There are a few things that can put me in a surly mood. Being tired and being in pain are two of them. If I’m expending a lot of energy to stay awake or deal with pain, I have less energy to deal with everything else. I assume the same is true for other people.

Sometimes Lion takes prescription sleeping pills. I guess they work for him but I hate them. They are responsible for his late night trips to the kitchen for snacks (not lately, of course) and his wont for late night conversations. He took a sleeping pill last night along with his narcotic and some Tylenol.

As Lion was telling me how grateful he is for having me to take care of him, he decided he needed some cereal to soak up some of the drugs he’d just taken, otherwise, the drugs might have disturbed his stomach. Fair enough. I got him the cereal which he proceeded to choke on. I had to feed it to him. Aside from cutting his food up for him, I had to feed him once while he was in the hospital. Last night I figured my feeding him was a good way to keep him from choking again.

We’ve talked about my being a mother figure to him when I spank him. Imagine how I feel when I have to feed him and wipe his butt after a bathroom trip. It can’t really be helped. If he needs me to do these things, I’m willing to do them. It’s just weird when I think about it.

Anyway, when we got to the end of the bowl of cereal, Lion wanted more. Even though I knew he’d be asleep by the time I got back, I dutifully got more cereal. And he was asleep when I got back. He was also in an awkward position on the bed but I didn’t want to wake him up to fix it I knew he’d probably be awake in no time anyway so I waited.

Sure enough, within a half hour, he was awake and looking for his cereal. He didn’t know where he’d left the bowl. Of course he hadn’t left it anywhere. I had it. So I fed him more cereal, but this time I was prepared to tell him the kitchen was closed if he wanted another bowl. I had to get some sleep too.

I’d say it was close to one in the morning when I finally got to sleep. At a little before seven, Lion turned the TV on and woke me up. He’d been awake somewhere around four, watched some TV and gone back to sleep. He was excited he got as much sleep as he did during the night. I was not excited by how much I’d gotten.

I don’t know why it bothered me so much to be woken up. It’s not like we’re on a schedule. I could have gone back to sleep. I could take a nap at any point. Maybe it was just the cycle of sleep I was in when the TV went on.

I think Lion is doing pretty well today. He’s been moving around more. Tomorrow he has an eye doctor appointment so we both better be moving around well. I hope it’s going to be a nice day. Maybe the sunshine will entice him to be more mobile so he can spend more time outside.

I’m sorry for being silent so many days. This is a very difficult time for me. Just two weeks ago I underwent an operation called a laminoplasty. My cervical spine was pressing on my spinal cord. An MRI revealed the constriction was quite severe. I was referred to a neurosurgeon.

Mrs. Lion and I met with the surgeon who explained that there was a relatively simple procedure to open up vertebrae in my cervical spine to give my spinal cord more room. He made vague references to improvements in physical issues that I had suffered recently. He didn’t say what, if any, consequences would occur if I didn’t get the surgery. However, he made it clear that he thought it was quite necessary.

Based on his assurances, the surgery was scheduled. As anyone who has gone through any kind of surgical procedure knows, I had to sign a load of releases asserting that I understood the risks associated with the procedure. The risks went everywhere from death to total paralysis. I was also informed that there is a rare condition called C5 palsy.

This condition, that occurs in about 5% of cases, results in a combination of partial paralysis of one arm and/or shoulder pain. The surgeon minimized the amount of pain I would suffer and suggested I would need opioids for less than two weeks. He claimed most of the pain would be from muscles he had to displace and would be insulted by the movement.

It was obvious that this was not trivial surgery. I expected to spend some time in bed recovering from the surgical wound and the aftereffects of anesthesia. I was given no other information about post-surgical recovery.

When I was transferred to my hospital room I discovered I couldn’t sit up on my own. I simply didn’t have the strength. I noticed that the nursing staff had put a walker next to my bed. I told the nurse I needed to pee. She and an assistant got me to my feet and held a urinal under my penis. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t pee. The nurses brought in an ultrasound machine and determined my bladder was full.

They got a catheter which was painfully inserted and drained the urine. They then removed it. I asked if this was typical. I got a vague answer that was most unsatisfying. Apparently, hospital personnel are instructed to avoid directly answering patient questions. I posed the same question to the surgeon later in the day and he sidestepped it neatly.

Meanwhile, about every hour someone came in and asked me my name, asked me if I knew where I was, and what day of the week it was. They would then test my reflexes at various points in my body. I took it this was a standard neurological exam. Again, when I ask questions I was referred to the surgeon. They wouldn’t give me a clear explanation about why I needed all these tests.

I think you get the idea. I was physically helpless and had absolutely no idea whether this was a permanent condition or not.

Mrs. Lion learned how to help me sit up and push myself up to a standing position inside the walker. After the second day I was able to urinate on my own. After four days in the hospital, I was released and Mrs. Lion drove me home.

