At last, at last! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 11-22-2019, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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At last, at last!

I finally got to ride again today, after eight (nine, if you count the week before my surgery) weeks. Eight slow, slow weeks.



It was raining and raw out when I got to the barn, so I didn't think I was going to ride, but it cleared up as the sun was starting to set. My trainer left Toby and I together in the round pen with an "I'll be back in a minute", which is basically code for "I trust you both not to do anything stupid", and we rode for maybe half an hour? Til dark. Just at a walk, just doing some maneuvering, side pass, shoulder in, backing, walking in small circles, walking in big ones. Did some no-reins (I kept a couple thumbs on them), did some no stirrups.



Then I realized I wasn't sure I could dismount in the dark safely, and had to call my trainer (literally, on my cell) to unlatch the gate. It happens.


Most importantly: I wasn't in pain. Not mounting up, not dismounting, and nowhere in between. That's a shock - my brain is still operating in this mode where it expects pain to happen at some point. It measures time on pain: it thinks we can't possibly have been driving [x] time, because it doesn't hurt. My muscles are, you know, two months off riding muscles, intense swimming workouts notwithstanding, but they don't *hurt*. What a sensation, what a change from before.



But it was nice, just nice, to spend time with my buddy, go for a walk, after so long, and on top of that, it doesn't even hurt anymore. Contentment is mine.
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post #2 of 68 Old 11-22-2019, 10:30 PM
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Congratulations on finally riding!!!

But curious; what type of surgery did you have? (if you want to share)
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post #3 of 68 Old 11-22-2019, 11:53 PM
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Congratulations! Not just riding again, but an obvious improvement. I too am curious...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
But curious; what type of surgery did you have? (if you want to share)
I'm fascinated by surgery as well, @AnitaAnne . Did you know Andy Murray is now playing tour-level tennis with a hip replacement? ...last time I had surgery, looooong ago, I mentioned to the surgeon that he could make a nice little side-line filming the surgery and then selling it back to his patient. I'd buy it!!! He laughed and said this would increase his insurance premiums. And in case you're wondering what surgery that was, it was the belated fixing, at age 25, of not being able to breathe through my nose more than a tiny little bit (I'd have suffocated if someone had taped my mouth) after breaking my nose badly in a fall of a horse at speed when I was 9. The surgeon had to apparently stretch the tip of my nose up to my eyebrows (after cutting the skin in front of the nasal septum and back into the nose) so he could get at the turbinates and graft cartilage into my air passages. (He didn't film it, but he described it nicely for me.) While he was there, he also straightened out the top of the nose, which had become misshapen in the accident. It felt really good to be able to breathe entirely through my nose again, after 16 long years!

SueC is time travelling.
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post #4 of 68 Old 11-23-2019, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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I had a lumbar microdiscectomy. I had been having severe sciatica (nerve pain in the leg) for close to two years, and worsening, due to a badly herniated disc. The neurosurgeon was so deeply alarmed by my MRI that he pulled an absurd amount of strings to get me in for surgery ASAP. The surgery is basically removal of the herniated tissue to relieve pressure on the nerve root. As you can imagine, a lot of things, including riding, were excruciating, and after riding I would go home and have this entire hour+ routine to a point where I could sleep.

I have felt so, so much better since having surgery, but I was also under express instructions not to ride until 8 weeks. (Now I am allowed to do most things, except my medic job and ice hockey.)
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post #5 of 68 Old 11-23-2019, 09:15 AM
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Woohooo I'm soooo glad you're back riding and there was NO pain!! Yay! I hope you continue on your recovery at such a good pace!
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post #6 of 68 Old 11-23-2019, 07:49 PM
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@redbadger , will you be allowed to go back to your medic job eventually?

It sounds like that herniated disc was a nightmare and I am very glad that your pain levels are improved so much. Do you have to do ongoing exercises to strengthen muscles around the spine etc, to keep things good?

Happy riding!

PS: Was just thinking, there's a lot of not great things in the modern world, but one of the really great things is that the medical care and dentistry are such that for a lot of things we don't have to suffer quite like people in earlier centuries did...

