The surgery went well, and I now have 3 fused vertebrae in my lower back. I had actually broken 2 of the 4 screws and bent one of the two plates that were in there, so no wonder things weren’t right.
There were a few cardiac complications that resulted in me a) passing out a lot, and b) being moved to a general hospital from the orthopedic one so that a variety of specialists could figure it out–final guess, side effects of anesthesia & painkillers. It stopped & I got released before Christmas, which we spent in the Residence Inn. One of the housekeepers at the hospital had brought me a tiny tree with lights, and told me to take it home, so we had that.
They wanted me to walk as much as possible. My leg pain vanished right away, but my back hurt from the surgery, so it was a challenge at first. I was using a walker, so it pretty much meant flat and paved. I walked up and down the hall in the hotel for a few days, but that was boring, so we ventured to something called the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, which is a municipal park/nature preserve with a bunch of ponds, some paved trails around one of them, and many birds. I never got past the pond closest to the parking lot (taking the walker onto unpaved trails was not really working and they could use a few more benches ) but I worked up to being able to circle the entire pond before we left.
We returned to Alaska at the beginning of the year, after the doctor gave me the OK to travel. I spent a couple of weeks just recuperating, and then began doing a bit of work from home. I’ve been going in to the office (thanks to Sean Gunnells & the others from UMIAQ Science Logistics for shoveling the handicap ramp so I could get into the building) and am pretty well back to full-time.
In the meantime, I’ve submitted two major proposals (one archaeology and one not), several smaller ones for non-archaeology science support work, reviewed a chapter, gotten the AJA Recent Research Notes column out, checked the galleys of an article Glenn & I wrote, got grabbed by UMIAQ’s marketing person to do an interview with a TV crew who were up here trying to see the first sunrise of the year (of course it was cloudy), and even managed to get some lab work done.
Tuesday I am off to Fairbanks for the Alaska Anthropological Association meetings, where I am doing a 2-minute talk and a paper. It’ll be the first time I’ve driven much more than the 5 minutes back and forth to the office since surgery, and the first time I’ve traveled by myself. Hopefully all goes well. Looks like there are some interesting papers and I should see some old friends.