I broke my back

T-0! — Well, mostly!

tl;dr Friday before last, I got a call from my neurosurgeon’s office letting me know that they were finally able to get my MRI results to show up, and my vertebra is healed, so I can wean off of the brace!!!

I’ve had some ups and downs since my last post. On April 11, I took some follow up X-rays. We got the lab results the next day, and they found that the compression fracture had worsened since I left the hospital. It had increased from around 20% to definitely over 30% compressed.

This freaked me out, and it was gonna be an entire week until I saw the neurosurgeon. When we called and talked to the doctor, he told us not to worry. He said it wasn’t completely unexpected, and he would explain more when we came in to the office.

When we went into the office, he explained that the additional compression probably happened when I started to walk, since it was the first time I had stood up since the injury occurred. To be certain though, he wanted to have me get an MRI so they could determine if the vertebra was healing properly. 😳 He said I could do an open MRI, and he prescribed some diazepam to help me stay calm.

I put the immediate terror of the idea of getting an MRI out of my head, and that day (after getting the Dr’s permission) we drove up to Atlanta. Right before the accident, Amber bought me tickets to see a live show of a Star Trek comedy podcast I am only slightly embarrassed to admit I love, The Greatest Generation, and I was actually going to get to see it!

While we were in Atlanta I got to see my best man, Ryan Dell, for the first time in about a decade. We got to hang out and catch up over some pretty amazing Mexican food.

The Greatest Gen Tour live show was hysterical, and after the show I finally got to see a friend that I have known for about seven years, but have never had a chance to meet in real life, Adam Ragusea. He’s the host of the awesome, eponymously named YouTube channel about food. He also is a pretty kick ass musician that has crafted the intro and interstitial music for the aforementioned slightly embarrassing Star trek podcast. You might have seen him before in that Vox video about why Mariah Carey’s net worth skyrockets every Christmas.

The rest of the time we were in Atlanta, we did touristy Atlanta things like eating at the original Chick-fil-A, getting brunch at the Atlanta Breakfast Club, visiting the Georgia Aquarium, walking around Centennial Olympic Park, and getting food poisoning from undercooked Brussel sprouts at a Truett’s Grill! (OK, I don’t think the last item is on any of the travel agent’s “must do” lists, and I do not recommend it.)

On May 9, I finally was able to get my MRI taken. Unlike the torpedo tube they tried to squeeze me into at the hospital, the open MRI was much easier.

It felt like I was laying inside a giant plastic hamburger, but it was wide open on both sides. It was still just as mind-bogglingly loud, but I had spent a couple days wearing ear plugs in bed which made that part easier too.

Unfortunately though, when I went to the follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon on the 11th, they weren’t able to get the scans to show up from the CD that the MRI office gave me. I had opened it on my computer the day before though, and I shot a video showing it to my buddies, Tom and Sean.

I showed the video to my doctor who really got a kick out of it, but he wasn’t able to diagnose anything from my iPhone. He told us he would give me a call within a week and let me know.

We finally got the call the next Friday and got the all clear to start weaning off of the brace! Unfortunately, I didn’t see the voicemail until the following Monday, May 23.

Ever since, I have been wearing the brace about an hour or two less each day. I’ll probably be completely out of it by the end of this week or so. You can’t understand how incredible it is to just get out of bed without having to do an exhausting 5-10 minute long routine!

My final appointment with the doctor is on June 15th, just to follow up and make sure everything’s good. So far, the hardest thing has been getting the muscles in my torso to work the way they’re supposed to instead of making me feel like I’m a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubeman!

All in all though, it is really great to be back to a place where I can start living my life kinda, sorta normal again. I’m obviously still taking it day by day, but I’m starting to get back to work on projects around the house and the yard that I’ve been unable to work on over the past few months.

T-0 days.

Thanks again to everyone that helped us get through this. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would have been without your help. I am eternally grateful.

I broke my back

Knee high by the 4th of… April?

I haven’t posted in a while because I have been super busy. Since I can’t work on any projects that involve almost any manual labor, and I was so excited that I could sit at my desk and work on my computer for more than an hour without being in agony, I relaunched my passion project, jaxplays.com. I’m just getting caught up on everything that is happening in local, live theatre again, but I’m getting it rolling. I won’t go into it all here, but if you’re interested in local theatre, you should check it out!

I went out in the yard today. The bananas look amazing. They’re starting to come in nicely after Amber trimmed them back for me. But the yard is getting rough. This is the time of year I would fire up the ol’ mower and weed eater and get to it, but the docs explicitly told me I couldn’t do either until my back is all the way healed up.

