Written on the 28 February 2008 at 9.48 pm
(2 mths after surgery)
I have to get this out of my system once and for all…
The usual & unusual things that get so blown up in the quiet of the night. A mind needs sleep. Plenty of it.. or at least, enough of it! This morning I was awake at 4 am. After getting to sleep around 1.30 am.
I do keep justifying my exhausting days to myself. Every time I get off the bed, I have to put on the brace. It’s heavy, uncomfortable, fastens at the back. Even merely going to the bathroom or kitchen to fetch a drink or open the blinds is a mission – the brace has to be on. No bending (with or without said brace – not that one could bend with this monstrosity on one’s person) and definitely no sitting.
I can walk. But walk to where? Up and down and through my house and garden and up the driveway. How long will this go on for? Over the past 4 months I’ve wondered if I can cut it. And the platitudes – I know my family and friends mean well, but when they say “you’re so strong, you can handle it, it’s not long now,” and they “know how I’m feeling”, I want to scream. And with all the other problems I think of at night, these words from the well-meaning pump through my brain. How do they know what it’s like… I mean honestly. I’m being horrible, but I can’t take much more of the well-meaning advice. I’m the expert now, after 4 major back surgeries! I’m the one who’s done the research into every drug and every surgical procedure on a back, prior to going under a knife! (Do not ask me about mental problems though… that I know nothing about.)
With artificial bone inserted although way up the vertebral column with metal rods, plates and screws on either side, we have to wait for the bone to fuse all of these. Perhaps I can start the 5 mins a day sitting routine by middle of March. And then it’s 10 mins for a week, etc etc.
It can take a year. Dependent on friends to do even my household shopping etc. makes me feel so useless. For someone who has been so independent all her life and never ALLOWED anyone to do anything for her, and worked at a job and at raising 3 children and being a homemaker and a wife, this has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. Especially going through it a 2nd time in a year. Cannot believe how totally reliant one has to become on others. Every time I’m on my own, I find I drop things – a pencil, book, a tray of ice in the kitchen, a remote control. Some of these I can pick up with my toes. Amazing how a body learns to compensate. And braai tongs work some times. But some objects spend the day lying on the floor until the hubs or anyone gets here and picks everything up.
I’m impatient, frustrated, angry and irritated. I have to keep remembering that I’ve been to hell and I’m on the way back now. I cannot let anyone or anything jeapordise or get in the way of my recovery this time. I have to keep telling myself that it’s okay to be selfish about this. If not, I could well land up in a wheelchair or worse. I couldn’t imagine not going to America to spend quality time with my precious angel grandchildren. I do keep looking at the before and after X-rays to remember what can still happen if I don’t take care of myself.
SURGEON GENERAL & DINX’s WARNING: These pictures are not for the fainthearted. View at your own risk.
Above: After the fatal fall on 15 October 2007, the vertebral column totally collapsed on itself, almost folding over, onto the lower spinal fusion , (metal plates & screws), from October 2006. The L1 vertebra was totally smashed and my spinal column was literally hanging on a thread.
X-rays taken after surgery (15 November 2007), in January 2008. Quite amazing how with metal rods and plates and screws, cement and bone, my spinal column has been almost straightened. However, I’m left with one leg slightly shorter than the other. Something I’ll have to live with.
In the meantime, while I wait for the sitting and driving go-ahead, I fill the empty spaces of my life and distract the full spaces of my mind with Sudoku (my passion), online Scrabble and Boggle, with friends around the world and I’m now even trying to teach myself Texas Hold’em Poker online. And lest I forget, my blog here and my Face Book groups!
Any one know of a local online Kaluke card game I can join?