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I thought I’d share one whole day of activities with you. I don’t have anyone to follow me around with a camera and take a video of everything I do, and quite frankly you wouldn’t get the color commentary the way I can express it in words. So you can just suffer a whole day with me in writing….
It’s 4:30am, my usual time to get awake. My body never adjusted to Pacific Time so I just let it do it’s thing. East Coast Time isn’t a bad thing anyway. I get to watch the sunrise through my patio doors and often I’m not disappointed by the beauty of an early morning sunrise coming up over the mountains. Having been confined for all those years to lay flat, and all the recuperation time, I cherish every streak of light in the sky, every bird that chirps and flies by or lites on my tree to sing to me. I am well, I am alive!
I didn’t think twice about rolling on my side and standing without a boost or delay to get motivated to stand to get out of bed, I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t need to hold onto the wall for support, nor did I feel like I had to turn on a light to make sure I didn’t fall. I wasn’t wobbly at all. When I sat on the commode, I didn’t think about holding on to anything on the way down, nor did I on the way back up. My motions are second nature to me now. Reaching to brush my hair and wash my face isn’t even the slightest of issues, I did it without needing to plant my feet in a stance to accommodate the possibility it might be too painful to stand long enough to do that. Brushing my teeth is a specific no- brainer, I just brush my teeth! No elbows on the edge of the sink to support my weight because the pain is so excruciating I don’t want to brush them.
On my way to the kitchen, I pass by the bedroom, a place Irarely am now. I close the door and smile knowing until tonight I won’t really need to lay down. The bunny wanted to be played with so I reached down, I didn’t have to sit down, to pick her up and walk into the kitchen to make breakfast. I didn’t need two hands to reach from one object or wall to the next item to stabilize my gait, I was too busy holding and talking to the bunny. I reached into her hutch to give her her morning greens and never stopped to straighten myself back up before continuing. I just stood up!
The eggs are on the bottom shelf now, more room for tall things on the top shelf. It’s OK, I can reach them without using the open refridgerator door for support. I also bent over a little farther to put away the bag of bunny greens in the drawer.
Ah, the smell of a fresh cooked breakfast, that’s a good thing now that I can stand long enough at the sink and stove to prepare myself a simple meal. The stool I used for 11 years is gone, it’s been getting in my way, and besides I don’t feel the need to sit when I cook or do dishes anymore. Breakfast with the bunny done, I head back to my room to change. I smile when I pull my leg up to put it through the opening of my undies standing up in the middle of the room. That’s something I couldn’t do not long ago, nor did I ever think I’d be able to! I didn’t have to lean against anything nor did I have to sit, or did I almost fall over from lack of balance. I just did it!
Candi, the bunny, wanted to play again. I got on the floor and laid on my tummy to coax her out of her hiding place to spend a little one on one time with her. NEVER before in the last 11 years did I ever attempt that particular move, getting on the floor, ESPECIALLY if no one was around! It’s become second nature to me if I want to let Candi know I’ll play with her. If I lay very still she’ll come out and jump on my back and run up and down the length of my body. It’s like an all over body massage, with no therapeutic benefit because she’s only four pounds! I don’t mind, it’s one of our ways to bond. Time to get up, roll to my side, tuck my good leg under my torso, use my elbow to lift, plant my other foot on the ground, and voila, I’m up off the floor, without needing someone to lift me up, or a chair or object next to me, or struggle to get up.
It’s laundry time! Bending from the waist is not possible since the XLIF, but bending to pick up the clothes isn’t something I have to think about either. I simply reach down bending at my hips, pick up the clothes, and in they go. Push a few buttons and on to the next task.
Pain? NOPE, not even as much as a twinge. I love the new me. Hmmm, a cup of coffee, and a check of my emails. Sitting is an activity relegated for purpose these days; at my desk to write at the computer, watch a little TV to get the news; not something I have to do to get my focus back. Most times I don’t use my hands any longer to boost myself out of a seat, I have the strength in my legs and back muscles and there’s no pain so I don’t have to compensate for it. I get out of the seat typically just using my legs, back and abdominal muscles. Those are the ones that were so compromised before because of the injury and all the pain! NOT ANY MORE!
Noticing our bottled water supply was getting very low in the fridge, I picked up two of the flats of water using my leg and arm muscles and, sitting in a chair loaded the fridge with the water. With little effort, the job was done! Pain? NOPE, not even a twinge! I think I’ll do a couple of things today, clean up the patio and back yard, and take in a swim! Cleaning the back yard was something I’ve been itching to do for a while now, like two years since we moved here! I want to plant some rose bushes and some annuals! Yes, it’s spring in Vegas already! Cool and warm enough to work outside! That’s the beauty of Vegas!
