Sunday, January 25, 2009

Double Whammy

Inauguration Day, for us, was also Surgery Day....

Inauguration Day, 2009
On Tuesday, January 20th, we got up at 5 am, dragged our weary bodies to the car, drove V-e-r-y---S-l-o-w-l-y on thickly-frosted, slippery roads to the ferry landing in town... slept on the 1 hr. 15 min. ferry ride to the mainland... repeated the slow driving on roads and freeway, which were white with frost and black with ice, to an out-patient surgical clinic in Bellingham, WA. We arrived at 9:05 am just prior to the swearing-in of VP Biden. Fortunately, the scare of driving was lessened because we were so drawn into the radio coverage of the Inaugural events on the way.

Robert, bless him, never seems to get anxious or nervous about surgery. And this one, anticipated for a whole year, he actually seemed to greet with pleasure.

I've posted (and beaded) some about his back surgery, problems with the fusion not taking, his chronic pain and the ways it affects our relationship here.

Once the vertebral fusion was finally complete, thanks to faithfully wearing his bone growth stimulator (it DOES work!!) for 6 months, we looked forward to the possibility that removing the hardware would relieve pressure on a nerve somewhere and lessen or (dare we hope?) eliminate his back pain... and the need for pain meds... and the forced inactivity... and the depression....

The day of the surgery, double whammy day, I watched Obama's wonderful acceptance speech in the waiting room while Robert went under the knife. I have to admit, Obama held my attention, even though part of me was in prayer mode for Robert.

I especially loved that our new President, Barack Hussein Obama, included and honored the whole world community in his acceptance speech! Everything about it rang true, authentic and respectful to my ears as I stood watching with my heart so very open to hope!

Two and one half hours later, I joined Robert in the recovery room and told him all that I could remember of the speech, of the beautiful poem, of Aretha's hat, of the unbelievable crowds and of the joy and hope I felt.

Later the nurse brought us a zip bag filled with the hardware they had removed from his spine. What do you think of this?

spinal fusion hardware
Eeeegad... it was nearly a weight-reduction surgery! I'm happy to report that he's recovering nicely. We're back home and he's getting around well, even doing the dishes and some of the lighter chores around the house. We won't know how successful this will be until the wounds heal... 3 to 5 weeks, the surgeon told us.

Both of us agree... it was a day to remember!

PS... I thoroughly enjoy reading various posts about the inauguration. My favorite is here... Susan's selection of pictures and interesting findings about fashion and fibers is amazing!


  1. All that steel in the poor guys back no wonder he was in pain!!! That is all really quite scary looking!! Kind of turned my stomach!! Tell him to hang in there and soon he will be out there taking more of his glorious photos for us all to enjoy!! I do LOVE his work!!
    The whole week leading up to and including the Inauguration was so incredibly wonderful and since - the chnages that this Admistration is making all ready is amazing!
    thank you so very much for your wonderful comment sa bout my Mermaid doll- I can't tell what your words mean to me!!
    Wonderful big healing hugs to you both!!

  2. I know so many people who have back pain that you can bet I'll be praying for Robert as he heals. Sounds good so far.

    I hope those steel looking rod or tiny knitting needle looking things were supposed to be curved!

  3. I don't think I would want that hardware inside me. Hard to get through security at the airport, I bet!

  4. To Elizabeth ~ Yes, I know what you mean about "stomach turning"...

    To Mary ~ Yes, those curved things fit into the tops of the screws and acted as braces between the vertebrae. I guess they are curved to go around "the cage" which takes the place of the disc between the vertebrae. The metal is titanium, as I understand it.

    To Lone Beader ~ Fortunately he didn't have to fly anywhere this past year and a half.

    Robin A.

  5. Wishing Robert a speedy and successful recovery. Getting rid of that collection of metal just HAS to feel better!

  6. OUCH! Poor Robert, poor Robin...I hope he heals more and more every day and this procedure really works. The body is so complicated but the mind has a way. I'm sending my positive energy to Robert on this one. All blessed and happy, healing thoughts.

    So GLAD you enjoyed my Inaugural post enough to tell the world. Thank you, dear Robin. Here's hoping we have many, more days to be so proud. xoxo Susan

  7. I'm glad the surgery is over and that he is doing well. That is a huge amount of hardware and probably caused some of the pain.

