Monday, January 17, 2011

Part 2. spikes and screws and hives, oh my!

Part 1 is here

There was a 6 month wait to get in to Dr L and a nerve wracking day of xrays and a very long wait in the waiting room. My spine was not nearly as bad as most of the patients he works with, he deals with major deformity's and severe cases that made mine look like it was normal.The great news was I didn't need a full spine fusion. He would fuse only one of my lumbar vertebrae, for every lumbar vertebrae they left alone I would gain 7% mobility. My ability to roll my spine or hunch would be gone but I would be able to at least tie my own shoes. He agreed to take me on and I had a year long wait till the surgery but I knew it would be worth it. I wouldn't have to worry about someone hacking up my back and ending up in one of those nightmare post ops that end in multiple surgeries to fixed a botched up spine surgery. I wanted it done once and I wanted it done right.

The surgery was explained to us by Dr L sweet nurse and I got lightheaded and nauseous somewhere around the middle. Things like peeling all the muscles up, roughing up the bone surface, chiseling back chunks of bone with a picture that reminded me of those curling chocolate shavings made me feel like I was going to throw up right there on her desk. I really was having second thoughts and wondering how on earth I was going to back out of this. I didn't want to think about the 3 inch screws that were going to be inserted into pre drilled holes in my spine. I knew there was no other way around having this surgery but it went from a elusive surgery to a very real event in the near future. The big day was scheduled for December 3rd and that day came on a whole lot faster then I thought it would. I was excited for the surgery to be over and the recovery to begin, I wanted my life back!!

The night before the surgery unable to sleep and worry that traffic would make us late for our 5am appointment we ended up getting up hellish early. I thought that was ridiculously early for a surgery and that we would be the only ones in the waiting room. Wow was I wrong. That room was packed out. They herded groups of us from station to station getting us signed in and taking cups of pee then on up to the pre op floor. My husband and I got shown to a tiny little cupboard of a room to have all of the final pre op work done and to wait for the Doctors. The nurses said I was incredibly calm but to be honest we had just fallen into the routine we had at these things now.

We were kind of old pros at the surgery thing now, this was my third surgery since being married and we knew the drill. My husband is really amazing at distracting me and making me laugh. We both did pretty good up until all the Doctors were circled around my bed explaining all the risks and possible complications. They really want you well informed because they tell you about everything that may happen down to the .0000001% chance you may wake up part squid. They say all of this while the anesthesiologist is poised with a plunger full of sedative already screwed into your iv line ready to take you to slobbering oblivion. One of the things that was conveniently forgotten to be mentioned to us before was that since the surgery was on my back and they needed to lay me face down and still have access to my face for monitoring. I had already assumed that but what I didn't know was that the cradle I thought my forehead would be in was no longer used for surgeries. There had been many complications with swelling and pressure on the forehead and eyes causing temporary to permanent blindness. So in that case they would be sticking a bunch of large metal picks into my scalp to suspend my head. I wasn't the only one starting to loose my cool I saw look on McHotties face while we were saying our goodbyes. Holy terror batman this was not going to be pretty.

The first thing I remember when I woke up was oh crap someone gave me codine because I'm having an allergic reaction to a painkiller and why isn't my voice working!!! I felt like I was laying in a bed of stinging nettle and I don't really remember my back hurting at all. I wasn't doing a great job of explaining to the nurse that they needed to find me my husband and some benedryll NOW. What I thought I was saying and what was actually coming out of my mouth were two very different things. I do know I probably looked like a crack addict the way I was mumbling, thrashing around, and scratching myself like I had fleas. By the time I got to recovery and was able to see my husband I was given what amounted to a horse tranquilizer.

I hallucinated a lot the next few days from all the medicine they had me on. The first poor nurse was just trying to explain how my iv pain pump worked I thought she acted nasty and threw the pump trigger at me. She didn't. I told my husband that the one pretty nurse (who ended up being one of my very favorite nurses) was acting really awkward with him around and was flirting with him RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Which she wasn't. Poor McHottie went to get food from the cafeteria and when he got back I told him I had had a nice long visit with my father in law and that he said to say hi. Ya'll my father in law is in Texas and was still in Texas. I was a hot mess.

McHottie stuck by me though, amazing man that he is. Every time I opened my eyes he would be there with a spoonful of ice chips ( btw whoever thought up ice chips as a sufficient food replacement should be hit.) wiping the mass amounts of sweat off my face and neck with a washcloth and was even learning how to rotate me side to side and tuck my pillows. He is so sweet and I think I will be keeping him around :)

part three - I sweat and sweat and sweat some more. What was up with all that sweating???