They brought dinner here. Tonight we ventured out to their place for the first time and we threw together a potluck supper. It was nice to get out of the house and into somebody else's space. It's another challenge. A good one. It is so easy to get comfortable in your recovery if you have a stick routine. It is always good to shake things up a little and see how that feels. Sometimes it can be a bit of a mistake. A little bit too much too soon. Other times it pushes the boundaries but in a good way. Tonight was one of those times.
I knew it was a safe first step. I know their house well and it is a bungalow. Not that I can't do steps I can but a lot of them can be difficult and tiring. The fact that they have a very big cozy couch helps a lot. More importantly, the fact that I have laid on that couch after having dinner, and felt quite comfortable doing so made all the difference.
It was an outstanding day weather wise and it looks as though it will be for about two weeks straight here in Callander. We sat on the deck and enjoyed the view of Trout Lake and conversation went from one thing to another as it always does with good friends. The next thing I knew I had left my cane and was furniture walking within their house. I can see my progression a little better in somebody else's place more than my own. I have more confidence and most times I am much stronger than when I left the hospital. I can see that because I can get in and out of the car easier and walk further without as many breaks.
I am noticing a tend and it has been helpful information. The more physically tired I am, without overdoing it, the better I sleep. That is not rocket science folks obviously but it means having fresh air and sunshine as well. I worked very had at the rehab yet work at least twice a night with pain. Lately despite one bad night of s 2am waking, I have slept well. I wake with why I would describe as discomfort through the night but I'm able to readjust and go back to sleep. Needless to say I don't pick up an ipad or phone for reading.
I'm now feeling very aware of the foreign objects in my back. It's an unusual feeling but not really an unpleasant one. I feel certain I will get used to it. I'm told the awareness of it is different than artificial joints because they move and feel very much a part of a normal working system. My parts are just the opposite they are meant not to move but to be rigid. They are doing their job.
Here are some interesting facts concerning recovery:
Although the ability of a patient to form an adequate spinal fusion is based on many factors, few are as important as adequate nutrition. In order for the bone to grow into a solid fusion, it requires protein. The fusion gets the protein from 2 possible sources: food and drinks, or from the breakdown of muscles into protein-forming building blocks. If you do not provide the fusion with adequate protein, in the form of food and drinks, it will rob your muscles of the protein it needs to function, and your fatigue will increase. Therefore, you must increase your protein intake during the first several months after the surgery. Protein-rich foods should be stressed, including: dairy products, fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, and red meats. Of course, the healing fusion also needs increased calories in general, so you should still eat a balanced diet. Because your appetite is typically diminished for a period of time following surgery, your intake of vitamins (that are contained in that food) is also diminished. Supplemental vitamins may be helpful in providing needed factors which are helpful in healing your fusion. A multivitamin which contains iron should provide this adequately, and also helps in restoring the iron needed to correct your anemia due to blood normally lost during surgery.
Driving is usually permitted by 2-3 weeks following surgery. It might be limited because of the patient's inability to step on the brake suddenly, pain from prolonged sitting, or pain from getting in and out of the car. (In my case because of my lack of feeling, I have to wait at least seven weeks until I am assessed by the neurosurgeon. They will determine if I am ready. Fingers crossed.)
Most patients feel fatigued, sometimes to the point of exhaustion for up to 4 months after surgery. This is usually due to reconditioning, anemia and some situational depression. These usually resolve. (I would add that is is such an effort to do just about anything that it takes all your energy.)
Physical therapy typically begins 3-4 months after surgery, and usually lasts 6-12 weeks. Initially stretching exercises are performed to provide maximum flexibility. This is usually followed by aerobic exercises to improve body conditioning. What usually follows is resistance training, frequently with weights, to improve strength and stability to the body, and especially the spine. Maintenance programs are key in maximizing your result. (In my case I started rehab a week after my surgery. It was slow going but it was necessary because I had to learn to walk again and build muscle in my legs. Now that I am home I continue what was given in rehab and start with a physiotherapist after seeing my neurosurgeon next week. )
I am anxious to see if there is any bone growth at my appointment and if I am cleared to drive. Both will make me happy for very different reasons. I know I am not very independent yet so driving will be with someone else for now. It will just mean it is one step closer to normalcy. The bone growth is a tricky one. I don't want to get my hopes up yet, but I do know some people have bone growth showing at their first appointment. It can take up to a year. Bone growth is an indicator of a successful fusion.
I'm moving along, literally and figuratively!