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 11-23-2019 at 08:02 PM.
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post #7 of 68 Old 11-24-2019, 09:07 AM
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@redbadger - Congratulations. It must be a relief to be pain free. Often the brain can get so used to the feeling, that you do not realize how bad it was until it is gone. I hope you get back to your job as well. Will they allow you to ease back in, or do you have to lift from the start? A hazard of the job I imagine!


@SueC - I agree about the difference between modern medical care and the suffering people went through years ago. I am more than happy to have pain relief, drugs, sterile conditions, and safety procedures. I would not have survived past my twenties if i had been born in any other century.

At work we have a surgeon's case from the mid 1800s. It was used in the field and under 'controlled conditions' such as a tent. It is lined with red felt to hide and absorb any mess and dirt and has three layers and trays of instruments. Huge saws, knives that would look at home in a kitchen, pliers, sharp and blunt tools for digging, poking and gouging as well as tourniquets, needles and thread. We have to be very careful when we handle them as they are extremely sharp. Any intervention must have been brutal.
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post #8 of 68 Old 11-24-2019, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, once my surgeon clears me, which should be in another month. I know work will plead with me about Christmas (my regular shift falls on Christmas eve, but I usually take off for the candlelight church service. I'll finagle something.) The surgeon wants me absolutely as solid and healed as possible before returning to the ambulance, since aside from night feed and hockey is the most physically arduous thing I do.

I am very fortunate to live in an area with some of the best hospitals and most advanced medical care in the world. I was even more fortunate to have a surgeon who called in several favors to get my surgery done as soon as possible (less than a week after we went over my MRI results). I am also incredibly fortunate to have access to that care through health insurance.
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post #9 of 68 Old 11-24-2019, 12:03 PM
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Those surgeons are a blessing. Mine pulled out of state strings to get one of the top surgeons to do the surgery and then Katrina got in the way. They worked together and somehow found a surgical center that was willing and would open for the surgery the day after she blew through.



So glad you are on your way to a proper mending and that you are pain free.
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post #10 of 68 Old 11-24-2019, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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I met with the surgeon on 9/19 and was scheduled initially for 9/27 at my local general hospital, but that hospital is out of network for me so my insurance said no. That meant I would have to have it at New England Baptist, an orthopedic/neuro specialty hospital in Boston. It's, again, one of the best hospitals in the country, so after conferring with the surgeon's office they cautioned me the surgery would be delayed into October. I figured I could accept a few more weeks of pain. Fast forward to 9/26, when I'm out at the Big E (fair) enjoying livestock, draft horses, and ghastly fair food, when NEBH calls. "Hi, this is prescreening, you have a surgery tomorrow." "I have a what?" called the surgeon's office, in the rain, at the fairgrounds, they confirm: yep, 9/27, at NEBH. So I ended up doing my prescreen call in the arena at the fairgrounds between draft classes, danced around the fair in pain, went home and hardly slept. I know the kind of strings my surgeon pulled, and I will be eternally grateful. He's actually part of a group that performs free and low cost spinal surgery in areas with little to no access to these surgeries otherwise, and said the hospital thinks he's kind of nuts for insisting he doesn't care about the money.

I feel better every day, even while my brain is still wired to anticipate pain, so it's been a peculiar recovery in that way. I'm well enough that I get antsy on the days I don't do things, looking forward to getting back to my professional job in a few weeks and kicking the rust off my riding. I actually hadn't ridden Toby in longer than 9 weeks - closer to 3 months or more, because he was off for his back soreness and I was riding Jasper. So it was really nice to hop on and feel like he and I were pretty much where we'd been before, he only briefly questioned going to the round pen (vs the trail), but he capitulated quick enough, listened to me otherwise, only wanted to stop when it was pretty dark (which is a smart request - "hey, we can't see, let's go in now"). I'm glad my trainer let us work alone - not just the trust in me and him, but it was sort of, you might say a personal experience and something that was better to be just the two of us. If that makes sense.
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