Week after surgery

As you may have seen from my prior post, the first few days after surgery were not the easiest.  It’s still not easy, but I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that gives me hope for the near future.  “All I want for Christmas is to not wear a neck brace…”

I’ve been in the office this week, mostly half days, but it’s been wonderful to be out of the house and seeing people – always gives me energy!  I’m still taking it very easy, and I’m lucky Marty is willing to do so much with the boys and around the house, because I’m not supposed to lift, and with the collar, I can’t even turn to look and see if a kid is safe with the right timing.  Argh!

I learned Wednesday that I had been misinformed in the hospital – I don’t need to wear the collar at night.  I had been wearing it 24/7 – stiff, uncomfortable, and very paranoid if it wasn’t just right, what could I be doing to negatively affect my healing.  The provider reassured me the collar is there to keep me from going wild, but that I was allowed to move my head slowly, and indeed do not have to sleep in it.  Last night was the first night I didn’t sleep in it, and let me tell you what, I haven’t felt better than this morning in a long time!  The pain I experience now is almost exclusively in my shoulders, and it’s from wearing the collar.  It’s goofy that the incision doesn’t hurt the most, but I suppose it’s not seeing too much action thanks to the collar.

I’ve allowed myself to take it off to eat my lunch and to talk in a meeting earlier.  I figure if I’m seated and stable, I won’t do anything “Crazy” as they mentioned in that phone call.

Tossed aside my brace for lunch in my office.  Admire the smiley faces in the background...:)

Tossed aside my brace for lunch in my office. Admire the smiley faces in the background…:)

If I get out of a chair, it’s back on – I am dedicated to keeping my new neck hardware stable in case of impact, but I must say it’s relieving to know it’s stable enough to hold my head up without the brace.  Maybe I was naive or stupid, but I was convinced my head being upright was based on that thing…terrifying.  Incidentally, it will always be on when the boys are around – at 2 and 4, they just aren’t able to remember that mom’s neck is hurt, and hitting her or bumping her might be catastrophic…too much pressure, best to just wear at all times around them.  And I’m willing, thanks to the break I get when I sleep.

My voice sounds mostly normal in regular speech -but my upper register is still missing, as well as any kind of volume – I notice that the most with my children or if I try to sing.  I’m hopeful this will be better, too, soon enough, but for now I’m relegated to hearing music sung for me, and doing my best to wait for quiet moments to speak, so I can be heard.

I’ve been grateful for the care and kindness I have received from everyone – near and far – during this time of recovery, and I hope it continues to trend upward in these coming weeks and to be back to normal, and caring for others.  I’m also amazed at what the medical field is capable of, and immensely grateful that my arms are starting to feel their age again!  It has been worth the pain and frustration if only for that improvement.

Thanks for your care, words of comfort and actions of love.  I feel more blessed than I can say.

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Post surgical thoughts…(Warning, vomit is mentioned.)

I just had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck (Between c5 and c6 for those of you who know what it means) and I’m home, healing, with strict instructions not to move my neck at all.  That’s hard, considering a few things happening at my house…

1. I don’t have an adjustable hospital bed, or a tv at the right height that keeps me from needing to bend my head to see it.

2.  Pain meds make me vomit, apparently.  I’m guessing I didn’t hold my head still during that escapade.  PS, when the last thing you have eaten was tomato sauce, it’s scary to throw up, because, you know, it’s red – OH MY GOSH is that BLOOD?  Nothing like examining your own puke a little closer…

3.  Am I wearing this brace right?  I mean, I’m holding my neck still as much as I can, but is this the right way?  I don’t want to heal with my neck crooked – and I really don’t want more surgery to fix something I didn’t realize was wrong… STRESS!

4.  In this house, bouncing children exist.  Sometimes they climb on the couch behind me, and extremities fly in directions that even they can’t control…telling them to get away form mommy seems mean, so she hasn’t done it yet…

5. A neck brace for the shower doesn’t mean it will be easier to clean yourself with it.  In fact, it will be harder.  I’m not sure I’ll have fully clean hair or neck for the four weeks I’m required to wear this thing.  Good thing my job requires me to hide in an office and never see people…oh wait.

6.  This neck brace is itchy.  Apparently my neck skin is used to breathing and would like to continue to do so.  My doctor said it’s not a rash, so I’m stuck being itchy.

7.  This neck brace looks terrible.  I can’t talk well in it, and when people see me – EVEN strangers – they automatically put on a pity face and ask if I’m ok, and sometimes a slough of personal medical questions – “How long do you have to wear that thing?”  I have wanted to offer caring to strangers in my past.  I’m done.

8.  They pushed my esophagus and throat aside to operate.  It hurts to swallow and cough, things that happen without thought…boo.  Makes me wish I was a biological scientist and was able to find a way to get this procedure done without needing to make any incisions or moving anything aside…yargh.

9.  My arms are no longer numb.  It’s insane.  I’m not sure how well they are doing as I’m not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds, but still!  It’s amazing – they could  go into my neck while monitoring nerves in all my extremeties, and remove a herniated disk – it’s got a job, but they can just take it out, and upon finding additional disk apart from the original piece, realize it was indeed serious enough to get rid of this way, and put in some titanium, that was sized in the OR WHILE I was open, and then SCREW it into my bones, sew me back up, and all I have to do for four weeks is wear a brace.  Kind of amazing, even though I’m sore and salty – this will be over soon enough, and I’ll have a fairly functional neck and fully functional arms.  Amazing!

Ok, I’ll be fine.  I will continue to bored blog, 1108141021be warned…