I expected to wake screaming after lumbar fusion. Instead I felt great. Not drug fogged, not nauseous, not in agony. The Recovery Room nurse said: I guess you're awake, and she almost laughed. Not every day has been like that. . .
The most important thing my surgeon ever said: Surgery takes a lot out of your body. I tend to forget that my brain is part of my body.
My days at home were at the mercy of the visiting nurses' and PTs' schedules, which could eat a whole day. My helper came on two afternoons. I was still seeking work as a condition of my unemployment, feeling helpless and sometimes just plain dumb. Some days I didn't write.
Every day something or things felt overwhelming. More often than not, I had trouble making decisions. I couldn't reach much of what was in my apartment. I couldn't drive. I had no idea what the rest of my life might be like. Many days I felt okay, but I made lousy decisions.
The search for work wasn't successful; I had to move to another state two months into recovery. My head fog got worse as I got ready to move.
I chose all the wrong things to take. I forgot that Everything we make and write and create is our resume, our portfolio. The model house I painstakingly made and was proud of. I left it behind. With a lot more.
One hospital's instructions used to say: "Don't make any important decisions for 24 hours." My rehab Instructions should have said: Don't make any important decisions for two or three months.
If you have days after surgery that make you want to suck your thumb or throw dishes, please have more kindness for yourself than I did. I can probably get more clothes, even a new cane. But those things I made learning and achieving, that would have cost almost nothing to ship... Now they're gone.
My daughter, however, made me do a very important thing--say goodbye to my beloved doctor and friend. His office was a refuge for me and a place I could count on for comfort and respect. That goodbye is one thing I did right.