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Follow Up

This morning was my follow up appointment with my pain specialist for the pain pump surgery. I was very anxious for the appointment as he would be removing all the tape and bandages covering my tummy and back.

The short ride to town was hard…my lower back was hurting intensely and I could not have any pressure on it! So crazy…I had not felt that type of pain for a while…however, each of us knows how we can never predict where our pain will be!

We discussed the “improvement” in my pain…the absence of the sharp stabbing sensations…and spent time going over what steps we will be taking to achieve our ultimate goal.  First step is to reduce my long term opioid med by about 30 percent. He increased the output of my pain pump by about 20 percent. I will go back in to see him next Wednesday for another increase.

Our ultimate goal, is for the pain pump to handle my usual, every day pain…and having the short acting opioid for break through (flares) pain.

It is SO surreal right now! It has been so long in coming…something that my body is responding to that will help me get off the opioids and thus alleviate the side effects (the nasty constipation).

My specialist used a hand held device that had what could be likened to a hockey puck type attachment that I held against my clothing over the pain pump. The device receives information from my pump and also sends information to my pump.  Very cool! The initial adjustment was made before removing any of the tape and bandages.

We also had time to ask questions…so we talked about exactly where the catheter was placed into my spine and where the medication was being delivered to.  Basically, placed into my spine in the mid-back, and placed mid-shoulder blade for delivery…this maximizes body wide the medication without getting too much to my brain. (This placement was determined by my “normal” pain typically being 60 percent above the waist and 40 percent below the waist.)

I was assisted to sit on the exam table…and with many apologies, he started removing the tape and bandages. The first bandage to be removed was from the right side of my tummy where there pain pump is located. He was SO impressed with how well my body is healing! (This is a first for me…as I usually heal very slowly!) Absolutely no signs of any type of infection….very little bruising…very little swelling (and I mean little compared to how my tummy has swollen before after procedures)! He then removed the tape and bandage from my back. Again, he had the same comments! (My husband took a picture of my back so I could see…and I was amazed!)

The excitement in the room was palpable! My pain specialist and his nurse were smiling ear-to-ear! To have such a huge positive start on this new adventure, had us all super excited!

We will have several more visits before we get the pain pump fully dialed in…baby steps…although I should say “giant” baby steps! Each step is in the right direction…more reliance upon the pain pump and less reliance upon the oral opioids.

I am supposed to continue wearing the binder as additional support. If I am reclining, I can take it off. At this time, it is easiest to just wear it.

I was also told that I could take a shower!!!! It will be another 4 to 6 weeks before I will be allowed to take a bath or get into a swimming pool.

Christmas Tree

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Our son was so excited today! We rearranged the living room so that the Christmas tree could go up! Of course, he was in charge of the decorating! And, his enthusiasm is infectious!!!!

We were able to get the last of our Christmas shopping done (for Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousin)…….the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. He did a great job (as usual) in selecting the gifts for each!

A Great Day

A great, yet tiring day! It was the first day of Second Season Elk. We were up early and to our location in plenty of time.

The wind was starting to whip around and the sky was darkening. We hiked and scoped several spots. My son and I headed out one ridge while my husband went back towards the truck to check another spot.

He signaled to us…..so we hustled to him. He spotted a herd of elk on the hillside. We raced down the draw and then started climbing the next ridge as quickly as we could. We knew we would be able to see the elk once we made that ridge.

With hoods drawn…..hunched and moving as quickly and quietly as possible, we moved into place to scope. The wind picked up, the rain and hail starting beating down.

It was an awesome sight! Small herd feeding and making its way to the tall timber. Unfortunately, the storm got them moving faster than the normal feeding pace. We saw a number of cows but no bulls.

As we turned to start the long trek back to the truck, soaked and fighting the wind, I couldn’t stop smiling! I had kept up!

I still have a long ways to go to get my physical strength back to where I’d like it. Yet today I was able to keep my husband within eyesight and a close distance. I was able to scamper down the hill and climb quickly. Yes….I was out of breath at the top of that second ridge!

So exciting to have this wonderful day with my guys! So awesome to feel good and to truly be getting my health and strength back.

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Early Morning Sky

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Beauty in the High Desert

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Cloud Play

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A Question Asked

Our son has been enjoying Spring Break with his Dad. We are so lucky that my husband has his own business and the supplemental odd jobs can be scheduled to make sure he is available if our son is home.

It is tough having the “set” full-time job, however, that gives us stability. And work has been so good to me when I have had to work from home during recovery periods after surgery.

This leads me to the title of this blog. I joined my son one evening this week to look for pheasant eggs. Once they were collected and he was cleaning them, he asked me about when I would be able to spend time at home….”like I did when I came home from the hospital”.

It then dawned on me how much he liked me being around the house…..interacting with him as I could….even though it was limited. At first, I was saddened. I would love to have more time at home! Then I realized, that even when I was “down physically”……during those periods of recovery after those surgeries……lying on the couch….or reclining in my chair…..I was “present” with my son.

I always tried to be awake from a nap when he got home from school….and when I was working from home, I could take those short breaks and have short periods of one-on-one time with him.

It is reassuring to me that he thinks positively of those periods! He remembers me being at home when he got off the bus….the time that I was at home for part of the summer. Those are the things top of his mind!

I know he has not forgotten how sick I was….questions do still come up on occasion. It is just so wonderful that he is past the worry and concern. His questions now are more of the “exactly how my insides differ”…..like when he asked out of the blue….”just how much of your large intestine do you still have? I mean exactly how much, Mom?” How could I not smile?!

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