Saturday, March 30, 2013

B +5

Saturday morning.
5 days since spinal fusion.

I am home at my parents house. Paul collected me from hospital yesterday lunch time and we drove the hellish 1 hours journey (broken up in the middle with a Costa) to their house and the children.

What a relief it is to be home. The children are noisy (Niamh in particular, knows and loves me again and it is delightful). The house is so comfortable. Paul and my sister are here. My parents are loving me and taking care of me as only parents can (and as you can only truly appreciate once you become a parent) and I am just so happy to be surrounded by my family.

I am physically uncomfortable. The pain I feared beforehand is very real. Walking is currently a slow shuffle with walking sticks. There is no getting away from it. I laid in bed last might and cried over the ache. But I still havent encountered the 'catch' from beforehand, so I am actually winning.

For posterity's sake, my current status of movement on day 5:

* Walking is a slow shuffle with sticks
* Getting to a sitting position (bending my back and legs simultaneously) hurts
* 'Log rolling' (literally rolling your body like a stiff log) into bed hurts like a very rude word
* Bending to pick something up (or to kiss the kidlets) is not an option, I am simply too stiff
* My hips ache like another rude word
* I can't lift my arms higher than my shoulders as my back isn't strong enough
* My wound ITCHES! (Obviously I shouldn't be scratching it, it is bandaged and too new, but the irony of not being able to reach round and scratch it even if I did want to is not lost on me!)
* my wound is swollen. If you look at yourself in the mirror, side on, your spine dips in and curves in from your shoulders, before coming out again to form your buttocks. Mine currently drops down to my buttocks in a straight line. Looks most odd.

Improvements I am already noticing:

* From day 3 to day 5 my core movement has already improved enough for me to shuffle my hips and 'wiggle' slowly into a better position in bed, rather than getting out and starting a 'log roll' again.
* I can get out of bed on my own and with less discomfort
* I can wiggle my foot vigorously enough to get my slippers on by myself

Ok, they are little things - but they feel monumental right now.

And so starts day 5. Thanks for reading - I leave you with a few poignant shots of last 36 hrs xxxx

Thursday, March 28, 2013

B +3

Hello Clanettes. I've never blogged from my phone before so forgive any weird formatting, I can sort that later. I just wanted to briefly say hi, and put down my thoughts on the last three days. Hence B +3.

If you didn't already know, hello, where have you been..? I had my spine fused on Monday.. The official surgical title is 'Instrumented decompression and lateral mass fusion (PLF-posterior lateral fusion) L3-S1'.. Yeah. That.

Monday was B(Back/spine fusion) day and it was pretty drawn out. The Bigs went to school in the morning, with humbling tears from Lochie and I again wondered if this was the right thing to be doing.

My parents arrived mid morning, they had coffee (I was nil by mouth from 7am - I had forced down porridge and coffee at 6.58)and we left them with Niamh to go to hospital at mid day. I had been told surgery would be at 2pm. Paul helped me with my bed socks and I was all set in my gown by 1.15pm.. 2pm came... 3pm and some pre-meds came... 4pm... 5pm... Eventually at 6.30pm I was taken to surgery.

Then suddenly it was 11.15pm and I was sharply awake in intensive care. I remember seeing Paul, but it was a long night and my only real memories are of loud noises and oxygen masks.

Tuesday day blurred into Monday night really. I had an epidural for pain relief, as well as my own morphine drip, on top of that I was given regular paracetamol and ibuprofen. I also had constant oxygen up my nose. Paul and my parents visited, Lucy and Dave came and then Rachel cheered me up early Wednesday morning.

During Wednesday lunch time I was moved out of intensive care, to my own room and my parents came again, bringing my sister and Niamh to see me. Seeing Niamh was actually pretty hard because she wouldn't come to me or cuddle me and she just clung to my Mum.

After school Paul brought all the kidlets to see me and we had some cake for Paul's birthday (next year we'll kill it Christie ❤)

I don't want to go into too much detail for you Clanettes, but I was pretty poorly over night Weds into today (Thursday) with diarrhea and you can imagine that trying to get up from a bed you are wired to with morphine and catheters was not pleasant or easy, after such a surgery too.

Needless to say the physio lady was amazed at my capacity for movement this morning and I have had a glorious shower. And regal like, I now write to you from my hospital bed in a clean nightie.

I'm tired, I don't feel like I have slept for 4 days and obviously last nights poorlyness has taken its toll on me.

From a Back point of view, I feel better than I thought I would on day 3. I certainly didn't think I'd feel well enough to blog! I feel tender, I feel bruised, my back feels like it wants to split open. But you know what? I haven't felt any of the old catching pain, so I'll take it!

I haven't really had a chance to look at the wound, its all taped up, but I reckon it must be at least 8ins long, straight up from the top of my buttocks, straight through my first and most favorite tattoo (boooo!) and half way up my back. Impressive. Its hugely swollen. As a reference for my sister, I am walking like the alien dad from 'Mac and me'...!!

So there you go. Day 3 is done. Thanks for reading xxx

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back for good..

