Saturday, January 1, 2011

2 Year Checkup

This should be my final posting. I felt I should provide a closure to this blog in case I decide in the future to create a book of all the postings.

We returned to see Roth at 6 months (28-Apr-2009), 12 months (27-Nov-2009) and 24 months (01-Sep-2010). Each time the x-rays showed the bone he pasted around my spine was getting stronger.

At 6 months all restrictions were lifted (with the exception of lifting more than 30 pounds). I soon was back up to a mile in swimming, but my bike riding seemed to be restricted to 4-6 miles. My pulse rate was around 40, but I did not get too excited. By the fall of 2009 I returned to my cardiologist with the suggestion that I might be in line for a pacemaker. He agreed, but scheduled me for another echo cardiogram. When I pressed his office 10 days later for some feedback I received a 'form' letter saying everything was OK, and I should continue to take my medications.

Clearly he had dropped the ball. I was aware that a new electrophysiologist, Dr. Islam, was in town, but my life got sidetracked when I assumed the duties of president of the local computer club. By Feb, 2010, I wrangled an appointment with Islam, and after jumping through two of her preliminary test hoops, was able to convince her that I was a candidate for a pacemaker. That surgery was on 27-Apr-2010, and recovery was almost instantaneous. Swimming came back strong, but I could still tell that my walking was not normal. My perceptions were still clouded by the on-going recovery from this back fusion surgery.

Once again I took the bull by the horns and sought some medical advice. The answer came from an unexpected but reliable source. My long term chiropractor Dr. Dense, whom I had not seen since the back fusion, spotted a bad left hip in an August, 2010, X-ray. Thinking I might be seeing some after effects of the back fusion, I moved up the two year back followup date with Dr. Roth. He said the pain was NOT coming from the back surgery. Although he did not have any medical advice on a possible hip redo surgery, Roth did provide me with four names of doctors at Beaumont Hospital who could treat me. (I did return to Cleveland Clinic for the surgery.)

So I parted company with Dr. Roth and his PA Nonie on good terms. I would recommend him in an instant to any person with spinal concerns.

Larry Piper
01-01-2010

Friday, February 13, 2009

3 Month Checkup - 6 more weeks of restrictions




I had hoped to get some time off for good behavior, but it was not to be.

My doctor, 'Punxsutawney' Roth, saw a 'shadow' on my X-ray and told me it would be 6 more weeks of no bending, no twisting, no lifting, no squatting, and no sitting more than 45 minutes.



I could hardly see Judy's lips moving as Dr. Roth spelled out my continued restrictions.


1 - X-ray looks good; noticeable improvement from 1 month X-ray.

2 - Continue with no bending, lifting, twisting, or squatting

3 - Can extend sitting time to 45 minutes at a time (every 2 hours).

4 - Don't have to wear back brace around the house.

5 - Continue to wear back brace whenever I go out.

6 - Can drive a little.

7 - No walking with weights; otherwise no walking restrictions.

8 - Doesn't like the idea that I have been in the pool, floating on back.

9 - Didn't tell him about recumbent bike riding.

10-Will see me again at 6 months; should set me free of all restrictions.

11-Will see also me at 12 months and 24 months.

12-Made a count-down calendar to tear off pages: 67 days to go!

13-Suggested I could sit long enough to take wife out to eat!

14-Doesn't like my use of broomstick with goniometer.

15-Ankle swelling 'normal' from wearing a tight back brace.

16-Nonie liked our Christmas card.


Larry

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - HAPPY NEW YEAR








Hugs to Larry, the BEST Husband, Dad and Grandpa. You make us laugh and keep us motivated to be the best we can be.

Judy, Scot, Robyn, Mitch, Jess, Laura, Kent, Mackenzie and Alexandra





Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Blog

.




I wish I had found the above cartoon to post earlier. It captures
one's true feelings following back surgery.



More signs that I am getting better

1 - I can tie my own shoes.

2 - I can pretty much shower and soap myself.

3 - I can sit much longer, up to 60 minutes at a time.

4 - I started wearing regular clothes rather than sweats.

5 - I can get in and out of the car OK.

6 - I have been off any pain pills for one week.

7 - If abandoned, I can wipe my own butt.

8 - I am making great progress (5 pages/day) writing a book.

9 - I spent 4 hours standing and sitting at our Christmas party.

10 - I am sleeping at night about the same as pre-surgery,
and the post-surgery dreaming has tapered off.


The only down side is a 3-4 pound weight gain; this seems to
be manifested in a slight swelling in the ankle area.


Larry


p.s. You did click on the link didn't you ?
It is another sign that I am getting better !






Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad Weather - I Couldn't Go Out Anyway


I am getting stronger and staying upright longer.

A week ago I cut back from 2 to 1 Tylenol per day. This week I stopped the final Tylenol. This is the first time in two years that I have not taken at least one pain pill every day.

It is clear that I can now sit for periods up to one hour without feeling any pain. Then when I lay down, I seem to recover in 10-15 minutes.

I do have some imbalance in my hip muscles, likely caused by favoring my back when I walked before surgery.

Walking around the house is getting mighty boring, but we don't care to travel in this lousy weather and holiday shopping traffic.

My current project is to figure out how to publish all my past blogs into a single document. Any ideas?


Larry


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Real Cost of Back Surgery






While I still have not received any formal statements, the 'bills' are piling up.

First there was the new car. Both our older cars had in excess of 150,000 miles, and Judy needed something reliable to transport me around. The local dealer was begging for you to take them off his hands and if your credit is good, you can still get a loan.

Next are the home 'improvements'. Beds, toilets, showers and chairs all have to be modified. This was not a big deal or cost for us because my previous hip surgeries had taught us what worked.

Next there is the cost for having someone do the 'heavy' lifting, the climbing and most routine home maintenance. It is easy to see why people move into a housing arrangement where all of that is taken care of by someone else. The frustrating part for me is that I would gladly pay a teenager to do some of these odd jobs, but there are none to be found.

The first snow pointed out what the wife has been hinting for years--that we need an electric start snow blower. Sure enough, the first snowfall came and Judy was not strong enough to pull-start our old snow blower. When our macho neighbor couldn't get it going either, I knew the time had come. My other neighbor, who recently had extensive heart surgery, was way ahead of me. He bought his wife a Toro last fall, and when we saw how it operated, we bought one the next day. (It turns out our old snow blower, which I had acquired for $25 some 5 years ago, had a cracked head. I ended up selling it, cracked head and all, for $25 on Craigslist in one day. I had previously made a private sale of my third car on Craigslist, so I highly recommend that method of cleaning out the junk from your house and garage.)


But the really big cost is for a full-time nurse, cook, housemaid and all around gofer. If you don't have a mate who can perform these tasks, you can't have the surgery. These bills from my mate are piling up, and she says I will never be able to pay them off.


So go ahead and have the back surgery if you need it. Between Medicare and private insurance coverage, your out-of-pocket expenses won't be too bad. But be ready for those 'incidental' costs. They are the costs that keep going and going and going!


Larry

Monday, December 8, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I'm Getting Better

1 - Today is day 42 following surgery; I feel good.

2 - I find myself standing much more.

3 - I find myself walking much more.

4 - My right hip is sore, probably from lack of walking.

5 - My back is still sore, probably from lack of walking.

6 - I cannot move quickly as yet without causing back pain.

7 - I find myself reading more.

8 - Judy has given me responsibility to take my own pills.

9 - I can get in and out of the car by myself.

10 - Today while Judy was out shoveling snow, I actually felt a little remorse for laying around on my back!


Larry