Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dad's Back Fusion Surgery (December 3, 2013) - December 18, 2013

Hello Folks...

It seems like ages since I last wrote a blog entry on "Fishing With Dad"! Actually, it's been a full month. I did write a comment on my last entry to help keep you updated with what I've been going through since my back fusion on December 3, 2013.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this surgery since I've never had a back surgery done. I do have several friends who have had back fusions and other back surgeries... Al Winco, Tim Hanford, and Dell Jackson. They all experienced different results from their surgeries. A couple of them had adhesion issues after healing that caused some need for chronic pain management over the years.

I entered the hospital at 11:00 a.m. on December 3 and began my prep for the 1:00 p.m. surgery time. I went back to the "pre-op" area early so that my neurosurgeon, Dr. Marotti, could speak with me and place his initials on my back. This is a standard practice done in hospitals so that we know that the right surgery is being performed. It's amazing how many times I had to repeat my name and birth date while hospitalized. Every time a medication was given or a blood pressure check was made, I repeated my name and birth date... That's a lot of times with the amount of medication I'm taking over a four day period. :)

The nurse in charge of my "pre-op" care could not locate the information I gave the intake nurse over the phone the day before. So, she had to write down my extensive list of medications once again. It started to run late and a second nurse came to my station to assist her in my I.V.s, etc.

The funny thing was that the nurse eventually found the entire medication list buried among all the other paperwork in my medical chart once everything was re-written... Geez!

My surgery took over 2 hours and I finally was in my private room around 4:30 p.m. I was relatively surprised at how little pain I had the very first day. I was on my morphine drip for a 24 hour period which helped tremendously.

The most pain I had came during the second and third day. This was after the morphine drip was removed and I was placed on oral pain medications. Due to my inability to take anti-inflammatory medication due to my liver disease, I was given a series of three steroid shots to reduce the inflammation in my back. I was also issued Flexeril to help control any muscle spasms I may be having. The combination of these two medications really helped me get a good night sleep.

I had one major problem once I arrived in my room. The floor nurses did not have my medication and diagnosis charts... Once again, things were buried in my main chart and I wasn't being treated for my diabetes for nearly a day and a half! Julie came to my rescue because the staff wasn't really listening to my requests for the correct medications. Once Julie came into the hospital to be with me and to advocate for my needs, everything was corrected.

My male nurse, Ed, continually apologized for the screw-up. He told me that he sees my care as a team effort and somewhere within the team, communication broke down. But once it was corrected, my care drastically improved.

I was home by the fourth day. When Julie changed my bandages, she noticed that I had developed a severe rash and blistering from the adhesive tape used in the OR... Check out these pics!

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I had a family doctor appointment the week after my surgery and my family doctor gave me a steroid shot, oral medication, and a topical cream to help care for this severe rash and blistering. We also took these pics and called the surgeon's office to let them know what we were dealing with.

This past Monday, December 16, I had my first follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon's Physician Assistant. Prior to seeing the PA, the nurse removed all 28 metal staples that held my incision together for the past two weeks. There wasn't much pain in their removal, just a bit of "stinging". After she removed the staples, the nurse escorted me to get several x-rays taken... See below!

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I will be returning to the surgeon's office in one month for a second follow-up appointment.

So, now I will be following the "No BLT" rule for back fusions... "No Bending, No Lifting, and No Twisting"!

I'm hoping things will continue to go well and I'll be back on the water fishing by late winter/early spring.

I already received an early Christmas/Birthday gifts... A new rod and reel combo to toss "the umbrella rig". A style of fishing that I haven't tried yet. I now have all I need to set myself up once I'm back out fishing.

As I continue to heal, I will try to jump on the computer and write some more blog entries. Stay tuned!

Take Care and Be Safe!