Cabin Fever

I'm starting to get so restless hanging out in the house.

I've been tapering down my painkillers so my mind is much more clear, but there's a little more pain. I know I still need to rest, but I feel so tired of resting and I just want to go do stuff. I have all of these projects I want to do in the house and I get inspired but as soon as I get up to try one it's too much.

Last night Nolan peed under the bed. I thought I could leave it until morning but the smell was just too overwhelming. I somehow managed to pull my entire bed out away from the wall (thank god I had it on little sliders so it wasn't heavy), scrub the floor, and move my storage bins over the spot so he couldn't get back there again.

I did it, I felt good getting it done. but an hour later I was in so much pain. I know it was stupid, but who am I gonna call at 2am to come move my bed and clean up cat pee?

I'm bored. I'm tired of being helpless. I'm feeling so much better and so excited to be a human again, but I'm still not quite there and it's driving me crazy.

Kittens are only entertaining for so long.


Two Things

1. I am the best ever at applying bandages in the mirror.

2. People who apply bandages in hospitals should take basic engineering into account. I have spent the last 2 days screaming in pain because the incision is raised and it touches the bed when I lie down. I put extra gauze on the sides to build a bridge and no more pain. Not genius, but apparently takes one to implement.


Figuring Out Life at Home

Cat sitter is going to continue coming for a few days until I feel okay doing it on my own.

Amy gave me some leftovers and I can work with friends and delivery services to get fed.

Will use task rabbit and homejoy to get the house all spic and span again.

But laundry, well, laundry is tough. I used to have the laundromat across the street do my wash and fold and they would deliver. They have new ownership and have replaced that service with laundry locker. Problem is that Laundry Locker won't pick up or deliver from my home. I've got a call into the COO to see if he can work something out with me, but if not, what can I do? Are there other wash and fold delivery options that aren't ridiculously expensive?


Dozi is Keeping Watch

Day 2 Post Surgery

I was going to do a video post but, a) my voice isn't really working and b) it seems a little deceptive to have not done one yesterday when i felt awesome.

So instead, this is what's going on:

I was fine until i went to bed. But then my neck and shoulders started to hurt. My neck feels like I've been strangled and there are no muscles holding it up.

Also, all of a sudden the incision site is extremely painful. Any movement any touch... which means I can no longer lie on my back.

Not really sure how to handle today. Right now I'm just lingering in bed on my side trying to support my neck enough that it doesn't scream in pain.


A Giant Piece of Disc!

I'm all set up at Amy's house for the next few days. She's taking very good care of me. I'm already walking and can do stairs slowly with a rail.

Amy talked with the doctor last night and he excitedly told her about the size of the disc portion he removed. He said on a scale of 1-10, this was really really big. Apparently they are normally the size of half of the pinky finger or so, but this was the size of his index finger. HUGE. He said that it was no wonder I was in so much pain because it was taking up so much room.

If you're easily grossed out, close this window now. Otherwise, scroll down for a picture of the piece they removed.







Post surgery update

I feel awesome.

I mean, yes I'm sore, and some of the pain will stick around for a few days, but I'm on Tylenol only at the moment and i can turn over in bed, sit up slowly, stand, and even walk a little.

Don't get me wrong -- i hurt a lot. But the comparison is super easy.  I am a gajillion times more myself today than i was yesterday.  And thank goodness for that because 8 hours in a gurney having not eaten or had anything to drink and not knowing when they were going to take me in -- that was agony.

So so happy right now. Looking forward to a few days of rest that might actually feel restful.

Morning after

This is my view right now.


Surgery was super delayed. Got to hospital at 2 but didn't go in until 830. Portion of ruptured disc was way bigger than they thought. Took a lot out.

I already feel pain relief and sat up all on my own. They are keeping me the night just because it's so late and they want to watch me. Soreness is starting to set in but it's nothing like the pain i had.

Gonna go enjoy my Apple juice and Graham crackers now before sleeping. More tomorrow.


Dilautid is fun

Especially when mixed with sponge Bob.

Here I Go

I just got really scared.

What if this is a mistake? What if it doesn't work? What if I'm like this forever?
Fortunately it looks like that are breaking out the morphine. Scratch that.  They are bringing dilautid. Maybe this will be a fun trip. 

Spine Images

I thought it might be nice to show exactly what's going on. These are a couple of images from my MRIs with my notes added. Click on the bottom image for full view.

I'm Having Back Surgery Today

Yesterday, completely frustrated, I put my latest post up on Twitter and called out Aetna for not authorizing the surgery. Their reasoning was that the doctor had requested authorization for a March 6 surgery. They have a 7-10 day SLA, and it had only been 7 days.  It didn't matter that the surgeon was now requesting surgery the next day, or that he had cleared his schedule to allow for what he considered an emergency.