I decided to start with some general cleanup and raking, bending over to pick up the plastic bags and candy wrappers, newspaper and debris that blows into our yard when the wind kicks up. We’ve had plenty of that. Started moving some of the rocks the guys had to dig up and remove from the dirt where they buried Skittles. Up righted the artificial Christmas tree that’s in a planter, weighed it down with those big rocks. I think some went as much as 10 or 12 pounds! I moved the others in a more pleasing arrangement and dug up a sapling I’ve had my eye on since last year! I’ve been waiting to get a shovel in my hands to dig it up and plant it elsewhere. I emptied the compost bin and spread the compost around with a rake. I only got half the yard done because I had to stop to BBQ lunch! Pulling weeds makes me hungry!
BBQ’d chicken satay and broccoli and cauliflower, a great lunch! It kinda looks like rain and I was gonna go back out to do the rest of the yard but there’s always tomorrow for that. I want to watch Dr. Oz and then head to the pool. Pain? NOPE, not yet! (don’t think there’ll be any! LOL) I did a lot of raking since this tree we have in our yard not only drops its leaves, it has seed pods much like the cigar trees back east! (I think those are actually poplar trees back east) Anyway, this tree makes a real mess in the fall! Oh, I even cut back the rose bushes too! It’s looking pretty spiffy I think!
Well, off to watch Dr. Oz, then to the pool! Be back shortly!
OK, so Dr. Oz got me heading in the right direction. (this is a topic for a whole ‘nother post!) It’s so warm out, almost 70 degrees, that I decided to wear my suit and cover to the pool instead of clothes, I packed em and dressed after my shower. An hour and a half of upper and lower body exercises in the water (I will post a list of the water exercises in a different post a little later) and then a quarter mile of swimming! Any pain? NOPE, still none!
Home to cook my spouse some dinner and a light meal for me. Then an hour more of TV and finishing up this post. Dinner is a no-brainer for me anymore since no matter what I choose to cook, I can more than tolerate whatever action or body motion it requires, like chopping up onions at the sink or dicing peppers, or rolling out dough! All of those things I hesitated to do before my surgery! Dropping something on the floor and picking it up is also a no-brainer! I used to have to kick it over to where I could lean up against something to bend over to pick up or I used my toes to pick it up. Now, I just bend over, and pick it up!
I’m finding my biggest drawback for any of my activities is sitting at my computer! I really don’t have all that comfortable chair and my work space is very limited. I wish my computer battery hadn’t died on me so I could keep recharging it and then take my computer to different areas of the house, or out on the patio. Instead, until I get a new computer, I’m going to be forever connected to a wall plug. I know, I shouldn’t complain, some people don’t even have a computer! ’nuff said! LOL
As I sat in my recliner watching TV, Candi, our bunny and I snuggled under the throw-cover. She is getting used to not having Skittles around and I’m doing way more with her because she’ll let me. Picking her up or getting her out of her cage has become a common act, I don’t even think about how I’m going to lean and get her out or up. Good balance and no pain, that’s what it took! And I’ve got both. After the show it was back to her little den and I to brush my teeth (without pain) and then bed.
I’m really loving my freedom from pain, and to think of other things besides it. As I undress for bed, I look in a mirror, no I really look at my scars. For however small they are, and for as much relief they provided, I almost wish I could show them off! Not that I ever would! That would mean a bikini and yeah, I don’t see THAT happening ever in my future! LOL I’d swim naked before I’d swim in a bikini! Naked swimming would mean I would be in some secluded place by myself or with one other person… just sayin…. it’s a lot different than wearing a bikini to the beach or pool! Nonetheless, I’m still not bothered by the scars. I’m wearing them like a badge of honor! They are a constant reminder of where I was, and makes me appreciate where I am today! Any pain as I lay down to sleep? NOPE! It’s just another ordinary day! It was an AWESOME day!
I’m now 21 months post-op for my XLIF surgery, 11 months post-op for my ACDF surgery, and 9 months post-op for my total hip replacement. I don’t take ANY medication for pain at all. If my muscles are a little stiff, I have the skills now with the exercises (the ones I already posted for you) to work through the stiffness and I’m good to go! NOPE, no pain! I’m a very lucky person…
I hope someday everyone can feel as good as I do! But in the meantime, you all know what to do….. take care of you and yours and I’ll be back with some really good stuff very soon.