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Single level ACDF no plate hard collar - resuming activity?

I'm 3 weeks post-op from a C5/6 ACDF with a PEEK cage and autograph. My neurosurgeon ordered a hard collar 24x7 for at least 4 weeks. I'm finally free from back spasms though I still have some hand/finger pain & numbness and sciatic pain. I have to drive my kids to/from school - 25 minutes each way, so nearly 2 hours daily in the car, at which time I wear a soft collar. I also wear the soft collar to bed.

I'm exhausted, bored, and impatient. I feel okay, like I don't need the collar but I'm also freaked out because he didn't use a plate, so there's just this plastic cage with a piece of my hip bone holding up my neck. Because I'm driving, I don't qualify for in-home PT anymore but I'm unable to travel to my PT. I've started to do light yoga but I don't walk much - I read I'm supposed to be walking a mile and while that sounds fine, I'm far too tired to go much further than a house or two on my street.

My question - anyone else feel freaked out about not having a plate? Suggestions for living with this stupid hard collar? What should I be doing? I have very little mojo/brain power - can't concentrate, not sleeping well.

Suggestions and help?

Thanks --

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