Moving onwards!

So week two back on the job after having the microdiscectomy.

It was in some ways easier and some much harder.

Big highlight of the work week- we got our lab coats, so now when we walk around we look “official”.  Some hospitals are not this way but ours is a cult of the lab coat- everyone has one. Our acting director was great as had them smartly embroidered with our name, credentials and the hospital logo.  Silly, but I do like mine a lot. (Great pockets in it!)

The week was easier in that I actually am now beginning to get comfortable with the system of doing things at the facility.  For example, at my old facility I did a lot of the analysis when an infection occurred. In the new facility we notify the floor and give the details and then they do a “deep dive” review and supposedly come up with an action plan.  As you might imagine, this is a bit easier on me, and if the unit itself comes up with an action plan, it’s more likely to be implemented than if I tell them what to do.

I’m starting to remember all the pieces that go with submitting an infection- where to file forms online, who to send things to, who people are and so on.

I suspect now that prior to the surgery I was in more pain than I recall because I really do not remember any of the stuff I did.  Big Blur.

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So this is good.  I like being able to connect the dots better.

On the other side, I started to try to increase my miles on the treadmill. Generally when one has had an injury, or surgery the goal is to slowly increase time and distance and endurance. So I set about doing so. Monday marked my fastest and highest miles (3 whole miles ha ha ha).  By Tuesday, I could not really remain seated in a chair for more than about 8 minutes.  Luckily I do have a door on my office and I can work a bit standing up.  I was however TERRIFIED that I had reherniated, or that this was it… I would endure this sort of thing forever. This is distressing, and extremely painful.  As in more pain for a day than before the procedure. So, it was kind of the dominant thing all week.

Luckily, I found another physician’s web page advertising his services that explained my sudden increase in pain. As he explained, walking after the surgery is very important because it reduces the amount of scar tissue that can form (and can be very painful in the back when one is allowed to bend and twist again). The other side of the coin is that the nerve root that was compressed and is healing is also irritated somewhat by walking. So it’s a balance.

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I had overdone it. After this realization, I utilized my muscle relaxers and even narcotic medications to promote sleep at night. I reduced my walking and even took an entire day off from the gym. This is apparently unusual because one of the trainers called saying he was worried that something had happened since I never came that day.  By Friday, I was feeling more energy and a decrease in symptoms! I am so relieved about this. I also feel quite pleased as I was about to call the surgeon’s office, and instead was able to figure it out on my own!

The other bright spot in the week – I firmed up the new coaching agreement. Coach K and I had a nice long chat in regards to the Alligator Lighthouse Swim, what I should be doing now, and how things are in general.  I am such a sucker for approval.  We talked for a long time and he stated he would only coach me if I would clean up my diet. This has been a long standing enormous problem for me, and while my old coach left it alone, Coach K says he just felt it was always the missing piece for me. He then added that he has been super impressed with how I just keep going with whatever I have. (Apparently he works with at least 2 other people who had back injuries who have become somewhat less than ideal coach-ees, with a lot of excuses etc). He also expressed interest coming to help supervise my swim….at least for the training swim, which is pretty cool.  We will see what happens, but I feel confident that I have a good person to work with again, which is also a relief, as I start to look at that long swim.  I’m not thinking too much about running right now, after my week of pain and wild burning, aching, throbbing, prickly feeling in my leg and glutes I feel pretty good concentrating on the walking and hopefully in a few weeks the swims.

so we’ll see, right now, it’s totally beyond me, so I can share the video from tobymac right?

Transitions.

I’ve now survived the weekend after the first week at work.

I feel a little bit off.

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I remember this time after my last surgery. I couldn’t be that active, I was not sure the surgery had been successful, and things were quite uncertain.  This passes. Just like last time I find myself exploring all sorts of craziness.

I started playing “Candy Crush Saga”  On Facebook.  Unknown-2

Seriously, it is such a waste of time, and I don’t quite get the obsession with it, but I keep playing it.  I don’t know.

