So, friends, today was the big six week check-up following my second spinal fusion. How’d it go, you ask? It was beautiful! I had been asking prayers (even posting to Facebook an urgent request as Wilma was parking the car at the doctor’s office). First I saw my friend Maria, the nurse. She is so sweet. She looked me over — including my abdominal scar, a bit personal, but I guess it’s her job — and determined with a smile that everything looked beautiful. Then the big guy himself entered the room. That’s right, Wayne Newton himself, right there in my doctor’s office! Wait, sorry… No, my surgeon came in and also examined my scars. He too found them “beautiful”. I was starting to get creeped that not one but two people had just complimented a five inch long red line running from my belly button downward. No matter, I was now given my next set of instructions to follow before the next check-up which is in eight weeks.
- I can start ditching the walker as I feel comfortable. Not sure I’m there yet but it’s coming.
- I am to ween myself off the back brace. This happens by breaking the day into two eight hour segments and removing the brace for increasing amounts of time during those segments each week. In other words, let’s look at the day as running from 8AM-4PM and then from 4PM-Midnight. So each day during the first week I will remove the brace from 2-4PM and 10PM-12AM. Also, I am allowed to sleep without the brace now and I can go swimming if I want! Well, it’s not quite that warm here in Texas yet but we can dream, can’t we?
- I am to continue taking my painkillers as needed. Even picked up another script for Percocet. By the way, I have reached the point with my insurance that I am no longer paying for anything. Wilma picked up my hydrocodone a few days ago and it was literally a no-charge affair. Could life get any better?
Yes, I stopped by the St. Jude’s Chapel in downtown Dallas with Wilma afterward to give thanks to God. There is and still be post-op pain for some time but it is nothing compared to pre-op and it’s getting better. I walked in, sat in the front pew. The church was basically empty. As I sat with my head held up and my eyes fixed on the tabernacle I was temporarily caught off-guard by an old priest who walked right in front of me. Let me tell you that I had been meaning to get to confession for a while. I try to go at least once a month. But I hadn’t been since the morning of the surgery. It’s Holy Week. That means that if you want confession you either have to have the super secret codeword from the Vatican or wait on a line for 8 hours. In those situations you wind up wracking up more sins just from the anger that builds up at the people who are taking up all the time with the priests. Well, this man stopped, looked down at me, and said “Did you want to go to confession?” I was taken aback. Not quite sure how to respond I said: “Um, I wasn’t planning on it right now but could I have a minute to examine my conscience?” Well you see,” he said, “I was on my way out but we could it right here quickly if you’d like.” I looked around. There wasn’t anyone else in the church. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”
I truly felt like Jesus Himself had approached me in this holiest of weeks to personally beckon me to come to Him for the forgiveness He so longs to give each of us. And it was beautiful.
Oh, and I can drive again!