When I left you dear readers last week on Friday, I had just gotten the news that I’d “blown” my l4-l5 disk.
Honestly, my memory is a complete fog from that point on so let me see if I can put it all back together.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Heavy meds. These days I’m really fuzzy on. I don’t recall anything of particular happening.
Pain anytime I moved my shoulders a different direction than my hips. Excruciating pain in my butt and legs anytime I moved my knees in a different direction than my hips. It all seemed to come down to being parallel. Shoulders, hips, knees. And anytime I moved, use the crutches. (Funny, I’d tried to sell them at the garage sale not 2 months ago.) Hanging from the crutches helped.
I met with my new back surgeon and his assistant (Jessica? Jennifer J-something???) on Monday. Nice guy, Dr. J. Rush Fisher. Who just happened to have time to fit me in ‘tween some other surgeries on Wednesday (Special note, the surgeon everyone wanted me to go to, could not see me till Wednesday.)
I was to check in on Tuesday. Night would be fine, they would hold the bed.
So I check in. HUGE PRIVATE ROOM with a great view over the emergency entrance and the helicopter pads. (Didn’t see any coming or going the 3 days I was there.) Beth got a huge cheeseburger and fries for dinner from the cafeteria. We had dinner and then she left for the night.
I hop into my own pajamas and curl up as best possible on the couch (couch?!?!) on the other side of the room. About 10, I thought, I’ll go to bed.
That’s when the first nurse came in with a pile of tubes and long socks and velcro apparatus etc. It was time for my “foley kit” and I couldn’t / wouldn’t be wearing my comfy pjs any longer. So i don’t have to explain… and then there was this whole thing about leggings and compression network of tubes, that honestly, made me feel like Sam the cat was walking all over me all night. Honestly, I was drugged enough that I was out soon after that.
Wednesday, the day of surgery, I actually was not hungry, all day. They must suppress appetites with something. Beth came in that morning and MADE me take a shower. (This impressed the floor nurses so much that I overheard them were talking about that amongst themselves the next day about how impressed they were with her.) Yeah, but this blog is about me and frankly, I was wet and more uncomfortable. And would remind any of my readers, always carry your own foley bag. This is not a situation where one person could per chance go right and you might go left and it will ever be a good thing. But we had no problems.
Around 5 pm an orderly shows up with the “dreaded going to surgery” cart. This is a point I’m confused about an my memory doesn’t put it right. I remember going do to the prep room with Beth in tow. (I thought it was my bed but, it wasn’t and I don’t remember transferring to a gurney.) We got to a prep room that had a million things going on. I think at least 3 or could have been 4 anastiologists introduced themselves. Maybe the first guy was a nurse. But the next guy was a guy with a needle introduced as a cocktail. The third was a woman. Cute. The 4 was a guy with a beard. By the time they pulled the curtains back the room was empty ‘cept 1 lonely guy that was 64 and having 3 toes amputated from diabetes. I will say, cocktail or not, I was with it enough to know that there was a giant dinner time exodus going on. I laid there for it seemed like ages until Dr Fisher and his assistant showed up. At this point I figured they’d been going at it all day and might like to go out for some dinner, I could wait. Actually they could bring me along.
They laughed and said time to go. I remember being wheeled into the surgery room and there was a odd bed, sort of a row of cushions for a person to lay face down, almost like a massage table. 2 seconds later. I was out and I suspect dumped rather unceremonially into it.
Ok, so everyone that’s had surgery has had that “wake up!” “who hit me?” “Where am I?” sensation. Yeah, me too.
The doc came in to tell me that they’d removed a pice of disk that had blown into the spinal canal that was 1″ x 3/4″ — possibly the largest they’d ever removed. (I hate boasting like that. It’s not like I did anything to create a big ass chunk of material in my spinal column. It was just bad luck. And for all we know the next surgeon probably removed a 2″ x 4″ from some big olde fatty that same morning.)
So it’s Wednesday and I’m drugged and they send me up to my room where Matt (Thanks Matt!) and Beth came in to visit. I don’t remember much about Wednesday night. Other than.. I felt painless. Well for one, when they dragged the disk out, it had been crushing the nerves to my legs and two, they bath the spinal cord area in morphine. You know that sounds better that a bath in rose petals and milk.
That night I wanted to listen to my ipod but was paranoid about it being stolen. So I let it play all night long. Opera at 3 am, not bad. INX at 4, maybe not a good sleep choice. Each hour a nurse came in to check blood pressure and pulse. I got down to 110 over 60. My usual seems to be 122 over 70 unless the nurse is gorgeous or I’m stressed about something. Then it can be anything. And I usually don’t remember.
That morning was the big trick. The nurse came in and said “We can remove the foley” Gee, I’d actually gotten use to it and honestly had a thought this comfort would lead to peeing my pants, hourly. So it’s removed. I won’t get into words said or anything but. Ouch!
My next trick was to “go pee!” Huh. Easier said than done. It took at least 3 quarts of water and some prune juice to get anything. It took another sitting around for at least 3 hours before we were talking progress. And let’s not talk about the other side of the equation, someone that’s been taking opiates for 2 weeks is not going to have bowel movement. At least not an easy one. I hope you understand, I’m not getting into that.
But they let me out! And I didn’t need the crutches, but somewhere along the line my left leg has gone wobbly. It’s not right and I’ll need to walk several miles to get it going.
That’s to Thursday. Friday was an entire day of hell for my best friend Grace. I’ll have that next.