I'm now in the second week post-surgery and things have definitely improved. The feelings of despair have lessened, but I'm still acutely aware of the long road I have ahead. I wear a back brace at all times throughout the day unless I'm sleeping or taking a shower. It's rigid and constricting, as it should be, so you can imagine how comfortable it is. Whenever I am not wearing it, I have a bit of terror that something is going to happen and I'll injure myself.
When I wake in the morning, I have to ask Meezy to prepare the shower for me. I need a chair to sit on and then a stool next to it that holds my soap and hair products. Everything has to be within easy reach because I don't need to be standing and sitting over and over again. Thankfully we have a hand-held shower head so that I can control the water. If I drop something, I have to yell for Meezy and ask him to retrieve it for me. When I'm finished, I step out and he helps dry my legs since I can't bend at the waist. He also helps me put on my clothes for the same reason.
After I'm ready for the day, I try to help with the kids but there's not much I can do. I can bark directions at them, but I can't physically help with their dressing. I can do some breakfast preparation, if it's simple, but I wouldn't be allowed to pour their milk if the jug was too full (i.e. too heavy). From there, Meezy drives them where they need to go and I'm left at home to fill the hours.
My days are spent focusing on walking, sitting correctly, and standing as part of my rehabilitation. I have time goals that I'm supposed to meet and I'm not supposed to remain in the same position for longer than 30 minutes without getting up and moving around. I work on the computer or do very light tasks like paying bills or writing thank-yous. I'm not allowed to do any type of housework, which used to encompass big chunks of my day! No errands, no loading or unloading the dishwasher, no laundry, no sweeping, no yardwork, no cleaning the bathroom, etc. Some people would think they were in heaven with a restriction list like that, but I'm the opposite. I live for cleanliness and organization and knocking things off my to-do list. It's very hard to walk by a sink with dishes in it and not just want to put them in the dishwasher.
A couple times a day I have to get an ice pack and lay down for 30 minutes. My back needs rest and some comfort for the trauma I've put it through. Laying down is not necessarily comfortable, though. I'm only allowed to lay on my side with my knees bent and a pillow between them, or on my back with a pillow underneath my knees. It's annoying to have to consciously remain in a strict position when all you want to do is relax. Overnight I get restless and constantly change from my side to my back and back again. I have to move very slowly and keep everything in a line when I rotate.
I haven't started driving yet, but I hope to do so by the end of this week. I've ridden in the car a couple times to places for errands, but I've stayed in the car while Meezy gets out. Once I get some independence back by driving myself, I think my spirits will improve even more.
I've been lucky through this ordeal that I have the most self-less husband around. I literally would be lost if he wasn't by my side. After him, I've been surrounded by helpful family members and friends, offering to bring food, offering to take Dutch on play dates, offering to clean the house or buy our groceries. It's truly refreshing to see my village respond when I needed help. I love you guys so much!
The following weeks are going to be filled with much of the same - limited movement and restrictions on my activities. I'm supposed to wear the back brace for 3-4 months. It's daunting to think about how long I'll be forced to forego many of the things I would've previously done, but I know it's for a good cause and I don't want to jeopardize a successful recovery.