So after almost 20 years of dealing with back pain, it’s a family thing, I did it, I had surgery and it really really fudging hurt.
I was worried, as anyone would be when facing any kind of surgery, but this was back surgery, someone would literally be digging around millimeters from my spinal cord, that is terrifying. I’ve had a liver transplant and knee surgery, but this was by far the scariest. My wonderful husband kept saying, it will be fine, you will be fine, it’s not going to hurt as much as you think it will. Seriously?! Its back surgery, of course it’s going to hurt, and its going to hurt like a mother…. well you know.
So I only had about a month of waiting, they managed to schedule me fairly quickly, but when your feet fall asleep every single time you sit down, I was glad it wasn’t pushed out further. The waiting was the worst part, the not knowing what to expect, the expecting the worst and going through everything that could go wrong. Finding myself thinking about how life might be with two bad legs, I already have partial paralysis in my right ankle and foot, and f-ing up my good leg would be unfortunate.
The day finally came, I showered with the disgusting soap I was instructed to use, found some comfy sweats, gathered my phone and iPad, the chargers, some gum and made my way to the car. The hour-long drive to the hospital was agonizing, I tried to make conversation with my mother in law, who I love dearly, but there was no taking my mind of the impending surgery.
I was totally prepared with my sports bra and comfy underpants, nothing metal, my wedding ring sitting neatly on my dresser at home, but no, when I got there I was handed a paper gown and a pair of rubber treaded socks and told to strip down, NOTHING was to be worn under the gown, not even a sports bra. I don’t know about any of you but I really don’t care for going without underpants, never mind trying to get back into bed with a paper gown, without your ass hanging out or ripping the whole gown in half. It was a challenge to say the least.
I got there at 8, by 8:30 I was in my super fashionable gown and ready to wait another 4 hours for surgery, ready to watch a couple of episodes of True Blood, season 6 gets pretty crazy, but there was none of that. Surgery was at 9 and they were very prompt there, which is good I guess. Before I knew it there was an IV in my arm, and they were giving me the good drugs, the let’s go play with unicorns on rainbows drugs, it was happy time and I didn’t give a shit that I had no underpants on anymore.
After a few minutes I swear Hagrid from Harry Potter walked into my room, or maybe it was just a giant bearded man nurse that was hilarious. He was here with the OR nurse to take me down to surgery, so there I went, fittingly on my unicorn rainbow adventure with Hagrid. He always was my favorite character.
Before I knew it, it was over, I was awake and I was still feeling pretty good. Those drugs are the bomb, thank you 1990’s slang for making a comeback in my head. I was like really, your done, it doesn’t hurt at all, well maybe a little bit, but yea this is going to be a breeze. I was out of there before I knew it, into the car and on my way home. It all seemed so not painful, so deceiving not painful. That night I iced my back like it was a $10,000 bottle of champagne, and all was good. The next day was a completely different story.
You know when you get a Charley horse in your leg? multiply that by a million and then add a donkey punch and you will have what I was feeling the next day, all day, ALL day. It started out pretty mellow, totally tolerable muscle spasms in my lower back when ever I tried to move my legs. It got increasingly worse as the day went on, until it was spasming every single time I moved anything. It started to look like the exorcist in my bedroom, it was like “look mom I can do a back bend, I can touch my feet to the back of my head”. It hurt beyond any hurt you can even imagine. Ok, well maybe child-birth is worse, but at least you get something out of it when it’s over. I’m not sure my husband really understood the gravity of the whole situation until I turned my head to say something and then my body went into devil possession / exorcist mode and I was crying and the more I cried the more it spasmed. It was all kinds of bad news. So I did what anyone would do, I called the drs office to see if there was possibly anything else they could drug me with and just make it stop.
Valium, Valium is what they were supposed to give me before I left the hospital, I was supposed to have it on hand to take at home just in case I needed it. That would have been excellent information about 36 hours ago. So off to the pharmacy my husband went, returned with the Valium and I have never slept better in my life. I’m not sure it even had time to reach my actual stomach to dissolve before I was asleep. It was AMAZING. Well I was still in pain, lots of pain and with that pain went great embarrassment, out the window went my dignity and ended with no shame. You really get to see what a person is made of when they have to heave your ass up off the toilet and pull your pants up for you because it is all you can do to hold your own self upright, not once, or twice, the entire day, again and again. I am not the kind of person that goes to the bathroom with my husband or anyone for that matter in the bathroom. I don’t pee with the door open and I don’t even like it when you stand out side, but this was different, there was no getting around the fact that I just could not find the strength though all the pain to pull myself up. I apologized over and over, I felt terrible because I’m 31, my husband should not have to pull my pants up for me.
That was the peak of the pain, it was the mount fucking Everest of pain and there was no way I was getting over it without the help of my family, and maybe some really good drugs. Day 3 was better than day 2 but only because the spasms had stopped, but the pain, the tightness and feeling that my back was somehow going to pull apart into two every time I sat, that was still there. My whole back started to feel like I got kicked by a horse, about 9 times, every time my love handles giggled it hurt, I felt like I should have had an almost purple bruise across my entire back from my shoulders down to the crack of my ass, but it was just a few little spots the size of a half dollar on each side of the incision. Weird. I have more a bruise from the first attempt at the IV than from the actual back surgery, so strange.
It is now day 8, a week and one day post op and things are slowly getting better and better. I don’t feel like my back is going to split in two, but it still feels tight. I can’t bend over, I can’t squat down, I can’t turn or twist but I can get my own ass up off the toilet and pull my own pants up so that in itself is an improvement. I still need a cane, just to take the pressure off my back when I walk, other wise it pinches and I wouldn’t be walking anywhere if it hurt like that.
I have my first post op doctors appointment in two days and I am expecting good things. I don’t have any stitches or staples to take out, they glued me up like a broken tea cup and put some tape over it. I am excited to see what they say, I feel like I am recovering pretty quickly, I’m not sure if that is to be expected. I’m over the hump, and its all downhill from here. My fingers are crossed that two months from now when I am all healed and there is no more swelling that this surgery will not have been for nothing. I really really hope that it relieves the back pain I have been dealing with since high school.