February 15, 2010 was exactly one month after my surgery and my surgeon follow up appointment. I had been feeling better but knew I wasn't necessarily ready to go back to work. Moving alot always brought about pain. So, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when going to my follow up appointment. Dr. B. never really mentioned at my consult what the "post surgery schedule" would be like. My doctor that sent me to her, Dr. D., said once that some surgeons are physical therapy advocates and others just do the surgery and send you back to the world as is. So, off to see Dr. B. I went. Weather was getting bad so the office was crazy, as they were trying to get everyone in and out quickly before it got any worse. It took less than 2 hours for my turn. Dr. B. asked me how I was feeling...said pain was normal even at 4 weeks post op. It wouldn't be until after week 6 that I should start feeling noticably better. She asked if I wanted to do physical therapy and I said "ABSOLUTELY!" That much of my recovery I knew I wanted to do. She was happy with my response and said she would see me back in 4-6 weeks and we headed to the appointment desk. I quickly asked if I had to go back to work and she shook her head no, like I was crazy for thinking I would be going back to work so soon.
My 'script for PT was written...3x a week for 4 weeks...and my appointment was made for March 29! Holy cow!!! The nurse said it was 5 weeks...but something didn't seem right - it wasn't until today...five days later...that I realized my appointment was actually 6 weeks later making it 10 weeks being off. If I'm cleared to go back to work the day after my appointment, I'll have been off work for 10w4d! I'm in shock! I never dreamed I would be off this long, though because I didn't ask the questions at my surgeon consult, I guess I wouldn't know what to expect!
I tend to forget the questions I have in my head when I go see Dr. B. ...like am i cleared to drive??? Minor detail! I knew I wouldn't survive another 6 weeks off without being able to drive. So, I called the nurse from the parking lot to leave her a message about it. She called a couple days later and said I was allowed to drive if not taking pain meds...WOOOHOOOOO I'M FREEEEEEE! Having been homebound for 4 weeks, it felt amazing just knowing that I could drive - even if I didn't go anywhere!
While still in the parking lot, I scheduled my first two PT sessions w/ the same office I had done PT before. . .also the office where Dr. D. is. I was to go in the following day for my PT evaluation, as there was a cancellation, and then two days after for my first true session.
February 16: PT evaluation w/ Alice (who I had for my first PT round in the fall). She did some measurements on my range of motion, which is VERY limited. I wasn't too shocked when I couldn't bend to any of the 4 sides very far and couldn't twist. Back muscles are very tight and they just don't give w/out pain. There was no PT that day but I did get the benefit of electric stimulation w/ ice. . .ahhhh! Heaven! My goal for the short term is moving w/out pain...longer term is none other than softball! Get me back on that field!!! A's short term goal for me was not to increase my pain thru therapy. Music to my ears! The stim was to decrease the pain and it definitely did! 15 minutes of heaven! ...Pain hit me at night, though I think it might have been more from driving for the first time than from any of the tests/measurements...not sure.
February 18: PT really gets started. The goal right now is to increase the strength in my trunk in order to use those muscles when I move. I learned 3 exercises and their value to me and did them. 1 set of 10 for each.... then, my 15 minutes of heaven again to end my sesssion!!! Homework: do the 3 exercises 2x a day, and increase gradually until I can do 3 sets of 10 of each exercise. Whew, that's rough! I expected increased pain after PT...and it happened. The pain hit around 7p and brought tears a'flowin'!!! I was trying to hold off on the pain medicine until closer to bedtime so I tried ice and a hot bath. . . .then finally couldn't take it any longer after round 2 of tears...medicine and sleep.
So, with the first two sessions in the books...I'm still getting better each day. I have PT two times a week for the next 3 weeks, then 1 week of 3x, and then the last session a week before I go back to the doctor. I just might call and try to reschedule for earlier since I'll be done w/ PT...we'll see. As much as I don't want to go back to work, I need to for my sanity and $$!
Healing takes time. . . .