The Right Perspective

Thursday, August 14, 2014

And I'm Alive

So I'm hopefully all done with surgeries now.  (Please let me be done!)  This one, not so rewarding.  True, I wasn't in excruciating pain beforehand this time, so the difference wasn't nearly as dramatic, but I knew that going in.  In fact, this time I came home in more pain, but nothing unbearable. 

I took a bit longer coming out of the anesthesia and required "nose fans" as we lovingly call them in our house.  (That would be nasal cannulas for the uninitiated.)  I also made it into the actual surgery room while still "awake, but relaxed".  I remember it was really cold, I was thankful that I wasn't wearing my glasses so that I couldn't really see what they might be using on me, and I was starting to silently freak out that the anesthesia wasn't going to work this time because I didn't remember any of this from the first time.  I also remember someone putting a mask on me and telling me that it was oxygen and that I needed to take some deep breaths....(I think they lied...I don't think it was just oxygen, but what do I know?  All I do know is that I was sucking that stuff down like I'd never breathed it in before and then.....)

I woke up, sort of , back in the recovery room and I remember fighting to open my eyes and being aware that my back hurt and that my throat and mouth didn't hurt as much this time from the intubation, but my tongue felt funny.  Andrew was brought back in and the nose fans were removed, I fought the battle with my eyes and donned my glasses yet again (looking oh so fabulous in the ugly green hospital gown with no makeup, crazy hair and tape residue on my face).  I got out of bed and felt pretty weak in my left leg, but made it to the recliner to sit up and eat some graham crackers and have some water (I hadn't eaten since midnight and eating and drinking were one of my three "getting released" benchmarks.)  After the first bite, I mentioned to the nurse that my tongue felt funny so she told me stick it out and she looked and said she didn't see anything wrong, so I let it go.  After a bit, the nurse took me for a somewhat unsteady stroll around the office area.  I felt decidedly less steady this time around because my left leg and foot are pretty numb.  They kind of feel really swollen, even though they don't appear to be at all.  I'm sure it's from all the swelling and invasion of that area for a second time in less than three months. 

When I got back from my stroll, I went to bathroom, which was the third and final phase of my release plan.  Mission accomplished, I washed my hands and then decided to look at my tongue for myself in the mirror.  And lo and behold, it had a cheerio-sized dark ugly bruise on the right side of my tongue, which is where they had to have intubated me since I was also starting to feel the familiar from last time raw spot on the floor of my mouth on that same side.  The nurse took a look again when I mentioned it to her and she said, "Wow, that wasn't there when I looked earlier!"  Weird.  Anyhow, she thinks it must have gotten pinched or possibly I bit it.  Fun stuff you never think of before surgery.

So since I passed my release exam with flying colors, I was able to get dressed and be wheeled out to the car to go home.  I had a bit of a headache most of the evening, probably from not having eaten until around 3:30.  Andrew picked up food for us, I ate, and then took a short nap.  Since then I've taken a few strolls from the living room to the kitchen or bathroom and back and spent the rest of the time in the recliner surrounded by (and occasionally stomped across) by two cats who hate each other.  The younger cat, Zippy, normally doesn't sit with anyone, but he deigned me worthy (or pitiful enough) to grace me with his presence.

So all in all, I feel a little worse for wear this time around, which I expected, and my incision looks a lot more gnarly than last time (I think it's bigger this time), but I'm faithfully taking my pain meds to "stay ahead of the pain" and will set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning to choke down another pill with some dry cereal and water and walk around the bedroom for a couple minutes until I get back in bed and hopefully fall asleep again until a more normal time in the morning.

Thanks for the prayers and please continue to pray that this time it holds because even in the room just before surgery, the surgeon mentioned again that next we'd have to talk rods and screws.  Not cool.

Surgery, Take Two

Today is my second surgery of the summer.  Hard to believe that I went 35 years without a broken bone or stitches or surgery and now I will have two surgeries about 2 and half months apart on the same disc in my back.  Yippee.

So if you read this and happen to have time for a quick prayer, I'll be heading to the surgery center in about 30 minutes and having the surgery around 1:00 EST.  Hopefully it will all go smoothly and the recovery will be easy like last time.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

An Update

Well, it turns out I might have made a decent radiologist!  But in this case, I wish I was wrong.  The official word is that I do indeed have another herniated disc, in the same exact spot, only much larger this time.  Go figure!  Thankfully, I do not have as much pain and am functioning ok for now.  The problem is that at any moment, just like last time, any special movement might suddenly push me over the edge back into that awful debilitating type of pain. 

And so it is that I will be repeating the microdiscectomy surgery for a second time in about 10 weeks.  Not exactly the end of summer bash that one plans, but that's life.  I will have the surgery with the same surgeon and procedure, just a little more in depth, on August 14th.  This time around is a little easier because I know what to expect.  Prayers are still very much appreciated, but in particular that this time will fix the problem for a good long time.  Because if I herniate the same disc again, the surgeon told me that we'd have to talk about doing a fusion and that involves rods and screws and bone grafts....and other ickiness.  I don't think I'm a wimp, but that just does NOT sound like fun at all.  So pray that this one holds.