Fusion Update #1
Six days after my operation, I am glad to be able to report that all in all it has gone better than expected! The “TL;DR” version is: I think that the problems causing my pain and nerve issues were fixed, but some post-operative issues are troubling me now.
As I was waiting for the surgery these past months, I have tried to find other people’s stories, but it is rare to find exact fits; in other words, the person who hated wearing the neck brace had surgery at the other end of the spine, or the person who had massive scoliosis repair which is much more involved than my surgery. If anyone is curious, here is exactly what was done to me:
I had to wake up at 4 to drink a special carbohydrate gatorade the morning of the surgery–waking up wasn’t hard, because I barely slept the night before! We got to the hospital and everyone was very nice and friendly. I was quickly taken back to the preparation area to get an IV line and to meet the anesthesiologist and my surgeon. All the nurses were great, and the surgical nurse “Elisabeth”, agreed to read my “affirmations” to me as I drifted to sleep and during my operation. The affirmations were something that my wife did when she had major surgery in 2000 and she thinks it helped her to stay calm. Mine were as follows:
- I am relaxed and looking forward to the relief from nerve pain, muscle spasms, and inability to do the physical activities that give me pleasure.
- As I prepare for surgery, I will not be scared of the post-surgical pain.
- I will nurture my body and heal quickly.
- I will not have a spinal fluid leak.
- I will not be grossed out by the catheter and the catheter will not hurt coming out.
- My first urination will be easy and pain free.
- I will be able to walk without nerve pain.
- I will learn how to get in and out of bed, how to get dressed and will be able to go home soon.
- I will be a pleasant, cheerful patient who shows appreciation and gratitude to my wife and to the medical personnel.
Fortunately the catheter thing was a non-issue, and they made sure to remove it while I was unconscious. Overall, the operation took just over five hours. When I got taken to my room on the spine and joint floor it was spacious and private and had room for me to walk around. I was (and still am) amazed that the nerve pain is gone and that my foot feels normal again–it is truly a miracle of science!
Over the next couple of days I walked in the halls several times and around the room while getting out from the anesthetic haze. While in the hospital I made sure to address everyone by name, and to show an interest in their lives as part of the “pleasant, cheerful patient who shows appreciation and gratitude” affirmation, and I think it really helped me to stay focused, and who knows, it might be why everyone was so nice to me!
I got home mid afternoon on Thursday, and have been settling down here. My brain is still foggy and my appetite is quite suppressed but I see improvements there every day (though having said that, it took me over an hour to write this–lots of typos). My next scheduled visit to the surgeon is on the 20th for a two-week visit where they will remove the 19 staples: