Thursday’s mental collapse

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 Brace

I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours a night (even with sleeping meds), since my surgery mid-November 2007. Shouldn’t share that with anyone as I’m in a horizontal position most of the day and no one can really understand how I can be tired. But during the night my mind is swirling and twirling with family problems. and crises.

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?


About d1nx

Techno-Gran living and working in Pretoria, South Africa and spending 3 months of the year with my 2 daughters and their husbands and 5 grandchildren on the East Bay, Northern Californa. Started blogging on my recovery from Spinal surgery in 2007 and have taken many twists and turns on my life's journey and varying chapters of my life.
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7 Responses to Thursday’s mental collapse

  1. Wendy T says:

    Hey Dinx, thanks for the visit earlier!!! I have had a serious lack of inspiration to blog lately (esp on Letterdash!) and was just getting my head in order when I came down with a cold which I am now battling with!!! All good otherwise!!! And you?? I am sure I have read these posts of yours…do you still have all those screws and scary looking things in your back????? Big hug. xxxxxxx

    • d1nx says:

      Hi my friend. Thanks for popping by. I’m really sorry you haven’t been well. You obviously missed the ugliness on LD. I’ve stopped posting there and have been busy transferring my posts from that side. It’s taking forever though as I’m saving and archiving everything and then posting them here. So yes, you’ve seen these and yes, I do still have all the metal in my back – you should hear the security alarms at the airport when I’m around LOL.
      Please look after yourself – take loads of Vitamin C!. Lotsa love and hugs xxx

  2. Wendy T says:

    LOL!!! I will think of you everytime I go through security now!!! I did miss all of it, have no idea what went on and no desire to!!!! Its a pity you cant transfer across from Letterdash! If you need to add me to your blogroll, when you log in to your dashboard there should be a add links button on the left hand side and you can do it through that!!! Shout if you need any other help with it!! I need to go fetch the kids and it is sweltering outside, a whopping 38 yesterday, welcome to summer!!!! Chat later. xxxxx

    • d1nx says:

      Hi Wendy. Thaks for the all the help when I started here. I’m still not blogging regularly – trying to get ready for my trip to the kids next week. Hope to catch up on your blog(s) when I get there! In the meantime lots of love and hugs and have a marvellous weekend. HUGS xxx

  3. douglas says:

    Hah! Is this where you are hiding out?

    • d1nx says:

      Hello my friend… sorry I’ve been away from computers all weekend! I’m so glad you found me, but you did so a little too soon. I’m still trying to transfer everything and not quite getting there :). Will mail you soon. Hugs D.

    • d1nx says:

      Hey douglas… I thought I’d replied to this comment. Sorry I’ve been so scarce – packing and organising, trying to get ready for my trip to my kids. Once i get there, I should have more time in the evenings to visit with you! Take care and enjoy the weekend my friend. HUGS

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