Friday, October 30, 2015

The most dreaded patient in any E.R.

Well, yesterday was one of the worst days of my life.

Picture it....I had taken 7 correctols in the past 24 hours . They did absolutely nothing. Around 2 p.m. I tell my husband,who was working from home "If nothing happens in the next hour ,we better go to the E.R. "

An hour later ,we're on our way to the E.R.
Naturally they are all "what brings you here?" I embarrassedly tell them the deal and "my doctor told me to come " ect..ect..

Hubby sets himself up in the waiting room with his portable office in tow. I look around the packed waiting room and think to myself "I'm sure I am the lowest priority in here. " so I pull out my phone and think I will find some way to entertain myself. My battery is totally dead. I dig the brand new charger cord out of my purse and hand it to hubby to plug it in. He does ,and then I try to get my phone closer to me .Hubby grouchily snarls at me "It won't reach."

Oh boy. This opens the flood gates for me to start bawling.I try to stop but I can't .

 Pretty soon they call me back and put me in a room . I go thru the humiliation of telling a tech, 2 nurses ,an x-ray tech and finally a cute ,young doctor "what brings me there."

All the while the tears are silently rolling down my face. I keep wiping them off but for the life of me ,I can not stop crying.

Dr. Young-un tells me they will do an x-ray to see if I do in fact have a "fecal impaction" . Just the words make me want to shrivel up and die. He goes on to tell me that they have a "wonderful new tool called the dis-impactor, it is sort  of like a bottle brush ,which we can squirt water up thru the center.It breaks up the mass. It's unpleasant , but it usually does the job. "

They leave me in the room for a while and I continue trying to stop the tears. They will not stop.

Finally a nurse shows up with a bunch of towels and a portable toilet.  (ut oh)
Dr. Young-un returns with the dis-impactor KIT , which is actually 3 different uh...bottle brushes. They put me on my side and proceeded to dis-impact me. (oh the f'n joy)

I don't think I need to describe how horrible and embarrassing this was. Then they left me alone for a while to "cook" lol

After not much happening ,I got dressed and told them ,over the call button that ,
I was ready to go . Then I caught myself and said "Oh , I mean ready to leave."

Now ,the tears have been replaced with a clammy cold sweat ,a feeling that I'm about to faint and a severe case of nausea. Yay, I finally stopped crying.

I went straight to bed as soon as we got home ,my pain pills were not working ,my fever had returned and the above symptoms were still out in full force. I seriously felt like I was dying.
Woke up at 3:oo A.M. ,shivering and in so much pain I could barely even turn myself over.

So ,today I am laying low ,waiting for the rest of the uh...matter to come on down.

Just when you think things couldn't be any worse....Oh YES, YES they can.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spinal Fusion : Part Two

Part 2 :

First of all ,a couple of things I forgot in my last post .

 After surgery , I also had a drain in my back. This weird thing was a long tube and a little round box of blood. It actually reminded me of a little boxy purse.
like this ,only with blood :)

I think ,after 3 nights ,one of the P.A's came and removed it and then tightened up a couple stitches which had been holding it in. This was actually pretty painful .

Apparently ,narcotic prescriptions can not be "called in" to the pharmacy .So we had to stop on the way home and drop off an actual "paper" prescription from the doctor . For oxycodone with tylenol and some Robaxin (a muscle relaxer). Hubby brought me home, got me up the stairs and then went back and picked up the actual meds.

For the most part , the first week ,I was ok as long as I didn't move . Changing positions was agonizing. I spent most of the week ,taking meds faithfully every 4 hours and napping. I was getting up to walk (barely) thru the house and using my nice old lady walker. I also had a shower chair in hubbys shower and a (not very) elevated toilet seat. Besides the 'reacher" which turned out to be a lifesaver.
This is the only equipment I had.

