On Christmas day it will be exactly one month since I left hospital. Being at home has run more smoothly than the nightmare scenarios I imagined. I’m not in pain and I can move around if needed. I’m learning to embrace laziness and even wrote about it for Charlie magazine.
There were so many unknowns in the months before the operation. I felt like I was falling head-first into the dark. I had no idea what the aftermath would look or feel like. And there was no one to tell me. No support groups, no flyers or leaflets, no info evenings. If I compare this to my hospital experience around Lucas’ birth, the contrast could not be greater. From the moment I was pregnant I was happily immersed in information coming from every angle. The gynecologist, the midwife, the insurance company, the hospital, my local doctor, even the government showered me with advice about pregnancy, birth, breast feeding and everything else I needed to know. The internet also has one or two websites dedicated to the topic. Finding people who had been through it and could tell me what it was like was also a piece of cake. What worried me the most in the months before my back operation was not knowing what lay ahead.
It turns out that a lot of the stress and unanswered questions were non-issues. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I should lie. If I lay in the hospital bed we rented for the living room I could watch TV. If I lay in my bedroom I could access the toilet. What would you choose? The hospital suggested renting a toilet chair so I could ‘go’ in the living room. Turns out, as long as I am careful, I can go upstairs and downstairs without problem. Of course we must take into consideration that patients of this operation are usually in their 60s or 70s. The post-op advice compiled is aimed at that age group. I spent five months imagining my life in bed, in pain and unable to move. The reality is I have had very little pain since coming home. The only thing restricting my movement is the fact that I’m not allowed out of bed for more than 10 minutes at a time. (Enough time to make pasta pesto every day!)
On Friday I had a check up at the hospital. It was the first time I have been out of the house in a month. Despite being almost pain-free in the first weeks at home, I have been suffering a nasty pain in my hip for the last few days. I had nightmares that the screw was touching the nerve again and that I needed a third operation. The surgeon assures me it is nerve sensitivity caused by the first misplaced screw. To give the nerve a chance to heal and to avoid aggravating it further he advised to delay physio another 6 weeks. I can increase the number of 10 minute walks, so long as I don’t feel any pain. If I get a home trainer bike I can cycle without resistance, also for a maximum of 10 minutes. I should still avoid sitting as much as possible. The good news is, I no longer have to give myself an injection every day. That is a huge relief. Moving around more will mean less risk of blood clots. I can also get rid of the highly attractive compression stockings I have been wearing 24/7 since the first operation.
We all know that using Google for medical advice is not the best idea. However before the operation I felt I had no other option. By sharing the photo of the springs I managed to find a facebook group of people who had the same implants. They were happy to share their stories and (eeeeek) photos. A couple of the stories involved things getting loose and popping out. This had been bothering me the whole time and made me quite afraid of falling. The surgeon said that I should indeed avoid falling right now, but once the six month recovery period had passed that my back would be as strong and stable as before. So that set my mind at ease.
Oh and I know you noticed my fabulous nails, beauty salon io came on a house visit! A spot of beauty advice, bed-rest is excellent for keeping a manicure perfect for weeks.
In other news, I’m working on photographing old paintings and getting them up on facebook for sale. They deserve a better home than the attic, and I’m out of work for six months.
The yearly excursion to the attic for Christmas decorations made me think about my paintings. They are safe and cosy in the attic, but they deserve better. Those paintings created themselves in my heart and each has a story and life of its own. They deserve to be admired everyday, they deserve to hang on your wall and brighten your heart. It has been four years since the inspiration for a painting has graced me with its presence. I miss it, but I often think happily about my paintings that hang on walls around the world. Over the next few days I aim to unwrap and photograph my paintings (with the help of some friends, I’m stuck on post-op bed-rest until February). For now I’ll leave you with a photo of my favorite patron and inspiration.