Clanettes. Tomorrow is B-day and I wanted to write a reflective blog entry, full of promise and hope and humour, but actually, I am feeling very fragile and I don't have the glibness in me today.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and support my nearest and dearest have shown me, I have cried more tears than I thought possible. I can't thank you all, but you know who you are. I have appreciated every single detail.

There will be sporadic posts as and when I can Clanettes, but I'll be Back. You know that. Bigger. Badder. Better and Bionic x x x

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gan Gan's 60th birthday

As my sister and I thought about and wrote a menu and food list for the holiday week, we settled on pork taco's (Jamies, obvs!) for the evening of my Dads birthday. Tasty, easy party food. The tacos lent themselves to a Mexican theme. Cue a bottle of tequila, some Mexican hats, mariachi music, mahoosive moustaches... and pinatas.

Who wants to buy a pinata (Actually, half way through this process, when every surface in my kitchen was covered in dripping paper mache, I must confess, I did wonder at my sanity and at how spending £5 on a paper donkey would have been perhaps prudent..!) - in true Christie style, we got our craft on. The Kidlets LOVED it. Apparently there is nothing better than paper mache mush!

We followed the basics of these video instructions from youtube:
and got cracking!
They needed a second coat, but over the course of a weekend, we got some pretty sturdy looking pinatas done!
We waited to decorate them once we arrived on holiday, to ensure perfect transportation (despite their sturdy look, and given it was our first attempt at paper mache, I wasn't sure how strong they would actually be and so we saved popping the internal balloons to keep structural integrity intact)
My sister totally got on board with decorating them, and I really enjoyed the second stage!
I think we did a pretty good job!
It will be hard to see them smashed apart for the prizes inside - we thought we would take bets on whose is the strongest (Paul thinks his will be, and he may be right, he was not frugal with my paper mache!).

On reflection, despite the gloopy clearing up, we'd never have been able to buy these. Lochie loved researching and planning the whole process on the internet, they all loved the activity and they were were proud to have made something that was such a big part of Gan Gan's birthday party - the sweets and prizes weren't too shabby either!

The day of Gan Gans birthday dawned and we set to re-creating Mexico in a converted barn in Devon... This is how it went...


We had a glorious day with mariachi festival music and much laughter, I hope that my Dad enjoyed it as much as we did - I think he did!

Today is our last day of holiday, and tomorrow we return home and to reality.
Thanks for reading x x

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Birthday slippers

We all chipped in and got my Dad a beautiful chess set for his birthday, in addition he got a few extra bits and bobs.
Two Christmas' ago I made all of my immediate family a pair of felt slippers each, and my Dad, bless his cotton socks (bless his felt slippers) still wears his - tatty and ratty that they know are. I love that! When I made them I didn't realise their durability and I assumed that after the initial 'Oh! You made us slippers! How lovely!' they would be put in a dark wardrobe.. But no, I have resoled my Dads slippers once, and re non-slipped them twice.. They have definitely been worn to death and I have loved loved loved that he was worn them.

For his birthday, with input from my sister, I made him a new pair. I felted a woollen coat from my mother and up-cycled it. This time I have made the sole twice the thickness, gluing two pieces together before I stitched them, in the hopes that they won't need re-soling so quickly.

Putting the 'glue' (its actually copydex, a specific type of glue that dries to a rubber non slip finish) on the sole makes them non slip and increases their life span.
I have already mentioned that my sister had surgery last week and is recuperating, and obviously I am going in for surgery next week.. We put a little ditty on the wrapping - new slippers, to take care of his feet, because we'll be keeping him on his toes for the next few weeks.. tee hee.

Continuing with the foot theme, we also did a series of foot prints this week, all of his offspring with names and current ages, which we have framed and called 'The footprints of your legacy'.. There is also space in the middle incase I am lucky enough to get another niece or nephew in the future..

Love you Daddy. Happy birthday x x x

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Its the fourth day of our seven day holiday and I think its safe to say we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The accommodation is out of this world and there is oodles of space for everyone and everything.
We have settled into a little routine, where after a family breakfast, my parents go out for a jaunt, Paul goes out for exercise (with or without the Bigs - he and Lochie are out this morning, Paul is running, Lochie is cycling) and my sister and I potter with the babies. Whoever is home for lunch has a family lunch, but everyone is back in for dinner. I have been doing the cooking, and we having been eating Jamies 15 min meals - obvs!

What I have really cherished this week, apart from quality time with my family and the opportunity to rest, is the time with my sister. Em and I haven't lived together since we were teenagers at home, and whilst we have been together for holidays and celebrations and Christmas and the like every year since, work and other commitments have meant that we haven't spent such amazing time together. It never fails to amaze me how life can throw you a curve ball in terms of being poorly, and in the process of dealing with the fall out where she is recuperating and I am avoiding the life activities that cause me pain, you can create such treasured memories.

My Dads faux birthday is tomorrow (its actually on Friday, but we will be travelling home as this house was only available to rent Fri-Fri, so he settled on Weds as a good faux day) and we have a few exciting treats in store - more on those once the surprise is done.

For now, I will leave you with a few shots of the last few lazy, blissful days x x x