Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm getting around

The surgery was a lot harder on me than I anticipated. I honestly went into this thinking that I would be up and around with no problem the day after (or even later on the day of). I don't know what I was thinking.

My surgeon, Dr. P., anticipated that the surgery would take 90 minutes. I had a great team of doctors that took care of me prior to the start of the surgery. I was with Sean and Tony (my little brother) the entire morning until I was taken to to be prepped on the OR floor (Brian was home getting Bren and Erin up and to school). Tony received calls throughout the morning from Dr. P. advising when everything would happen, including the actual start of the surgery. The official "cut" time was 10:27am. I remember waking up in recovery (with another great team helping me there), and finally being able to focus on the clock. It was just before 3:00pm! I had been in recovery for about 90 minutes, and the RN told me that my surgery was completed at 1:30pm. I remember thinking, "That's a long time".

At about 3:30pm I was taken to my room, and Brian brought Erin out to see me (Bren was too busy playing with friends-typical of him). Sean stayed with me the entire time I was in the hospital, including sleeping there (you should have seen his feet and legs hanging off the end of the little bed). Erin had a hard time seeing me at first, and I could tell by her face when she first walked in the room that she was surprised. I had my IV, leg compressions, and two tubes draining blood and fluid from my back. The bag filled with blood was sitting right next to me on the bed, and that seemed to bother her (not because she was sick about it, but rather she was worried that it was hurting me). After a few minutes she kicked into helper mode, and all she wanted to do was take care of me. It was so sweet.

The first couple of days were most difficult not because of the incision on my back, or the pain from that. My throat hurt! When my surgery was over, and the anesthesiologist removed my breathing tube, he scratched my vocal cords. I was barely able to talk at all the first day, and it hurt like a beast the next day.

My physical therapist came in the afternoon on the day after the surgery to assist me with getting up for the first time, and walking for a bit. I was willing to do whatever it took to get the catheter out, so if getting up and walking was the trick I was up for it. I hate catheters! I managed to walk with very little assistance, and it felt great to be up and off of my back.

I now have a home care nurse that comes to check my incision and change the dressing. Even more exciting is the geriatric potty that I have *sarcasm*. I'm unable to bend, twist or do anything to put pressure on my back since I run the risk of spinal cord injury until it has completely healed. So I have a geriatric potty that was delivered to my house on Thursday so that I don't have to squat too far down when I use the toilet. Erin and Bren thought it was the coolest thing ever when it arrived, and they both had to try it. Good times.

I'm feeling good (except for the damn itching from the bandages on my back), and free of the pain in my back and legs that I've had for so long. Although my mobility is restricted right now, I know that it will only be a matter of a couple more weeks before I am "good as new". I love Dr. P., and the care that he took in taking care of me. He told me the day after my surgery that the reason it took twice as long as expected was due to the size of my injury. He said, "You really made me work yesterday, Michelle." My injury was one of the largest he had ever seen, and believe it or not that was good to hear. It was a bit of validation for the pain that I have been feeling prior to the surgery.


Kim said...

Oh my, I am so glad everything went well. What a great boy that Sean is.
As for the itching...ice packs. It helps SO much especially when you can't reach it, or you're trying to go to sleep and the dang itching won't stop.
I'm glad to hear that everything went so well though. I have been thinking about you my love.

Mom said...

I am so proud of you Michelle, you're a very strong willed person. I am so very very happy that your surgery is over and now you are on the road to recovery. I can only imagine not having that kind of pain any more. Larry and I are also so very proud of Sean and want him to know that. Not many 14 yr. olds would take any time at all to take care of their Mom like he did. Way to Go Sean. Love you all so very much,