Thanks so much for all the well wishes.
Saturday was a big day although it started off wrong. I decided to change one of my gray Army T-shirts by myself. I was doing fine but it got stuck under the back of the collar and I ended up hurting my neck. Two Percosets and 4 hours later I was okay so I had my first shave and shower since Tuesday. You definetely need a "private duty nurse" 24x7 and one willing to help you shower. Carole insisted I shave my cheeks and sideburns with the collar on but let me take it off for a few minutes to quickly and poorly shave my neck.
She's been great, I don't know what I do without her help. I'm actually far less stable than before the operation so I can't even walk and carry a glass of juice or a coffee at the same time without spilling. Since the collar restricts my line of sight and I can't bend over very far its nice to have every toilet seat in the house UP and no need to put it down.
I can now swallow whole foods (cut in tiny pieces) although drinking from a glass without a straw is impossible. Coffee is not quite the same sucked through a straw.
The biggest problem is the collar. I have two sizes, one allows some front to back movement so I can see things like the keyboard on this laptop but I have another collar ("the Spanish Inquistion Collar" - SPC) which I'm supposed to wear 90% of the time which is higher and keeps my head rigid, zero movement. Its impossible to sleep in the SPC, its next to impossible to sleep in the smaller one too but these collars are causing some problems with my nurse who insists first thing in the morning that I put on the larger "Spanish Inquisition Collar." We do a little negotiating, "Okay but after I have my coffee" or "Let me eat my oatmeal first." It's now late morning, I've won three delays but she is sure to confront me soon.
As I said sleeping in the damn thing is horrible. Last night I was up every hour. I kept having a dream that the collar had an electronic device in it that would automatically make it tighter and it was set wrong. I would wake up choking and yanking on the collar to get air into my lungs. At least I can spend the day catnapping on the recliner and watch as much baseball and football as I want!