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I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to get so far behind on these updates. I apologize to those of you who have faithfully checked day after day to see what’s going on and been repeatedly disappointed by the lack of news. Okay, so only one of you has been doing that. Whoever you are (Fran) we love you for it! 

While I’m apologizing, let me say I’m sorry for the quality of the pictures below–the first since the surgery. Claire has been understandably resistant to having a camera aimed in her direction since August 8th (I can’t blame her) and I took these without adequate preparation—like properly focusing the camera or knowing what I was doing. Still better than nothing I think. What do you think?

Off to see the doctor-1

Off to see the doctor-1

Last Thursday we had our first follow-up appointment with one of Claire’s surgeons. The appointment went well. All, apparently, is happening as expected and as it should. 

Off to see the doctor-2

Off to see the doctor-2

Claire has been cleared to begin physical therapy (although not required to do so). The nerve pain down the hip and leg has receded and the incision has healed beautifully. Remaining is the pain deriving from the restless and recalcitrant muscles that are resisting the realignment required by the surgical alterations. (Alliteration anyone?) 

Time, mild exercise and adequate rest, now step forward as the primary components of her healing. 

She’s doing well. Except for the occasional “bend too far” experience with its 1-2 day repercussions, she’s walking around more, going out more and generally re-engaging in her life more. 

She’s gradually making the transition from patient to partner-moving “on the spectrum”, as you might say.

I say, “Welcome back, Sweetie!”

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It’s been almost exactly a month since the Head Weeder and Lady of the Manor here at NPG had her back surgery

Her recovery seems to be proceeding apace. She’s taking fewer and less powerful meds, with the doses spaced farther apart — certainly a significant indicator. Also, she is getting around better; engaging in more (formerly routine) domestic activities like caring for PV, the resident feline princess. 

PV

PV, Resident Feline Princess

Hello

Hello...you have gifts?

Oh really?

What do you mean, "No"?

We’ve had a couple short outings with no negative consequences. And aside from the occasional stubbed toe (mind the gap!) or other small daily physical insult magnified by her sensitive condition, all appears to be well. 

The challenge now, as we discovered the last time she moved through this process, is to continue to be vigilant and attentive to the form of her movement and to stay attentive to maintaining a measured pace as she moves. 

We are both deeply grateful for your prayers and good wishes.

Today we had the first post op visit at the doctor’s office. 

Diane, the waiting room attendant with the wry sense of humor ushered us quickly to the inner office exam rooms. We didn’t even have to sit down. (These people are great!) 

We had a pleasant minute or two visiting again with Edee and Tina before meeting with the irrepressible Nurse Mary Lou. It’s so nice to feel welcomed! 

Mary Lou viewed Claire’s surgical site with satisfaction and pronounced it healthy and healing nicely. She then clipped the sutures and removed them. To our great amazement, the wound stayed closed and nothing came plummeting out on the floor. 

Okay, we weren’t that amazed. 

Anyway, we had a short discussion about pain and med management, shared a couple quick stories, shared a few chuckles and we were out of there.

Not much new to report on Claire’s progress. That’s good news.

The new activity/rest/medication matrix seems to be working well and I think we’ve achieved the best balance we can at the moment. She is occasionally extending the time period between pain med doses and is being very careful in monitoring her movements so as to avoid BLT. 

Claire and I are very pleased with the attention she is receiving via the blog. Naturally we welcome phone calls and visits and emails too. But the blog has proved to be a very good way to keep the most people up-to-date with the least effort for all. Thanks to all of you for making the effort a success!

I want to offer a special thank you to all of you at the Target Pharmacy at 6000 Sawmill Road who may be “tuning in” for updates. You have always gone above and beyond what is required to help us with our pharmaceutical needs and we are very, very grateful for that. It is a pleasure—and something of a surprise—to find such a consistently friendly, compassionate group of people working within such a huge merchandisiing machine of a company. Thanks for “being there” for us.

The last two days have brought significant pain challenges for Claire. We began to wonder if she had somehow done one of the evil BLTs without realizing it. (The evil BLTs are bending, lifting and twisting.) Other than naps and meals, her days since coming home have consisted of short walks around the garden, sitting in a well cushioned chair on the patio, and watching the incredibly suave Lord Peter Wimsey solve crimes on TV (via library DVDs) while slightly reclined in her mom’s normally very comfortable easy chair. 

There didn’t seem to be any exterior indication of a problem. The suture was clean and not inflamed. There were no unexpected protuberances. We couldn’t understand why she was having such a problem. 

So we called our faithful surgery recovery go-to person Nurse Mary Lou. The ever-reliable, plain-speaking Mary Lou laid it out simply (paraphrasing), “You just had major surgery, girl. Your body is going to take awhile to get adjusted to the new situation. There will be plenty of pain.” 

Sometimes life just sucks, doesn’t it?