Well, I will try to give a summary of my experiences with surgery, stay in the hospital and at home afterward to this point. I am not much of a writer, so I will try to get in the details.
Getting to the hospital on Tuesday was fairly uneventful. I live in Poughkeepsie, NY and my surgery was NYC. It is about an hour and 40 minutes by train, and then a cab ride down to 17th St. I checked in around 7:30 AM and went down to the surgical check-in area. All the usual vitals and conversations with everybody took place. I was in this area for a while. I was told that my surgeon's previous surgery ran a little long and so my surgery would be delayed approximately an hour. Okay... not so bad. At this point now I know we are all nervous and just want to get it done. Waiting is the hardest at this point. The mind seems to go crazy when it has nothing to concentrate on!
When I was ready and they took me in, it seemed that it took a while to "go to sleep". Maybe they were doing it slowly on purpose, or something... but I felt like I was drifting in and out and it was a strange feeling. Finally I went to sleep. When I woke up it was the same way... drifting in and out. That is scary... I can't describe the feeling. It is almost like what it must feel like when they are trying to keep from losing you. Not sure. I only know that I was scared at that point. I finally woke up all the way, and was in recovery. I think what might have been scaring me so much is that I have never had that many people milling around me looking so busy.
I was in and out of sleep for a while. Morphine is such a good thing! :-) My husband got to come in. I asked him what time it was and how long I was in surgery. He said the surgery took longer than they expected and I can't remember what time he said it was. I was not concerned about it taking "longer"... I am sure they only give a generalized estimation at first anyway.
I don't remember waking up with that "OMG it hurts" feeling. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I had told my husband before though that I didn't think it was going to be as bad as when I woke up after my gastric bypass surgery. That was brutal!
I was able to get up and walk a little. I would have been able to walk more, except that I was extremely nauseous. I would only walk a couple steps and then get sick. I am not sure what was causing that... maybe medication, maybe trauma to the area?? Later in the day they removed the catheter and removed my IV. It was at this time that I transitioned from the morphine pump to dilaudid pills. The transition was a little rough, but with some adjustments, I was doing well.
The next day (Thursday) I did even better. Still nauseous and not able to eat, but comfortable otherwise. Drank water, ate ice chips and slept a lot. Forced myself to walk farther. When I started feeling nauseous I would just stop and take a few deep breaths. When the feeling subsided, I would resume. The physical therapist had me walk down the hall, use the stairs and then walk back. I did fine with that. Several times during the day I walked on my own and did what I could on my own. I was finally able to walk to the restroom on my own. Yay! The hardest thing at this point was getting in and out of bed. I still needed help with this. They brought my brace and the physical therapist showed me how to put it on, adjust it, and take it off.
By Friday I was doing very well. They ordered equipment for me to take home (a walker and a commode for the side of the bed). That seemed to take forever to get. I couldn't leave the hospital without the walker... I knew I needed that. So checking out took a few hours :-) I was surprised when the cab driver that stopped for us was so very patient and helped get my "stuff" in the trunk. My mom, who lives with me, has a wheel chair so my husband brought it down when he came to pick me up. That was extremely helpful. Grand Central can be somewhat daunting when it comes to how far you might have to walk to get to the track you need to be at. The driver also was extremely careful driving to the station and unloading. He was one of the nicest cabbies I have had! He got a really good tip that day!
I thought the train ride was going to be bad because it is such a long trip (an hour 40 minutes) and so a long time to sit, but I was very comfortable. I took more pain medication and actually went to sleep!
Since I have been home (Friday night), I have done increasingly better. I can notice changes even hourly as far as getting around. I walk around the house and can get in and out of bed by myself. I have my husband just stand by close in case I can't do something, but I at least try to do it first. I use my walker in the house, and use my cane going up and down the stairs. My husband helps me get in and out of the shower. I am still not 100% steady on my feet and am afraid of slipping and falling.
I am 2" taller now! I thought it more like 4", but my husband did a proper measurement on me, and I am 5'5" now. I was 5'3".
I am not having any issues with sitting, although I don't sit for more than a short while at this time. I can't sit on the couch. It is too hard to get up.
All in all, I am so thrilled with my progress at this point. I am being extremely cautious and I don't bend, lift or twist. I am trying to respect my limitations at this point and not do anything that could harm my healing and my overall improvement.
I had some bad situations at the hospital that I am really not happy about, but given my overall improvement and the fact that I got the attention and treatment that was most important, I am not going to dwell on any of the unhappiness regarding that. I am using my energy to stay positive and keep improving.
I am so happy that I took the time to go over the must-haves post here. I equipped myself with a lot of things that I know I would not be happy without right now.
Thank you all for your continued support! This spiney-home has been so great to have. This is a tough journey, and the help and support I have received here has helped immensely.
Hugs and Love to all my spiney friends!