The Blessing of a Chair

Day 9

The Euphoria of being home amongst my critters and husband was short lived when it came time to go to bed.

My first attempt was my own bed…but hubby’s side.  I got positioned, laid out some ice with the intention of laying on my back on top of the ice – pillow under my knees and blissful slumber for a couple hours until my alarm went off to take more meds.  So I sat on the edge of the bed, kicked off my slippers and proceeded to tilt to the left.  Hips and shoulders aligned, lowering your shoulders down while simultaneously lifting your bent knees and feet up to the bed – the physical therapists and nurses call it the “log roll”.  Once you are horizontal, then you log roll onto your back.  Or not.  I couldn’t do it – it was waaaaaay too uncomfortable and painful trying to carefully roll onto the ice pack, align my hips, shoulders, etc.  I gave up and settled for laying on my left side.  Pillow between my knees, pillow kind of behind my back attempting to hold the ice packs actually against my spine, fumble around to get the blankets over me, turn off the light and pray for sleep – knowing I had more meds due in 2 hours.  I lasted about 45 minutes.  Got up – walked in an attempt to alleviate the cramping and loosen things up…I could tell I needed ice – but HOW?!?!?

I reasoned that if I put the ice packs IN the back brace and left the brace on…maybe I could complete the log roll and lay ON the ice in bed.  NOPE.  I carted the pillows back to the couch, tried to find a blanket, got a good fresh VERY cold ice pack, and settled into the seated but not exactly reclined position on the couch.  I dosed off and on, but with no support for my head – the bobble-head thing got old.  Plus my legs were sort of hyper extended at the knee and pinched at the hip.  I got up and walked as best I could every couple of hours, trying to think of alternative sleep options.  Then I remembered the blow up travel pillow – went and got it out of the drawer – blew it up, and solved the bobble head problem and got a couple hours of fitful sleep in the wee morning hours.

I could think of no reasonable alternative – I needed a recliner.  So I texted hubby about it, and then put a note out on my church news list asking to borrow a recliner for a few weeks, and by the way, could you deliver it too?  Within short order my mother in law offered the recliner they have in storage.  They just dropped it off about an hour ago, and after some shuffling around of my “essentials”, a flannel sheet to cover it, I settled in with a fresh ice pack and a heart full of the blessing of a chair.

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Home Sweet Home

Well, after 8 days, I’m finally back to my own house…being loved on by my own kitty and dogs, and working on finding the best set up to relax and be comfortable for the next few days.  I’ve spent the last few days in a recliner at my lovely Pastor’s house, with her family – but we don’t have a recliner here – so the creativity wheels are turning.

I took a spin on one couch – but the seat wasn’t well supported, there was no real recline to it, and my feet on the coffee table was the wrong height and angle for my hips.  But I needed some down time with ice…so it gave me time to snuggle with the kitty and think.

My ride home in the car was actually pretty alright.  I had my anti-nausea wrist bands on…because puking in your friends car is just bad manners…they did their job and I had no nausea on the way home.  We left Pastor’s house with all my gear, and drove over to the doc’s office to pick up an Rx for more pain meds – I’ll need them later this week.  And then off we went headed south.  We stopped about 65% of the way home at a rest stop.  I walked,  went pee, walked some more, and then got situated back in the car for the last stretch home.  We were quite the Laurel and Hardy pair – she walks with a cane following hip replacement this June…I have a back brace and a walker.  I really only need the walker for getting up and down from places, not for support while I walk – but it was all funny just the same.  Anyway, we loaded back up, and headed for my house.  We got home to my big dog whining pathetically, giving me a big sniff over, and my friend unloading all my stuff (no lifting over 5 pounds).  I walked, put away a few groceries I still had, put my ice packs in the freezer, and just generally enjoyed being home all while visiting with my friend.  a couple nice hugs…and I was on my own, my friend headed home.

So I tried couch number one.  As far as a sit up straight and ice my back spot….it worked just fine.  But comfy, hang out and recoup….not so much.  After my foot surgeries a few years back, I spent lots of time on couch #2 with my foot propped up on a pile of pillows….but maneuvering an ailing extremity around is worlds easier than maneuvering around a fused spine.  And then I had an idea….I have a great big sleeping bag stuffed into a sleeping bag tote…firm but soft support, not as tall as the coffee table… so off I tottered to the back room with my walker…and got the sleeping bag…and back to the living room we went.  Couch #2…2 pillows behind my back for most optimal positioning comfort….sleeping bag roll on the floor….fresh ice pack from the freezer…water…laptop…phone… and it’s actually not too shabby for now.  I’m holding out for the bed being the best place to crash overnight…time will tell I guess.