I have been assured that very little can derail my mortgage at this time, so I have sat back and kind of relaxed a bit and indulged in a TINY bit of planning.  Mostly, reigning myself and my Pinterest board for my house back in. I had hoped to have enough left over to furnish the home in one fell swoop, but it looks like I will probably have a home like most people…cobbled together with pieces of furniture from friends, parents, yard sales and such.  Of course, I live in Florida, (the place old people go to die) so Estate Sales happen frequently and there is usually some very good items there.  I am thinking of looking for an upgrade on my coffee maker at them.  I have also decided to convert my fish tank into a terrarium.  I don’t know that I have the patience to balance out the pH and such for a gorgeous tank.  images-2

I’ve always liked terrariums and I think it would be interesting to watch a small micro-universe created in a 55 gallon tank.  So that’s my distractions from the obvious main issue in life.

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I am STILL having some issues with my toes/back.  I have gotten so “pro-active” that I have started drinking apple cider vinegar. The stuff is VILE! It is touted for a lot of health benefits- weight loss, diabetes control, you name it.  It is not promoted for nerve health, but I know a relatively logical woman who started to drink it after her hand went numb after surgery and her numbness has disappeared.  She was like…could be a coincidence, or not… So…I looked into it.  Vinegar itself is not harmful, so I decided why not try it out. I’ve had 2 doses so far and enjoyed neither one, nor have I felt any particular miracle improvement.  I have not gotten worse though.  It takes time and is frustrating.

I also signed up like a crazy person for the Swim for the Alligator Lighthouse.

It’s a huge long swim.  about 9 miles.  I know that training will be fine for this, and while sometimes I’m a little slow…I usually can keep going. The two challenges are the nasty Jelly Fish and making sure I swim fast enough for the cut off.  If the weather is better this year it should be easier.

Signing up cheered me up a lot.  Now if I could actually get into any body of water.

Follow up is the 3rd week in March, so I have a long way to wait for that clearance.

So it’s a lot of wait and see.  I’m definitely “over” the surgery…now I am just waiting to see if I can either get used to the deficit or if it will go away.  I sure wish it would go.  The longer I go without seeing a slight improvement, the less positive I feel, but…who knows, maybe apple cider vinegar is the secret?

First Week…

I returned to work this week.

Monday was pretty difficult.  I actually felt pretty desperate.  My supervisor took me walking around to some of my new units.  It wasn’t any more than I had been doing, but..I just struggled for the rest of the day. By the time I got to the gym my foot was bothering me…but I walked away like a dummy.

Tuesday my supervisor was in a foul mood, so…that made my day particularly difficult.  She may not really be the perfect fit for supervisory material, but she is what I have. Luckily I got given my ICU by another team member who has had that extra ICU for months now.  She was glad to be rid of it, and I was THRILLED to have an ICU back. Unfortunately my foot was giving me fits.  I did not feel great. I actually had to lay flat on the floor for quite some time to try to get the neurological symptoms under control.  I walked on the treadmill and felt just lousy.

It helps to go to the gym, because I see all my friends…..but it also hurts because I also see people who are NOT my friends, and it’s kind of the beginning of Triathlon training season, so suddenly the gym really is full of people starting to suffer….while I trudge on the mill.

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After that walk I had a conversation with a friend, and of course the topic was my back.  Most people assume I had some sort of back pain…I guess people don’t really understand much about discs, nerves, muscles…Suddenly I realized that all of this walking wasn’t going to heal me.  The nerve needs calm. So I resolved to just not go to the gym on Wednesday.

As these things work, I awoke on Wednesday feeling much much improved. The altered sensation had centralized a bit more, so it involved less of my foot. Work went fine – I was getting used to being back.  In fact, I felt so good by the end of the day that I got home, put on my gym stuff and enjoyed a nice boring treadmill walk.

I have not had too much improvement since Wednesday, but..I also haven’t had a lot of worsening.

So…Good to be back at work.

Appears my Mortgage is approved.  Whee!!!!  Now the stress of handling that move!

Toes Woes

Happy Valentines Day Readers!

In light of the recent measles outbreak and the insane vaccination craziness I bring you this vintage greeting.

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I had a pretty nice day.  I think a lot of people think that single people freak out on valentines day.

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But really I tend to think most of us do not care.  I knew I wasn’t going to be surprised with roses, or chocolates, or dinners etc.  I was not disappointed at all.

