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/


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

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.


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.


How did I get here (slip happens)

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!