Monday, February 2, 2009

I Can't Stand Up Straight...But It's Okay..

I don't consider myself an "old" woman. Oh yeah..if you're 15, I might be considered old. Even if you're 20, I might be considered old...but I don't "feel" old.

I graduated from high school in the neighborhood of 26ish years ago...but there are days that I feel like I've only been out a couple of years.

But today....I feel old. Let me explain..

In 1997, I was just like you. I had a 6 year old and a 4 year old. I was a stay-at-home mom and lovin' every minute of it.

I was only 32 years old and just feeling really good. Then one day I woke up and realized that I wasn't moving quite as easily as I had been. You know, it took me just a little longer to stand straight up and put one foot in front of the other.

Then I noticed that I was starting to lean a little to the right and my left leg was having moments of numbness.

DH is a faithful follower of our chiropractor, so being the fix-it man that he is..he took me to his Dr. straightaway.

After a couple of weeks of being popped, bent and wasn't working for me. Each day had me looking more and more like Magilla Gorilla..(am I showing my true age or what????)

Then one day my DH asked me if I'd like to go with him to check out some blocks that he'd found for sale at a reasonable price. (We were building a storm cellar....if you live in an area where you get tornadoes, you know how important that is!!) I said of course I'd love to go and I went to put my shoes on. I bend over to tie my shoes and it honestly sounded like a gun had went off inside me. For a split second, I even looked around to see if anyone had heard what I had heard...but it was only for a second. Pain like I hadn't felt since childbirth began and I couldn't move. I called for DH who helped me to a chair and after catching my breath, I told him this definitely wasn't good.

Over the course of the next two weeks I visited a neurologist and a neurosurgeon and had a MRI done. I was faithfully taking a drug cocktail which barely numbed the pain....(never took it away)...and anyone who knows me knows that I'm all about natural remedies and won't even take something for a headache unless I just cannot lie down for a while...but I welcomed these drugs..the pain was so bad.

Of course, the diagnosis was a ruptured disc and I was on my way to surgery.
The Dr offset the incision to the left of my spine only to discover during surgery that the disc had blown all the way around and so the surgery became a little more difficult than first thought.

However, 4 hours later found me back in my room with the sweetest little nurse/nun wiping my face with a cool cloth. I came to enough to let her know I had to go to the bathroom and was back out again.

When I woke up a little later there was no doubt I had business to take care of and so the learning process began. I had to learn how to get out of the bed (something that I still have to do 12 years later)...but when my feet touched that cool floor, I couldn't do anything but praise my God!! I hadn't felt the floor with my left foot in months and it was the best thing I'd experienced in quite some time!!

That morning I had literally limped into the hospital. My left foot was dragging somewhat and the fingers on my right hand were hanging below my knee. I was a sight to see!!

But I walked to that bathroom, with the help of my two awesome nurses, standing straight up!! Even though the pain from the surgery was intense, I could feel my leg and foot and I could walk erect! It was great!!

Doc came in later to check on me and make sure that I had good circulation in my feet and told me I was ready to go home (yes, it was one day surgery!) He also told me that for the rest of my life I would get numbness in my legs from time to time and I could expect to have periods where my back and hip would "act up" on me. Walking would be my best course of action in preventing those episodes from happening or at least keeping them to a minimum.

I had a wonderful surgeon and true to what he said, I've been blessed to be fine with only those minor flare ups a couple of times a year.

Guess what??.....It's one of those times. For the last several days, I've been slow at standing and slower at walking. I'm keeping my back rubbed in this awesome smelling ointment (notice the sarcasm??) and eating my ibuprofen.

Thankfully I'm able to laugh at myself. Even though this is a bump in the road and most definitely something I can do without, it's a reminder to me how awesome my God is.

It takes me back to that time when I couldn't walk, stand, sit or lie down. Nothing relieved the pain. (Not even my cocktail) I remember walking (?) in such a manner that people would come up to me and ask if I needed some help. I remember the pain and the tears and the frustration of being a young mom and not being able to care for my family. I remember DH having to help me take a bath..and him shaving my legs for weeks. I remember how God used that surgery to slow me down and spend time with my kids. I was flat on my back and my kids would bring me books and toys and we would spend the day watching tv and reading and playing on my bed.

I remember DH putting cans of soup on the counter along with some pans. Pouring sippy cups of drinks up and lining them up in the fridge for my babies. He sat their snacks on the kitchen counter so they could reach them and keep my getting up and down to a minimum.

I remember my 4 year old handing dirty clothes up to me so I could put them in the washing machine and then that same baby pulling a kitchen chair over to the washing machine and digging those clothes out and handing them to me so I could throw them (literally) in the dryer. He'd get toward the bottom of the machine and I'd have to hold his legs down so he wouldn't go head first into the washer!!

I remember my 6 year old running the vacuum and sweeping the floor and keeping up with her schoolwork.

So...while I don't like going through this, I've decided that periodically, it's a good thing. It reminds me that I'm blessed beyond belief with a God Who loves me enough to remind me. I'm blessed to have a family that will go the extra mile for me and never complain.

And when I look at it like that....the aches and pains of a back out of whack, seem to just fade away.



Lisa said...

I'm so sorry for your pain, but you have a wonderful way of looking at it! I have never had a ruptured disc, but I have heard it is quite painful. I have multiple bulging discs and there is hardly a morning that I do not wake up in pain myself, I've just learned how to deal with it and stretch it out. So I somewhat understand you. I laughed at the literally throwing clothes in the dryer, there are days that is how clothes get dried around here. I to have been blessed with a wonderful family that picks up my slack when I down the most. Feel better soon and I will be praying for you!

Sandy said...

Deb, my heart goes out to you! My husband had a ruptured disc about 20 years ago. He was in agony before his surgery. He did well for many years, but then about 10 years ago, he had trouble with scar tissue pressing on a nerve. It happened so quickly and was so painful, I had to call 911 for an ambulance. After one epidural treatment, which shrank the scar tissue, he has been pain-free since then. The doctor says it could happen again, but so far he's had no more problems with it. Although it's not me, I know how painful it was for my husband. I'll be praying for you!