I got home from the hospital yesterday after surgery early Tuesday morning. Everything went well according to the stoic, matter-of-fact, blunt neurosurgeon (is blunt a word you should use to describe a surgeon?). It took about three hours, and he had to take out a piece of bone to get to the disc where my spinal cord was "splattered"—his word (did I mention he has no bedside manner to speak of?)—against the vertebra. The incision site hurts like hell, but 100 percent of the nerve pain in my back and legs is gone, completely. I can stand up straight for the first time in a couple months, and I slept very well last night (Percoset and Valium helped a bit with that), and didn't once wake up screaming and squeezing poor Mr. Chalmers's upper arm in a death grip.
What I'm dealing with now is the kind of pain that I can tell is going to go away—my dad, who's had four operations on his back, put it this way too. In other words, this pain makes sense: cut muscles, bruising, staples, and whatnot = hurt. The pain I had before made no sense. I know I'm going to be completely better very soon.
My mom and Mr. Chalmers are still pretty much doing everything around here that I would normally do—and then some. The nurse told me to eat lots of red meat to help heal the muscles, so they pulled some big "cowboy steaks" (bone-in rib-eyes) out of the freezer for supper last night. I'd gotten them as part of a "freezer pack" at Simply Meats on Baxter Street the day after our chest freezer came. They were amazingly tender and delicious, even though I'm not normally a fan of the rib-eye. Athenians, let's keep this place in business! Why didn't it turn up in the ABH piece this week about local butcher shops? Sure, it's not all local meat, and the more unusual cuts and meats are frozen or special-order items (as they are most places), but certainly it would've been worth a mention.
Mr. Chalmers also brined and hot-smoked a side of salmon over the weekend. I think it was his best yet. The bug ate—no exaggeration—about a quarter of it.
Continuing with the random food notes, after all my pre-op stuff at St. Mary's on Monday, the bug and I took Grandma to Just Pho . . . and More for lunch. We'd been there once. The night before, my mom asked the bug, "What is pho?" (She knows, but was just making conversation.) Without missing a beat, the bug answered, "Deeee-LISH-us!" My little girl makes a valiant effort with the chopsticks, but of course mostly uses her hands.
She also really enjoys the boba "smoothies":
My mom, who traveled through Thailand for a month or so with my Thai aunt, was happy to see that they had a durian boba drink. I had no idea she liked durian, even the fresh-cut ones. I've never had the guts to try it, but the smoothie version wasn't too bad. Weird, but not as terrible as the fresh fruits smell.
The pho itself was better this time than on our first visit. The herbs and add-ins were nice and fresh, and the basil was real Thai basil. I always ask for the raw meat on the side; last time they gave me raw round, but dry and crumbly cooked brisket, so this time I just went with the round, and it was nice.
I guess that's it for now. Time to lie down.