Day 5 and 6

Well, folks I was hoping that today would be my I’m headed home post!  But…nope.  I’m still here.  In the recliner.  In the living room. Staring at the same 7 plants in the window.  I digress… let’s recap –


Monday, August 13th I went in for back surgery. I had a lumbar lamenectomy and decompression with multi-level fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1.  Pre-op I had daily spine pain, and pinched sciatic nerve pain primarily on my right side, through my hip and butt, down the outside of my leg and into my toes.  Left side the pain was primarily in my hip and butt.

Day 1 and 2 I was pretty well controlled with pain and was up and walking several times, and fitted with a back brace and taught a few tricks by physical therapy.  By the end of day 2 I didn’t need the walker except for getting up and down out of bed.

Day 3 brought some of the sciatic pain back, but I was managing alright.  I was able to get up independently and walk independently without a walker up and down the hallway.  I had a shower and was discharged.  As the evening wore on, the sciatic cramping became worse  – and I thought it was just the day 3 nasties.  I needed much more assistance to get up and down and the cramping spread through both hips and buttocks and into the legs.

Day 4 I tried to be as mobile as I could, but I was recognizing a pattern  – it was in the last 2 hours as the muscle relaxer wore off that things were the worst – because it was also the downswing time from the pain pills.  Muscle relaxers every 6 hours, pain pills every 4 hours….there are 2 time slots in there when I caught them both at the same 2 hours waiting for a dose.  I was only getting up every 4 hours or so to go pee, and switching the ice at that time.  The muscles in my butt were cramping and pain would shoot down my legs.  Add to this the painful muscles in my back from the surgery and getting up or down was very painful as the nerves were firing all crazy. Laying still felt best because I wasn’t asking my muscles to move…therefore they wouldn’t cramp.  At least that was my logic.

Day 5 I called my doctors office.  The cramping was so severe I was having trouble getting myself up even with the walker.  I felt like I was moving backwards and not forwards with my healing.  They called in a prescription for some oral steroids to start that afternoon, and they also said to ice EVERY hour….and get up and walk every 2 hours.  Ice and walking would help the inflammation and the steroids would also help to keep the nerves calmed down, but the biggest thing is ICE and MOVE.  And so…up and down, round and round, switch out the ice is how my day played out.  I sent my nursing crew out with my picky patient shopping list and my debit card…they came back with salad fixings, berries, munching veggies, and oral steroids.  They rock!  I also managed another shower – leaving my dignity in the living room for the process.  But clean hair, teeth, and clothes is a blessing Ill not pass up.

So today is Saturday and it’s Day 6 post op.  I managed two 4 hour stretches of sleep last night.  That was a win for sleep, and a moderate fail for icing.  But I did get up to pee and walk a couple laps, take whatever pills were required by the alarms (pain, muscle relaxers, steroids), and get fresh ice.  I’ve been up basically every 2 hours since then switching out my ice, going pee, walking laps.  And most of my ups and downs are without assistance beyond the walker nurse grandma next door happened to have.  It’s a lovely cruiser model, burgandy color with spinny wheels and brakes….and a seat…and a storage basket.  Quite handy for transporting water bottles, ice packs, dirty dishes, etc.  I don’t really need it for the walking part – I’m steady on my feet – but I’ve noticed if I use it…my nursing crew doesn’t feel like they have to shadow me a half step behind to make sure I don’t fall.  So I’m being a good patient and  using my walker and attempting to fend for myself as much as possible today.

The cramping has greatly subsided since starting the steroids, and the icing feels good.  Little by little my strength in my legs will improve which will help with my up and down transitions and independence.    My goal today is to get up every two hours to move and switch out the ice, and to work on eating good healthy (aka picky patient stuff) foods throughout the day, and continue to build strength – with no more set backs.

After my shower last night, this verse has been running through my mind.

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Thank you to everyone who continues with support through prayer, texts, emails, and Facebook messages.  I am told our cell service is finally restored, so give me a call if have time for a visit.

Blessings, Heidi xoxo

Day 3 and 4

Honesty here…Day 3 sucked. But I knew to expect it….so I just powered through to get to today.

I was discharged from the hospital day 3 – in the afternoon.  It was a busy day, I was up several times to walk, had a check in with my doc, and planned the discharge for mid range of pain pill timing.  Breakfast didn’t appeal to me, but my anti nausea bands did…so I put those on and continued to drink water.  I did manage to get up and into the bathroom for a bowel movement.  Wiping was interesting – I felt a bit like the karate kid trying to reach and wipe and not land myself on the floor.  But I did it.

