Taking it easy

I’ve found that post-surgery I’m having to regain energy and strength.  Today was spent sleeping in, reading in bed, going for my walk, stretching, reading in bed, running errands, more reading in bed, working on rockets, going for my second walk, then getting ready for bed.

Part of me is so frustrated that I accomplished so little today.  The rest of me is accepting that this is where I am today.  My body is going to recuperate at it’s own pace.  And there’s not much I can do about it.

To be sure, I could push myself harder, but that’s been shown to be far from the best course of action.  So for today I’ll listen to my body, and rest.

Surgery and recovery

MRI showed a herniated L3/L4 disc, bulging into mt L4 vertebra.  So, after 9+ weeks of trying everything else imaginable first, I finally had surgery a couple days ago.  I tried:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Oral steroids
  • Epidural Spinal Injection
  • Physical Therapy
  • Voodoo dolls (ok, but I would have if I could have found a practitioner)

Nothing provided more than temporary relief.

So, one microdiscectomy later, and I am feeling pretty good.  The intense leg pain is gone, replaced by incision pain, but I know that will get better.

I will continue with my rave reviews of microwave meals for the time being, although I can’t wait to get back to cooking for myself once  again/

Review: Marie Callendar’s Golden Battered Fish Fillet

This one takes me back to the days of my youth, when all fish had a regular geometric shape.  It was either square, rectangular, or trapezoidal.  The rice pilaf was OK, but the broccoli with cheese sauce was a bit watery.

Pros:

  • Adequate portions

Cons:

  • Multi-step process – you have to flip the fish
  • It’s hard to get something that was fried to turn out well in the microwave.  This did better than some, only slightly soggy

Rating:

3.7 out of 5.  Perhaps if you are fond of fish, then you would rate this higher.  It’s OK once in a while, but not part of the regular rotation.

What does it really look like?

Microwave dinner, after preparation
Lunch is served

What can I do to help: Grocery shopping

Being flat on one’s back is excruciating, in more ways than physical.  It’s easy to feel helpless, which can quickly lead to hopeless.  This is one of the ways that I “fight back” against feeling helpless.

I may not be able to go shopping, but I can certainly order groceries.  Smith’s (Kroger) has a service called Clicklist.  For $4.95 per order (the first three are free) someone will take your grocery list, do all your shopping, and have everything ready when you arrive at the store.

I can do some meal planning for nights with the kids.  I can make sure that the household has needed supplies like TP, and basics like milk, butter, and fruit.

Although I may need to ask someone to pick them up (driving sucks), it’s a lot more manageable.

This helps me feel:

  • Like less of a burden on others
  • Like I have some control over my life (or at least my meals)
  • Like I am contributing something to the household’s day-to-day running

Review: Marie Callendar’s Cheesy Chicken & Bacon Pot Pie

Pros:

  • Only need to go to the microwave once.  Unlike a lot of meals that you cook, stop, stir, and cook some more, this one is set it and forget it.  When trips to the microwave hurt, this is important!
  • Inexpensive.  Usually on sale for $2.00 to $3.00
  • This one is a nice variant on the traditional chicken pot pie.  The addition of cheese and bacon mixes things up nicely.
  • Generous portion – 16 oz

Cons:

  • Lots of crust.  If you like crust this could be a plus, however, you are getting a fair amount of cheap filler in the form of crust.

Rating:

4.1 out of 5.  This one is currently in regular rotation – once or even twice per week.

Have you ever thought about making a pot of coffee?

Specifically, the steps involved?

  • Get off bed
  • Walk to coffee maker
  • Take carafe and walk to sink
  • Stand at sink while carafe fills
  • Carry carafe back to coffee pot (more walking)
  • Transfer water to tank, get filter, etc. (more standing)
  • Walk back to bed while coffee brews
  • Get back off bed
  • Walk to fridge to get creamer
  • Walk to coffee maker
  • Pour coffee and add creamer (standing)
  • Walk back to bed

Since anything that involves standing, walking, or carrying can involve a great deal of pain, I sometimes can spend hours deciding whether it is worth the effort pain to make coffee.

Today I’ve been pondering it for a little over three hours.  Waking up and teetering off to the bathroom usually gives me a good read on my pain level.  This morning was in the “not good” category.

But I really want a cup of coffee…

 

Note:  Two hours after posting this, I finally got my coffee.

🙂

It’s all about convenience

Yes, it looks like a mess.  Let’s see how your housekeeping survives your back injury.  Yes those are wall studs.  I was in the middle  of redoing the basement when this happened.

IMG_3291

So this is where I’ve been for 23-1/2 hours a day for the last couple of months.  Note the  following:

  • It;s on the ground floor, and I can exit the house via the garage.  No stairs involved.  Stairs are not your friends.
  • Trash can next to bed.
  • Media computer at head of bed.  I do have a TV.  It’s buried in the garage.  See the bit above about redoing the basement.  This is for watching movies with my kids.  It’s also got USB ports for charging my phone, etc.
  • Just above the pillows is a recycling bag.  It’s hanging from a nail on one of the wall studs.
  • There’s a 12 pack of seltzer water next to the bed.  My preference is to make my own with my SodaStream, but there are times when that process – getting out of bed, filling the bottle, with water, carbonating the water, and then going back to bed – is more than I can take.
  • Power strip on the floor next to the bed.  Powers computers, heating pad, etc.
  • Bag-o-meds resides on the floor at the head of my bed.

In short, I’ve rearranged things so that what I need on a regular basis is within arm’s reach  It provides a measure of independence, in that I don’t need anyone to get these things for me.  It’s usually not tidy, but it helps me get through the day.  And night.  On the days when I can barely make it to the bathroom, it really makes a difference.

 

My cane, my constant companion

After a couple days of hobbling around in excruciating agony, it occurred to me that my mother had left a cane behind on one of her visits.  I got it out of the closet, and after that it never left my side.  That included in the shower – I would just pull off the rubber foot after I got out to drain the water that had collected.  That also includes sleeping with it, so that when I wake up I know exactly where it is.

Of course, since I associated that cane with my mother, after a couple of weeks I decided to get one of my own.  More masculine.  OK – I also get bored and like to shop on Amazon.  So, I ordered one of these:


(If you click the image and buy one, Amazon gives me a few cents)

After a month, I have the following to say.

Pros:

  • Foam handle is softer on my hand
  • Plain black
  • Sturdy (300 lb limit)

Cons:

  • Not as sturdy as my previous cane.  That one has a “T” handle directly over the shaft.  This one feels like it flexes a little bit.
  • Not as easy to get the rubber foot off to pour the water out after taking a shower
  • The height that I got used to on the first cane seems to be halfway between two heights on this cane.

Conclusion:  It’s a good cane, but for a larger individual like me, I’ll probably go to a “T” handle for my next purchase.