Surprisingly to me (I'm just starting to learn the power of twitter), aetna responded to my post:

They called me and left a message telling me they were on the phone with my doctors working on the case, and they gave me direct phone numbers to individuals. My doctor's assistant had been fighting with the insurance company for a couple of hours when all of a sudden they referred her to the appropriate contact who approved the procedure.

I'm amazed at the power of posting my frustration online. I'm impressed at how quickly Aetna responded and how personally they took this case. Kudos.

I'm still sad that I had to go to twitter to get this taken care of.

Regardless, I'm having a desparately needed surgery today.
Thanks, @aetnahelp


In Times of Trouble

I indulge in bad tv. Fortunately the new light-hearted show about heavy subjects, Enlisted, features my most recently announced actor crush, Geoff Stults. Between him and Bode Miller, I'm in a good place with current media. I'll be even better when 24 comes back.

Pre-Op Clearance

Today has been an unexpected day of doctors and tests. I called my primary care physician this morning to try to schedule the appointment for pre-op clearance. We'd missed each other a few times last week and it's important to get the insurance authorization. They could only fit me in today. Before the appointment I stopped in to check on my appointment time with my spine specialist. The card said Friday, but didn't have a time. They somehow didn't have an appointment scheduled at all, so we scheduled one for a couple of hours after my first appointment.

Primary care talked me through some stuff and sent me down for blood work. After the blood draw I had some time before my next appointment so found these comfy benches I could lie on in the lobby. A few minutes after I got settled, my primary called me to tell me they actually required more tests. He came down to talk to me (amazing - medical care on a comfy bench in the lobby!) and gave me the paperwork I would need. I went back to the lab where I had more blood drawn, had to do the whole pee in a cup thing, and then got chest xrays.

The chest xrays were pretty terrible. Surprisingly so. I had to stand in a very specific position with my arms out and my body was not cooperating.

Tests completed, I went to see the spine specialist. It was pretty evident how bad things are right now, and he was happy I'd already started the process for scheduling the surgery. Each visit, he does manual traction in which I have to lift my hips and he manipulates the vertebrae while we talk. This time, he asked me to lift my hips and I couldn't do it. Bridges have been my easiest exercise this whole time, so it really caught me off guard when I couldn't even lift up a tiny bit. I lost it and started crying on the table.

Fortunately, my doc is pretty awesome and he helped me so I could still feel like I did it myself and he moved the conversation on so I didn't feel weird about crying. Basically, the steroids have worn off and now I just have to wait it out and do whatever I can to alleviate pain until surgery. He told me I'm not allowed to go into the office anymore. I need to stay home and stay comfortable as much as possible. I need people to come do things for me instead of trying to do them myself. And I need to start taking the painkillers and stop worrying about it.

I eventually made it out of the office, and then had to head back up to my primary for one last test. The assistant spent 10 minutes hooking me up to an EKG machine, about 10 seconds to run the test, and another 5 unhooking everything.

Point was - it was a long day, and it's not even the end of my work day. I'm home now, and have a few meetings to run and lots of stuff to finish for tomorrow. I'll try to find a way to fit that in between my percocet highs and screaming pain fits.



And the Pain is Back

I feel like I'm back to square one right now. I can barely get out of bed and can't move around the house at all.

It's confirming that surgery is the right option, but it's pretty brutal right now.

Anyone want to come do my laundry for me?


Surgery Decisions

I met with the surgeon today. I have done quite a lot of research and talked to many people at this point, and I'm confident this is the right choice for me. I'll be having a microdiscectomy at the beginning of March.

This is a nice little demo of the surgery:

I should be back to working from home within a week and back at the office within two. MAYBE if we get an amazing snow dump in April or May I might even get a few runs in this season.

Fingers crossed now for a quick insurance authorization process.


Dad Stories

My aunt posted this lovely response to the video I posted of my dad singing Hound Dog. This is so like him, and it's heartwarming to know that the video wasn't of him singing some unknown version of the song, but his own application of the lyrics:
While Kenny was working at Hawkins Petroleum Equipment Co., every now and then when everything was quiet in the office, he would cut loose with the actual rendition of "Hounddog", about as loud as he could. It would certainly wake us all up! Then one day he was experimenting and found that the words to "Hounddog" would lend themselves to several familiar gospel tunes. I think the only tune that he couldn't get to work with the "Hounddog" words was "Amazing Grace". Fortunately. That's my story for today.
My favorite part of this is her the "Fortunately." I love my family.