Well I'm almost 2 months out from microdiscectomy on L5-S1 and I must say I'm disappointed. I was looking at the surgery as a cure for my injury and apparently that was not a realistic expectation. The surgeon told me that disc space is prone to injury and I will need a fusion at that level by the time I'm 40, but I guess I chose to not actually HEAR him.
Waking up from surgery was awful. I was in excruciating pain from severe muscle spasms that the recovery nurse had a hard time controlling. She eventually gave me enough medication to knock me out for most of the rest of the day. After the recovery room experience I wasn't in much pain at all for the first week. We even drove the three hours home that day and ate at a restaraunt on the way. Week 2 was a little rough which is expected. At the end of week 3 I went to get cleared to return to work, as I was told that was how long I would need to be off. He did clear me but advised that it was not in my best interest. He said it could take up to a year to heal from the surgery and I would always have a high risk for re-herniation. He told me I should look at different career paths.
All was ok, not great, until this past Friday when I had severe muscle spasms all night. These spasms were more severe than prior to surgery. They have gone away and are now tolerable for the most part. Today I experienced the tingling in my lower leg again, and called the surgeon who prescribed a steroid pack, pain meds, and a new muscle relaxer. Hopefully they will reduce my pain and tingling.
The hardest thing is that tonight I have reached the conclusion that my time as a paramedic may be over. I don't know what I will do now. I have no real education other than EMS. I don't have enough EMS education to teach and don't relish the idea of going into administration. I don't know where to go. I don't know what else to do with my life. As much as I sometimes hate my job, it really is important to me. I can't imagine any other proffesion bringing me such joy.
I will miss everything from holding a little old ladies wrinkled hand as she tells me stories of her youth to the small child who I can make smile even though his arm is in the shape of a Z. EMS is my passion. I can't imagine walking away.
Hopefully I can squeeze enough time out of my back to be able to figure out my next step.