The lumbar laminectomy and discectomy surgery is where the surgeon removes parts of the spine that are close to the spinal cord in order to make more space as the nerves and cord heal from the foreign matter breaking off of the disc, disc center, and broken bone bits, pressing upon my nerves. The surgery team also removes all of the foreign bits off of the nerves. Afterwards, there is more room around the spinal cord, and within a year the nerves should stop the feeling of numbness, tingling, and electrocution. Luckily for me, I only had to ask a few times for the catheter to be inserted before surgery. I knew I would have a problem if I couldn't relieve myself for hours. They gave me general anesthesia and then flipped the whole table over, like I was the center of the sandwich with my face down.
After surgery, I remained in the hospital 3 more days, for a total in-patient of 8 days, not including the off and on ER visits. When my husband came to pick me up at the hospital, I remember the discharge nurse specifically saying I was off of all chores for 6 weeks. That was a blessing! The ride home was interesting, as I was laying down as flat as the seats would allow. I was reminded of my childhood vacation rides, traveling along the highways and staring at the electrical wires as they danced along the skyline. I appreciated the clouds, the sky, and the trees. I appreciated the sun warming my skin through the window as we traveled from San Jose towards San Francisco.
When we arrived home, I had a walker and a cane to help me maneuver back into the house. Soon after settling into my bed, my home health physical therapy team called and set up weekly appointments to help me get in and out of bed, and to learn how to safely walk around the house a minute or 2 every hour. I was still suffering from the electrical shocks, but knew they would subside over the next year. I felt positive about my future. The hardest part for me, mentally, was, now, my extremely active lifestyle was to be completely placed on hold. It was really difficult to swallow that information, as my whole life is wrapped up in movement and meditation, in work as well as in play. How do I define myself without movement? For the weeks to come I cried all day long, off and on, due to the pain medications, my healing process, my pain levels, the intense level of Prednisone steroids in my body, and my lack of independence. My husband tried to make me laugh every day. He would mention that my 10 minutes of feeling sorry for myself was almost over, so it was time to change my attitude again. Bless that man, my ride or die for 33 years!
Please stay tuned for part 7 of my spinal surgery diary! Share these with your loved ones, and on your social media.
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