One Month, Five Days: Walking Upright

My back surgery was July 11, 2017. It’s been a bit over a month. My first response to those who have asked (and thank you for asking) is that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being excruciating pain, my pain level was a 17 before the surgery. It’s between a two and three now, depending on the day.

It’s remarkable.

I’m sure my pain is more severe now than what I realize but with more than a decade of extreme pain, what I’m feeling now is a piece of cake. I have my old life back.

My small group leader asked me last night when was the last time I felt a two or three pain level. I said it’s been five or six years. It’s something like that; I’m not sure, but I do know it was a long time ago.

That’s the good news.

Now for the bad news: I have to stop using my handicap parking tag that I hang on my mirror. I’m pretty tore up about that. I fell in love with my handicap card. The only bad thing about using it was “feeling judged” by those who looked me “up and down” when I stepped out of our van. (I know who you are.)

I also felt a pinch of conviction because I’m one of those “haters” who judged people when they got out of their vehicles, as though I’m the expert on what handicap should look like on an individual. I may have pretended to “look more handicapped” when I got out of my van so folks would know that my situation was legit. (Oh, the complexity of it all. It’s hard being human in a fallen world.)

The truth is that if you did not know that I was in pain, you would not know I was in pain because there were few “tells,” as they say in the gambling business. For the most part, I looked healthy.

A New Day

While in Colorado, at the Home Goods store, we gathered ten shopping carts–two per family member–and rolled them into the store. (It’s a thing we do as a family.) It’s been years since I’ve collected shopping carts (strays) in a parking lot. Last week, we parked at the end of the parking lot at Aldi (grocery store) and walked the distance. My point is that I (and our family) are back to old form. Daddy can walk now.

I still wear a back brace, and will for a while. In a month or so, I will start a personal regimen of physical therapy, which will consist of stretching exercises. It will also be imperative to keep extra weight off, so there is less burden on my back.

That’s about it.

Sitting all day is still hard. I try to remember to get up regularly and walk around for a few minutes. (I’m trying not to judge people who complain about walking or standing. What a privilege.) I do miss my handicap card and my electric wheelchair at Walmart, but if this is the trade off, I’ll take walking any day.

My two prayer requests are (1) gratitude to God for healing and (2) that the rest of this pain will leave.

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About RickThomasNet

Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking. In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).