Hubbys back had gone out about 3 weeks BEFORE my surgery. Ahhh, what lovely timing. So, Here I am totally helpless and feeling pretty low mentally, and I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. because my meds have worn off and my sleep pattern does not even apply right now. So, it's 4 a.m . and what do I want ? I want some coffee. NOW. I ask my husband for some coffee and he say "wait a little while. "
I'm sorry. This is when I turn into a pity pot baby.

He finally gets up and he can barely even get out of bed himself ,due to the pain in his own back.
Woe is me. lol

Well ,the next day he woke up earlier and I watched him painfully get out of bed to go make coffee. I thought to myself "you are such a horrible you are on oxycodone, it's probably easier for YOU to get out of bed than it is for him. Go make your own damn coffee."

Ugh. Well anesthesia ,the meds ,the lack of sleep ,pain ,the surgery itself and the distance between my kids and friends and myself all conspired to make me a pretty sad and weepy patient.
One of my sons was able to drive up and spend the weekend with me .I can not tell you how good this was for my morale . And, he also did a list of work for me which neither hubby nor I could do. His visit basicly made me feel a lot less hopeless . Thank you so much Wes!

You can skip this next part if you care to , it's about "poo"
Well actually ,lack of poo. However ,this IS part of my recovery story so it's relevant.
Ok, my surgery was on the 16th. I had spent the week prior in Florida with my grandson Conrad. So , lets estimate that I probaly had a B.M. 2 or 3 days BEFORE surgery.
ok, AFTER surgery ,in the hospital (for 4 days) they gave me stool softeners, mirolax, ducolax, all kids of "laxes" . Nome of them did any thing at all.
So, once home, I continued to take overdoses of various laxatives. NOTHING. The days continue to pass, still nothing. I finally resort to the big guns ...magnesium citrate (the stuff they give you before a colonoscopy) I drink a whole bottle of it. I get sweaty ,nauseated. Cut out my pain pills. still NOTHING. The next day ,the joy of 2 enemas. still.......NOTHING. Well, it's been 2 entire weeks now and NOTHING. Obviously ,this situation has me feeling like crap. Stomach bloated, nauseated, ect.

I spoke to the doctors office (again) today about this situation and they said if I start vomiting ,get to the E.R.
So , coming up tomorrow.....more desperate attempts in the poo department.
Seven correctols since yesterday far ZIP. If nothing happens in the next few hours I guess I'm off to the E.R.  (insert cuss words here)

Other than that , I think everything is going pretty well. The pain is pretty manageable as long as I stay on top of taking meds when they are due. I have actually slept thru the early a.m. meds a couple times and BOY, can I feel  the difference. Turning over is the worst. Sometimes my stomach feels like I have jut done about 5,000 crunches. 

It's kind of hard to tell because I am still pretty inactive and also medicated,but so far it seems that most of my pre-surgery pain is gone. I have noticed a weird new pain on the outside of my knee ,but that is probably just the nerves still being swollen and such. They did monitor my nerves during the surgery .Oh yeah , another thing I forgot ,a day or two after surgery I noticed these scabs on my head . Apparently they attach some kind of electrodes all over you and also poke you with pins ,during the nerve monitoring process. 

I am able to do a little more every day . Today for example , I managed to do a load of laundry with the help of my handy dandy reacher tool. I also fixed the bed ,swept the back patio, washed a few dishes (by hand) I can not bend to use the dishwasher. I also walked 20 laps back and forth ,thru the house. I have not yet walked outside ,due to the "poo " problem and the stairs. I am back to showering in my own bathroom, up the spiral stairs. The main restrictions are what they call BLT's ,No bending, no lifting (over 8 pounds) and no twisting. This is actually more restrictive than one would think. I also have to wear my back brace if I am up for more than a few minutes.

I am still pretty grossed out by most food. I am constantly on the on the verge of nausea. I look absolutely homely as can be .Today is the first day I have worn real pants (because all the sweats and p.j.s were dirty) . My incision is kind of itchy ,but I try not to touch it. At first my entire back seemed swollen as tight as a dog tick. Luckily ,that feeling has lessened quite a bit. My back does feel really hard and lumpy. I'm trying to just ignore all that for now. How do I know what's normal? 

