Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bringing It All Back Home

So as I wrote in my last post, I am due to have microdiscectomy surgery on my L5 vertebra in a couple of days.  As the time draws closer, I have been getting more and more apprehensive.  To list my fears in order:

  1. Waking up dead (not waking up at all)
  2. Waking up paralyzed
  3. The operation is a success, but I screw up the recovery
This is a very common surgery, and as I am in otherwise good overall health, it is unlikely that I will die.  Similarly, my doctor does this operation all the time, and seems to have a steady hand, so it is unlikely that he will slip and leave me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.  It is #3 that has me the most spooked.  The recovery process for this operation is rather drawn out, and the directions are very specific. The highlights (a/k/a the parts that worry me the most) are as follows:

  1. no exercising except walking for the first month at least
  2. no twisting or bending
  3. no lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds for the first month
  4. only adding 10 pounds to the limit every four weeks afterwards

I am not exactly a fitness freak, but I  like to move and do physical activity.  It is not that I think that I will pine for lack of exercise, but I worry that I will inadvertently move in a way that causes the disk to re-herniate.  Also, for the last six years not a day has gone by that I haven't done exercises to strengthen my midsection (to support the spine better).  For at least a month I will have to avoid these exercises, and I am worried that I will forget myself and wind up injured.  Ditto with the twisting, especially in my sleep.  People tell me that I just need to be conscious and deliberate, but if you know me, you know that I am rather absent-minded.  Well, we will just have to see...

The lifting has me concerned for two reasons.  Partly because I am worried that I will accidentally lift something heavy (like one of our cats) and hurt myself.  But mostly because I worry it will put too much pressure on my wife, the Sassy Librarian and require her to have to do too much physical work.  Not only that, but for the 19 years we've been together, my household duties have all revolved around the "heavy lifting" (carrying the laundry, taking out the trash, vacuuming, carrying groceries, etc.).  Now that I won't be able to do this for several months, it is making me have a bit of an identity crisis.  I am sure it will work out, but right now, this is the kind of thing keeping me awake at night.

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