Surgery, the 1st time – Chronic Pain

2010 started well, but it ended badly, I just didn’t know how bad it was going to get.

Crawling round the house and having to be off work for 5 weeks, because I couldn’t stand isn’t much fun, especially when you don’t know what’s happening to you.  I went to a McTimoney lady who worked on my back for a few weeks, barely able to walk in, but able to walk out.  That relief was short lived, whatever she did to me, lasted for about an hour, but it was an hour of relief, and hour that I felt human again.  Between visiting her and doctors, I still tried to carry on with daily life, I went back to work and tried my best to ignore it, only it was not going to be ignored.

Luckily having private health insurance, I was able to get answers, and quick.  I got referred to BUPA in February 2011 to see a surgeon, was then given and MRI scan and 2 weeks later, I’m getting the results.  I still to this day can’t really remember that consultation, everything he said was such a blur, all I remember him saying was surgery. Surgery?   Wow this is serious!  My L4/5 disc was badly bulged, and badly pressing on my sciatic nerve, it needed to be released and the disc sorted out.  

28th May, surgery was scheduled.  I have never felt so terrified, not knowing what’s going to happen, how I’m going to feel after, the recovery, the pain.  What had I done, why did I say yes? Anyway 3 1/2 hours later I’m in the recovery room, listening to the surgeon phoning my hubby to tell him I was out and it all went fine.  Back to my room I was wheeled, hooked up to that stupid blood pressure machine that went off every 10 mins that I swear got tighter every time, starving, thirsty and oh my god, hold on, what the hell is this pain! What was he doing in there!!  Painkillers please!!!!
That night was a bit of a blur again, nurses coming in and out, me dosing off, but being woken by my arm being gripped by a gorilla, sorry blood pressure cuff, pain, rubbish TV, feeling sick, feeling tired and on it went the whole night.  I did however manage to get up and go to the loo, I remember this as I felt like I’d had a metal rod shoved up me, I couldn’t bend like I did before, I couldnt walk, I was so weak, but the toilet, I need the toilet, I hadn’t been for about 18 hours!

The lovely nurses took the chance to change my bed from where the wound had been leaking, and look out my comfy pj’s.  Who’d have thought putting pyjamas on would be so difficult, but when you can’t bend or lift your leg, it was never going to be easy!!  Morning came, and a lovely Physio lady came round, got me to do my exercises (the same ones I had to do in my pre-op), then she said lets go for a walk.  A what! My god you want me to walk, this wasn’t in the plan (even though I knew this is what I was going to be made to do), I wanted to sleep, not walk!  Anyway after what felt like an eternity and miles, I did it, I managed to go up 4 steps and back down and walk back to my room.  I could go home!  And I had a new toy to take home, my helping hand (or my claw as the husband re-named it).

I was home the day after having my back opened up and never so glad to be in my own surroundings, bed and hear my little Fergie meow.  She was so concerned about me, never left my side and followed me everywhere I went, like my little guard cat.  Recovery was so slow, I couldnt get forward fast enough for being dragged back, walking one step too far meant 1 whole day in bed.  My GP and Physio were so good to me.  Reassured me that it was ok to feel rubbish, I didnt have to get angry with myself, it was just going to take time and patience.  Patience is NOT my strong point!  

5 weeks later I’m back in for a review to see how things are, he seemed happy.  I told him I was still in really bad pain, to which I was told, I wasn’t doing enough. What! Are you serious! I can barely get out of bed and you want me to be walking miles.  I didn’t leave in a happy mood I can tell you!  Anyway, I was to go back for another MRI scan just to check things were still ok, see if anything could explain the pain I was still getting.  I was determined there was something wrong, you know your body right?  It wasn’t a lack of exercise, i did them every day, and went for short walks too.  I knew that something wasn’t right.  Scan done, 3 weeks later results time….

“I’m afraid the same disc has slipped again, it’s not as bad as before, but it has slipped again. The operation is now classed as failed”……

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