Third Time’s A Charm!

Hi Everyone!

Going in for my back fusion tomorrow, so I may be offline for a few days.

I’ve had 2 back surgeries in the past 6 months, and I’m nervous as hell for this one. I would have thought I’d be used to the anticipation by now.

It’s a “global” fusion. My surgeon and a vascular surgeon go through my stomach. They remove as much disc as possible, and fuse the front. Then they patch me up, roll me over, and go through my back, clean up the disc, bone spurs, scar tissue, whatever, fuse the back, and close me up. So it’s two operations at the same time. Should take about 4 hours.

Thankfully, it’s just a one night hospital stay.

Let’s just say, I’m not a good hospital guest.

My first discectomy/laminectomy, I had to stay for a night. It is just so uncomfortable to know that you can’t really just leave when you want. Being confined in a little space with someone else a curtain away from you. I wasn’t given a PCA pump the first time, so the pain was terrible. Not one minute of sleep. Just lying there, asking myself why the hell I did this. Thank God I had the “John Adams” series on DVD and my lap-top. (And why don’t they have wi-fi in hospitals?)

My roommate was a nightmare. Ear glued to his cell phone, or just really bizarre looking people coming to see him all day.

It was worse when he slept. His snoring could have tripped a Richter scale. I have NEVER heard a human make noises like that before. Not even on purpose.

Three months later, I had a second discectomy, since my disc re-herniated and it was worse than my initial herniation.

I almost had to stay overnight for that one, due to one missing signature which would have given me clearance to go home. After about 10 phone calls and, well, being persistent, to put it nicely, I was cleared.

This surgery pretty much requires at least a night’s stay. If I pressed it, I probably could have gotten same-day discharge, but, even I think it is a good idea to stay and soak up the pain medication, as this is said to be a fairly painful procedure. They gave me hydromorphone (Dilaudid) last time I was in. Amazing stuff. I didn’t feel all “googly” or happy like a nut like everyone else says they experience (I wish I did.), but the pain relief was incredible compared to my first operation. The PCA pump made all the difference.

Anyway, I just have to pack later. Clothes, toothbrush, deodorant, fiber tablets. I bought the book “No Country For Old Men,” as I loved the movie, which I will also have. “John Adams,” “Tombstone,” “The Four Seasons,” and some “Sopranos” should be enough movie time to help me through. My Mom is bringing a couple of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episodes, too. The hospital TVs are pitiful.

I also have the first addition of “Halo” (videogame) installed, so I can run through the campaign.

Two things I have learned to bring for surgery: Chap Stick, and throat lozenges, as the after-effects of the breathing tube are uncomfortable.

Some Colace, too, as this pain medication puts the breaks on my bowels, and you DON’T want want to have to strain to unload one in the chamber after you’ve had back surgery. It SUCKS.

I’m pretty bummed that I need to have another surgery. But, this is it, unless they sew a sponge in and need to get it out.

I just want this to be over. There really is no other surgery that can be performed for this, so I am looking at this as the beginning of the end. Whether it produces a successful outcome or I still have problems, at least I know that I tried everything possible, and I can accept it and move on.

Anyway, wish me luck!

I’ll post as soon as I can.

Take care all!

-Shawn

Chinese scientists add to climategate
Sally Jenkins at WaPo speaks the truth...