Monday, October 01, 2012

Spinal Fusion, A Week Later

Or, 'What they don't tell you until you get to the hospital!'

When you have neurosurgery, the doctors are very careful. Seriously careful, because they don't want to render you paralyzed from a misstep. So, there are things you don't consider until the neurosurgeon assisting your doctor comes in to see you and has some hardware.

For instance, the doctor assisting came in with some electrical leads he attached to both of my arms. Since I'd had the numbness and most of the issues one has with a herniation at C5-C6 deals with the arms, these leads would be electrified and checked throughout surgery, to make sure my nerves were conducting the way they should be. He told me I would have contacts screwed into my skull, too. So, here I am, a week later, with a bunch of sore spots on my arms and head. (about 6 on my head and four on my arm).

The ones on my arm have bruised, similar to what you see with an EMG or IV insertion.
Yes, I bruise easily, but these look like they'll be sticking around for a few more days. Don't plan any modeling shoots right after surgery, okay?

I am a low-key patient in the pre-op suite, my BP was sticking close to my baseline 110/64, even after they'd inserted the IVs, but they told me that because they had to move my esophagus out of the way for the surgery, the intubation would be kept in after I woke up in recovery. I was not thrilled with being awake for an extubation, but honestly, I drifted in and out and didn't remember the extubation. Thankfully. What I do remember, and I'm still queasy at this is that this was the first major surgery where I was asked to gargle with lodocaine. Nasty stuff. Really nasty stuff, and the bitter receptors on the back of my tongue will tell you that they did not like the stuff. No way, no how. The anesthesiologist kept talking about how I needed to do this to get the lollipop.

I'm not a kid, don't tell me I'm getting a lollipop. Especially when this 'lollipop' was really a gauze pad soaked with some topical anesthetic that I had to put in the back of my mouth so that they could intubate while I was awake.

Yeah, so if I need more neurosurgery, I'm going to insist they knock me out first. I do not want to deal with that stuff again. I'm gagging at the memory.

The other thing is that the neck brace can be adjusted on the patient, on the table. However, mine was set for someone who has a longer neck! I found the manufacturer's website and found out how to change it from this:
to this:
The brace is supposed to have my chin seated in it comfortably, which it wasn't before that.

And now, I need to walk away, because I'm still queasy!

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