Butterflies of apprehension fluttered as I furiously knitted in the hospital waiting room. The clicking of my needles, the ticking of the clock, the tapping of a keyboard, these regular sounds reverberating at an exasperating intensity in my head. Until this morning, I could truthfully announce that I was a champion at recovery from anterior lumbar interbody fusion and disc replacement. This statement, rather than being deducted using statistical evidence, was purely based on the facts that I am now walking and also know no other post-operative patients to compare myself to. Each week I have been able to revel in palpable improvements, be they monumental or minuscule. However, today my whole being was to be evaluated by an objective, knowledgeable man who knew me literally inside out. Attempts to inveigle my surgeon would be fruitless. Excellent, very good, satisfactory, poor or lost cause, how would I be ranked?
I strutted down the catwalk towards my designer’s office, flaunting one back from his recent collection. Once inside, I was confronted with images of myself from all angles. Using these rather flattering X-rays, it was explained that the positioning of the metal cage, bone graft, triangular plate, and all the other elements of the intricate, bionic woman design, were as hoped. It seemed the design was perfect, my nerves simply had to adjust and accept this drastic makeover. However, my nerves are unfortunately stubborn, old-fashioned things, who due to their wary, reluctant ways are only recovering at a satisfactory rate. Will they rise to the challenge and escape their caged existence or return to their old painful ways?