Sunday, June 17, 2012

Post op news

Ok it's already two and a half weeks post-op and I'm just now posting, bad me! After getting stuck in the elevator on my way to the hospital the morning of the surgery, (yes, firefighters had to come and get me out) I must admit that everything else once I did finally get to the hospital went smoothly. 

I was taken to the pre-op room where everyone is waiting to have their procedures. The great equalizer this room is, as we're all in those horrible gowns, ugly tube socks with treads and those white thigh-high support hose that keep you from getting blood clots. Oh, and the bouffant shower caps. 
Dr. Spivak came to see me and initialed my neck (!) so he wouldn't forget what body part to operate on (some of you may remember this) and I asked to smell his breath and to extend his hand to make sure he wasn't shaking or hung over. Yes, I really do this to everyone's amusement. Apparently I'm a card. 

Then the anesthesiologist came to talk to me. They were very concerned about my penchant for vomiting after coming out of the anesthesia in the past because the incision would be in my throat, so I was given a sea-sickness patch behind my ear. She said this would also help with the dizziness that people sometimes get with strong pain meds like the ones I'd be getting after the surgery. (PS to the patch, threw up everything down to the acid in my stomach on Thursday night after getting home, so not sure how effective the patch really is.)

After one last trip to the rest room, I was led into the OR (you're not wheeled in on a gurney, that's for TV, though my last surgery with Balderston I was prepped and groggy and wheeled in, probably because it was a more serious procedure, or to save time?). I walked in, looked around, said hello to all the OR staff and looked at my Xrays and CT scans hanging in a corner. It's always really cold in those rooms, I presume because of the equipment, hopefully not to combat flop sweat on the doctor, so as soon as I hopped up on the table I asked for a blanket. The anesthesiologist reappeared and started to administer the good stuff, meaning I pretty much passed out cold. 

Woke up feeling ok, surprisingly, in what NYU HJD calls "special care." It's a glorified term for overnight recovery. Instead of being in a big room with other people like when you have out-patient surgery, you're on a floor of the hospital but not in a room, separated from other recovering surgical patients by only curtains. Nurses were ok, lots of ignoring of call bells, as usual, cause they're overworked and all. I was able to pee using the bedside commode instead of the bed pan, and then later on Thursday morning, I was able to walk to the bathroom. PT came to see me, as well as the pain specialist to talk about what drugs I'd be going home with (was offered Dilaudid, turned it down, got Nucynta). Spivak came in last, and up to that point I still didn't know if I'd gotten a fusion (which I didn't want) or an artificial disc, which I DID want) and was sooo happy when he said he was able to get the disc in. 

That was it! I got my scripts and was cleared to leave. After being wheeled to the exit, I went to the corner in my neck brace to hail a cab. I did ask the driver to take it easy and try to drive smoothly and the first thing he did was gun it to get out into traffic then slam on the brakes at the light. I guess some things will always be a pain in the neck. 

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