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/
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
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.
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.
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.
Sometime around November is when I originally ruptured my L3/L4 disc. At least that’s what I can conclude, based on the type of pain I was experiencing. All was bearable until early November, when I spun my kids on a merry-go-round at the park.
That’s all it took. Twisting and pulling.
7 weeks later, I have not been back to my office yet. Most of my time is spent in a construction zone – the basement I started renovating earlier this year.
Rather than focusing on how bad it is, I’d rather share some of my experiences and lessons. Remember: smart people learn from their mistakes, but really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes!