(May 26th) So two weeks ago today, I went to the doctor because of the severe back pain I had been experiencing. An x-ray showed degenerative disks at L5. The doctor said that something aggravated it – causing the current pain – that usually degenerative disk pain is more gradual. I went home with a prescription for steroids, a muscle relaxer, pain meds and a physical therapy appointment for the next day.
The very next morning after the doctor’s appointment, Ron was out of town; so I had to manage all three dogs. I reached down to un-do the lock on Sky’s dog crate, and as I opened the crate door and scooped Sky up in my arms, all hell broke loose in my back. It literally almost drove me to my knees in pain. I was crying in pain as I managed to get all the dogs outside and then collapse in a chair.
I called both the doctor and physical therapy people, but they did not seem to feel that the new incident was significant. “Physical Therapy will help,” they both told me. I had to get Joey to drive me to PT since I could not drive myself. I learned quickly that the physical therapy only made my back hurt more. However, everyone kept telling me to stick with the PT – that it was a good thing. A few days passed, and the pain got worse and worse. I missed going to the 3rd Annual Lily’s Garden Shooting out Childhood Cancer event, and I missed going to Lily’s 8th grade graduation. The pain was so great that I knew there was no way I could endure either event.
The next morning Ron called the doctor and insisted that I get an MRI. They scheduled it for that day (Thursday, May 21st), and I was to come in to see the doctor the next morning.
Ron had to drive me to the MRI because I was in too much pain. As I walked out of the MRI room at the clinic in Brentwood, my phone was ringing. It was the doctor’s office saying that a couple of appointments had opened up and if I could go straight there from the MRI place, they could see me right then in their office in Nashville. Being naive, I assumed that appointments HAD opened up and we decided to go on into Nashville to see the doctor.
Unbeknownst to us, my orthopedic doctor in Nashville read the MRI as it was being done (Yea for technology), and his one goal was to get me into the office ASAP so I could be hospitalized and scheduled for surgery immediately. I had a “massively” herniated disk (L5, S1 – whatever that is), and surgery was needed immediately before long-term nerve damage occurred. The talk of imminent loss of bowel and bladder function – plus the extreme pain – had both Ron (Mr. surgery is seldom a good thing) and I agreeing to surgery.
So I was immediately admitted to the hospital (St. Thomas Midtown) and surgery was done the next day (May 22nd) around noon. I felt okay afterwards – spent an additional night in the hospital and went home on Saturday, May 23rd. The surgery was a laminectomy and discectomy. Everyone at the hospital was very good and kind to me.
The most painful part of recovery is nerve pain in the back of my right thigh. Serious pain – so painful I could hardly move from a sitting to a standing position or vice versa – and I could hardly walk. I made Ron get me a walker. I needed something steady and solid and unmoving that I could grasp with both hands to push myself into a standing position and to lower myself into a sitting position. Despite making me look terribly feeble, the walker was great. Now in addition to pain meds, I’m also taking neurontin and steroids. And the nerve pain is lessening, and hopefully it will lessen even more. I was able to walk more easily today.
(The next day, May 27th) I started the above post yesterday. About midway through it, Ron gave me my nighttime meds which included Percocet and Valium. I kept falling asleep mid sentence, and finally gave it up and went to bed.
This morning I’m feeling better still. The incision sites are still sore – and the nerve pain in my right thigh is still there – but much less sharp. When I took a brief walk outside first thing this morning, I could walk almost normally – although still quite slow.
(later still) I put away the walker because I now can move from standing to sitting and vice versa with only minimal pain. The walker was what I needed for about 2 1/2 days. I walked outside this evening with Cabbie for about 20 minutes. I used a walking stick for added stability – but with no pain. So I feel very encouraged.