Sunday, March 6, 2011

So Now I Know What is Going On

Going to the doctor is rarely fun, but I was looking forward to the Friday appointment at the Spine Clinic. Yup, this would be my first post operative follow-up with a doctor where I may have more than  breeze "How you doing"  and check my reflexes and strength and off they go.  We left early cause I wanted to make sure when found the place. It turns out when I give Bob the address he say, "that's my parking garage building!"  He knows the building well since this is where he parked every day for nearly two weeks while visiting me.  He and K slept in that garage the night of my surgery.  He proudly shows me which parking spot the car was in when it substituted for their bed while they waited for me to get out of surgery.

We get to the clinic and it is the offices for all the "Ortho, Sports Medicine, Neuro and Spine Docs affiliated with Harborview and UW.  OK, I am feeling pretty good that these are good docs.  I get to have more xrays which I assumed, but hey next time I will dress appropriately.  Note to self, no metal in the clothing and then guess what you don't have to disrobe which is always too much fun with this lovely brace.  Glad the hubby was there to help. 

The doctor comes in soon after the x-rays are taken and I finally get to talk to someone face to face and find out  how things are going.  He is a doc that essentially works for my surgeon Dr. B, a very nice and kind person.  He asks all the right questions and I finally get to ask mine.  He says I am doing "exceptional" which makes me feel like all the work is paying off.  He shows us the x-rays and how everything is still in place.  Yeah, I have not pulled a screw loose cause that would be very bad and yes, they would have to go back in and fix it.  I had to ask.  He begins to pull up all the MRI and other films from the records and explains what happened with my injury.  This is when I feel like I what to throw up.

I essentially pulled most of the ligaments and muscles in my lower back - hence the pain, bruising and residual issues I have been having.  He said that will take 3 months to heal, lovely.  My spine was damaged, yup I knew that, but once it is damaged that is how it is going forward, those damaged nerves don't get better  Wow, OK so what does that mean?  Well, the damage at the level of my spine could have affected my entire right leg, my bladder function, bowel function and all leg strength.  It didn't, but my right foot is the continuing problem and I guess it always will be to some degree.  OK, here is the part that I guess I was somewhat unaware of in relationship to my injury, you mean with rehab and PT and work on my part I won't get healed and back to normal?  So, what can I do?  He says I need to strengthen the leg and foot and work on the foot and it's flexibility, but some of the functionality will not return.  I may never regain my balance to walk without a cane.  What ???!!! This is the part where I cannot think about it anymore. 

I am damaged and part of me will never be the same........... I guess I was hoping and this is where not being a medical professional I just didn't know.  So, my excitement for the doctor appointment has waned and this became one of those "bad" days one has during any recovery process.  I am trying to not focus on it and I know I will walk without a cane.  It may not be fast, it may not be pretty, but I will not be defined by this.  Right now my right foot hurts more than the left every night.  It does not feel like it is really part of my body. It feels a little wooden.  The two toes on my right foot - the big one and the one next to it are doing better, but they are weak and do not grip as they should to provide balance automatically and stabilize that side.  My foot does not flex they way the left one does, it is more stiff and it is weak.  OK, so now I know what I have going on, what do I do with it?

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