I wake up every morning with a long list of good intentions.
A little yoga and my PT exercises to get me going.
Breakfast for me and the kids, then off to the pool, playdate, errand, or whatever activity we have planned for the day.
Finish a blog post, sort through my email, make some phone calls.
Fold the laundry, unload the dishwasher, make dinner, clean up from dinner, and help my husband get the kids to bed by 9:00 p.m.
Spend time with my husband, get into bed at 10:00 sharp, and fall asleep by 10:15 with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
Yeah, I know. It’s okay to laugh. I’m laughing. I mean, it’s funny how I pretend that this is my “normal,” right? Even when I’m in the best of health, I maybe succeed at about 25% of this list on the average day. And now, after surgery? Pshh. Pretty much the only thing on this list that routinely goes according to plan is the coffee. (And that’s only because my husband prepares the coffee pot the night before.)
I’m 8 weeks post-op now, and 8 weeks sounds like a lot. I’m back on my feet now. I’m driving and going to the beach and taking my kids back-to-school shopping. I saw a movie the other night and had a cocktail (okay, like two sips, but still). I even took a 4+ hour, only moderately disastrous road trip with my family. I mean, I’m doing normal people stuff, right?
But here’s the truth. At 8 weeks post-op, my life is still far from normal.
I’m worn out easily. Like, really easily. A trip to the grocery store for more than a few items still feels overwhelming.
I can’t bend, twist, or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. Try to do any household chore without doing any of those things. Seriously, go try it. Simply doing a load of laundry involves all three, and lord knows how many loads of laundry I do a week.
I have trouble sleeping. It sometimes takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep at night. And when I do sleep, all the delightful side effects from my meds (not sugarplums) come out to play.
I still need daily naps (but rarely get them anymore). I’m tired. All. The. Time.
And sometimes it’s not just regular tired, like “I need to sleep” tired. And it’s not even like the “I’ve been up feeding a newborn every two hours” sleep deprivation. It’s more like a full-body exhaustion, like my eyelids weigh 10 pounds and my toenails ache and I’m flushed and dizzy and I can barely propel my body up the stairs and into my bed, and when I finally get there, I cry just from being so damn tired.
Oh, and the crying. Geez. I cry at least once a day. Because I’m tired. Or because someone hurt my feelings. Or because I can’t reach my toenails to clip them. Or because I didn’t win an Instagram photo challenge. My injury, my surgery, my meds, my inactivity, my lack of control over so many things – man, that stuff can wreak havoc on your emotions.
Everyone tells me not to overdo it. That taking care of myself is my number one priority right now.
Sure, in theory. For a normal person. Which brings me to my point. I’m not normal. Not yet. Not by a long shot. And I think I just have to accept that. I know it’s hard on my family, especially my husband. But gosh, you guys, it’s going to be a LOT more disruptive for them if I do something stupid to mess up my fusion and have to go through it all over again – which is not some .0001% chance freak accident kind of thing. It’s not exactly common, but it happens. Spinal fusions fail. And I don’t want mine to be one of them.
Ultimately it’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen. My spine doesn’t care if my life is normal or not. It’s my responsibility not to overdo it. Period.
So I guess for now I just have to accept not normal as my new normal.
Onwards and upwards, my friends.