The cats have been my constant ...annoying pains in the butt....errrr I mean sweet loving companions.

I go back to the doctors on the 4th. First I will go get some X-rays and then see the doctor. I have no Idea how well ,or not well the bones are healing. I think it takes quite a while for them to know if the bones are fusing. I am pretty hopeful for a good outcome. I don't feel like anything dreadful is going on.

This was during surgery , with a drill and retractors shown on the x ray , those are now gone but the screws plus a couple rods (not pictured) will remain in place. Ouch!

                                     Please keep me (and hubby) in your prayers. 

   Have a great day peeps! love me

Monday, October 26, 2015

Spinal Fusion Surgery Part 1

The Surgery:

I was scheduled for a lamenectomy and a L4-L5 spinal fusion (possibly a second level fusion ,to be determined during surgery)

A laminectomy is a procedure involving surgical removal of the bony arch of the vertebrae (lamina) which covers the nerve and allows for exploration of the disc and foramina, often used in the treatment of spinal stenosis.

Spinal fusion (such as a TLIF) is a surgical technique to stabilize the spinal vertebra and the disc or shock absorber between the vertebra. Lumbar fusion surgery is designed to create solid bone between the adjoining vertebra, eliminating any movement between the bones. The goal of the surgery is to reduce pain and nerve irritation.
Spinal fusion may be recommended for conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or recurrent disc herniations.


  The hospital : Friday

    We were supposed to be there at 5:30 a.m. ,with surgery scheduled for 7:30. They took me back to pre-op and I did not know if I would see my husband agin until after surgery or not. they did let him come back there after a while.

   they took me to a room ,had me strip and put on a gown and some hideous white thigh high Ted hose .the elastic on top did not even fit my legs. Then a pair of grippy socks .They weighed me, drew blood, started an I.v. Had me sign a ton of papers . Then I laid around waiting. My spouse was allowed to come back at this time. Then I waited some more,for my doctor . They would have given me the medicine that makes ya tired at this point ,but I needed to clarify with my dr. That they were indeed going thru my back and not my abdomen. I was confused because my procedure was listed as TLIF and not PLIF. Apparently ,both terms mean "thru the back" so after that was cleared up ,they put something in my I.v. ,and that was the last thing I remembered until I was being transferred from a gurney to the regular bed, in my room.

  I woke up during that transfer and trust me when I say , I was in absolute agony! I was gratefully surprised to find myself still alive and then I was shown my morphine pump and memory was gone after that until the next morning.

   they woke me up several times doing vitals and such ,but I didn't really wake up except to push the pain pump. The breakfast guy woke me up with a tray of scrambled eggs and some dry toast. I could not even look at food. I did ask for some coffee.

 Pretty much laid there all day drifting in and out of sleep. The pain would become bearable until I'd have to change positions. I think the first couple times the nurses had to literally scoot me up and turn me. The nausea was in full force , I was brought lunch and dinner, could not eat any of it. Had diet cokes and water. Hubby came by for a little bit. The nurses kept giving me various forms of laxatives. Pills, liquids, more I.v fluids. They took my vitals incessantly. My bp was super low ,like 80 over 40 ,temp was high. So they did not remove my I.v. Oxygen or catheter.  I was pretty depressed and weepy.i was wishing that my spouse had sent me some flowers.

