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In ICU - On the other side, back kind of! (G) Hi!!!!

Aviatrix36440Aviatrix36440 Posts: 5,721
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Howdy all!! Kind of “on my feet” a bit here. I haven’t read much yet as still on the groggy side of things – I’m using spell check to catch the fog and butter fingers! (G) I’ll be on an off to try and read and post.

The game plan as many of you know was 3-5 hours to do laminectomy for C4 to T1, and posterior cervical fusion C4-T2. The surgery was just over 6 hours and ended up being Laminectomy of C4-C7, but fusion remained at C4-T2, screws, rods and BMP with my lami bone mixed in. Oddly no blood needed minimal blood loss. Then oops!!

As they brought me out of anesthesia (and I get a bit fuzzy here), post neurological assessment, my right side was paralyzed! My right thumb worked though errs, well was responsive to reflex and pain??? This of course put a monkey wrench into a quick diagnosis and assessment for sure!! All my ears heard were “It is possible she had a stroke during surgery, but the thumb doesn’t make sense at all. Let’s send her right up for an MRI of the brain down to T3 to rule it in or out.” Of course my groggy ears initially just heard “STROKE” and me thinking oh crap, after all this, and now a damn stroke? Oh come-on man!!!

Okay, in the tube I go….55 minutes later I hear good news …brain is clear, but we do have a large hematoma in the cervical spine! So my surgeon and I have a discussion about this new development and whether we should “go back in” and remove it, or see if it resolves overnight. I preferred plan “A” since this development was direct to the surgery, with instant function and paralysis, I preferred to go in and remove it vs. chance overnight pressure and more damage. My surgeon agreed, and exigent surgery was scheduled. I was delayed for 2 hours due to a finishing procedure in progress, and the need to clear the OR of Latex.

I found out today that my husband feared I either wasn’t going to make it, or the damage was already done! How crappy of a feeling that had to be! Fortunately for me and him – neither fear come to reality. When I once again was woken up from anesthesia, my arms and legs were good to go (right side). I am getting neurological assessments every 30 minutes, and remain in ICU. Tons of steroids, some more antibiotics, PCA (Dilaudid .1mg allowed every 8 mins) for pain, though max 1mg if needed. Also a strong breakthrough medication (IV can't remember the name of it right now) that works great!

Guys I found out the hard way about not keeping up with pain levels and medication. I got behind, and the pain was unbelievable, and I can take a bunch of pain - stupid!!! Won't do that again if I can help it. Lol!!! Ouch!!!

Due to the need to go back in, my hospital location and discharge instructions for higher chances of maximum recovery have changed. I am being kept in ICU until Saturday or Sunday, and then going to be transported via ambulance to an acute aftercare facility for between 2-3 weeks – 24/7 facility supervision, nursing, neuro and wound management along with PT. “One stop shopping” right? (G) At first I was BIG TIME depressed over this change, but then I remembered my hubby was not comfortable with my being home alone originally to begin with, and now the need for another 2 hour surgery and his fears; I too am now comfortable with this post hospital heath management. ICU here has a great staff, they are keeping me comfortable, and my medical team has privileges at this hospital if need be. Whew!!! My surgeon also ordered me a walker (he doesn't want me using my cane until fusion starts to keep an even balance) and a wheelchair - for more lengthy activities - sit woman!! (G)

My surgeon as per my request took pictures during the course of my original surgery. I can’t wait to see them! He also told me he has an x-ray for me too! I will put them on my Photobucket site when I have them. I might do a link with a gory or “weak stomach” warning, lol!!!