I spent the day trying to be ready for work on Monday and doing the usual rehab type exercises.

My toes were slightly better today. In fact when I am laying down…I only feel the littlest bit of altered sensation, not bothersome at all.

When standing I continue to have some issues with temperature sensation (instead of thinking a cold tile floor is cool, my foot sends the message to my brain that it is Wet and slippery…) and that feeling that a sock or something is bunched up under it.

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I suppose it is slowly getting better.  When I think about how slow nerves heal and repair, I guess it is going along rather rapidly. If it doesn’t get much better than this, I should be able to figure out how to manage with it. I realized today that my right calf also still has funny sensation in it….since we rarely use our calf for anything sensory…I had not really noted it.

So I’m now in that odd recovery time frame. I feel OK…not fabulous.  My activities are severely restricted…and EVERYTHING from getting into the car, to doing laundry seems like it takes a long time and has a lot of “fussy” steps to doing it correctly. I admit, i miss being able to just curl up in any position I felt like on the couch. Now, I worry that “It’s out of alignment”  or “It might put pressure on the healing nerve”  Oye Vey.

I’m a bit anxious about my return to work…firstly I will have to jump right in and I find I’m still really tired a lot of the time.  Secondly, I will have to deal with my replacement at the other hospital.  We planned for her to have training for a week.  She decided she needed only half a day. Now…apparently…she thinks it’s fine to just call me and expect me, or someone else, to just drop everything at her convenience. Grrrrr.

Nice thing is that while this lady is somewhat sensible, I find that people do miss me.  You always want your replacement to be OK, efficient, but it never bothers when that person is “just not you”….

So we’ll see if the next days bring more toe relief or not….

the ongoing saga of the rubber band….

So my toes.  My poor toes.

The altered sensation has continued.  It’s pretty amazing actually.  It changes at least 3-4 times a day.

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This morning I awoke to the rubber band sensation.

After walking a mile with the dog, it was reduced to the feeling of having a sock bunched up under my toes….which sounds unpleasant but was just fine with me comparatively.

About a hour before I went to the gym, I realized that I might actually be feeling 90% normal sensation. I loved it. I went to the bank, did a deposit, and went to the gym….at some point when changing into actual shoes….

the rubber band came back.

I wasn’t too thrilled with that, but…it is what they said. It will come and go.

I got home and started to relax on the couch, and the sensation has changed yet again… sock bunched up sharply against my foot.

The positive on this- it does change.  Permanent damage would be more, well you know, permanent.

While it is changing it is surely annoying, and some anxiety is raised.

I’m hoping it will settle down some more over the weekend, and then of course I know when I get back at work… I will be sufficiently distracted, so that there will be some other things on my mind.

On the other plus side.  Nothing makes a person appreciate a warm shower more than 2 weeks without a really good one.  Today…temperature just perfect. Water pressure perfect.  Scents of Strawberries, Oranges, and some regular soap mixed together.  best-of-shower-thoughts-u1

Best Shower Ever.

Hopefully my next update will be more sporting or interesting, but I just needed to write about it.

Yes, I am an athlete….

So, living in this community of professional and semi-pro triathletes, Olympians, and what not…

(Yes, the video is kind of cheesy but…it kind of shows my life. We are growing but I’m fairly sure it’s not as robust as the video emphasizes.) I occasionally feel like I just sort of pretend to be into fitness.  Now that I’ve been injured for a bit, I feel very out of condition….my follow up appointment reminded me that I’ll probably be an athlete for life.

I went for my 2 week follow up today.  Thankfully it went very well. I saw the PA and he was pleasant. I do have some sensory issues with my first two toes.  They are very frustrating.  The PA said he really is not worried about them at this point. It apparently is pretty common for symptoms to come and go for several months after this procedure.  He did reassure me that there are some things that can be done if that symptom hangs around “forever”.  He explained that the disc fragment they had removed was pretty big, so big they sent the thing to pathology for measurement.  At the appointment he didn’t have the measurement, but I’ll be curious as to how much bigger than normal it was.  I also wonder if that isn’t standard procedure, and he told that to me to make me feel somehow special…we all want to think we are somehow “special”  and exceptional.  I kind of home my surgery follows the most normal and expected course possible.

