Monday, August 20, 2012
I’m so grateful to say that Kimm’s surgery went well and she’s home, recuperating.
And I only have WONDERFUL things to say about our time at Mercy, which she especially was dreading (being used to Holyoke, knowing that it is a Catholic hospital, located in Springfield). On my end, it was SO interesting to see how another hospital does things…a real eye-opener!
We arrived on the dot at 10 am, only got lost once (!) and were immediately whisked away to pre-op. Her nurse, Ellen, was kind, informative, funny, sensitive. An IV was started, a pre-op antibiotic was given (Vanco 1 gm), we met the anesthesiologist (REALLY liked her…Dr. Patell I believe, not sure of the spelling, but she TOTALLY listened to what we said about having a dystonic reaction to ativan and versed and ensured us that those meds would NOT be used), met the operating room nurse Sheila (SO SWEET and funny), and was “marked” by Dr. Kalia.
Before I knew it, she was being wheeled away, right on time, a few minutes before noon…we got in our last hugs and kisses and then it was time for me to wait. Thankfully Kimm’s parents were there…they made the waiting time much more manageable. An hour and a half later, I was speaking to the surgeon, hearing, “Everything went well.” What a relief!
A quick trip to the hospital cafeteria…mac and cheese (for the vegetarian), and chocolate milk because I couldn’t resist!
I was getting a little concerned when they still hadn’t called me back to see Kimm by 3:15 (since the surgery ended at 1:30), but I just kept saying to myself, “she’s slow to come out of anesthesia.” I shouldn’t have worried too much…by 3:20 they were calling me back!
And yep, she was just very groggy…
She had a small dressing to the right side of her neck, along with some slight bruising and swelling (the surgery she had was a C5-C6 Anterior Cervial Discectomy and Fusion–basically the disc between C5 and C6 was removed because it was compressing the spinal cord, a donor bone graft was inserted so that the vertebrae would not collapse on each other, and a metal plate was inserted to stabilize the vertebrae with the bone graft until they fuse, which can take anywhere from 6 months to a year!). I was happy to see that she was able to swallow water as I had read that one of the potential side effects could be difficulty swallowing. Also her voice was relatively normal as well (another possible side effect is hoarseness due to movement of the nerve that innervates the vocal cords). Her biggest problem was pain. She was SO restless…couldn’t get comfortable, constantly trying to rearrange her neck on the pillow. A few doses of morphine and an ice pack seemed to somewhat help.
While her parents were there I ran home and fed the animals and rushed back.
By 6 pm she had walked with assist to the bathroom and was deemed ready to leave. I think the thing that shocked us the most in the discharge instructions was…NO IBUPROFEN for 6 months…I guess it interferes with the bone fusion. This is going to be tough as that is a daily OTC med for Kimm…I guess she’ll have to use Tylenol…hopefully this surgery will remove the need for the ibuprofen for her neck/back pain, it’s only her knees that will bother her…but I guess there’s always Bio-Freeze too.
The drive home was uneventful and once home she got situated on the couch. Izzy was so glad to see her, but I could tell she knew something was up…she just laid on the ground next to Kimm…
She was able to eat some crackers, drank TONS of water, and just dozed on and off, with the Little League baseball playoffs in the background.
We headed up to bed fairly early since she was still so tired.
It is still just a little short of amazing that someone can have surgery on their NECK, with manipulation of their SPINAL CORD, and still be home the same day!
I know it will be a rough recovery, but the worst part is over.