Monday, December 04, 2006

Two Days to go!

Last Time/This Time

When I had the thoracic fusion to correct my scoliosis 20 years ago, there was so much that was different, and I don’t just mean my hair.

Last time, I was in the hospital for the entire day the day before the surgery. There was a parade of people in and out of the room, explaining things and taking blood (all the stuff we did on our Pre-Admission day of fun last Monday). Dr. Balderston came in to talk to me and said that studies had shown I would not remember anything that happened the day before the surgery. Him telling me that is the one thing I remember. That and the anesthesiologist telling me there was a small chance of my death. They woke me early the next morning; it was still dark out, to take me down to the OR. The nurse yelled at me when she saw I had a sheer pink polish on my toe and fingernails. She came waddling back in with a few cotton balls and some nail polish remover and ordered me to remove it. So much for the lovely pre-surgery mani-pedi I had treated myself to a few days before.
This time, I’ll walk into the hospital the morning of the procedure.

Last time, I was on morphine for the whole nine days I was in the hospital. The nurses would come in with a needle every four hours on the dot and I would dutifully roll over for the shot. My butt was black and blue from all the shots. Both cheeks.
This time, I’ll have morphine, but it will be going directly into my veins, a steady feed, instead of waiting for the nurse to come in and bruise my backside.

Last time, I took myself to the hospital the day before the surgery, marching in alone, too naïve to be scared.
This time, I have Tyler to take me and stay with me until it’s time to get down to business and I’m all too aware of everything to not be scared. (Curse you Grey’s Anatomy!)

Last time, I brought a backpack full of books with me. Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal? What was I thinking?
This time, I have a brand new copy of one of my all time favorite books, Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim. I probably won’t read it, as there is something about being in the hospital that is more conducive to watching TV (it must be the pain medication), but at least I know it’s there, and honestly, just thinking about the “arty weekend” makes me smile. Fleurs du Mal? WTF?

Last time, I was a member of a union, and we had great insurance. The whole bill, all except about six hundred bucks out of over thirty grand, was covered.
This time, I have UNsurance. They are covering the cost of one disc; I may be getting three, the other two of which we will pay out of pocket for the cost of the disc itself and the surgeon’s fee. It’ll be way more than six hundred bucks.

Last time, I had a young doctor they called the “boy wonder.”
This time, I have a wonderful, wise, very talented and skilled surgeon. Actually, it’s the same doctor, and while he might not be Dr. McDreamy, at least now he’s got better hair this time. We all do.


Blogger bittersweet choc said...

dear ingrid, i will think of you on your day and hope you will be running around with tony again in no time at all!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Oh gee. I din't know you were going thru all this! BUT I have a very positive experience to tell you: my son did this same surgery (opening in the front, closing, opening in the back to remove old hardware, closing) a few years ago, and it went really, really well.

His problem was a bit different -- he smashed two of his vertebrae in an ultralight accident when barely out of his teens -- but the consequences were quite similar.

He had back surgery right after the accident, when they fixed his spine with one piece of metal and it was OK for a while. Over the years, however, he got into lots of pain.

The substitution was done in Michigan. I couldn't get a flight to be there before, so I arrived the day after he had surgery, and guess what, I found him already seated and in good spirits! He had morphine for a couple of days, but even when they took it away he didn't feel much pain.

He has been almost free from any back ache ever since. Of course he swims a lot every day, and watches his weight very carefully, but otherwise is free to do as he pleases.

I wish you the same luck, dear Ingrid; I'm quite confident that 2007 will be a much better year for you. Good doctors and a positive attitude can work wonders. Much love from Rio!

6:03 PM  

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