Well, that is where I am at presently. 5 levels and pretty darn comfortable – much to my surprise. Granted very soon as I tell others after surgery, so to I do know the hammer will begin to fall, and the ouch modes en-route to recovery will begin. Mentally I feel in a good place with my medical decisions. My compression socks are alternating on inflation and acting like a mini leg massage – rather pleasant feeling actually. My nurse (wonderful nurses so far – love em!!!) on the night shift told me that it’s funny, patients either like them or absolutely hate them! Weird. They are great for me anyways… (G)

I’ve been here in Word typing this in between Dilaudid naps, so now going to copy it into an “I’m back kinda” thread. Then going to try and see what Dave (Metalneck) posted to add my replies there. Thanks for speaking for me in advance Dave, you’re a super friend indeed!! I know there are more that too may have spoken after we talked voice (Sleeprgirl ), so if I missed you dear friend, apologies ahead of time!! *HUGZ* to you guys, and all my other spiney brothers and sisters. I could feel the energy, I really could!!

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.


  • I am blown away that you are doing so well. At 24 hours post op there was no way I was able to be as coherent as you. Your prayers were definitely answered. I'm glad you are back among the living now. It sounds like you have a great team taking care of you. Why do you need inpatient spinal rehab? Is your cord damaged from this? Tell me more...
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Brenda, Hon, soooo happy you came through your surgery and your able to post!!! I've missed you!!! I watched for Dave's update, needless to say, your possey was getting restless and worried!!! I hope your hubby is able to get some rest. It sounds like your in wonderful hospital and your nurses are taking excellent care of you!!!
    The love and prayers form SH were wonderful. Ms Brenda, we love you!!!
    Get some sleep, I'm praying for you! Very gentle hugs, Brenda C.
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  • Neck of Steel Cindy said:
    I am blown away that you are doing so well. At 24 hours post op there was no way I was able to be as coherent as you. Your prayers were definitely answered. I'm glad you are back among the living now. It sounds like you have a great team taking care of you. Why do you need inpatient spinal rehab? Is your cord damaged from this? Tell me more...
    Howdy Cindy,

    I think part of it is I do have great pain management going on, and this is similar to when my C5/6 ACDF was done - in the fact that recliner position seems to be my most comfortable?!?

    I apparently did damage to my cord from C4ish down to T1 (C8 nerve) thanks to C6/7 going pseudo and allowing so much movement. In a neutral position (such as a recumbent MRI) you don't see any indications visually of stenosis, but positional you see it at all levels described. It was the constant intermittent "hitting" off and on/against the cord that added Myelopathy to the mix over the last year and a half unfortunately.

    The "fortunately side" is it is now hopefully stopped from progressing. Whew!! As my last consults, and too this wonderful surgeon that I found stated, nerves do not react well to being hit "even mildly"...especially over time it just builds up. Fortunately I dug around a lot, did a lot of research and found the right medical team mix. :)

    Until he sees fusion at all levels, he wants me using a walker so I am at least supported and balanced, whereas my cane allows me to be at a angle which is a negative. One of the really *big* good things I have noticed post op (Tamtam will get this...) the "thumb feeling" I've had at the side of my C6 is GONE!! I haven't choked out since I started eating yesterday. I haven't had a meal before this surgery for almost 2 years without at least 1 choke out - how great that aspect has been the last 2 days!!! Whooohooo...I didn't not expect -that- feeling to go AWAY!!!! Happy sighs...

    I'm in the Miami-J collar this go around. I think I like it better than the Aspen, and I liked the Aspen. The padding in the J seem softer. The wheelchair (which I finally am allowing...yeah I refused before - damn ego) is for longer activities so I don't over stress my arms or load my neck. Even though I quit smoking almost 2 months ago, I have smoked in the past, and even non smokers have risks at 3+ levels. Soooo....this surgeon is taking all precautions that he can. I think he hook me up with a bone growth stim tomorro or the next day. I know before they send me to recovery down near my house. :)

    I hope that helps. I just had a 25 minute nap, took my Dilaudid hit, and will catch the next 2 or 3 and then another nap. Nope not the best sleeping, but for now it is working pretty good for me; I just hope it continues, or allows me to sleep without getting behind the pain curve. I know I'll hit another...dreading that! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Howdy Ms. Brenda,

    I'm enjoying what I am because *I* think if I saw another posting this, my comment would be 2 words: "Honeymoon Mode" be careful! (G) I of course hope this mode lasts, but I have set my brain to realize I might just be getting a smooth start out of the recovery gate! Lol!!!

