The Surgery

27 Aug

August 17, 2012 was the surgery date.  I was so exhausted on this date and the days leading up to the surgery were filled with stress and anxiety over trying to wrap things up, worrying about work and worrying about how everything was going to get done at home and with the kids. 

Given that I was only expected to be in the hospital overnight, I hadn’t planned or arranged for help with the kids beyond Friday…MISTAKE #1 – read on to see why.

So the actual procedure was 3 Level Anterior Laminectomy with removal of bone spurs at C5.  I was to be fused from C4-C7.  My surgery was expected to take about 4 hours and was scheduled for 7:15(am).  This is SO lucky for me as the longer I was awake without food, coffee or water, the grumpier I would become.

I had to be at the hospital at 6(am), so our awesome neighbor Michael came and stayed at our place so the kids could keep on sleeping.  I check into the hospital (lucky me, I pre-registered the day before) and am immediately taken upstairs to be prepped for surgery.  Two awesome and surprisingly cheerful nurses at Marin General started taking blood, starting an IV and got me wrapped up in some warm blankets…those flimsy hospital gowns don’t offer much in the way of warmth or comfort.  In came the neurologist who would be monitoring my muscles and nerves throughout the surgery…I would have loved to have been observing my own surgery to see how my body responded throughout the procedure.  Next came the anesthesiologist (whom I had spoken to the night before) and finally my doctor just to say good morning and give a quick recap of the procedure and how he intended to cut the incision (wait until you see the pictures folks.,.holy cow).

I said goodbye to Mark as he wished me luck.  All I could think about was how badly I needed to pee, but they asked me to wait because it is easier to insert a catheter with a full bladder.  Guess what?  The urgency to go to the bathroom is even stronger when you get into a cold surgery room and are transferred to an equally cold and narrow surgery table.  There were a total of 7 doctors/nurses present for my surgery.  All I remember is them putting the oxygen mask on me and out I went.  I don’t remember anything beyond about 30 seconds after the mask was on.

ImageI remember hearing voices, doctor & nurses, lots of voices.  I heard them saying my name, but I couldn’t open my eyes.  I couldn’t move my body.  Apparently this was around Noon and I was in recovery.  My surgery only took 2 hours.  The doctor said that the surgery was easier and cleaner than he expected.  My time in recovery was double the amount of time I actually spent in surgery.  I don’t remember hearing anything after the voices and I apparently was transferred to my room at about 1(pm).

I opened my eyes and saw the clock in front of me for the first time: 3:40(pm).  Holy cow, how long was my surgery, how long had I been asleep?  Where is everyone?  Why isn’t anyone in my room?  My importantly, I can’t talk and I am struggling to breath.  I started to panic and couldn’t find a button to call for the nurse.  There was another patient in my room and she had a lot of guests and they were very loud, so no one could hear me.  I am still struggling to breath and I can hardly move.  Finally, I must have pressed the correct button because a nurse came in?  I can hardly whisper so why the heck isn’t the nurse coming closer to hear me.  Surely there have been other patients in this hospital who have had this surgery!  In fact I am certain of it as my doctor does this procedure several times a week.

Finally she understands – please raise my bed so I can breathe.  Bed is up and I can breathe shallow, quiet breaths.  I ask the nurse if anyone is waiting to see me and she says no.  WTH?  Everyone should be waiting to see me, right?  Right?  Wrong!  Why?  Everyone had been at the hospital for hours and they all came into my room and saw me, but I didn’t wake up.  That still counts, but I am thinking I would like to at least see Mark before the end of the day.

When I looked down, I saw that had my legs wrapped in these plastic wraps connected with tubes that would inflate and deflate regularly.  These were put on my legs to prevent my muscles from atrophying too quickly from being immobile for so long.  Image

 Also, the catheter was still in and I was on an I.V. drip lots of little bags of fluid…pain medicine and muscle relaxers.  The nurse handed me a button that I could press every 10 minutes to dispense pain medication…guess what, you better believe I was pressing that button every 10 minutes.  I spent the rest of the day in bed, in and out of sleep, wondering how the heck I was going to be released the next day.  The surgery was over and now I was on to the recovery.Image

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2 Responses to “The Surgery”

  1. Avonne August 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    I cant wait to see the pics of the Dr.! Holy cow is right!!!!

  2. Auntie Sylvia August 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Hope you are feeling better Amy. I wish you a speedy recovery although now you have to take it easy in order to heal healthy…….don try and be wonder woman so you will pay the price dearly.

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