I explained to him that the insurance company had called asking if I needed home health services.  I told them I thought I was doing ok because at that time I could walk about a half mile twice a day.  He kind of looked at me and said, uh OK, yeah…like most people are having trouble walking down the driveway by now- and you think that you might be ok walking over half a mile a day… yeah… you might be ok…..you are fine.

He then told me I could lift a maximum of ten pounds.

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And So I immediately said, Ah so I can start to work with Coach K.  He was like, uh…no, uh who is coach K? YEAH.  I can lift 10 pounds… at the grocery store.

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Not like at the gym.  The PA looked baffled. Then he laughed. He said I could do 5 reps at a time if I really really wanted to….I decided right away that this was a really good way to get hurt, and said, yeah…for the next 4 weeks I’m sticking to walking.

He finally said, you know, working with you is really different from others. I realized then how important communication is when your activities are so very different from the norm.  We had so many opportunities for me to really mess myself up during that appointment just by the way the PA communicated…when he said lift…i assumed he meant weights, not gallons of milk. It’s also important to own who you are.  I’m certainly not what makes my little town the “choice of champions”  but…

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I have the conditioning that allowed me to go from having a back surgery to walking 3 miles a day 7 days later, and the dedication to realize that this is going to place me where I need to be for the future.

I admit after just a visit to the doctor, lunch out, a short grocery visit, and a short walk with the wonder dog, a nap sounds delightful.  Here’s hoping some more energy returns as I need to return to work on Monday.

Turtle Pace Progress

So…it seems my surgeon and the PA were correct to let my inflamed foot and leg sit.  Yesterday I awoke with a lot more feeling in my toes.  I immediately took myself for a half mile walk and while walking the numbness did creep back into my toes, but it was less noticeable than prior days.  I started to take some high dose Ibuprofen to help with the swelling, and it was really nice to have somewhat more normal function to the foot.  This was a huge confidence boost.  It was very frustrating to have the surgery and feel pretty much the same as I did prior, with added limitations to activity!

I was also lucky to have a sympathetic friend pick me up and take me to a great breakfast.  It was great to see her and we chatted happily about everything and nothing.

The cafe though had these horribly squishy seats in the booths.

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I really struggled to remain seated without having a problem. In retrospect if I go there again soon, I am going to sit in the section they have with chairs, not booths. As a result, I got home, stretched out on the couch and fell asleep for hours. Sitting up in a squishy booth is hard work…

I have high hopes that I will regain most of the sensation to my toes in the coming months.  But one never knows with nerves. The literature says it can take up to two years. (yay?)  I also hope the nerve root to go to completely normal size and not be compressed when I am up and walking about. My anxiety level is super low and I feel pretty good.  Just the usual frustrations with no bending, lifting or twisting.  I’m fairly sure I’ve been doing all of those things on a fairly regular basis since the surgery.  I’m not lifting anything heavy, I’m not bending on purpose and the twist thing…well. one would think it was my favorite thing ever.  The PT at the hospital was surprised when I accidentally twisted to do something and had no pain or knowledge of doing it.  I try not to because apparently it can create extra scar tissue which can be painful.

Now, I’m just a bit lazy and bored.  I am getting the dog back today which will be interesting.  I’m looking forward to having him back, sort of…TeuluBut I also find that he can be sometimes quite demanding, and I’m not really in the mood for demanding.  At the same time, I need to get up and walk more, and he is a good companion for that.  I’ve been walking the past 2 days around the complex where I live and I feel funny without him, especially since I am not walking very fast at this point in time.

It is very nice to feel a little bit relaxed about everything.  I wish wish my nerve would calm on down, and I keep coming up with all sorts of things in my mind to fix it, like another steroid pack, or something.  It’s all pretty silly as it really is just a wait and see kind of thing and I shouldn’t be doing things that are not recommended.

I am super excited about my new coach.  He hasn’t been all over me yet but has been deep in discussion with a few others about how to progress me from Lump to Gazelle….

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I find recovery always so strange.  For me it’s usually AWFUL, then I have one day where I wake and everything is suddenly bearable, and then I get used to the bearable and I want perfect….and then…eventually I just am whatever I’m going to be…..