Friday, April 1, 2011

How do you do that?

So out of the ward, down in the lift, across the road and we're at the car. I'm not allowed to bend at the waist, I'm not allowed to twist and I'm not supposed to sit with my knees higher than my hips. So how do I get into the car seat? Well gingerly for a start...I got the car door open as far as it would go and sat on the edge of the seat facing outwards. Of course all modern cars have seat bolsters designed to retain you as you circuit the Nurburgring at 200+ km/h. All very useful in that situation but for my purposes a pain in the arse. Once perched on said seat bolster I then pivoted my legs into the car, after having somehow got my head inside without bending, twisting or doing any of the other forbidden things. The result, if done well is a simple pain-free entry into the car. The alternative is, well let's call it a mess. It works well though, so well, that a friend still uses it 17 years after his operation.
The ride home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The surgical site and my back are remarkably impervious to bumps and jolts. I'm simply not troubled by most of what a modern road can throw up.
Of far more importance was the problem of getting on top of drug management. I arrived home in possession of 7 different drugs, each with their own raison d'etre, timetable and regime. Up to that point I'd been rattling back about 20-25 tablets a day, not to mention various potions designed to keep the trains running in the face of the constipatory forces of the other 7 drugs. A spreadsheet was the only answer. Each drug, it's maximum daily dose, suggested dose and timing was set out in the spreadsheet and off we went on the magical mystery tour.
Quite quickly it became apparent that firstly my requirement for pain relief was falling and that the spreadsheet was allowing me to target my drug use to periods of need. Monday the intake fell to 15 tablets, Tuesday it was down to 10 tablets and by Wednesday it was down to 6 tablets.
Two things became apparent at that point: firstly my pain wasn't quite under control and so I was wasting my time a bit. Secondly I was having bouts of what turned out to be withdrawal. Shakes, shivers, sweats, I weaned myself down from the high levels of drugs.
Thursday the total number of tablets is back up to about 9 and that seems, for the time being to be the right balance. I'm hoping that I can carve into that further over the weekend.
The other thing that has to be tackled is my rehab programme. This can best be described as the modified Forrest Gump programme. Instead of "run Forrest, run" it's a case of "walk CA, walk". Basically the idea is to start off slowly and to build up to several kilometres a day over a period of weeks. Of course me, being me, the idea became fixed in my head that if small walks were good, then big walks were better. I'm currently paying the price for that as well!!
Overall though, this surgery is a miracle so far. The only thing I can't do for myself is to put my socks on. I can't work that one out yet. I can do anything else I've tried so far with some ingenuity including picking things up off the floor. That involves squatting, down on one knee, down on both knees, pick up the object and then the reverse the process. Stairs are no problem, though they're treated with due respect and driving is out of the question. I'm carrying too much of a drug load to want to be out on the roads at the moment, though from a purely physical point of view I think I would be capable of it, without the drugs.
More to come as I explore the niceties of a recovery as opposed to mere functionality.

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