Before and after his surgery, Bruce stresses how much help he needed and received from his family. He advises other back surgery patients to make sure to listen to their doctors and to not push themselves too hard no matter how good you feel.
she was my caregiver for-for some time now, even prior to having surgery when my back would go out, you know, she was, “Go take a pain pill.”
And I’m the one that don’t like to take a lot of medication, and I will always fight it. Sometimes it creates a little animosity between us, because I’m complaining about my back pain, and she thinks all I need to do is go take a pain pill to make it all feel better. And that’s not always the case, ‘cause sometimes you take that pain pill and you don’t feel better. Or after the surgery, I-I needed her, I needed my kids, because, for me, making this decision was life-altering. I mean, I could’ve went under there, and it-it could’ve been just the opposite. Could’ve came out of there, could’ve been a lot worse. And they tell you that prior to having your surgery that it’s not 100 percent guaranteed.
I’ve had maybe two flare-ups in the past year. That’s because I was overexerting myself, trying to do more than my body will allow. A lot of times, I’m trying to do things that I probably would did at 30, 35, and I’m 49. Body tells you, “Slow down. [LAUGH] You’re not 30 no more.” Other than that, haven’t had any other little issues. With-with my line of work, they do give you medical pension when you have these type of injuries. Medical pension for me was out of the question. I have young kids, and it’s not conducive to my lifestyle or what I wanna do. And that was part of the reason for having the surgery. It’ll do something that will keep me working. If you couldn’t return back to work within a year, they will pension you off. So, that’s a big deal for law enforcement. With my time on the job, this is not a big issue, but for somebody, a rookie, or five years, 10 years on the job, and you injure your back, and it happens all the time, you can find yourself getting a medical pension, and stuck making 30, 40,000 dollars for the rest of your life.
Follow your doctor’s orders. Doctors tell you what you need to do, and-and if you follow the orders, you’ll be okay. To be honest with you, after the first week, I felt like I can do all those things. You really do. But you just can’t do it. And I think a lot of people reinjure themselves because you’re actually feeling that good. I could run. I could run up these stairs, but it’s a no-no. Don’t do it.
One of the things I did before this procedure, is did my own little homework on the doctors who’s performing these types of surgeries. When I finally went and saw my doctor, uh, I was comfortable with him. You know, he came in, he made me feel like he cared. He wasn’t one of these doctors come in, look at you, and wouldn’t have a real conversation with you. He found out what was bothering me, and we did a lot of little different physical activities in the room, so he could see what my limitations were. So, you gotta be comfortable with whoever you’re gonna use, and when I did have my surgery, I was confident that he could do the job.
I thought I’d be a year, year and a half, dealing with trying to get this thing right. Well, you take nine, 10 months, and then you look at 17 years, I did the math [LAUGH], so it took me 17 years to deal with this pain, and, come on. Nine months of just having surgery, and now I’m-I’m feeling 100 percent better, and wishing I did it a long time ago, wishing they had this procedure a long time ago, wish they did it back in the 90s and early 2000s. At least I didn’t know about it. No regrets, feeling good, can conquer the world now. [LAUGH]