Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's done and I'm thinking I'm glad

My surgery is done that is.  Let me give you all the gruesome details.  We drove into Las Vegas last Thursday and checked into one of the local hotel-casinos - The Palace Station Hotel and Casino - it isn't 4-star but is was $50 a night and only about 10 blocks from the hospital.  It was clean and comfortable and the staff were very nice.  My appointment at the hospital was at 08:00 so we didn't want to be getting stuck in traffic!  We had dinner with our daughter then crashed. 

Next morning we were bright and early at the hospital.  This was Valley Hospital.  I can see why the doctor likes it; it was only about five minutes drive from his office.  It isn't new but is certainly large and seemed to have all the goodies.  So we check in and get all fixed up for the operation.  Don't I look happy?

The surgery I'm waiting for is ACDF:  anterior cervical discecomy and fusion.  It means they go into the throat from the front, push everything out of the way then remove the failing disc replacing it with a special piece of plastic.  Finally they use a plate and screw the plate into the two vertebrae.  A bone graft may be used or not.  In my case the doctor expects the vertebrae fuse without the need for an external bone graft. 

My wife sat with me and we read for a while then  two hours later, just as projected, I get rolled away to the operating theatre.  The next thing I know is I'm waking and my wife and daughter are visiting.  Well, I'm told that is what happened, my memory is pretty foggy. 

This would have been around noon and I wasn't totally around until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon when I started feeling hungry.  (No food since the night before so it's reasonable.)  Around 5 p.m. they brought me food:  chicken parm, pasta and some salad.  I managed about a third of the chicken and pasta.  The salad didn't sound like fun.  I was cutting it into really small bites but it was working.  

Over the night I got to play with the pain medication pump.  You have this button that you press to give you a little jolt of pain medication.  The machine is pre-set to a certain volume of medication and how often you can receive it.  They set it for, say, 10 minutes.  If you press it before 10 minutes has passed the machine ignores your request.  If it's been more than 10, you get your medication and the timer is reset.  They had me set to pretty-often so during the night I did find myself flying once or twice but I don't really care for the feeling so eased off. 

By mid-morning I was ready to be out of the hospital and was asking everyone if I could get out.  In retrospect that was probably a bad idea.  I didn't understand how much better the drugs are in the hospital!  In the end we left about 3 p.m. with a prescription for oxycodon.  It is a good hour and a half over the pass and back home so it was nearing 5 p.m. before we landed and got situated.  I was glad to be home but I was soon to understand that thing about the quality of the drugs!  Mostly I had a sore throat.  It wasn't until Sunday that we figured out that I could be taking another medication with the oxy.  Since then it only hurts to swallow.  Before it was downright painful most of the time.  I do have a fancy neck brace.
The incision isn't particularly large, it really looks like only a couple of inches long.  I guess it was big enough though.  Before the procedure I would have numbness in the fingers of my left hand that would gradually climb up the arm until my whole arm was painful.  That hasn't happened since the procedure.  My very finger tips are kind of tingly but it hasn't gone any farther.  So that's a good step.  Also the pain I've had in my middle back has stopped.  I'm not sure if that has to do with the surgery or if the three days bed rest did it.  Probably the latter.  In the good news column I have lost about 3 lb.  I can't really recommend it as a diet but I'm looking for every possible good thing here!

Gotta go.  I'll update my blog when I find something new to say.  Take care and thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

Croft said...

Great news Don! It looks like a successful result. The best result if it gets rid of the pain! Keep us up to date.