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Seems sort of funny to me that the doctor's post operation advice was to get out and get some exercise. "I just stabbed you in the back with a metal instrument, drilled a hole in your spine, monkeyed about with your spinal cord, and cut out some of your disc. You need to get out and get moving!" Three days post op and it isn't sounding so ludicrous. The incision still hurts and the back is a little stiff, but I feel WAY better than I did two weeks ago. The surgery has been a long time coming. I hurt myself while water skiing in 1992 and the ol back has never been quite the same. About once or twice a year my back would "go out" again and I would be off my feet for a few days. But building a sand castle on Easter weekend with my nephew and my brother must have been the proverbial straw. I now know how that camel felt. Instead of getting better after a week, like it usually does, my back just kept getting worse. And after several episodes of not being able to stand up without tears streaming down my face I finally got an MRI. It turns out that I had two ruptured discs in my lower back and some sizable pieces of the disc were now pressing on my spinal cord and nerves. Looking at the cross section of my spinal cord on the MRI I could see that instead of being round, like it was in the rest of my back, it was being pressed into a U shape. By the time I got in to see the Neurosurgeon I didn't need much convincing that surgery was a good idea. At that point I would have done almost anything to relieve the pain. It was kind of comical watching the doctor work his way around to telling me that "The injury you have rarely gets better by itself..." I needed no convincing. I was ready to go to surgery that day! Being of the instant gratification generation, the 10 days I had to wait seemed never ending. I didn't really feel much anxiety about the procedure until they actually wheeled me into the O.R. The Anesthesiologist came to see me in the pre-op area, asked if I had any questions and if needed anything for anxiety. "Nope, I'm doing fine." I told him. "Oh, a tough guy, huh?" He replied with a smirk. But, when they wheeled me down the hall and into the O.R., past the sinks where the surgeons scrub in, and let me get a good look and all the equipment that they use to bring people back from the brink of death, I started to ponder my own mortality. I realized that these people were actually going to be cutting me open in a few minutes and wish I had taken the Anesthesiologist up on his offer. They parked me right in front of the operating table. It wasn't so much a table though. All black and covered with white and blue foam padding, it looked like a cross between some sort of exercise equipment and a hi-tech massage table. The combination of that hospital smell and all that exotic looking lifesaving equipment raised my anxiety from about 1 to about a 6. I couldn't help but wonder how many people had been wheeled in here and had never made it out. I felt like someone had set an anvil on my stomach and my mouth got very dry. I distracted myself by admiring the machine that makes the Micro part of a Microdiscectomy possible while the anesthesiologist babbled on about something in a cheery voice (why are those guys always so happy?) and I started to get light headed. I don't remember very much after that, but my back is feeling better. I seem to be recovering pretty quickly. Although, it isn't as "nearly painless" as I had heard it described by some. My parents have been a great help. The have taken all four of our girls for the last three days and given me some peace and quite around the house. Things are looking up.

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