  8. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Fingers crossed the surgery was a success this time. My husbad had much easier back surgery than that a few years ago and has never even had a winge since!

    Assumming it is a success, it will be interesting to see if it has any effect on your beading, if any.

    Sorry I haven't commented much recently, with working, I find I read the posts and then think I will comment later but never do.

    In answer to your last comment on my page, yes, 52 is the plan.

  9. It seems obvious to me that this hardware is going to have to go into a Bead Journal Page!

    May Robert's recovery be swift and complete. xoxoxo

  10. Hi Robin,
    I'm sending positive healing thoughts for Robert. I hope that he feels better with each passing day.
    Hugs from Karen

  11. As I said to Susan, I listened to the ceremony on my radio with tears in my eyes. Tears of joy at the words I was hearing; tears of hope for the future.

    I'm not sure if this will sound sain, but the hardware removed from Roberts back seems symbolic of Obama's Inauguration Day. Removing artificial supports for a very painful, crippled back. We don't know if it will be the solution; we have to wait to see if the wounds heal; but we are all praying that this will be the be the day that the things began to change.


  12. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Hello Robin,

    What a lovely post, with lots of hope going in different directions, and with pictures very different from those of bead embroidery. It gives me shivers to think about all that hardware stuck in a spine! Let us hope and pray for at least a notable recovery!

    I listened to the inauguration feature on the radio (6 o'clock p.m. our time), with my ironing board put up, among other things ironing backing to my December doll's fabric. The crowds in Washington must have been unbelievable. My only regret was that I could be on the spot solely in my imagination. Even so, far from the place of action, I could not help shedding tears.

    Barack Obama started work right away, as we can gather from the daily news. And the German politicians are already busy discussing wether or not to give asylum to some released Guantanamo prisoners when the time comes. Some say we must and will do. Others, mostly the decision makers, say we will not allow any of them in. They are in jitters and in a real dilemma about this issue, although they have not even been asked yet to make their contribution. Serves them right!

    Love and best wishes,

  13. It certainly was a day to remember. I wish you both a speedy and sane recovery and sincerely hope the operation was a success and that your life will return to a loving equilibrium

  14. I hope this surgery does the trick for Robert. That little array of hardware is amazing when you think about it being inside a person!

    As for the inauguration, I loved every moment of it. Thanks for the link to your favorite post on it. You're right....she said it so beautifully. (PS - you might want to check out the drawing I did that was inspired by Aretha's hat. It's on flickr.)

  15. Oh, maybe the day was an auspcious event for your dh and that his new start will be as wonderful and as productive to healing as Obama's!!!
    I watched the whole thing, and it was wonderful! First time I've watched and inauguration!
    My prayers to Robert for a speedy and healing recovery!
    Cheers, Denise

  16. I hope the procedure was successful but what I really want to know is how you are going to incorporate all that hardware into a beaded page.


  17. Ohmygosh, Robin! When I saw that photo of the hardware they removed from your husband's back, I cringed.

    I so hope all will be well for him now and you, too. And I just know this particular inauguration day will be one not soon forgotten . . .

    Kathy V in NM

  18. I will keep all fingers crossed and healing beams sent for robert....what an amazing amount of hardware to be carrying around!

    I can't help it, I get all excited every time I hear the words, President Obama! I know he can't do it alone but I also feel we have so much hope because he seems to have a strong vision of where america needs to go and it pretty much matches mine.

  19. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I looked at the hardware and wondered if I was the only one who wondered what it would look like in a piece of bead embroidery!

  20. I am late to reading a lot of the blogs after Christmas and visiting swamped me but I am glad to see his bones knit and all that stuff was removed. My goodness. Bye now he should be feeling better. I sure hope so.

    Reaching out to the whole world is what caught my attention in Obamas speech too. Amen!

  21. Oh Robin, I really have been remiss at reading blogs lately & can't believe I missed something so important to you & Robert as this. I hope he is feeling much better & that the pain is gone or at least much, much less by now

    My Joe has surgery on his neck next Tuesday to replace two discs, which we are hoping will relieve his cronic pain. So reading this really brought it all home to me

    I wish both our men a sucessful outcome

    hugs Ellen

  22. Robin - I hope your hubby's pain has gotten better if not gone totally away by now. This reminds me of some hardware my husband had in years ago for various broken bones...


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!