It's 18 days out from surgery now and I don't think this incision looks much different than it did here. It sure does itch and burn and hurt. I've lost the weight I managed to put back on just before the surgery; I guess 8 days of not eating anything but ice chips will do that to you. I don't recommend it as a weight-loss tool. Also, I'm very, very pale. Not sure what's up with that.
Most of the pain I had when I came home (after the whole "natural gas" disaster, which was VERY painful and weird) was in my legs and stomach from the muscles being stretched. Not only was I not used to walking upright, but the ProDisc that went in a L5-S1 made me at least a quarter of an inch taller than I was before I started stooping. Having muscles stretched 24/7 was so much more painful than I would have imagined. Stretching usually feels good. This didn't.
The worst of this pain was centered right around Saturday (the 23rd) and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or at least it seemed so because I was no longer on the Demerol. I still have fluctuating pain in my legs and low back and stomach after I've been up and walking for a while, but they say that this will go away eventually. Dr. B. says it is not unusual for patients to have muscle pain from the stretching for months after the surgery. I was in such good shape (the word Dr. B. used to describe it was "remarkable") going in to the surgery (swam a quarter of a mile the day before), I just can't imagine what people go through with this type of surgery that are overweight and out of shape. If you are reading this and considering back surgery, start exercising yesterday!
Anyway, today I walked (gingerly!)from our apartment at 10th Ave to 8th Ave and bought some fruit. I was careful to only buy as much as I could comfortably carry, and that wasn't much; I'm officially not allowed to pick up anything that weighs 10 pounds or more and anything that weighs more than a mug of tea generally causes pain. It was weird being out without the cane, I felt a sense of freedom, but also like there was something missing, like I was exposed and vulnerable to injury. I avoided passersby assiduously, almost to the point of paranoia. Friendly neighborhood dogs are a problem now too, I can't risk getting sideswiped or jumped on by even a small dog, as the sudden jolt could torque the spine, wreaking havoc with all the healing muscles and the fusion. I've decided that the next time I go out on the street, I will take the cane, just because people tend to give you a bit more consideration and a wider berth when you walk with a cane. Even in New York. [That's right, Ben, I'm sacrificing freedom for security. Wanna fight about it?] Still, it was a heady experience, being out and about and upright.
Then I came home and took some Darvocet and went to bed, because this kind of freedom definitely has its price.