Friday, January 05, 2007

Do The Twist

Here I am in my "bone growth stimulator." It sounds like a lot of hocus pocus; supposedly this apparatus (like having two picture frames strapped to my body) is supposed to send out micro-pulses that stimulate bone growth, helping the fusion to heal. OK. Hey they gave it to me in the hospital, so I'm using it.

It can't heal soon enough for me.

I'm not allowed to bend at the waist; if I want to pick something up off the floor, I have to squat down, plie-ing like a ballerina. An aching, sore, awkward ballerina trying to pick up her damn ugly-azz slippies (even my doctor made fun of them in the hospital, but they're so comfortable and they were only 7 dollars!) off the floor.

I'm not allowed to twist, even though I've woken up a few times in the night with my hips facing a different direction from my chest. I just now noticed that I'm kind of twisting in the photo above. It's hard not to twist.

I'm not allowed to pick up or carry anything over 10 pounds, though as I said before, anything more than a cup of tea or a book feels like a ton. And twisting and lifting and carrying is strictly verboten. Like something as simple as picking a dish up from the table and turning my body toward the kitchen with the dish in my hand is not allowed.

I can't swim, obviously due to the incisions mostly, but also because the weightlessness of the water, the thing that made me feel so good before, is now not my friend. I could overexert and snap a still healing muscle in a snap.

My recovery time would be much, much shorter if I had only had the ADR, but because I also had a fusion in two of the vertebrae, the healing and recovery will take months. At least it isn't as bad as when I had the first fusion for scoliosis 20 years ago. Then I had to wear an uncomfortable plastic "brace" (read: body cast) for six months. It was sweaty and at times unbearable. I had to wear a tshirt next to my skin under the brace, and anytime I went out of the house I had to carry a fresh tshirt and a plastic bag with me, ducking into the ladies room of whereever I was to take off my dripping wet sweaty tshirt, put it in the plastic bag (PU!), put the fresh shirt on and dry off the brace on the inside and put it back on. Then put whatever baggy shirt I was wearing over it all back on. Sometimes I'd need two clean shirts with me if I was going to be out for a while, and this wasn't even summer, it was October, November, December.

As much as I don't miss that, I do kind of miss the brace. Everytime I step out on the sidewalk now, I'm in fear. Fear of someone smacking into me, of tripping, of those damn delivery guys racing down the sidewalk on bikes, bags of food swinging like maces off the handlebars. Also, it would keep me from moving improperly, like the mindless twisting I do about a hundred times a day, like I'm twisting in the photo above. Not good.

What I can do is walk. And I do it everyday, either outside, in fear, or inside. We are so lucky to live in a huge building, an entire city block. We've got long interconnected hallways on the first floor so I can stroll around in my pjs and slippies and get my exercise without going out.

I've got my first follow up with Balderston on the 19th of this month and I'm hoping he'll give me the go-ahead to do more than walk then. But, I still may not be doing The Twist anytime soon.

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Blogger gttim said...

I am so glad you are doing better.

I also want to add that I met a guy who was a "championship caliber" amateur racquetball player. He had several fused discs. He played by squatting as opposed to bending over. He seemed to be very happy and very healthy. Hopefully you will be the same soon.

gttim (TimothyJ on Flickr)

11:00 AM  

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