Hubby isn’t home yet, and I’m not up for actually cooking a meal…so we’ll see how he feels about dinner when he gets home.  Several things in the freezer still to choose from I think.

For now…I’m just chilling with the ice pack, and enjoying being in my own space.  It’s been a big day…but I’m glad to be home.


Day 7

This time last week I was hanging out with friends, drinking wine, planning for a shower with special soap, and an early morning wake up alarm with time for another shower with special soap.  A lot has happened since then obviously, more than just your everyday week – but all in all I think I’m actually right where I need to be healing wise.

So let’s just start out by saying I slept like crap last night.  And I got a little angry and frustrated because of the sleep deprivation.  There is a stretch from 10:30pm to 6:30am where I take some sort of pill every two hours.  I’m also supposed to switch out my ice every two hours…so I reasoned that I would just get up…get the pill, switch the ice, and go right back to sleep.  Stupid plan.  It doesn’t work like that at all actually.

Here…let’s just do a walk through of how Heidi gets up to do anything…

  1. remove blanket from lap
  2. set phone on table
  3. put on glasses
  4. reach far to the right to reach the recliner arm that controls the foot rest – lower foot rest
  5. remove pillow/s from under knees
  6. begin leaning forward
  7. shimmy/lift/scoot to the front edge of the recliner using mostly just my arms
  8. set on edge of recliner and put on back brace
  9. reach behind and grab now melted ice pack and put in basket of the walker
  10. take a drink of water and place cup in basket of walker too
  11. tuck phone into the front of the back brace
  12. position walker in front of chair
  13. take deep breath (or 2)
  14. position feet carefully,  grab handle of walker, take deep breath
  15. stand up
  16. breath out adjust back brace
  17. start walking toward bathroom
  18. leave walker in bathroom doorway
  19. keep walking the loop a couple times to loosen up and get the blood flowing
  20. go into bathroom
  21. drop drawers, sit carefully, do business, stand carefully, pull up pants, flush, wash
  22. walk loop a couple more times
  23. fill up water
  24. exchange ice for frozen one
  25. retrieve pill the phone told me I needed
  26. load walker back up
  27. head for recliner.
  28. carefully back up and position feet
  29. take a deep breath
  30. use walker to carefully lower down to edge of recliner
  31. begin preparing ice pack
  32. remove back brace
  33. Shimmy/lift/scoot back to secure ice pack in place
  34. position pillow under knees
  35. reach for recliner arm and slowly raise feet
  36. carefully shift weight and recline more
  37. tip backwards a few notches
  38. drink water
  39. adjust pillow
  40. float blanket over lap
  41. remove glasses
  42. fall back  asleep.

So…more or less every time I have to get out of the chair – that is what happens.  So it was stupid to think that I could just get up every 2 hours and take my pill.  Tonight I will do what I did the night before and get up for every OTHER pill.  That at least goes faster – because the pill waits on the table next to me, and I plan for the ice pack that actually lasts longer – I just reach over and take the pill and go back to sleep.

Last night I got frustrated with the fact that I didn’t plan ahead better and think it through – and so what little bits of sleep I did get were not good.  The 6:30am pills are both pain and muscle relaxers, and steroids all at the same time, so I doped up well, put good fresh ice down and crashed for the next 4 hours without skipping a beat.  That sort of made up for the crappy sleep overnight – but admittedly had my day schedule all messed up too.

Oh well, a late breakfast, late coffee, late lunch….late afternoon shower, and I’m mostly over it all.  Dinner smells amazing (German style goulash with rice) I’ve got all my jewelry back on and blue toenails courtesy of the resident teenagers!

Tomorrow afternoon I head home.  I’m anxious to get home and see my own kitties and doggies…and my husband and I’m guessing more friends too.  I don’t have a recliner, so I’m hopeful that I’ll find some comfortable positions on my couch and in my own bed where I can still ice my back and sleep.  My pain is well managed, and with the addition of the steroids it seems like the ticked off nerves are in a better mood too.  I’m hopeful my journey home will be uneventful… 2 hours in a car shouldn’t be too much worse than a few hours in a recliner.

I seem to be right on track for progress in the healing.  I get a little stronger every day, walk a little farther, and do a little bit more.  I just have to be patient and let my body heal.

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1 Week down….many more to go!