We tried to find a Task Rabbit or a service that would come out for a couple months, but we couldn’t find anything.

A lot of folks have asked me to let them know if we needed anything, so I’m putting it out there: Anyone up to mowing the lawn for us? The whole yard is just under a 1/2 acre, but it’s only a 1/4 acre that has to be cut. If you don’t have any equipment, I got you covered. I have a good self-propelled push mower and a nice string trimmer for the edges.

But, if you have a sweet riding mower, that you want to bring instead, I’m not gonna stop you. Just please don’t run over my bananas! 🍌🍌🍌 🤣🤣🤣

T-53 days.

I broke my back

No Joke, we went Ditto hunting!

The family went on a Pokémon hunt to catch Dittos tonight! I wanted to go walking Wednesday, but I was still sore from my little adventure on Tuesday. Thursday got rained out. I was going to be lazy and not go tonight, but there was a special event on Pokémon GO, and I couldn’t resist. 😀

Plus, Jennifer Tucker took the boys for the night, so we didn’t have to herd any cats along the Riverwalk. 🐈🐈‍⬛😹

T-58 days.

I love how we scribbled all over The Fresh Market. We stopped to get a drink because I forgot I had to take my pain meds! 🤣👴🏻

I broke my back

Out of the house on my own

I hit two pretty big milestones this week.

Yesterday, I managed to go downstairs to my office to work. It was the first time in over a month that I was able to do any work from my comfy basement office. I immediately realized how messy it is down there! I gotta get after it and get it cleaned up before I get used to it again!

Today, I went for a walk by myself! I didn’t go for some crazy adventure, but I did walk across the main road out to the river. I walked along Water Street and then walked down to the Riverview Park and got to see the river a little closer.

Unfortunately, my GPS on my phone didn’t do a fantastic job keeping track of me. It said I ran out into the middle of the river a couple times, but it was somewhere between a mile and two miles all together.

I also forgot that I live at the top of a 76 foot hill, and the park is at the bottom of that hill. So, walking home was a quite a hoof. I made it home fine though, and I didn’t push myself too far.

My back never hurt once! Well, that’s not true. I have a couple of knots in my upper back that are screaming. They’re not related to my injury, just from being trapped in this brace. So, I can keep going no matter how much they hurt. And BOY do they hurt. Gotta keep moving forward though!

I’m gonna try to get out every day. We’ll see. Every other day is just as likely.

T-61 days.

I broke my back

Yep, those are my socks

Yep, those are my socks stuck to the back of my back brace.

We were getting ready to go for a walk before it got too late and Amber tossed me a pair of socks without looking. I didn’t know that Amber had thrown them to me, because in my turtle shell I couldn’t feel it at all. Zach found it quite hilarious.

After the cacophonous laughter died down, we went for a drive downtown to the St. Johns River and walked on the Southbank Riverwalk again. We walked about a 1/2 mile in total. Amber has now cleared me to go for walks on my own as long as I have my GPS on and shared with her.

T-62 days

I thought we were starting to get the bills, but instead we got a notification from our insurance that we had to have the surgeons complete a bunch of paperwork before we will find out what we’re responsible for. Ugh! We’re still in the dark as to how much this is all gonna end up costing.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us.

https://gofund.me/12e6322d

I broke my back

Heading back to normal

I skipped a few days posting because after all that excitement, I was worn out. I thankfully got a LOT of sleep this weekend which felt amazing.

I wanted to go for a longer walk this weekend, but timing didn’t quite work out right either days. I’m gonna make a point of it tomorrow though.

Before the day was over I decided I had to get out of the house and walk for a little bit. So, I went to one of the least exciting places in the world, the grocery store! But as I walked in, I realized I haven’t been to a grocery store in over a month. It was kinda amazing. It almost felt normal.

Yeah, I bought some junk food. 😁 Don’t worry, I’m still eating pretty healthy thanks in no small part to the amazing folks who have brought us meals over the last few weeks.

T-63 days

Thank you again to everyone that has helped us over these past few weeks. It’s been a wild ride, and it would have been a lot more chaotic without you.

The bills are just now starting to roll in. It’s looking like it’s gonna be at least $5,000. That would suck, but it wouldn’t be too crazy by itself. But I’m the fourth out of the five members of our little family to spend a few days in the hospital over the last 6 months. I’ll share some more about that tomorrow.

https://gofund.me/12e6322d

I broke my back

My happy place

Yesterday was already a fairly long day, but I convinced Amber to drive me to my happy place (Home Depot) last night and let me walk around for while. After I found the parts I needed to make some improvements to my bedside desk, I got to meander in the aisles while I “picked up things and scowled at them” according to Amber.

