Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been asked to be a bit more specific about what they do to replace a disc at Stenum. So, I'm giving this in Roz's layman's terms: after an initial sedative, they give you a spinal epidural to numb the lower extremities. If you've any blood loss, they put it through a cell saver device, which actually cleans your own blood, and then they transfuse it right back into you. Then, they put head sets on you, and roll you into a state-of-the-art surgery theatre, along with several other patients. A team of doctors work on you, each performing their own specialty. Stenum hospital avoids general anesthesia if at all possible. They utilize the spinal epidural and some "twilight drugs." It's as good as being out, but if they need to speak with you, they can bring you "to" and you can respond immediately. Once you're in the theatre, they make an incision just to the left of your naval, and move the bowels, veins, etc. over left to the right to reveal the spinal cord. The anterior approach is less risky to the spinal cord than a posterior approach. Then they scrap the existing disc out (if there's anything left), open the two vertebrae further to insert a lower Maverick, and then do the same to the upper disc. The Maverick is a two piece device, lined with titanium. Bone will eventually grow to the titanium. One side of the Maverick rotates on the other, giving movement equal in distance as a regular spinal disc. It was told to me that they hammer the disc into place with a 4 pound hammer. During the operation, I remember hearing two distinct poundings (but didn't feel a thing), and I asked "Is that me?."
I don't remember anything after that, except hearing Vivaldi on the headset as I was being rolled into the ICU. My roommate, Jennifer, remembers hearing Michael Jackson, and ONLY that. They sized us up for more than just the Mavericks, obviously. The clock showed my operation had lasted approximately 2 hours. They had an IV of my own blood (surprisingly orange!) being pumped right back into my wrist. John was allowed in immediately after I'd been rolled from the surgery theatre, and he stayed until they decided it was time to put us all asleep for the night. We were moved into our rooms for breakfast the next morning. I spent 4 days in the hospital.Whenever we felt like leaving, we could walk outside or go sit in the woods, providing we told them where we were headed. (I even went over to the hotel to get...well, yes,... some more make-up... One can't be frightening the newcomers, can one? ) Stenum takes 5 to 6 English speaking patients per week in their Ward 1. I was so blessed that the one position became vacant when it did. Now, it's a matter time for physical therapy and bone growth to seat the implants.


sheri said...

Roz & John,

I am having a wonderful time filling in for you this week Roz. You have such a wonderful staff and they make things run smoothly. The staff & students however miss their leader. Please tell John I miss him and our morning visits. Basketball tryouts won't be the same without him.

Heir Vegner

Doris said...

I enjoyed the picture of your discs - Both Jeff and I thought it was a picture of the moon at first. What lovely country you are seeing. I might have to plan a trip there - without the surgery to go with it.

Flicka said...

The inside of you is as beautiful as the outside of you

sheri said...

Sung to the tune of Mr. Sandman
(loosely, of course)

Hey, Roz-
We miss you so (bum, bum, bum, bum)
Thanks for the details from head to toe.

You still look great without your blu-hush
We hope that back to us you soon will ru-hush

Please take it easy (bum, bum, bum)
Don't let yourself get real queasy.

We'll just say this, and we ain't kiddin,
Make sure that man of yours, does your bidding.

Roz, get well real soon,
(We really mean it.)
Roz, get well real soon
(without mascara).
Roz, get well real soon
(we miss your high heels)

Auf Wiedersehen,