spinal fusion hardware cage

On Day 4 is when things started getting truly nutty. And, when I say nutty…things got really crazy for me at the hospital. And, I’ll explain why.  Day 4 it hit the fan. BIG TIME!

The first thing is that I was alone. That’s probably the number one reason why things got fucked. How nice it would have been to have had a friend or family member with me! And, oh…do I ever strongly STRONGLY recommend that you have such an advocate with you!

Still no hospital visitors due to Coronavirus

As mentioned, given Coronavirus I told mother and everyone else to stay away. You know, I’m not even sure, now that I think about it, if visitors were allowed because of the pandemic. I think you were allowed to have one person maybe in the room. But, mother’s like 80 years old. I didn’t want her there. Too dangerous.

The pain medications had my mind compromised and lowered my psychological resilience

So, this is another aspect that I wasn’t expecting. As mentioned earlier, I was hesitant to take the pain medication due to addictive qualities and the like. I gave in and started taking them because the pain was just too damn much.

Truth is, I was getting pumped full of pain medications: pills and direct IV into my wrist. I was loopy and out-of-it and definitely not thinking straight.

And, it’s not just that I wasn’t thinking clearly. My sort of mental toughness was also compromised. I wasn’t expecting that either!

Listen, I’m not trying to sound like a macho tough guy!

I’m just saying we all have a certain psychological resilience. The ability to keep a “stiff upper lip” as things go very wrong, etc. I’m pretty good at that.

The nurses didn’t believe me!

But, what was really bothering me…truth is I think it was excessively bothering me…but, I was really disturbed by the two nurses who doubted me. Now, in retrospect, it’s possible my drugged-out brain was misinterpreting everything. But, I’m actually pretty sure they doubted me because they pretty much explicitly said so! At the very least, they felt I was exaggerating.

I can scarcely believe it even now when I remember it. But, as I mentioned before, I remember telling them repeatedly, “I did just have a spinal fusion surgery. That’s considered a pretty serious surgery.”

That’s not my imagination! I told them that. It’s amazing to me that I had to tel them that!

Can you believe that?

Nurses want me out of bed!

One thing that I’m not confused about is that they were being very damn insistent in me getting up out of bed. And, I am thankful for their persistence. I KNOW that me getting out of bed is in MY OWN best interest. I understand that already! I fully understand that after this type of operation if you don’t get up and walking: you are going to have major problems. I understood that then and now.

Here’s what you must understand:

The pain was too damn overwhelming! I couldn’t get my mind to overcome the pain signals it was getting bombarded with. Even the first step of rolling to my side…let me explain…

The process of getting out of bed after spinal fusion

So, the correct way to get out of bed after a spinal fusion surgery is like this:

  1. You start out lying on your back. That’s probably how you’ve been anyway. Lying on your back sort of propped-up a big on pillows. So, you sort of push the pillows to the side.
  2. Then what you’re supposed to do is in one fluid motion…and, the one fluid motion part is VERY IMPORTANT! In one fluid motion you’re supposed to simultaneously roll onto your left elbow (on your side) while now pushing down with your left hand as you—at the same time—swing your legs over the side of the bed. The momentum of your swinging legs couples with your pushing hand.
  3. And, if all goes properly, you’re now sitting on the edge of the bed.

A sidenote about this getting out of bed technique

If would have been really fucking nice if somebody would have told me about this BEFORE the actual fusion surgery. If would have been really nice if I would have been given a pamphlet with some basic helpful info like how to set-up your shower to be safe, how to get out of bed, etc.

Yes, it would have been fantastic if I weren’t being taught about BLT and how to get out of bed when I was high on drugs that weren’t even capable of numbing out the physical agony.

Instead, I had the two unsympathetic nurses explaining it to me bedside.

I simply can’t get out of bed

I can’t do it. The most I can pull off with extreme effort is rolling onto my side. This statement tells you all you need to know. That I was in a mess because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I wasn’t receiving the proper instruction.

You see, you have to do the WHOLE THING in ONE FLUID MOVEMENT!

I try calling for help

So, I ended-up on the room’s phone trying to call somebody to help me. I told somebody on the phone about the nurses. I told them that the surgery couldn’t have gone right.

“With my pain level, there’s no way it went right.”

Who was I talking to on the phone? It was some sort of hospital advocate number that I somehow stumbled across. And, as I talked…I definitely told the truth as it appeared to me…and, man: was I high! I used to abuse drugs (including opiates)….and, man WAS I PRETTY HIGH!

Later that day, somebody came into the room and rolled me down to X-RAY.It would appear my message got through to somebody up in the chain. And, they were now taking my complaints more seriously.

So, they X-rayed me a few times. And, the surgeon told me a couple hours later, “Everything looks fine!”

So, that’s a relief! I learned the truth: this is simply a really painful operation—at least for me—even when it goes right.

I force myself to walk

Maybe that eased my mind: knowing that the surgery went okay. Without the nurses anywhere around, I forced myself out of bed and walked up and down the hallway.

Continue to Day 5

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