I got a little depressed when I saw some things that I wanted to get for projects that I forgot I will not be doing over the next couple of months.

But over all, it felt really great to feel a little normal for a while.

T-66 days

I broke my back

Good news!

In my best Professor Farnsworth voice…

My doctor appointment went fantastic today. The PA and the neurosurgeon both feel I am doing great. I am right where they expect me to be at this stage of recovery.

They alleviated a lot of my concerns. I’m still a couple months away from normal. I still can’t pick up more than 10 pounds, and I still have to wear the brace when I’m out of bed.

But the increased pain I’ve been experiencing lately is not abnormal. Basically, the reason my spine pain has increased lately is because my muscle pain has finally gone down. Now that that my muscles aren’t screaming, I can finally hear my vertebra being like, “Yeah I’m still broken though!”

However, they said the problem was that my nerve pain medicine prescription should have been refilled by my primary physician. But we weren’t able to get an appointment with my primary until after this appointment! 🤷🏻‍♂️

So, they refilled my prescriptions, and cleared me to walk as far as I am able to. They encouraged me to walk as much as I can each day, and said unless I am having trouble with my balance or with my leg strength (neither of which have been a problem fortunately) I can forgo the walker too!

Other than the nerve pain medicine hiccup, the only other problem was that they were supposed to have me get X-rays done before the appointment. No one told me though!

So now I have to go get X-rays done tomorrow. They‘ll review them, and as long as there’s nothing to be concerned about, they’ll just send me the results electronically. We are living in the future!

Anyway, I can’t imagine today going any better. After the appointment we took a stroll down the Riverwalk to celebrate. It was a long day, and I am exhausted, but it was a good day.

T-67 days.

Thanks y’all.

I broke my back

Rest

I didn’t post a picture yesterday — not because I was avoiding writing “T-69 days” and the obvious 12-year-old-boy-level humor that would ensue — but because I worked so hard and so late yesterday that when I wrapped for the night I was exhausted.

I had a couple of projects at work that were time critical and my involvement was essential. So, even though I could barely sit upright for a couple hours a day, and laying in bed with my arms in the air typing makes my arms scream, I kept pushing through looking forward to today.

Today I rested. After I recovered from a crappy migraine, I got a shower — minus any near collapses this time! — and I spent most of the day in bed not doing anything.

I have my follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon tomorrow, and I knew I would have to rest to be ready for a car trip across town and all the walking I will have to do. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day. Please pray, send good vibes, do whatever you do to help tomorrow go well.

I’m hoping everything will go as smooth as butter. But, I’m a little nervous that it’s going to be a rough day, and I’m a little worried my prognosis won’t be as good as I had hoped to hear at this point.

I’m probably just being overly worried, but the trauma and the neuro doctors both said they expected I would feel a lot better by 30 days. They said I’d still have to wear the brace for another two months, and I still wouldn’t be able to lift anything while I healed up, but otherwise my life would more or less back to normal. But I’m still in a lot of pain, and I can barely spend more than a couple hours a day sitting up.

Anyway, enough stressing about tomorrow! I’m going back to resting! I still have a few hours of doing nothing to get done before bed.

T-68 days

I continue to be overwhelmed by how so many of you have helped us so much during this. Between the GoFundMe, the MealTrain and all of the other ways that people have contributed, it has made such a big difference. We’re still going to take a hit financially even if we make it all the way to our goal on GoFundMe, but it’s still a huge help, and I am immensely grateful to everyone. Thank you all so much!

https://gofund.me/12e6322d

https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/oqrz21

I broke my back

BANANAS!

Got some serious work done today trimming the dead winter leaves off of the banana trees and trimming the trunk down to fresh growth so that they’ll hopefully fruit this year and give us some good bananas! 🍌🍌🍌

NAH! Just kidding! 🤣 I was barely outside long enough to get the photo!

Between my “long” walk yesterday and working most of this weekend getting a couple of projects for work done, I was tuckered out today.

I convinced — well, guilted — Amber into trimming the bananas for me. With the last freeze hitting us in February, the leaves on them were long since destroyed, and they were starting to rot now that the trees were trying to grow again. I was afraid the dead leaves and branches would stunt their growth if they weren’t removed soon.

She begrudgingly wore herself out pruning them and cutting a fresh start for the trunk. I had completely forgotten that she pulled a muscle in her back last night, and she forgot to remind me.

We’re trying to be better at communicating, but sometimes we still suck.

T-70 days