Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Post Surgery Stuff

Well, I finally had the back surgery yesterday and it went quite well. Came home today. I'm in a great deal of pain from the actual surgery but the other pain in my legs and hips seems to have disappeared. That's what the goal was all along.

I will be seriously limited in what I can do and where I can go during the next four to six weeks. Then I can start to do some of the things I'm used to doing around here. Well maybe not building outdoor kitchens and flagstone decks but there's always something to do here.

My surgeon said he found nothing else of concern besides the three areas where bone was pressing the nerve bundle (L3 L4 & L5). He performed his magic over a 2½ hour period. It's called a lumbar laminectomy to correct a condition called spinal stenosis. In my case, he thinks it was caused by genetics, but the condition is fairly common although less severe in most people. The surgery success rate is from 95% to 100% depending on where you look. If you have the condition you should certainly consider the surgery before you damage your nerves beyond repair.

I just took two more of the pain meds and my next stop is bed. I hope I can sleep non-stop until tomorrow. Probably not but at least I can take more pills if I need to.

It's nice to live in a country where treatment is available. I couldn't stand much more of the pain that was constantly at level six or higher all day, every day. I'm really looking forward to each and every new day from now on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pre-Surgery Stuff

My back surgery (lumbar laminectomy) isn't until the 29th but I had to go do all the pre-surgery stuff today. Mostly signing papers, but they also did lab work, x-rays and ekg on me. I still have to go to my family doctor to get his release for the surgery but that's next week.

I also learned a little more of what to expect after the surgery. Of course this is all based on the fact that it will be an uneventful, successful surgery.

The surgery will take about 2 1/2 hours. Then I will remain in a recovery room for at least one night, maybe two. They want me up and walking ASAP and certainly by the time I'm discharged the following day. Then I'm to progress my walking to as much as 3 miles a day within six weeks. I am "strongly discouraged from riding in a car for 4 weeks, except when absolutely necessary." I cannot "lounge on an over-stuffed couch" nor "do any lifting, bending, or stooping activities for 6 weeks." I should "specifically avoid bed-making, doing the laundry, vacuuming, or loading the bottom shelf of the dishwasher."

I'm also supposed to remain upright as much as possible, take deep breaths, eat a lot of fruit and fresh vegetables, use multivitamens and avoid alcoholic beverages.

It may "take 3 to 4 months" before I can "resume heavy physical activity."

They say I will have "good days and bad days" and about all I can do is rest, take the medication they provide and place ice packs on the painful area.

This is definitely not going to be a picnic.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Finally Got A Surgery Date

Three weeks ago I underwent a CT Myelogram for Dr. Cartwright to determine if there were any other areas of concern with my spinal stenosis. There wasn't, but the initial three areas were deemed "serious" and a laminectomy is about the only way to correct the problem.

Surgery has been scheduled for July 29th at Tops Surgery Center near KSF Orthopeodic's offices on Red Oak Drive. I've had knee surgery performed there before. The staff was very nice.

I have to have new bloodwork data and visit with both my primary care and heart doctors prior to the surgery date.

I'm told that it is likely that I will return home the following day of surgery but I will need some level of assistance for a few days.

It sounds like they have this procedure pretty much down pat so I'm not all that worried. If anything, I'm really looking forward to being able to function again without severe pain.