Surgery, love, & figuring life out….

Alrighty!  So it’s been awhile since I posted anything here.  I have plenty of legitimate excuses but it all boils down to lack of time.  It’s been a busy past two weeks.  Last week I was busy getting organized to attend Frost Bike in Minnesota.  Frost Bike was very interesting (I’ll blog more on this soon).  Then coming back from MN on Sunday was all about prepping for my surgery on Monday.

Surgery– Monday I had a spinal fusion.  I’ve had back issues for the past 5 years. After numerous steroid injections, various medications, physical therapy, and even one minor surgery two years ago, the doc and I felt that it was time to try what he called “our last option”. Five years of debilitating pain, missing out on simple activities with my daughter, not being able to participate in the athletic activities I enjoy, was five years too many.  When we decided about a month ago, that surgery was a must, I became terrified!

The things you think about prior to surgery, the worst-case scenarios that play out in your head, the anxiety, and for me, the overwhelming feeling that there isn’t enough TIME!  For me, this was the hardest part.  TIME!  I felt I hadn’t had enough quality time with Erica.  I felt that time was perhaps slipping away from me.  I had so many things I needed and wanted to do, but no time.  Considering for a moment the worst possible outcomes, what if I became paralyzed as a result of my surgery and couldn’t walk again; what if I died?  What if I could never ride Driver or Angus again?  I needed more time with Erica, my sisters, and just one more time on the bike, just incase.  I felt guilty for going to MN for Frost Bike.  I was heart-broken that Monday morning when I dropped Erica off to school, because morbidly, it could be the last time I see her.  All these thoughts/feelings made me realize that I need to make better use of my time, especially time with Erica.

Better use of my time– The dishes can wait.  Tidying the house can wait.  Chores can be done another time.  Instead I should be playing games with Erica, or painting our nails,  or just cuddling on the couch.  Valuable moments like these can never be replaced, yet they will have the greatest impact on Erica in the long run.  Given the anxiety Erica had over my surgery, I should have used our time together as a way to reassure her everything would be okay and to reinforce to her that I love her beyond measurement.

Sunday I was fortunate enough to have Erica with me.  Monday morning was quite sad.  Erica didn’t want to go to school and on the drive to Wellman, she turned away from me as the tears rolled down her cheeks.  I joined in immediately.  She held my hand the rest of the way to school.  We both cried as we said our temporary good-byes.  Erica, the strong little girl that she is, put on a smile and marched off to school.  Another thing I learned that morning is that my daughter loves me.  You may think, well duh, of course she does she’s your child.  No, not the, I love my parent because they are my parent love, I mean she really, deep down, with all her heart loves me.  She always says that she loves me more than I do her.  I reply, that is impossible.  However, she may just love me as much as I do her, or on the same level of vastness.  I can honestly say I have never seen love on this level before.  Or maybe it’s not see, perhaps instead its feel.  I feel extremely proud that my daughter feels this way about me.  Given all the statistics out there on how when a child grows up in a broken, unloving, chaotic, abusive, home, that they then have a high probability of treating their children the same way.  I’d say I must be doing something right because I’m blowing that statistic out of the water. It’s good to be an outlier here!

Surgery– The rest of the morning flew by quite quickly.  I arrived at the hospital, changed into the lovely hospital wardrobe, got my IV put in and was wheeled off to anesthesia.  The next thing I knew I was given meds to “relax” me.  Then the epidural, which I nearly passed out during (they hurt, I do not wish them upon my worst enemy).  Then I was escorted to the OR, told to breathe the oxygen that was coming through the mask that was now over my face.  Someone said “see ya later” and that was that. Next thing I knew I was waking up with a tube in my throat and I was trying to pull out.  Thankfully the nurses did because the tube was awful.  Then came the pain!  Pain like I’ve never encountered before.  After likely an obscene amount of pain medication (hopefully morphine) I was finally wheeled to the orthopedic floor.  Thus beginning my first ever proper hospital stay.

My stay wasn’t eventful by any means, unless you count the sweet elderly man across the hall shouting “help me” and other random comments throughout the evening, eventful.  My stay consisted of continuous pain meds, learning to “log roll’ in and out of bed, taking walks with a walker, and birdy bathing.  I can’t comment on the food because I had zero appetite.  I was able to eat jello squares and that’s about it.  Wednesday the epidural was removed and I was disconnected from my IV.  I was due to leave Wednesday however I developed a massive amount of pain in my right leg following the removal of the epidural, that became unbearable.  I stayed one more night.  I was able to shower in the morning (the best thing I’d done in a long time).  Finally, late morning I was discharged.

I’m home now and all I can really say is that it sucks!  I’ve realized that all my furniture is too low to the ground.  Do they make furniture for “Big & Tall” like they do clothing?  I have horrible nerve pain in my right leg making it nearly impossible to get comfortable.  I haven’t been able to have a solid BM in almost a week.  Food still doesn’t sound good.  I’m taking a boatload of pills for all sorts of ailments.  But….I have three cuddly cats to keep me warm.  I have two wonderful sisters and a Matt (sister’s awesome boyfriend) to help me with all sorts of tasks.  These three people are the best and I can probably never adequately repay them or express enough gratitude.  And of course my JaderMonster.  She’s a little nurse; helps me get dressed, brings me pillows, blankets, more water, and my medicines.  And through it all she tells me, “Mom, I really love you”.  So even though the circumstances are painful, less than ideal, and pretty damn tedious, I know that I am loved and people do care.  And that, is the best medicine anyone can have.


“Run when you can, Walk when you have to, Crawl if you must, Just never give up!” Dean Karnazes


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