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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Update: Surgery Rescheduled - I'm Going Under Tomorrow

Messy.  Confusing.  Hectic.  Such has been my life in the last 72 hours.

I was scheduled to have surgery on my spine next Monday, the 19th.  It was supposed to be in West Phoenix, more than 90 minutes from where my wife is now working, and where my daughter is being taken care of during the day.  The hospital is supposedly top of the line, but designed for same day surgeries.  I was scheduled for a 5-7 day stay.  The hospital was so far away, I was expecting no visitors, and the hospital had no internet access for patients!!  In 2011?!  FML.  Needless to say, I was not looking forward to my stay.

I received a phone call on Thursday morning from my surgeon's office.  He had a last minute cancellation for a surgery this Monday morning.  Considering the recent complications I have been experiencing, and the major inconvenience the location of the other hospital would pose upon my family, he was offering me the first chance to take the place for the cancellation.

We had intended to put Lennon in daycare for the week of my surgery.  We are dead fucking broke until the end of this week.  We had no way of guaranteeing child care, but considering I would be in a much nicer hospital 30 miles closer to home, we decided that I had to take the appointment.  Lori and Zach, two very close friends of ours, almost immediately volunteered to babysit Lennon for the majority of the week.  For the day or so that they were unable to take care of her, Jessi's parents were able to take a day off of work and watch her.  Crisis averted there.

On Friday, I had to have my pre-operative appointment with my surgeon.  He explained that, after seeing the images from my MRI, they have determined that there may be a need to repair some damaged nerves.  If that is the case, I will be required to lie still, flat on my back, for more than 24 hours, before being able to start walking.  If that is the case, my hospital stay will likely be 6-7 days instead of 5.

I then had to get a CT scan of my spine, so that my doctor would know where (and how deep) to anchor the screws for the fusion into my spine.  Then, I had to take those images back to my surgeon's office.  After that, I had to go to the hospital and check in.  Upon checking in, I was told what was really going to be happening tomorrow morning.

Not only am I going to be having the rest of my L5/S1 disc removed and having a spinal fusion, but they're also performing a corpectomy and a laminectomy.  They're actually removing portions of my spine!!  You can click on the links to see animated videos of the procedures.  Pretty drastic.

A funny side point, part of the check in process involved some lab work.  My blood is currently being screened to determine blood type and for antibodies.  As I stated earlier, a plastic graph is likely being placed where my disc is at the L5/S1 location.  Well, turns out, that graph is filled with donor "bone protein", i.e. I'm receiving a blood transfusion.  That is a huge deal as someone that grew up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  To be honest, even though I haven't been part of the church for 15 years, I still had some butterflies when the it occurred to me.

I was required to sign a document stating that I was giving the hospital permission to give me a blood transfusion.  I made a comment to the intake nurse about how I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, but was no longer one.  She said that I would be surprised how many Witnesses have told her, behind closed doors, that if it became a life and death issue, to give them a transfusion.  She said she's even had a number of Witnesses ask her to put two forms in their file - one on top to show their elders, and one amidst the paperwork showing their true intentions to doctors.  Unbelievable.

I am scheduled for my first surgery at 8AM tomorrow.  Check in is at 6.  It is scheduled to take approximately four hours.  I then have a second procedure mid-morning on Tuesday.  I should be out sometime between Friday and Sunday.

Wish me luck.