Even though I don’t feel 100% better after my surgery four days ago, and also haven’t defecated in that long although I have urinated, I am feeling well enough to walk around without substantial spinal pain, which is a marked improvement for me. The day after I got home from surgery, it took 30-45 minutes to stand up from the toilet. The next day, 10-15 minutes. Now, it’s less than 5 minutes and only expending minor energy toward standing.
I am writing this essay in the evening of my first full day back home from surgery. I woke up at 3am needing to use the restroom, reposition myself, and check on my bandages. This took me one hour in solitude and I was then able to sleep until my 8am alarm. It still takes me about 30 to 60 minutes to stand up out of a chair or off my toilet, but I’m progressing, I suppose.
Some valuable advice I was given was to request the post-surgery medications, and secure the medications myself, prior to having surgery. This way I could go home and have my medications ready – antibiotic Cephalexin, stool-softener Docusate, and painkiller Oxycodone – without having to be concerned over whether I’d have them or not. This was useful because my hospital’s outpatient pharmacy, months ago, proved themselves to be incapable of running my insurance. How have these medications gone?
For roughly twelve hours after my surgery, my body was completely numb. I couldn’t move my fingers or toes and the healthcare providers that I had trusted with my care were more willing to insult than help me. That is no situation for keeping mementos, yet here I am, writing about my experience. I stared a lot at this ceiling. I had to find my own meaning to life and I did; dissenters be damned.
After hours of debate over keeping the souvenir glass of the hospital where I had surgery to relieve the pressure on my spine, I favored materialism. I do not have a positive surgical experience. The item, instead, functionally reminds me of a transcendent experience. After waking up from anesthesia, I was trapped; my body was numb, like the music video for “One.” This glass, in a sense, should remind me of my realization of absurdism.
I’m writing this as a preface for the notes I’ll write ‘after the jump’ in the few hours before my surgery, since I have the time and clarity to write about what I anticipate will happen. I’ll be sedated under anesthesia for 3.5 hours. I’ve never had any surgery before, so I will try to write about any thoughts I had during that anesthesia, otherwise, this essay might merely document my post-surgery experiences, however hazy… scary…?
It is just before 2am. I will be leaving at 4:30am to get to the hospital before 5:20am as directed to be admitted for my 7:30am surgery. The surgery is an open decompression of the thoracic/lumbar in two levels and is estimated to take 3 hours and 30 minutes, during which I’ll be sedated under anesthesia. When I awake, the two discs that are pinching nerves in my spine will be removed. This pain should be subsided.
As of late August, I’ve had two COVID-19 tests. One was an at-home nasal swab test, which came back negative, and one was a deeper nasal swab test at a hospital a few days before my spine surgery, which came back negative? I’m not sure. The results I found when I logged in to see my records gave me cryptic information. They said they’d call if I had COVID-19, so I guess I don’t, then?
Years ago, I went into a hospital to do some routine bloodwork, and after five attempts on one arm to draw blood and three on the other, they told me to come back again later. I’ve had blood drawn and injections of various medical sorts since then, which each one having that somewhat anxious memory. Every nurse I’ve told this story to over the years has said something similar: learning to do bloodwork is difficult.
My surgery is days away, yet I barely feel like I can make it. Objectively, yes, I can wait the two days before I’m in the hospital getting the final preparations for surgery. Subjectively, however, I feel exhausted. I don’t have the energy I did even a week ago. While it’s good this will be done because I can’t go a day without my spine overwhelming all of my senses, I’m still having trouble fighting.