My Aching Back

So I pulled something in my back recently. 


Had the worst sciatica pain down my hip and leg–could hardly walk or sleep from it. 


I went to the Orthopedist and he game me some meds for the inflammation and sent me for an MRI. 


Also, I went a number of times for acupressure, which was truly awesome. 


Came back to the Orthopedist and he asks how I am. 


I said:

Feeling a lot better, but the MRI shows a herniated disc. 


He says:

Go home and have a Happy Thanksgiving–we only do surgery to treat symptoms!


So I am truly happy that alls well that ends well. 


Thank you Hashem! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Saw It Right Off

Saw It Right Off

This was something amazing that really gave me pause.

In the physical therapy center, hanging on the wall, encased in this wooden box.

A saw from the civil war that was used by the doctors of the time to amputate soldiers legs and arms.

The saw was so ominous looking, especially with it’s design of medieval-looking torture, it’s raw industrial quality, and the age and rust.

I could literally envision the utter fright on the faces of the young men upon seeing the doctor approach with this tool.

They would give you a piece of wood to sink your teeth into, so you wouldn’t bite your tongue off when they started sawing away at your limbs.

Not sure how people lived like this…not all that very long ago.

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Now’s Your Chance To Make Things Right

Beliefs

Day 4…pain gradually subsiding, walking improving.

Still pushing my body…walk, ice, walk, ice.

But more than the physical, I realized that I was going through something far more spiritual in my journey.

People are coming out of the woodwork telling me their travails through these surgeries.

One old time friend, welcomed me to the “Hip Club”–her new hip is 4 years old, but I didn’t even know she had it done (albeit that we only keep in touch through Facebook these days).

Another, my neighbor, had knee replacement in 2011–again, was I too busy or blind to know–I felt like an absolute card. She in particular told me again and again, “I cried, I cried.”

Later in the day, as I am trying to figure it all out–how am I going to get everything done and back on my feet, my wife says to me, “Now’s your chance to make things right!”

Then it hit me, that while I always try to think of myself as trying to do what’s right, I wasn’t doing enough.

Open your eyes Andy.

There are lot’s of people that are in pain, that are crying, that need help.

What are you doing about it?

Do you even see them?

Are you aware they are there?

WAKE UP CALL.

Do Better, Make things right. Try harder. Do More.

It’s not too late.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Making The Transition

Making The Transition

Came out of the hospital yesterday.

Able to walk with a walker–thankful for this miracle already.

Thanks to good ‘ol technology, I was able to send my surgeon a photo from my smartphone this morning, so he could see for himself what was going on and advise me.

Later today, having nursing and physical therapy to the house and am glad to have yet another set of eyes on me, while I heal up.

Emotionally, it’s trying.

I am a very active and structured person, and for now I am just physically limited–no getting around it.

As I push myself to walk, I can see my body pushing back to give it more time.

Overall, I am determined to get back to myself with G-d’s merciful help.

I’ve already logged onto work–telework–and been in touch with my team trying to keep things moving forward.

I’m also here, on the blogosphere, sharing my experience.

While in the hospital orthopedic unit, I got to meet many others with similar or even worse situations.

One guy had a knee replacement in January and was already back and had his hip done.

Another, I was told had one hip done, followed about 2 weeks later, by the other one.

All sorts of amazing stories of people fighting to recover and get back on their feet, literally.

One more time, I just want to say how my wife has been amazing through all of this, and I can’t thank her enough.

And truly, as my parents told me, “If you have your health, you have everything!”

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

1St Day Post-Op

1St Day Post-Op

So surgery was yesterday around 11 am.

I was asleep under anesthesia before I ever even got to the operating room, so can’t remember a thing, which is probably good since I hear that a lot of power tools are involved.

Right before, my wife kissed me and told me that the female nurses were all flirting with me–ha!

After the surgery, I was groggy like crazy.

When the nurse asked me if I knew what year it was, I blurted out “1993!”

Aside from the general anesthesia, I had some sort of nerve block.

Thanks G-d that has made the pain minimal to zero even.

The nurse this morning gave me a percocet in anticipation of the pain with physical therapy today–so I apologize if this blog is a little loopy today.

So far, although very stiff around the surgical area, I have already sat up, got up, even walked a little down the hospital hallway.

Waiting for more PT and OT this afternoon.

I just want to say thank you to G-d, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, all the nurses, and my wife and kids and other family and friends for taking such good care of and for all their thoughts and prayers.

One friend, even called me the bionic man this morning.

It’s been a really tough year with the loss of my mom in January and my dad not being well in the hospital and now in a facility to get him back on his feet again too.

And so far, my wife has been doing great keeping us going with only one big stress attack and trip to the ER to show for it. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Knees Horror Story

Knees Horror Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery.

He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees.

He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago.

I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go–were you happy with the results?”

He says, “I still have some soreness”–and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!

Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement.

But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.

I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up.

Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.

OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!

Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear.

But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)–in all the gory details. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

New And Hip

New And Hip

So this is what a new hip looks like.

Well almost, anyway–this is a small-scale model of one.

About 300,000 people per year benefit from this procedure in the U.S.

Thank G-d for such medical advances.

I don’t know what people did in earlier times having to live with the pain and loss of function and mobility before they had this available.

My father always told me that the doctors are G-d’s messengers and they only know and can do what G-d tells and enables them to do.

In that sense, a good doctor is really an angel of G-d’s mercy.

It’s amazing and miraculous! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)