Sunday, June 26, 2011


Until last week, I thought a BLT was my favorite sandwich: bacon, lettuce and tomato. Now I've learned what anyone who has ever had spinal surgery knows, BLT stands for No Bending, Lifting or Twisting. Johnny is on BLT restrictions since his back surgery last Tuesday.

The instructions from the hospital say no lifting of anything over 5 pounds, but Dr. Tatsumi says lift nothing heavier than a coffee cup. Johnny jokes (I hope he's joking) that he can lift as many objects as he likes if they are no more than 5 pounds each. Wrong, dear. When he lifts something that I holler at him for, he insists that it weighs exactly 4.9 pounds. We seem to have an amazing number of objects around this farm that weigh exactly 4.9 pounds.

Johnny is having a hard time with BLT.

For one thing, he has never been able to (or so he says), bend his knees keeping his back straight as the illustrations in the hospital booklet insist he must. He's trying, but not often succeeding. Johnny is, however, learning to get into a car "the girly way": sitting and swinging one leg in, then the other, keeping back and butt aligned.

Although the pain is gone, Johnny has some numbness in his foot and tingling in his leg yet, and a lot of stiffness, which we understand is to be expected. What we didn't expect is the monumental bruise on his butt, far below the incision. I researched on the web and strange bruises seem to be common in spinal surgeries. "What do they do back there?" complained one bruised surgery survivor on a spinal forum. It does make one wonder. Apparently there are some little unhappy blood vessels at the base of Johnny's spine, but the bruise does seem to be dissipating and turning from purple to yellow. I think that's a good sign.

Since Johnny cannot see his incision or his bruised butt, I've been taking photos of them daily for him. No, I will not post a photo of his bruise here, but I can't resist posting my first attempt at rebandaging his incision after he showered. I think I did a heckuva good job. The second attempt was not quite so perfect. But after two weeks of this, I bet I'll be a pro.

I can't resist posting an incision photo, too. These staples are self-dissolving they say. (Amendment: the inside stitches were self-dissolving. These outer ones the doc pulled out at the two week post-op appointment.) The incision is only about 2 inches long. Johnny's first surgery in that same location, 40 plus years ago, was more like 6 inches long. Apparently, they ripped out more than disk pieces in that long-ago surgery as Dr. Tatsumi says they mangled the nerve in the process. So instead of taking out the whole disk and replacing it, as planned, Dr. Tatsumi just took out the half that was bulging in and pressing on the nerve. The other half was adhered to nerve fibers. It will have to stay put.

Once Johnny is off his BLT restrictions, we are going to have a BLT party... with bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. That seems an appropriate way to celebrate.

1 comment:

  1. Generally our BLT's here come from our own farm processed food. Farm raised, butchered, cured, smoked bacon; lettuce and tomatoes out of the garden; Linda's non-gluten bread from the breadmaker; slathered with her home-made in the blender mayo. The bread and mayo can be made on a moments notice. Lettuce is waiting in the garden. Have bacon left over from the last hog we butchered. But the tomatoes! Ours are flowering, but a long way from being ripe and edible. Sure hope I'm off my restrictions long before then.