Surgery 6-week follow up

My spine surgery was six weeks ago tomorrow; hard to imagine, really, that it’s been that long. I had a follow up appointment today with the surgeon and had smooth transportation to and from his office using the Meadow Lake van, which is equipped for wheelchair transport. I had a long list of questions for him that didn’t take that long to ask, really, but I felt that he listened and heard me, and answered what he could.

First, the small wound in my back isn’t bad and is superficial but it appears to be infected, so he put me on antibiotics for two weeks. Second, he is taking me off of Lyrica and Cymbalta which I started taking in the hospital. Neither of us thought I needed them, so I’ll taper off and then stop, which is fine with me. I don’t want to be taking meds just because someone put me on them. [And that reminds me that a doctor here, without talking with me or seeing any test results, decided to put me on liquid protein twice a day. It tastes foul and I’m refusing to take it, instead eating protein bars in my drawer that have twice as much protein.]

One of my biggest questions/concerns was bending. I can’t go home until I can put my shoes on myself, and I can’t do that until I can bend. The doctor told me I can start bending and twisting now as I can tolerate it, which should mean handling shoes and doing some bathroom cleanup that wasn’t possible before. I’m thrilled.

I also asked about the “heavy leg” sensation where my right foot feel as though it’s wrapped in a weight. Unfortunately, this seems to be related to the surgery and could last for quite a while. Full recovery for both the stenosis surgery and the conus swelling that’s causing the leg weakness will take 8 months to a year, and I need to be patient. There isn’t a road map as to what will come back first if at all; no two people are alike. So I just have to wait it out.

But he said I also need to be working to strengthen my muscles as much as I possibly can in the next months. I got the impression that could make a difference as to how much of a recovery I get. I’m doing therapy every day here, but when I go home, I need to keep that up and not limit myself to whatever days of additional formal therapy I get. The doctor was surprised, I think pleasantly so, when I told him that I was walking about 275 feet a day with breaks, and could swing my legs on and off bed, and he wanted me to continue with that progress. Me, too.