My 5 month anniversary of fighting Cauda Equina Syndrome has come and gone with a lot of busyness. So much so that I am less than a week from the end of Month 6.
The seemingly perpetual parade of doctor appointments has now become a trickle. But life has been very busy – we’re preparing to move back to our unsold house in Lancaster, OH and there is a lot to do in that regard.
I’ve settled into a routine with my recovery from CES, with no improvement in my symptoms except for more strength in my legs. This has allowed me to increase the distances I can cover using my cane and walking unassisted. One morning, two weeks ago, I walked unassisted for approximately 400 feet. I made it but that was it for the day – I had to use my rollator walker after that. The balancing effort really tired me.
My routine begins with rising in the morning 1 hour and 45 minutes before I leave for work. I go feed our cat and sit with her while she eats, following which I go change my diaper. Next up is a trip to the kitchen to fix my breakfast (some days Kim gets up and takes care of this – it depends on how she feels). I get out my bagel and cream cheese, the milk, and a Coke Zero. I put the bagel in the toaster oven and proceed to the dining room table where my glucometer and oral meds await.
After taking my blood sugar reading and downing my meds, I return to the kitchen to get the bagel out of the toaster oven and spread the cream cheese. I begin eating as I put things back in the fridge and return to the table to finish eating. After eating, I then take 2 spoons of fiber in a glass of water. I then mix a dose of MiraLax along with the Coke Zero in the glass and down it.
Why Coke Zero?
When I mix and drink the fiber, some of it sticks to the glass and spoon I used for stirring it. The residue sticks to the glass as if mixed with SuperGlue! 2 or 3 doses of fiber and it’s time for a new glass and spoon. However, Coke products are very corrosive and clean the glass extremely well just by pouring it in the glass! Coke’s “cleaning” capabilities have been proven by none other than the MythBusters.
Well after all of that, I then take a dose of each of my 2 insulins and head to the bathroom to shave and shower. Once completed there, I move to the bedroom where I stretch my hamstrings and do my foot flexor exercises. Then come the back stretches, piriformis stretches, and 2 different hip abductor exercises. Every few days I do balancing exercises after that.
I then get dressed and leave for work. Yep, due to being stiff and not having taken pain meds for over 8 hours while sleeping, this process takes me 1+45, whereas before my injury, I could be out the door 30 minutes after waking. Throughout the day, I don’t sit for too long before getting up and walking around (with cane) for a few minutes. I use the cane because of balance. The less I have to help me balance, the more energy is expended in walking. In any event, standing still is limited to a max of 3 minutes so often I have to get folks at work to walk while we talk. Otherwise I’d just have to walk away from them. Same thing at church.
After getting home, activity varies between spending time with my wife, email, moving prep, tv, playing with our cat, and my blogs. There are also more exercises to do. The medical literature says that most of the recovery from CES happens in the first 6 months after surgery. I’ll be there at that point in 3 weeks and I’ve really had no increase in sensation/feeling since around the 2 month mark. Everything is pretty steady. So maybe this is all I’ll get back and will forever remain unable to feel normally in most of my body below my waist. No feeling at all in some of it, only painful sensations in most of it. Last night, while Kim was putting lotion on my legs, she gently gripped my right foot to move my leg’s position. I jerked it out of her hand as fast as I could – it felt like she had taken a clamp and placed it very tightly on my foot. Of course she hadn’t, but it sure felt that way!
So this is the routine now. How this fits into the next ministry stage God has in mind for me I do not know. Whatever it is, it must be important because of this training process I’m being put through. God is doing a great work in me, molding me into a better human being and becoming more Christ-like every day. I am grateful for the changes in my attitudes and outlook that He has affected through this affliction. But I obviously wish there was a less painful way to get through my thick skull.