Thursday, December 31, 2009
What a year it's been !!!
Gee, this year has past so fast, in spite of all the events that took place concerning my life. About this time last year I was preparing for a few life-changing events. You know that expression, "Want to hear God laugh, make plans"? Well, God really got a huge belly laugh out of me this year.
Final plans were being made for my major back surgery that was to take place the second week of January. Nothing would go wrong, even though it would be an intensive surgery. A couple of days in the hospital and a few weeks to recover and I would be in the pink once again. (Do you hear the Heavenly chuckles, yet?!)
Checked into a very small hospital in Austin and after five hours of surgery I awoke to a Morphine pump and pain that managed to still find me. Groggily, I listened as the nurse wanted me to get out of bed and walk. When I said I didn't feel so well, that was the last I said before I passed out and quick hands stopped my fall to the floor. Waking to find my husband next to me, he explained that the nurse thought that I could wait a bit before "we" tried the walking again. I closed my eyes and dreaded the next go. Every two hours I walked the halls with assistance and encouragement. By the next day the pain was so great that I begged them not to make me get up and still they insisted. Being the "good patient", I got and the halls were walked.
When it was time to go home, I thought that I had really died and been sentenced to Hell without relief from pain. On the way home, I begged my husband to just pull the car over. Once stopped, I pleaded with him to leave me on the side of the road and drive away, because I couldn't stand the pain any more. I was on pain pills, which didn't even touch the surface of the pain. If it had been me in his shoes, I don't know how I would have handled someone I loved begging me to leave them behind. He stayed calm and said, "We'll make it home, some how."
I prayed and tried to situate myself in a better position in the car. Literally, a calmness came over me and I relaxed. I do believe that my mom wrapped me in her Heavenly arms and comforted me, because my pain was somewhat lessened. We drove mid-way from Austin and stopped for a bathroom break. I was using a walker, strapped into a back brace, weak and on medicine which clouded my ability to function. So my husband went into the ladies' room with me and we managed to take care of business. The rest of the trip home was accomplished and finally pulling into the driveway home never looked so good.Getting into bed brought immense relief. My pain was lessened when I was horizontal and consequently, my husband could smile and function.
For the next three weeks, he made and brought all my meals to my bed, as getting up felt like stepping into a bear trap. (No, I have never stepped in a bear trap, but that is the best description of the level of pain I felt.) Whenever I had to get up he would stand by the bed and I would will myself to become vertical and endure the most horrendous pain I had ever experienced. I began eating and drinking less, so bathroom trips weren't needed as much. There are not words to describe the state of pain that I suffered.
During this time, my doctor was trying to figure out where all the pain was coming from, as it was worse than before my surgery. Trust in my doctor didn't fail, as he was working on this problem and we kept in communication with each other. Finally, early February it was agreed upon that a further surgery would be the answer.
New hospital, more tests and another surgery on my back. For days after this surgery, I would wake to find my doctor sitting by my bedside each morning to check on me.
In patient Physical Therapy was needed in order to build up my strength and give me back my mobility. Riding in an ambulance to the Rehab Hospital was a lot safer and less painful than our car, so that was used. When I arrived at the Rehab center I learned that life skills can be lost when someone has no strength or mobility. Wonderfully caring people helped me learn to take care of myself, with everything from bathroom skills, eating, walking and everything I used to take for granted. Ten days of intensive rehab and I was on my way home once more. Pain medicine was my friend for awhile, until I tried to stop it too suddenly. That too was a lesson for me.
So, that was a small chapter of my 2009 journey. Two surgeries and Rehab in Austin, with lessons in humility (having someone help with toilet needs was very humbling), self-strength and determination. I do know that my family and friends were my cheerleaders throughout that extraordinary ordeal and without them I doubt my success. Phone calls from home were welcome, even when I didn't have the strength to hold up the cell phone. Comfort quilts were used to bundle up my shivering body in rehab. Words of encouragement and love made me keep going, even when I wanted to quit. Promises made to friends not to give up strengthened my resolve to achieve my goals.
Each time I attended my post-operative doctor's visits, I was fueled by the looks of amazement on the faces of the people in the office. "You look so much better than last time we saw you." Amazingly, pain can cause a person's whole being to change and once that pain is under control, the person's true self shines through for all to see.
I did remind the doctor the real reason that I had the surgery. On my visit this last summer I showed him a picture of my motivation and what made it all worthwhile, "I had the surgery so that I could walk and hold my grandchild."
Some things in this life are worth going through the darkness and pain. Would I do it again to be able to love on my grandchid? You betcha.
Happy New Year and may you all have health and happiness this year and each one to come.
Your favorite Ferret.