Well, I'm back. Did you miss me? Let me tell you what's been going on the past couple of months.
I have had back and neck problems for the past several years, but the first of November it reached the point that I couldn't put even the slightest weight on my left leg. It was horrendous but, dummy that I am, I insisted I could get through the holidays without any treatment and just stayed drugged up until my surgery, which was scheduled for January.
Granted, I did, in my opinion, have the greatest neuro-surgeon in Augusta, Dr. Ildemaro Volcan. I went to see him before the surgery and, as he was explaining the procedure, I almost backed out. I don't remember a lot about the talk except for the fact that he said I would be in excruciating pain. Come on; it couldn't possibly be more painful than it already was.
The surgery went fine, according to Dr. Volcan. I have better words to describe it, but they probably couldn't be printed. At first, the pain wasn't that bad. What could hurt when you're in a fog? They kept me that way for three or four days.
The only time I yelled was when the nurses each grabbed the sides of my sheet and threw me over on to a new bed. It didn't matter that I was screaming for my momma and, yes, even in my fog, I knew they were throwing me around.
Of course, everyone had an excuse. "Mrs. Fickle, you would not have liked it if we went slowly. Trust us, we did the right thing." Right for who?
Getting up for the first time was a blast. It felt so good they had to up my meds to the point that I was trying to get out of my bed myself and go shopping.
Weird how drugs can affect you. I thought the nurses worked at Walmart and I could not for the life of me understand why they wouldn't let me shop at their store. It turned out they didn't appreciate me getting out of bed by myself. Guess it was a toss-up between my screaming or hallucinating.
The real pain started when they released me from the hospital. I couldn't lie down in my bed to sleep at night. Instead, for a week or so, I slept in my recliner in the den. Home health nurses came and went, three different ones every week. In fact, the first day they came, it took me forever to get to the door. The door bell frightened me so much I fell down in my kitchen. Fifteen minutes later, I was able to get to the door and wave the nurse in before she left.
Finally, I actually was able to get behind the wheel of my car after five weeks stuck in the house - five weeks of pain which, at least, gradually went away. Now he's looking at what is necessary to fix my neck.
Spinal surgery: The most horrifying two words in the world. If you ever hear them, run!
(Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.)
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