Dr. Carter Harsh operated on my back last Friday at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. He performed a laminectomy near the L5-S1 level on my spine. At first I thought he was performing a discectomy, but he ended up doing a laminectomy. (Doesn’t bother me, he knows best. ha ha) Thankfully, everything has gone smoothly, and now I am in the process of recovery, which is taking longer than expected, but I’ll be back to normal soon. (Dr. Harsh was awesome. So many people that I know recommended him, and I talked with him a couple of times, so I was very comfortable with him performing my surgery.)
I’m thankful that my Mom was able to get off from work and stay with me during my short stay in the hospital. We arrived a little late at 7:15am, and after filling out a little paperwork, they were ready for me to go back and get ready for surgery. No time was wasted throughout this process. I changed into a hospital gown, then laid down on the bed. The nurse had me flip over to shave my back with an electric razor. Somehow, the razor scratched up my back pretty bad. It wasn’t painful, but I can still feel all the grooves in my lower back. It bled bad enough that the nurse showed it to the surgeon later when we first saw him. He wasn’t concerned… Anyway, I flipped over on my back, and it was IV time. My mom joked that I faint. Come on mom, it was only one time. ha ha… The nurses looked at each other and said, “lower his head.”
I watched the nurse assemble all of her stuff to install my IV port and I asked, “are you gonna use a local?” She said, “I can.” I responded with, “Yes, please.” ha ha… I was spoiled at St Vincent’s East, the nurse there used a local for every IV installation. The thoughts of feeling that big needle, then the tube being inserted, gives me the shivers. So, all I felt was the bee sting from the local. She then took some blood for lab work, then installed the IV port and started a saline drip. Oh yeah, before installing the IV, she shaved the back of my hand with the electric razor. Fortunately, my hand wasn’t cut up like my back was.
Once the IV was setup, it was time to wheel me down to pre-op. We ran into the surgeon in the hallway, and he went ahead and marked my back for surgery. Also, the nurse showed him the scratches on my back…
In pre-op I met the anesthesiologist, nurse, and nurse anesthetist. We had the pre-surgery anesthesia talk, then it was go time. As they were wheeling me to the operating room, the nurse anesthetist gave me something in my IV to relax. I was out after a few seconds ha ha. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in my room. My mom was sitting there on the couch.
I can’t remember how long a laid there, but I remember them bringing me a lunch that they created from what was leftover from earlier. They also brought some coffee and crackers. I remember eating one bite of the crackers and was grossed out because they appeared so stale. They were fine, my mouth was just extremely dry from the anesthesia or a combo of the anesthesia and breathing tube. By the way, my throat was so sore the rest of the day from the breathing tube.
I remember later that day, I wanted more coffee (it soothed my sore throat), so I decided I wanted to walk and get it. I had no clue that I would hurt so badly. I mean, it was really bad. Mom and I made the trip to the coffee pot and back. I had to use a cane and could have easily been passed by a one hundred year old person. lol
Anyway, I got to go home the following morning just after lunch. (I was glad that I was able to eat before I left.) They gave me the options for lunch and I was looking forward to barbecue, ha ha. I’m also glad they kept me over night. I don’t believe I could have made the car ride home on Friday.
I had a minor issue with pain management in the hospital. The timing of my meds wasn’t ideal and that night I woke up in extreme pain. They gave me my usual pills, but they did nothing for me. The nurse finally brought some sort of shot that took care of me… I’ve learned this week that timing is everything with pain meds. I even downloaded a app for my phone and I recorded a time stamp and the meds I took whenever I took medication. Taking the meds at exact intervals worked out perfectly. Prior to timing the meds, I was judging by pain levels, and I would experience a lot of pain and it took a while for the pain to calm down when I finally took pain medication.
This week after surgery has been long, dull, and boring. I had planned on getting back to work yesterday, but my back just isn’t ready for it. I can’t sit up very long and I can’t bend very far. However, I’m feeling better and better every day. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I have a 10 day follow up appointment on Monday at 2pm. I’ll ask Dr. Harsh what I need to do in the future to prevent any future back issues. I’m sure weight loss and core strengthening will be at the top of his list. I know he wants me to do lots of walking. I also will start physical rehab soon, too.
It’s my hope to start regular blogging soon and getting back to weight loss. My eating has been awful and I bet my weight is back up to 400lbs. It is what it is. I’m about ready to dive back into the process of losing weight, and doing it for me and my health. It’s easy to get off track mentally and start focusing on the wrong things, and trying to do things too quickly. Live and learn.