    I'll take what length of reduced pain I can get given two procedures in the surgery, and swing back through for my *cough* small (G) complication. Hopefully the complications are over, but if not, I know my surgeon doesn't run from a challenge. Whew, gonna try to read a bit, but might too see if I can nap again (not too tired right now, it just sneaks up on me!)...out I go, it's kind of funny. Talking one minute..zzzzz the next! Chuckle.

    Love ya lots Brenda, you're great peeps and a really good and supportive friend as well for me!! Big Thank you *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi there Brenda!
    I am so happy to hear how well you are doing! You sure did have more than your share of obstacles during this one, WOW!
    I think the acute care unit sounds like the very best fit, they are equipted to take good care and usually are very close to the hospital.
    I had ended up in the hospital for extended stays from both of my fusions this year, 9 and 11 days, they did offer the acute care but okayed me going home with the home health care. After the lumbar experience, in hindsight, it probably would have been a better bet.

    I am sending you lots of gentle hugs! take good care and we will all be watching for your updates
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  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,361
    I thought of you when I got up this morning and wanted to get on SH to check for an update---Well was I surprised to see your LONG posts???? Nah, not really! You can't keep a good woman down-or a stubborn one either can you? lol.

    I'm so glad to hear from you! I hope that everything continues to go well. Now you need to be a good girl and take it easy. Don't be causing to much trouble for the nurses. :D

  • Good Morning!!

    Before the hematoma, the game plan was going home, and having an RN come for an hour or so daily to check me, wound care, pain management etc. Then surgery # 2 two hours later changed me to plan B. At first I got rather upset, but in hindsight I realized when my logical brain took over, this was best for me medically, and for the hubby "mentally"... He's not admitting of course, but he has been pretty stressed out.

    Originally too, a walker was going to be my primary, now it is the wheelchair to keep the leaning and arm stress down on the arms/neck. My new "different able" equipment will be delivered today to the hospital, to which my hubby will take these home since I'll use hospital and aftercares equipment over the next few weeks or so.

    My happy go lucky frame of mind is back in place, so this is good. I let me get down a bit to get it out, then I am good from there. Whew!! Lots, lots, lots...flexibility is the key. :)

    Thanks for being there Ms. Bonnie. *HUGZ* Oh, and the long "me update" post - done in Word over 3 hours/then copy paste into here. All - between Dilaudid and naps! (G) I knew with that if I tried on-line, hehehe it would have timed me out for sure! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Howdy Debbie!!!

    As you can see above, I did my personal update post in Word, then copy pasted into here. It took a few hours between pain medications and naps. (G) Dave [Metalneck] is a wonderful friend, and I am very happy he was able to update from our voice talks. Thanks again Dave!!!! Big *HUGZ*

    My surgeon used the hospital camera (film!!) so I am going to use my 12 mega pixal to photo them and have em. When I see him on my follow up, I will get them - so about 2 to 2.5 weeks? They should hopefully come out fine. :)

    I do know the pain *is* there, as I found when I got behind on my pain medication. With how mine is being managed, this is good, and hopefully will continue as such. Whew!!! Just don't get behind on pain medications unless you want a 10 hit! Not!!! Thanks so much Debbie. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • Well Brenda,
    We are all full of admiration for you! Posting so soon after such a large surgery.
    It is great to hear from you and it sounds like you are on the up again. :-)

    Now be a good girl and follow all instructions. You don't want to risk damaging all your surgeon's skillful work.

    I hope that your hubby has come down again after alll the stress, and that he can now relax and sleep well.

    How cool to have photos of your surgery. You have a very rare breed of surgeon there.

    Big, but very gentle hugs
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Great to hear you have had excellent results!

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