Post Surgery

After recovery I woke in a room, but not the recovery room. I probably slept through all of that. Still in pain, they had me hooked up to a pump of fentynl (sp?) – unfortunately, that is one of the drugs that doesn’t work on me. I have it a try for a few hours, then gave up. Much to my nurses dismay.

My hope of going home the same day were dashed pretty much right from the beginning. The doctor’s nurse originally told me since I was first I may be able to – but when they admitted me that morning they said it was rare, if ever, that it happened. Oh, well. I think my continued pain also had the doctor stymied. He thought I should wake up wonderful (I wonder how much of the “wonderful” he usually saw was due to the pain meds that worked for the majority of his patients…??)I tried to explain to him that even I expected it to take a little bit for the nerves to quiet down, but I don’t think he appreciated it when I referred to things being irritated in there because he’d been “rooting around” in there. I’m sure he felt he’d used much more finesse!

Middle of the night one nurse finally asked me what helped with the pain at home. When I said “ice” she immediately brought an ice pack and it began to ease some of the discomfort.

My whole stay was full of explainations about my high blood pressure (when I go home, it will be fine), my elevated blood sugars (I’m off my meds, it isn’t THAT high, and my doctor says it will be fine as long as it isn’t over ____ for more than five days – I was nowhere near that number), and my reisitance to pain meds (no, I don’t want the pump, no don’t hang that IV of Lyrica, vicoden and oxycoten don’t work either). You’d think they would talk to each other – or at least make notes. I mean, there were at least 3 nurses, 6 nurses aids, a couple of doctors, a p.t., and who knows who all else who got in on the act.

One funny note – and not necessarily in a “ha-ha” kind of way. The food. Normally, hospital food I’ve encountered has been good. This time? You be the judge. My first tray came up about noon and I was still pretty out of it, so didn’t really pay attention to it and Hubs took one look at it and got daughter to go get him a piece of pizza from the cafeteria. When the supper tray came, though, I was hungry and ready to eat. First thing was – it was all pureed. Every bit of it. (Pureed = babyfood consistancy) I guess they figured with all they’d put my throat and neck through, it would feel better. Okay, whatever.

Then I look at it. I mean, really look at it. Thinking it must be a mistake I look at the menu to identify what I’m looking at. A bright pink sticker on the menu identifies it as being ‘diabetic’ menu. Uh… really? Keep in mind… all of this was pureed. First off, that means most any fiber is so pulped that there isn’t much to stop the sugar rush. Then, I think they found the highest sugar content foods they could: carrots, white bread, spaghetti, apricots, ice cream, 2% milk. I took one look and told the nurse there was no way I could eat this – my blood sugar would really be over the moon.

We discussed what she could call and try and get for me and we finally came up with scrambled eggs. I’d asked for whole wheat toast, too, but they couldn’t “puree” toast – so I got my bread pureed in a cup (it seriously looked like raw bread dough) and, believe it or not, they pureed the scrambled eggs, then put them back on my plate and tried to form them into a scrambled egg shape. I mean, c’mon… scrambled eggs aren’t “pureed” enough? Sheesh. Starving as I was, I managed to get down the eggs. Next moring I ended up with another “diabetic” menu… pureed (then stamped back into form) waffles with regular maple syrup, orange juice, malto meal (which I did eat)… see? I mean, really? REALLY? Oh, and regular sugar for the cereal, etc. The nurse happened to have some splenda on the floor, so I did use that with my cereal, saving me a bit there.

So finally I was released late morning the day after my surgery. I’d managed 2 hours of sleep – not consecutively – and no pain relief.

I’m happy to report that after two weeks and lots of rest, doing my post-surgery exercises like a good girl, and not doing the things I’m not supposed to, I’m feeling much better! Still wearing the neck brace, and probably will be for another couple of weeks. My shoulder pain is gone and my arm pain mostly gone – it only flares up a bit now and then if I move wrong. A bit stiff in the neck (which may be a permanent condition, now that most of my neck is fused) and a little bit of soreness still at the site of the incision, but overally I would call this a success! Go to the doctor tomorrow morning to get his opinion, but am hoping he thinks it is as good as I do.

Thank you all to my family and friends (including you) for all the love and support. I’ll take it all and bask in its warmth!

Surgery

It’s been nearly two weeks since I had my 3-1/2 hour surgery to fuse two more discs in my neck. Right after surgery, I was in considerable pain and was sure of the outcome – if it truly was successful.

Looking back, it started on a rather sour note and I was a bit fearful of it all going badly. The day started after a fitful night with a -4 degree actual temperature. Compounded by the bright light of the full moon as we drove to town at 5 a.m. Anyone who has been a reader of this blog for any length of time knows full moons and I don’t play well together.

After arriving and checking in, both the blood pressure machine and glucose meter decied not to work right away. Just reason for my nervousness to be heightened and my “white coat syndrome” blood pressure to spike even higher. After a brief hiccup in which we were informed that although I was scheduled to be up first, but that another patient had shown up with the first time designated on their paperwork as well… fate won out and I got the first time slot as promised. Yay! Things were looking up!

I finally had to leave Hubs and my younger daughter to go back to the prep area.

The I.V. was started (after a bad try on my left hand it was finally started in my very sore right one), the lovely cap was put over my hair, and the doctor came in to say he’d “take care of me” – proceeding to then write some secret gibberish to himself on my right arm and neck. Probably my neck was the dotted line where he was going to cut.

A few minutes later the anesthesiologist came. He let me know that my records indicated during my last surgery they’d had to intubate me with a different type of equipment – some special scope was needed. Because of how they have to put it in, the throat must be numbed and the patient must participate in the numbing process by breathing in the lidocaine. He said during my previous surgery they’d actually woke me up to do this before they could continue the surgery! I thankfully remembered none of that – to which he commented, “We have good amnesia medicine”. Yikes.

So now they didn’t want to even risk that possibility again, so I was asked to do the throat numbing prior to surgery. Nasty! Foul! It made me cough and gag and all kinds of yuckiness. Finally after five times of coating my throat (with something resembling a spray paint gun) things started numbing up and I was ready to proceed.

Funny how you can remember every detail until you are on the gurney outside the O.R. seeing the operating theater through big glass windows – but can’t remember going through the doors into the room! Good meds, I’ll say!

To be continued…