Friday, April 1, 2011

I think I might be a Jedi

Uh, oh. Two sci-fi references in a row! Well, I may be awesome, but I never said that I wasn't a geek. You learn to live with it.

I've been feeling lately - and maybe you have too - that we've just about covered everything we need to cover about my surgery. You've shared it all with me from the beginning, and heard all about the ups and downs. And I thank you for that. It's been very cathartic for me. Hopefully it's been entertaining, and maybe even educational, for you. But before I close the book on my surgery, there is just one more thing I want to share.

My kids have really gotten in to the idea of me having a spinal cord stimulator. Being three and four years old, they obviously don't really know what it is. But they do know that I have a battery inside me (there were a lot of long, interesting conversations there) and they know that it makes "Mommy's owie arm" feel better. And one of the most fascinating things in life for them is when I turn it on or adjust the program.

This is the external controller. I just hold the round part against my skin above where the battery is implanted, and it sends the signals to turn the stimulator on and off, and adjust the programming however I need to. On worse pain days I can turn it up for stronger pulses, and I can turn it back down when I don't need quite so much. It's pretty cool. And the kids love helping me adjust it. As soon as I open the case, my three-year-old says "Mommy can I push the button?" and then my four-year-old says "What can I do to help?" So I point to the button and let them each push it once, and they are absolutely thrilled that they get to help Mommy feel better. It's pretty adorable.

So that, technically, is how I control the stimulator. But the cooler thing that I've learned is how much control I have over things through the slight movements of my body. For example, if I tilt my head down or to the right, it makes the stimulation stronger on the left side. If I stretch forward and to the left, it makes it stronger on the right side. So periodically throughout the day you're likely to see me cocking my head at odd angles for seemingly no apparent reason. I'm sure it looks crazy, but it helps me make small adjustments to the stimulation, and get the best results where I need them. Plus, it totally makes me feel like a Jedi.

These are not the nerves you want to stimulate.


  1. Unless you can float R2-D2 around the room, I don't think you have earned the title of Jedi yet. But you're definitely a cyborg. Which is just as cool.

    Just don't assimilate me.

  2. Oh, sure. Rain on my parade.

    Whatever. I'm going to go practice my mind control tricks before the next time I see you. Then we'll see who's laughing...