I've been at home now for a full 3 days. I'm so happy to be surrounded by my dogs and my things in my home. I was nervofora out the car ride home from the hospital because the reports I'd read described the ride as quite painful. I had prepared ahead of time by requesting that my Dad go easy on the gas and brakes. I had also asked my parents to bring lots of pillows so that I could pad myself. And as for my house, I was fully prepared. I had read books, and blogs, and spoken to friends who'd had the surgery. I was sure I was fully prepared for just about anything.
I was so excited as the nurse wheeled me downstairs to the car waiting for me at the front entrance of the hospital. I used the skills I'd learned in physical therapy and managed to get into the car without twisting my torso. Once in the car, I put one pillow behind me, one in front of me, and one on each side so that I felt like a safely packed bottle of expensive wine (this was an expensive surgery!). My Dad was easy on the gas and brake pedals, and very gentle on the turns. I could feel the un-fused portion of my spine absorbing each and every bump in the road. As we pulled into a parking spot on the street in front of my house, I was relieved because I thought the most difficult part was over. I opened the door and my Dad helped me out of the car and onto the sidewalk. As I stepped onto the street to cross to my house, I realized that the road was rough, bumpy, and uneven, much unlike the flat, smooth floors of the hospital. With a little extra caution, I made it across the street and up my uneven, broken steps, and into my house. I was so glad to finally be home. I walked over to the couch and awkwardly managed to sit down. Getting up was a little more difficult. Next up, my bed. I stepped up onto the stool beside my very tall bed, slowly laid onto my side, and then gently rolled onto my back just as I'd learned in physical therapy. My memory foam mattress felt like concrete, and it felt as though the titanium rods in my back were pressing against my mattress. It hurt and I wanted up, but I quickly realized that there wasn't a handle on the side of my bed like there had been on my hospital bed. My Dad managed to wedge my walker between my dresser and my bed so that I could use the handle of it to roll myself back onto my side and push myself into a sitting position. I began to panic a little because there wasn't a single place in my house where I could sit or sleep comfortably. The hospital isn't like a hotel. I couldn't just go back and ask to check-in for another 5 nights. My Dad suggested that I try the couch because he thought it was much softer. I tried it, but it wasn't any better. Luckily, I'd read about others who'd had this same issue, so I knew what to try. A quick trip to Wal-Mart and 2 mattress toppers later, my bed was more comfortable than the hospital bed. I've now slept comfortably in my own bed for the last 3 nights. The amazing part is that the quality and duration of my sleep is better than it was before I had surgery, even with having to wake multiple times throughout the night to take medication. My Mom has taken on the night shift, ensuring that I receive all of my medication on time. She's not only complied, but seemimgly embraced my crazy system for recording and monitoring every pill that goes into my body. This has been such a huge relief for me because the simplest things like getting in and out of bed are so complicated. I don't know how I'd do this without the help of my parents.