It’s a bit of a tradition to play some cards or board games during the summer holidays and especially on Christmas day. I did, but that is not what this post is about.
While I was at the beach last week, I was casually sweeping the floor – the sand these kids trail through the place is phenomenal! As I went about my task I heard a very loud, distinct and unusual pop sound from my back. I froze. My friend who was in the same room, was looking for where the noise had come from. She thought it sounded electrical, but I knew it was mechanical.
Almost 3 years ago I had major spinal surgery where I had two titanium rods screwed into either side of my spine from my shoulder blades (T8) to my sacral spine (S1) and into my hips. I wrote about this experience in more detail here.
I knew something had happened to my ‘hardware’. I was afraid to move, but as I attempted some small movements, I found that I could. Apart from the initial sudden pain, I could move without much pain at all. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what might be going on inside my body.
My initial thought was that I had popped a screw. This can happen when there is too much pressure on the area, where the fusion has failed or when there may be deterioration of the bone the screw is in.
That night I could feel things moving around. Every time I moved, my back would creak & groan like an old barn door. That is a weird feeling, let me tell you.
The next day, as planned I packed the kids up and headed home. I knew I would need to get an xray, so had to book in with my doctor. I managed to get a cancellation on the very last appointment of the day, on the last day she was in before taking her holidays. I’m lucky to have a really great GP. Still not much pain, but I’m walking stiffly and the groaning and grinding coming from my back continued.
The following day I spent all morning trying to find someone to look after the kids so I could get in for the xray. With many friends away on holidays, my support network was a bit thin on the ground. I finally gave in and asked my poor aged parents come come over to watch the boys – something I’m trying not to do. The boys love them to death and they love them right back, but they are elderly now and having a whirling dervish (L who is about to turn 6 and has autism & an intellectual impairment) a 2 year old (N – say no more!) and a future heavy weight champion (J – 18m) – well, let’s just say it can be quite a draining experience.
I head off for my xray and I can see by the look on the sonographer’s face, that apart from having a lot of hardware, there is something going on. She suggested I come and have a look – and there’s the snap part of the story. Both my rods have snapped.
Here comes the patience. I ring my surgeon’s clinic, but…it’s the summer holidays and he is on holidays in another part of the world. He will be back on the 15th. I’ve been talking to his clinical nurse who is one of those super efficient, dynamic, right hand woman kind of people. I feel a bit better every time I talk to her. She is also on holidays and has been ringing me daily to check that I am OK. Instructions are to wait, do NOTHING. Do not lift, do NO housework, take it easy. Did I mention I have three little children in my care? If anything changes pain-wise, I need to get me to emergency asap.
So apart from shedding some tears, losing my cool regularly, feeling a bit depressed about my lot in life and feeling overwhelmed by what it might all mean – more surgery, massive amounts of support and help needed on a 24 hour basis, having to tell everyone (hate that and yet…here I am dear reader), dealing with the bureaucracy that is child protection etc, I am trying to stay positive, make a plan and recruit some help.
In general, I’m good until I’m not good – like today when L made a diabolical smeary mess all over his room, bed, carpet and himself. That’s not something you can ring and friend and say, drop everything, get over here and clean this shit up – literally! That’s when the going gets tough. Sorry for sharing that – there’s somethings you really shouldn’t share and that’s probably one of them, but it’s late and it’s my reality.
So, patience, people. I’m working on it. I’m also working on my optimism. That is all.