Wanted to provide a little update. After 7 long days in the hospital I am finally home to my parents house. Surgery was Thurs Jan 21 and went fairly well. The surgery plan was to have the Thoracic Surgeon (Dr. Standerfer) cut upen my stomach and move all organs, etc to the side so that the Neurosurgeons (Dr. Porter and his partner) could put the large titanium plate in from the front. When they got to the spinal cord they realized that my spinal cord was much to thin and flopping around like a wet noodle (not good). S it took then quite a bit longer to secure the plate. Then they closed up the front side and re-prepped the OR for the 2nd part of the surgery. Next they flipped me over (the table did this) and 2 incisions were made on my back on each side of the spinach cord. Through these incisions, pedicle screws were put in to secure and stabilize the plate that was put in. Long story short, the surgery was suppose to take about 6 hours and took more than 8 hours. My poor parents, as they waited. The surgeons did call them from the OR to tell them it would be longer and things were going well though. My Neuro Anesthesiologist (Dr. Shed) was cool too.
Then into post-op neuro recovery. Here I was suppose to be 1-2 hours before heading up to the Neuro Acute Floor (my room). Well, I have never liked being woken up and that day was no exception. That morning my resting heart rate was 43 priot to surgery and I blood pressure very low as a normal. Then they took me off the respirator they had a REALLY hard time getting me to breath on my own. I would just stop breathing and fall back into wonderland… Not cool. I guess they were pretty freaked out and I had a team that had to stand right next to me for over an hour just trying to get me to breath on my own. YIKES. So instead of 1-2 hours it was 4 hours before heading to my room.
I don’t really remember the first 3 days. I was on a lot of meds, a morphine pump, oxygen hooked into my nose, and 2 IV’s with more tubes than you could imagine. I do remember the alarm on one of the machines frequently going off due to low blood pressure and oxygen saturation. It was loud and annoying.
By the end of the 3rd day I was starting to realize the pain and how insanely nauseated I was. On day three they wanted me to try semi-real food… ie.. yogurt/jello/canned fruit. Well, the canned fruit sure did not stay down and out it went. Throwing up after your stomach and back have been sliced and diced it sure NOT cool. The next 4 days were filled with trying to find the delicate line of controlling pain, keeping the nauseated feeling under some what control, and trying to get the kidneys functioning again…. I have NEVER in my life despised the act of eating so much.
Last night (day 7) I was discharge from the hospital and allowed to come home to my parents house. The hour drive home was pretty brutal but it feels better being here and I actually ate some gluten free toast with agave nectar and cinn… and a few home-made baked french fries last night. Tasted pretty good.
I am still taking a long acting morphine pill every 12 hours and can take breakthrough morphine every 3 hours as needed BUT I am trying only to take Tylenol instead of the breakthrough morphine. I also have lidocaine patches for areas around the incisions for 12 hours a day… and good old ice. I so despise all these meds and excited to ween myself off of them. I honestly think that pain might be easier to deal with than the effects of the pain meds.
So I plan to stay in AZ until Feb 17th. I have a follow-up with the Surgeons on this Monday the 1st. So hope that goes well. I am completely amazed how weak ones body can become after a week of time. My legs and lungs are strength-less (think that is a word). So a couple other revelations and happenings from the hardest and most painful week of my life.
1. I am now a proud (haha) owner of a walker (my Dad called it the Bentley)
2. After a CT scan, the nice guy performing the scans says to me “holy shit, you have a ton of metal in your spine”.. I said, yeah that’s what I was told
3. Hospital food, sucks…. really, how can one mess up applesauce in a sealed cup. Popsicles and yoplait yogurt were the only somewhat edible options
4. My foot/ankle/leg surely had to wait until midnight one night to turn into a watermelon which caused a “STAT” trip to ultrasound.
5. I am now totally addicted to HGTV due to the fact that it was the only thing I watched the entire 7 days, no energy to read, open my computer, etc. AMAZING…
6. I dreaded the site of the OT and PT…. walking in the hallway was VERY humbling
7. I am SOOOOOOOOOO thankful for the AMAZING thoughts, prayers, and support from friends and family. You guys are what keeps me fighting and on the come-back trail. Thanks