5 weeks Post Op

5 weeks ago I went in for spinal fusion.  I’ve been back to work for a little over a week and a half.  I’m not quite up to full time, but pretty darn close.  Each day I leave the house with a cooler with my breakfast, lunch, and 3 ice packs.  I use one in the car on my drive in, and then throughout the day I rotate through the 3 of them with trips back and forth to the freezer helping to get me moving more and more, and also I get to do the stairs to help with strengthening my hips.  Walking is great, but stairs add a layer of strength work that I can’t get at home.  I’ve also taken one of my yoga mats back to work, and during my lunch I can do my stretches there.

I’ve had a few challenges to navigate over the past week.  I had a mix up with getting my muscle relaxer prescription filled.  I asked them to send it to one pharmacy.  They sent it to a different one.  Not a big deal, just a quick trip across town – only to find out their computer system was down and they couldn’t even confirm if they got the refill request.  It was of course after 5pm.  I took a deep breath and a memory check of what I had in my “arsenal”.  I’m not really a drug hoarder, but if you remember, we struggled to find a combination to reduce the severe cramping I had the second week.  It was truly out of my hands at that point, so I headed home knowing that God’s got a plan, and it will all work out tomorrow.  I did alright overnight with ice and the other muscle relaxer I had been prescribed.  At least I slept and didn’t have muscle cramps!!

Tuesday morning I called the surgeon office again, and asked them to please send the prescription again because of the mix up last night.  I headed into town back to the first pharmacy.  “Um, I’m sorry ma’am but this shows that your insurance won’t pay for a second refill until the 25th because this was filled by another pharmacy already.”  Alrighty then…I thanked the nice pill lady, and headed back to my car with my cell phone plastered to my ear.   Yup…they had sent it to the other pharmacy yesterday and when their system accepted it (apparently after the computer rebooted) it locked the prescription.  But here’s the thing…they didn’t actually HAVE the medications on hand – but the delivery should be here by 11am.  Perfect I grumbled to myself, thanked them and said I’d be back after my appointment.

And so I headed off to my appointment – with the massage therapist.  Mostly I was looking for a just a bit of tension relief and some general pampering, but hopeful that she would be able to maybe ease some of the muscle soreness in my hip and glute too.  That’s the thing about a painful recovery, or chronic pain – you tense up allllll your muscles and so it’s not just my back around my surgery site that holds the tension.  I’ll see her again next week.

Finished up there, and then back to the pharmacy.  The delivery had come in, my prescription was filled and waiting, and off to work I went.

Tuesday night was also my return to Stephen Ministry.  That was good for my soul.  I got lots of wonderful hugs from folks who have been praying for me, and I got to hear what everyone had been up to since late June.  We had a good continuing education session around talking about faith and spirituality with our care receivers, and then went into peer supervision.  I got home late of course, and after a quick bite to eat, off to bed I went.

So that brings us to today, Wednesday.  I was pretty tired by the end of the day, so cut out early – I did work through my lunch technically, so I’m still calling it an 8 hour day.  I stopped at the grocery store for a couple of things and had to ask strangers for help lifting my kitty litter first into my cart (25 pounds is a no-no), and then into my car.  I was very thankful for well raised college boys who helped me very politely.  Next stop was the feed store for duck food – but they always ask if they can help me – 50 pounds was a definite no-no.  This was a big tall line-backer sized college or farm kid and he very easily got the grain and loaded it into my car for me.  I’m not one that asks for help very often, but I know I have to be smart – and lifting stuff…is not smart right now.  I try and keep myself under 10 pounds.

Tomorrow and Friday will be as close to my old routine as I’m going to get for a while.  I have to teach my seminar on edTPA to student teachers.  Thursday is the local student teachers, and then Friday I fly to Seattle for that group.  I’ve planned it out as much as possible to be set up with ice packs available during the day since I’m pretty sure TSA would not look favorably on my homemade ice packs…since they don’t freeze solid and stay slushy.  I’ve got my nice lumbar memory foam pillow, and my little bag of prescriptions.  I’ll be tired by the end of it all I’m sure – and I promise to listen to my back and move when I need to….and REST as best I can.

Next week it’s another check in with my surgeon (who knows about my massage appointment and my flight to Seattle for the day already).  I expect that will net me an order to start physical therapy.  I also have to make a long drive over to the Richland area and teach my seminar on Wednesday.  Listen to my back; ice; stop and walk; rest.  Pretty much how I’ve approached my entire recovery.

Alright, dinner is about ready (Buffalo Chicken Soup – YUM!), so I’ll leave you with a bible verse to ponder.

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