Tuesday, November 28, 2006

2-week Check-in With Doctor

So we went to see Dr. Suh today for my two week follow-up. The first thing he said when he came into the exam room was "It looks like you about set the record for getting out of the hospital quickly." So apparently I am doing fairly well (OK, apparently really well), but since I have no frame of reference I am not sure what that means. When I mentioned to the Physical Therapist that I was up to walking a little more than a mile a day at about 2.5 mph on the tread mill, he kind of gave me one of those "well I guess there's not much more I can help you with on my end" looks. He made a couple of minor modifications to my exercise routine, but other than that told me to just keep doing what I'm doing.

They took X-rays and Dr. Suh explained what everything was that we were seeing. We could not get copies of the xrays, but I took this picture with my phone so I apologize for the quality. Essentially what you're looking at are the screws and rods that the doctor put in to decompress the offending vertebrae take the pressure off the bad disk in between. What you cannot see are the bone grafts that sit on the outside of the vertical rods (they're there, just faint and hard to see in the picture). The key to how long I have to wear the brace is how long it takes for the grafts to completely knit with the vertebrae.

Since my incision is no longer draining, I don't have to keep the dressings on, which is nice because they were causing pressure points inside my brace. Speaking of the brace, I think we finally found the best padding to use inside the back of it to get rid of those nasty pressure points. Last week I discovered a company near Ashville that makes two different kinds of padding materials (one a memory foam the other a gel foam)that help prevent bed and pressure sores in wheelchair patients. So I ordered a small (16X18 inch) piece of the gel foam and received it yesterday. When I ordered it, I had a brief discussion with the customer service rep and told her what I wanted it for. She was interested, and I guess took pity on my plight because when I received the padding yesterday the box had both kinds of pads (woo hoo!).

The gel foam if really great stuff, it essentially removes all of the pressure points and is actually quite comfortable, the only problem is it weighs a ton (the 16x18 pad probably weighs about 5 pounds). The memory foam is a lot lighter and not quite as good at eliminating all of the pressure points, but it weights almost nothing. This creates a bit of a dilemma, but as Lisa pointed out, both have their uses so I am wearing the memory foam during the day and the gel foam to sleep in.

I see the doctor again on December 20th, and am cleared to go back to work on Christmas day. SAS is closed the week between Christmas and New Years so I will not actually be back in the office until January 2nd and then only on a part-time basis for the first few weeks. In the mean time I will be seeing my SAS PT next Monday and probably on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for the next six months or so. I'll keep you posted on any other developments.

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