My sciatic pain was creeping back – and so I tried a couple different positions to get some rest before I attempted my shower and lunch.  Oh wait…I also had my drain removed that morning.  That was no fun at all…and literally then had me laying flat out instead of reclining in the bed.  Pain pill and ice pack for a couple hours and the worst of that was over.  They set up my shower which felt amazing.  I’ve got a water proof dressing over the drain hole to stay in place until Saturday.  There is no dressing over my incision at all – but a mesh like stuff that snugs it together.  I washed my hair and body and then put on real clothes- ok…sweats and a t shirt, but that’s my wardrobe for my recovery for now. It takes quite a bit of exertion to just shower and get dressed.

I had a lovely grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, and a fruit bowel, went for another walk up and down the hallway.

I was fitted for a back brace on day 2, and I’m able to get it put on and comfortable by myself.  Its just additional support while the muscles heal….and a convenient way to keep ice packs in place.  I can’t bend in my waist at all….any direction – so it also keeps me aligned hips and ribs. My back itself doesn’t really hurt – its more muscular and nerve centered pain.  My sciatic nerve was compressed quite a bit before surgery, and so my hip and buttock would be painful and cramp up – and then pain radiate down my leg and into my toes. Usually a heating pad and some time focused on stretching and relaxing the muscle would get me mobile for the day. Well to say those nerves are a bit ticked off now would be an understatement. I knew to expect this, as it’s related to swelling, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.  Walking helps, as do the muscle relaxers and pain pills.  Changing positions throughout the day and night also makes a difference.  I can sit up in the recliner for a little while.  I can stretch out on the couch for little while. I can lay on my side for a little while.  Pretty much I just rotate through positions to try and give different parts a rest.   Yesterday when I got here to the house, I couldn’t hardly get up or down on my own. But I’ve got a great team of loving friends to help as I need it. Learning to be humble and ask for help – and not be stubborn is hard, but necessary.  I get a little stronger each day, and hopefully will be past the worst of this in a week.  My body just needs to find a new equilibrium and get stronger from there.Image result for scripture pain and suffering

Thank you for all the texts, emails, and messages.  Thank you to those who have prayed for me, and asked others to pray as well.  I truly appreciate it.  Many blessings to each of you who are also going trough trials – Krystina, Julie, Cole, Britt – I love you all and continue my prayers for you and your families.

Day One and The Start of Day Two

Checked into the hospital at 7:15 yesterday morning.  Filled out all the paperwork and back to the pre-op area.  Changed into the hospital gown, donned the lovely compression socks and the fleecy warm socks. They took two samples for blood typing, and started the iv in my right hand.  Bp cuffs, calves wrapped up in variable compression socks to help avoid blood clots.  Some funny commentary from my friends while we waited.

When it came time to take me back, we prayed and then off I went to the OR.  I obviously don’t remember anything that happened in the OR…before I woke up in recovery.  They had me on a morphine pain pump that I could push a dose every 8 minutes.

I munched on ice chips, and a glass of apple juice.  I ordered my dinner – chicken marsala, roasted asparagus, smashed red potatoes, and  love green salad. Then the fun started…

My equilibrium was off so I got both a walker and a gait belt to keep me from toppling.  A bit lightheaded, but I did go out and walk, then transferred back into bed.  Once i got back into bed, I could hit the pain button and got comfortable.  After I ate my yummy dinner, they gave me a muscle relaxer. and that really seemed to help.  Somewhere around midnight they switched out the morphine and we started on Percocet.  and I went on another walk down the hallway.  A bit more stable that time. I was able to get a couple hour stretches of sleep so that helped.

This morning – Day 2

5 am walk down the hallway…doc popped in to see how I was doing, I ordered breakfast, and they took my catheter out. Shift change this morning, and then my breakfast came in.  French Toast, sausage and a fruit bowl…but physical therapy came at the same so out of bed and down the hall again.  A pit stop to go pee, and then breakfast. Back in bed now as it is the most comfortable place to be.  Fairly reclined and able to stay fairly comfortable.  My pain is well managed today and I got to brush my teeth!! its the simple things.

Today I’m supposed to get up and walk a little every couple of hours – building my strength.  The plan is for me to spend one more night – to ensure I can rest and build up more strength and then discharged Wednesday.

So that is generally how I’m doing. Thank you for the continued prayers.

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