine fusion recovery can be like having a temperamental car - sometimes everything works fine, other mornings you don't think the whole contraption will even start.

Ask lots of questions.   If you're going to rehab, ask questions beforehand and ask more questions after you get there.  When I saw other people with worse braces wheeling down the hall alone, I should have reminded people that I could do that if I had a wheelchair that I could unlock.  Or if someone had unlocked it for me.

The only thing my family doctor told me was that I'd be in pain for a year.  Actually he said one guy was pain free in 9 months.

I didn't know about the huge brace I would get.    If women put it on over all their clothes, they can't go to the toilet.  I needed plenty of presentable elastic waist pants for walking in the halls.

If you are going to a rehab facility, ask if they have laundry service. 
No laundry facilities in my rehab unit.  Had to wear the same pair of elastic waist knit pants every day. 

The nurse I met in the market said, as I've mentioned:  One step forward, two steps back.  Translated for my experience that has meant:  This recovery isn't an escalator; it's more like a roller coaster.  But the not so good days scare me--make me think I'm doing something wrong.  Luckily, the surgeon is a very kind man who reassures me about where the little pains may come from.

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