 Sunday :
was pretty much a repeat.tried to watch t.v. But my eyes were all blurry. Could not bear to do anything really . Vomited a few time, had my vitals taken and was gotten up to walk down the hall. Walking was ok, except for the dizzy ,nauseous feeling. They wanted to wean me off the pain pump but the nurse was too busy to deal with me ,so she said "oh,you don't want to try that while you're so nauseated, do you? "
Uh, whatever. I wanted that oxygen out of my dried out ,bloody nose. I wanted the painful ,giant I.v. needle out of my arm and the catheter out!
  they finally came a gave me a new I.v ,with a smaller needle. And took the catheter out. I was relieved that I was able to pee and wipe off my dirty cootch. the pt guy also came by and showed me how walk up some stairs (as I would need to walk up 34 of them to get into my house)

First thing in the  morning, they brought me breakfast ,I could not even look at it. I asked for 2 cups of coffee from my CNA. I was finally off the oxygen.and scheduled to go home that day.they still had to order my walker and elevated toilet seat. I got up and washed my face ,brushed my teeth and found the clothes I had worn to the hospital,dressed myself and waited . my hubby showed up ,all in a big hurry and rushed everyone to do whatever they had to do ,to speed up and let me out of there.

      they brought me down to the car in a wheelchair . the ride home was pretty painful .getting from the car up to the house was not as bad as I had anticipated. naturally, went right to bed when I got home. hubby had to go out for some business thing and returned at almost 10 p.m.

     Some things no one told me :

   You will be extremely itchy!  Not sure if it's the anesthesia or what .I was scratching my arms ,face,chest for a week. Bring some anti itch lotion with you to hospital.

 just because you are ok'd for a regular diet ,does not mean you'll be able to eat it. my throat was so dry ,I could barely swallow food. I was nauseous as hell and herb filled food ,only made it worse. ASK ahead of time for a soft ,Bland diet. They served me food like roast chicken and rice, herb quiche, and beef tips. Needless to say, I did not eat for 3 days.Even after I was home ,I could still only stomach things like oatmeal, scrambled eggs and toast.

my vital signs were extremely low and I also got a fever and vomiting.
 due to any one or ALL of these ,I was kept on an I.v. ,oxygen and a catheter.

No one told me that the oxygen will totally dry out your nostrils and sinuses. hello Bloody nose! They hooked up a humidifier , but by then the damage was done. ASK for one immediately if they keep you on the oxygen.

I think they left the catheter in because it would have been too much trouble for them to have to get me up to pee, with my tangle of tubes as they kept pumping me full of more and more fluid.

Not sure what the cause was, but my eyesight worsened. I could barely even see the TV.

  The nurses are too busy to bother with you. They will be there, constantly taking your vital signs and giving you meds ect... Other than that ,you're pretty much on your own.

Stuff I brought and never used :

Robe ..I had a huge tangle of tubes most of the time and never used the robe

Slippers…every time someone came and made me get up , they slapped those blue hospital socks on me OR they were STILL on from a previous time.

Clothes…I was admitted for Surgery on Friday. Discharged Monday. During the entire time not ONCE did any one help me to clean up OR change clothes. Wore the same gown the entire time and before I left ,all my clothes were in the closet ,behind a heavy chair . I dressed myself in the same clothes I wore on arrival day. and had hubby put clean socks on me ,and my shoes when he got there.

Stuff I brought and did use :

Brought my phone and iPad. Was not really ever in a pain free enough position to use the iPad. I did use the phone to check my email .Also LEFT my ef'n charger at the hospital.Could not reach the room phone OR the outlet to use the charger .

My own toothbrush and tooth paste. Remember to use this while they have you up ,otherwise …you will not be brushing your teeth.

Hair elastic : I did use this to wad my hair up out of my eyes., sort of a hideous unicorn ponytail right up front.

 I brought a comb , but having my hair stay combed while sweating, thrashing around in agony and sleeping was a ludicrous idea.

Some comfortable underwear. I had these on the second they removed my catheter.

I brought makeup …Bwa ha ha ha !!! Trust me , just leave that shit at home. Yesterday was day 8 , I finally put on some mascara.

Stuff I should have brought:

Some Vaseline or something for my dry nostrils

Anti itch lotion

 Face cleansing wipes

My own sweetener ,for coffee

A hair turban or some tight French braids.

To be continued ..........