Fusion to 5k – Part 2 – (All I want for Christmas is a new L5)

Surgery day could not come soon enough. Time seemed to stand still as my symptoms continued to get worse, with walking (the only fitness activity I could do) becoming uncomfortable. When my alarm clock went off early on the morning of December 2nd, the anxious feeling I had was similar to the one I have on a Marathon day. I just wanted to get the thing started and get to the finish. The start in this case was a L5-S1 spinal fusion, and the finish, more than six months away with the prize being possibly running again. By the time I was rolled down to the ER I was nice and relaxed (could have been the meds) and even joking with the anesthesiologist to make sure I didn’t wake up during the surgery.


That was the last thing I remember that day, until waking up in my hospital room four hours later, looking down at my legs, trying to see if I could make them move. My right foot moved immediately but the left one wouldn’t budge. I gave it another go, and this time it looked like it moved a little. I later found out they had put a nerve block in during surgery and that made my left leg feel like a squishy marshmallow.

The following afternoon my shiny new aluminum walker was delivered, soon after that the physical therapist came in to get me up to walk for the first time. I mentioned to him that I couldn’t feel my left leg, but would give it a try anyway. Using the walker, I made it five steps before apparently turning pale enough that he suggested that was enough and helped me lay back down. They finally removed nerve block later that day and soon after the marshmallow leg came back to life.


The following two days were filled with more tests, little sleep, and afternoons slowly cruising down the hallways hoping my gown would stayed tied. After four days in the hospital my final challenge was walking down the hallway and climbing a few stairs. Those four stair steps seemed simple enough in theory, but turned out to be harder than some of my toughest marathon finishes.
Maybe a skyscraper stair race could be in my future racing plans?



 (Well ….. maybe I’ll think about it).
Last on the checklist to leave and go home was getting fitted for a back brace, which I would have to wear for the next six months (woohoo) and an X-ray, to make sure the titanium rods and screws were actually where they were supposed to be. On the way home from the hospital I saw several runners out getting in their evening workouts on the U of I campus.(It always seems like I notice more runners running when I’m not.)
Arriving home, it was time to start training; well maybe a nap first, and then I’ll start the training.
To be continued………….


About runvan26

Endurance Athlete & Avid Fly Fisherman
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