April 23, 2016
The weather was finally nice enough outside where it wasn't raining or cold. I could finally get some fresh air for an extended period of time, and sit in the sun without being too hot. Until you're in a sheep's wool vest 24/7 you have no idea how hot this vest gets. Even though I was hurting quite a lot, the pain was still nothing in comparison to the pain I had after my left scapula (shoulder blade) surgery the previous year. My pain medications were helping so I decided to take advantage of the nice weather, and sit in the front yard to paint a birdhouse with my nieces Lizzy and Emily.
|My nieces and I painting our birdhouses to hang in the trees.|
April 24, 2016
It was my first outing out of the house to a place other than a medical office. My niece Lizzy needed to pick up a new pair of shoes. It wasn't going to be a long errand so I decided to go with just to get out. I was fine while in the car (minus the bumpy roads), but as soon as my sister parked the car, and it was time to go inside the store, I was so nervous. It was my first steps out into the "real world" where people don't see a person in a halo brace every day. That meant people would stare at this contraption on my head since there is no way to hide it. I don't like when people stare but it is something you have to learn to accept when you're in a brace like this. People will stare no matter what, and taking those first steps out into the "real world" are always the hardest ones. To those that are scared to leave their house because they're in a halo, just do it. You'll be happy you did. It will eventually hit a point where you could care less if people are looking at you. Overall, most people will look at you compassionately and move on with their lives. Others may engage you in conversation because they're curious about what happened that caused need for such a brace. Sadly, some people are just flat out rude and gawk at you like you're from planet Mars; try not to let those ones get to you. Fortunately for me, on this particular day, I didn't encounter any rude people.
|You will notice my niece Lizzy in the background. That is her impersonation of somebody that would be rude staring at me.|
The day started out great, and ended horrible. I had been looking forward to this day since the first time I stood up after the neck fusion; every time I was standing, I was having a lot more pain in my neck because my left shoulder was ridiculously week and was pulling on it. My new braces to support my arms were finished, and were ready to be picked up! When I got to the medical office I couldn't wait to try them on.
|It felt so much better to have something for my arms to rest on so it could relieve some of the neck, and left scapular (shoulder blade) pain that I had been feeling.|
|This is what the braces look like from the back. They're secured by a large piece of stretchy fabric that velcros' in the front.|
|This is Thomas, and he is the mastermind behind making this type of brace design for my arms. They're essentially arm rests that can travel with you.|
|My niece Lizzy and I. The "arm rest" braces worked great. It was the first walk since my surgery that I didn't go back home wanting to chop my shoulders/shoulder blades off.|
It was just one of those days that was rough...possibly because the Blackhawks lost. All kidding aside, after surgery it's always a roller coaster ride, and this particular day just happened to be a really rough one. I was having a lot of pain in my neck. I could feel the muscles on my left shoulder blade that were repaired in January 2015 ripping, and I just wanted to escape my body because there was no comfortable position to get into. I just stayed home and rested. I think all of the activity that had been going on over the past several days had caught up to me and my body was saying, "Enough!" When this happens the best things you can do is just stop and let your body try to heal. The one good thing that did happen that day was that I finally got my hair washed.
|My mom washing my hair...my dog Daisy trying to assist. Again, it's really important that you don't get the vest portion of the halo wet. We use several towels to avoid this from happening & thus far, it has worked out really well.|
|I think my mom should have her nursing degree just from all the "learn as you go" experience that she has gotten with me over all these years.|
|Cleaning of the front pins|
Let's see, on this day I stepped foot into a restaurant for the first time. My mom and I did not eat there; instead we waited for our food order to be finished, and then brought it home to eat. There were many stares in the restaurant, and I wanted nothing more than to have the "Invisibility Cloak" that Harry Potter has. Seeing as no such thing exists, it was another "suck it up & deal with it" moment.
|First time in a restaurant picture|
April 29/30, 2016
Nothing exciting occurred on either one of these days. I did figure out a little trick to make eating a bit easier. I started putting my food on top of a box so the bowl or plate wasn't so far away from my mouth. On the 30th, I just watched movies. My dog Daisy stayed by me to keep me company.
|It was much easier to eat once the bowl of food was closer to my mouth. I didn't make a mess nearly as much.|
|None of this medical stuff is ideal but I try my best to make something good come from it.|
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