Originally I thought it might be hard for me to appreciate progress. Generally when something is happening to you the gradual changes are hard to see, but that's not been the case here. I feel like I notice the shifts in my healing all the time. Its wonderful! Maybe its because I spent so many years with such minimal improvement, moving a glacial speed, that now surgical recovery feels like I'm zooming.
Because it makes me smile, I'll share with you some of these specific examples of progress:
* I have worked my way up to walking three blocks (which technically equals 6 blocks cause I count doubling back to get home). We go nice and slow with pauses for water and I feel good.
* I have clean hair right now! Attempt #2 at washing was easy and wonderful and I never was so happy to be grease free!!
* When I brush my teeth, now I can lean down enough to spit into the sink without hurting my neck. It seems like a small victory but its really been a perk these last two days not to get toothpaste dribble on my clothes.
* I have gained back 2 pounds of what I lost post surgery. I have a history of my weight being all over the place since the accident so I'm not going to stress too much about how much I lost with surgery. I'm just going to eat many small meals of healthy, nutrient rich food and get back to a decent weight whenever that may happen. And eating has been rough, so I'm pretty pleased with 2 pounds.
* I can read again! It was blurry for me at first (I jumped in a bit early) but now that I've eased back into things I'm doing well.... I still can't concentrate for long periods of time but I'm back to books and that makes me happy. A big thanks goes out to Frank, who knows me so perfectly, because this is what he brought to the hospital...
* My spinal headache is much much better. I rarely feel the siren pains when I sit up anymore.
* If you imagine looking straight ahead to be 0 degrees, then directly over your shoulder to be 90 degrees, I can turn my head about 60 degrees both left and right. (this one I've slowly worked on and I feel especially proud about)
* I have been able to cut back my oxycontin from every 4 hours to every 6 hours without problem and just today I started taking them every 8 hours and I feel okay. I still love my muscle relaxer too much to mess with that, but for now I feel good about the change. (I'm posting this picture because I think its really sweet how Neil has my meds set up in chart form with his own abbreviations. Plus, he even has the bottles in order by size.)
this is a financial man turned nurse at its best
* My sutures have healed and they will be taken out tomorrow morning (by my neurosurgeon, not by Neil). This means we've successfully made it through the time period of all the scary infection issues and the potential leaking CSF complications!
* I can sit upright for a bit longer than 15 minutes before having to rest my neck muscles again on a pillow
* I am, um, regular (that might be waaay too much information but if anyone of you have been through a surgery, you know how much of a victory it can be when you conquering your digestion.)
* I can eat a whole bowl of something - in one sitting - without feeling it won't stay down! A whole bowl!!
In fact, here I am doing an amazing feat - enjoying a (very generous edible arrangement) fruit flower while standing...
There's still a long way to go, being about 2 weeks into a 3 month recovery, but as I move along I'm happy to celebrate all those good things I can measure!