Lessons from Spine Surgery Rehabilitation -week 3

Munchkin me - on the 6th post-op dayPosing with my eldest son on the New Year Dance CruiseActually the post title is misleading because I have just completed week three post-surgery and  in reality I am still more in the recuperation phase than rehabilitation. Maybe this would be better titled "from Munchkin to Dancing Queen."

The picture of the left shows me all lopsided and scrunched up but still trying hard to stand with good posture 6 days after surgery. The picture on the right is to remind me that if I am patient, I will be back enjoying my dance cruises ... and even last out another 7 minute samba.

I like to think about my daily recuperative activity as a job.  The surgeons (and the anesthetist - GBH) did their jobs fantastically-  they stopped the pain and removed the cause, hopefully forever. Now I have to do my job which is keeping mobile and doing what I can to promote healthy healing without doing any activity that is potentially harmful to perfect healing.

When I was booted out of VGH on day three post-op - having expected to be there between 5 and 7 days - I was given a sheet containing the Activity Guidelines Following Spinal Column Injury or Surgery. As I don't know how much I took in of the instructions we were given on discharge, I was pleased to have the sheet as a reminder about what not to do. The message regarding exercise  that I took away from my reading  was basically that walking, including using stairs, was the only exercise activity to do until the 6 week follow up... and that it was really important to walk, a lot.

As first Michael, then Amanda accompanied me on my walks, I really tried to concentrate on walking with a good posture. The Urban Poling Activator walking poles that I got on the advice of the physiotherapist certainly helped me focus on walking evenly and engaging my back muscles.

I also took some lessons from my dancing - think about showing off a pendant to prevent slouching, and rolling forward from the heels through to the ball of the foot. Hopefully my slow foxtrot will eventually reflect that little bit of discipline.

My target for the end of the third week was to walk 30 minutes with good posture. After my children left I have been fortunate to enjoy the company of various friends on my walks. This Friday no one was around so I ventured out on the sea wall by myself, hoping that the poles would serve as enough of a notice to dog owners  to keep their off-leash animals away.

The sea wall was fairly quiet as it was overcast and a work day. I arrived back safely at my door - 29 minutes :30 secs. Hmmm...

I guess apart from patience, the other lesson I must learn is to dampen down my search for perfection. Thirty seconds short - oh well, maybe not an A-plus but certainly at least an A.

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