One week post-op. In case you missed it, I had major surgery on my surgical spine at Mayo Clinic on June 30. Folks have been asking for updates on how I’m doing, so here goes;
Today I ate my first full meal. That was a huge step! Overall, I choke far less often on liquids. We were concerned for a while there, as my throat was so swollen that even water would come right back up!
I rarely need pain medication anymore, and when I do, it’s usually at night so that I can rest well. I still can’t lay down to sleep – the surgical collar is too uncomfortable and my neck is too unsteady and sore – but that will come in time.
Speaking of, I’m still in the surgical collar, and probably will be for at least another five weeks. Even so, I’m able to move around much better. I’m getting used to not being able to look down when I walk and I’ve trained myself to squat down to get something rather than bending over. Funny, how hard it is to break habits we’ve had most of our lives!.
The horrible nerve pain that used to race up an down my arm and shoulder is gone and I have better balance and feel more sure-footed than before surgery.
Although my throat is still gunky and congested from the intubation, my voice is back to normal. Talking on the phone for lengths of time is tough, but more because it puts strain on my neck than on my voice.
My shoulders and neck are pretty sore, but that’s from the restraints during surgery. The surgical assistant told me after surgery that they’d had a difficult time because my muscles were so very tight – likely from years of clenching my shoulder and neck muscles to protect the vulnerable parts of my cervical spine.
My chin and neck are a lovely shade of purple, but that’s usually mostly covered by the surgical collar. I’m still trying to figure out a way to decorate the thing so it looks more festive. I’m thinking about those flower child decals hippies used to put on their Volkswagon vans. I mean, if you have to wear a piece of medical equipment, why not make the most of it, you know?
I do wish that someone would educate the woman I encountered in the restroom at the truck stop on the way back from Rochester. She was exiting the stall as I was entering the restroom. She looked up at me, gasped, literally jumped back and fell back into the stall door, righted herself, flew over to the sink, squirted a few drops of water onto her hand, grabbed a paper towel, made a quick wipe at her hand, tossed the towel, missed the garbage can, and nearly put herself in one of those Twister Game knots trying to scramble out the door. All the while she kept an eye on me (very WIDE eye), looking at me as if I was some kind of monster.
If I’d been wearing my sense-of-humor self that day, I would have made an ugly face , forced gurggly noises from my throat, raised my arms and chased after her like one of those zombies from Night of the Walking Dead.
Instead, I was wearing my fresh-out-of-surgery self and was in great pain physically and emotionally. It hurts like hell to be treated like that.
Finally, my body temp is doing a good job of self-regulating. It was rough going for the first few days. Crazy chills and shivering and then sweats and listlessness. Never a fever, though.
The worst part right now is that I’m completely exhausted most of the time and sleep a lot. I didn’t even know it was possible to sleep this much, but folks in the know tell me this is excellent for healing. So, I sleep. Thankfully, I am still able to get some work done each day.
And that’s about it. I have no regrets about my surgery and am looking forward to full recovery and charging magnum l force back into writing and speaking (once I’m healed).
Until then, thanks for all of your prayers, concern, good wishes, and faithfulness! And I sure do love the cards and flowers people have sent. You can bet I have been praying for each of you as I pass this time letting my body heal.
God bless you and all that you do,