Very slowly, I’ve gained some strength. I can sit up on my own and pull myself up into the walker. I can even take some steps without leaning on it. My right arm is basically useless. The reason I know I have C5 palsy is that the day after my surgery the surgeon  sent me for a MRI and when I asked the operators why I was getting the procedure, they told me it was to look for the C5 palsy.

Today, I have enough strength to sit at my desk and write this post. I also wrote an email to my primary care physician outlining my difficulty getting information about my condition.

I think that my problem isn’t unique. Because I write and have an audience, I’m able to at least begin to hold the neurosurgeon and his cohorts responsible for their lack of patient care.

I’m not claiming that the surgery was botched. I think it was probably done quite competently. I also suspect that what I’m going through is related to shocks to my spinal cord as it moves into its new, roomier home.

However, all the suppositions are coming from me alone. None of the medical professionals I would expect to help me are saying a single word.

I’d like to thank you for your helpful comments about recovery and compensation we can do to make my life easier. Even though I haven’t been able to respond myself, I read every word and appreciate the good advice.

Mrs. Lion and I are strictly on our own. I’m pretty sure this is due to the fact that hospital lawyers want to protect their institution by having its employees say as little as possible to patients who are having trouble. For me at least, this is a humanitarian problem. I’m not interested in suing anybody. I just would prefer a little human kindness and support.

Lion has been getting himself up for about a day now. He only needs help when he’s tired or in more pain. He’s even been walking without the walker. It’s funny to see him carrying the walker. He’s almost like a little kid. “Look, ma, no hands!” He was considering not using the walker at all but I’d rather he have it with him in case he needs it. At least for a little while. Once he gets stronger he can jettison it.

We were going to eat dinner in the kitchen the other day, but Lion was feeling unsteady so we ate in bed again. He’s set his sights on making it into his home office today so perhaps you’ll see a post from him. He really does seem to be moving more. Maybe he saw the wheelchair ramp as a threat to his ability to get around.

For the past few days, Lion has said he’s horny. One day he suggested I try to arouse him earlier in the day. I’m not sure what difference that would make since he sleeps during the day and is awake most of the night. Our schedule is all out of whack. Lion wasn’t eating much so dinner was whenever. If I sit with him in the bedroom I start to fall asleep. I’ve been trying to get dressed and move around more myself so I don’t lapse into a coma.

At any rate, it’s been a little more difficult to snuggle because Lion’s left arm and shoulder have been sensitive to touch. It makes things more awkward for me, but I decided to test the horniness level last night. As soon as I snuggled closer, he started to purr. Silly big cat. And in no time he was hard.

I sat up and started playing with him. I had no idea how far we’d get. He was definitely having fun but I wasn’t getting him to the edge. I asked if he was done. He said he was hornier than ever. I could have stopped right there. Leaving him horny is a good thing, right? But he suggested using the Magic Wand.

It was almost two weeks since his surgery. Given his discomfort, I didn’t think we’d get as far as we did. I decided that edging him was cruel. If he could make it to the edge, we’d go right on over. The Magic Wand did the trick. A few squeaky yells and we had liftoff. He didn’t produce much semen but, then again, he hasn’t been eating or drinking much.

At least as far as sex is concerned, Lion is back.

I’ve been researching wheelchair ramps. We built a ramp for the front steps some years ago when our senior dog was having trouble with stairs. It didn’t meet with any requirements other than her making it up easier. We still have it but it’s much too steep for a wheelchair.

Lion is getting depressed about how slowly his recovery is going. He tells me he needs help (encouragement) to get up and around, but then he tells me he’s dizzy or unsteady. I can’t fault him. He knows how he feels. But I feel caught in the middle. If I leave him alone he thinks I’m tired of helping him. If I try to encourage him he says he can’t do it. This afternoon he had a doctor appointment for his eyes but he was too unsteady to go. Plus, there was the issue of how to get him out of the house. Hence, the wheelchair ramp research.

We have a fifteen inch rise to get to the front door. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ramp needs to be fifteen feet long. Yikes! That will put us way out into the dog’s potty lawn. We don’t usually clean her poops up from that lawn and she’ll be very confused by any ramp, let alone something fifteen feet long. I’m wondering if ten feet will work. It’s still on the doggie lawn but not as far.

Since the deck guy abandoned his work and the landlord hasn’t found anyone to finish the job, I’m thinking of pirating some pressure treated lumber from the back yard. Shhh!!!! Don’t tell anyone. With any luck I could have some sort of ramp done in a day. It would be no frills, of course, but who needs frills? I just need to get Lion into the car the easiest way possible.

Once I can get him out of the house, he can make it to doctor appointments, physical therapy, the store, a picnic in the park, the opera (who snuck that in there), etc. If he’s more mobile then maybe he won’t feel so bad about his recovery time. I’m sure he’s got cabin fever by now.

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work I go. Mrs. Lion’s Wheelchair Ramps, can I help you?