Friday, March 31, 2006

New Bed

We purchased a new air bed a few days ago and it arrived yesterday. It was pretty large and we did not want to leave it outdoors overnight as there were thunderstorms all around us so Dianna decided to put it together after she got home from Dom's baseball game last night. With my supervision she managed to get it all done, but I think she is really appreciating me more lately with the realization that even simple things like putting the bed together take a certain amount of strength she usually does not have to summon. I actually hated to see her struggling with it because that is the sort of thing that is my job. I guess that is old fashioned thinking to some, but we have our roles pretty well defined and it has always worked well for us.

I am still moving very slowly. I feel much better and went all day without anything stronger than a couple tylenol. My biggest problem for the past few days was due to a side effect of the surgery and pain medication. At the risk of saying more than I want to, let's just say that I don't feel so "out of sorts" after last night.

My back was hurting again this morning so I took a pain pill and muscle relaxant. It really knocked me out and I think will try to take only half a dose if I need more. These are really strong codeine. I have absolutely no energy so need to work on building that back up. Talking short walks every day will help with that.

I see the Dr. on Monday for my first follow up and will let everyone know what he says.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Step at a Time

Well, things are moving along nicely. I'm pretty stiff and sore, but that's to be expected and it is not as bad as I thought it would be. It will take a while for all the swelling to go down and for everything return to normal but the anti inflamitory medication and the pain pills they gave me help keep it in check. I take one pill every 4 to 6 hours. The medication does make me a little light headed and dizzy so I have to take it slow. Sleep seems to be very high on my list. I seem to be spending more than 12 hours a day sleeping right now. Maybe I am just catching up.

I'm not ready for any 5 mile hikes just yet. I have done some walking around the park just to loosen things up, but the Dr. was adamant about not over doing. I can see where that would be a temptation. For now I am just going to watch a lot of TV (thank goodness for TIVO) and spend more time surfing the web than usual. My laptop is actually sitting on my lap!

I appreciate all the good wishes and concern from everyone.

Friday, March 24, 2006

He's Home!

Less than 24 hrs after major surgery & he's home - unbelievable!

His surgical team was the best around according to the pre-op and surgical nurses. He had the head of the anesthesia team as his anesthesiologist and one woman monitored him via electrodes and needles and a laptop computer. She watched for any nerve impact as organs, blood vessels and nerves were moved around during the surgery. If it looked like they were someplace they didn't belong she could tell them to stop & do something different.

Dr. Guyer showed me before & after films shortly after his surgery yesterday. All went according to plan. He has a three inch horizontal incision about two inches below his belly button (they wanted to make sure he has a nice bikini line!) He ended up with the FDA approved model instead of the experimental device but he's not disappointed. Dr. Guyer said his disc was even discolored, which he doesn't often see, so it needed to come out.

He was kept in recovery over twice as long as normal as his blood pressure was too low. He was laying on his side & when they rolled him onto his back it soon came up to where it needed to be.

They were getting ready to catheritize him last evening when he finally managed to pee on his own. He was most grateful he didn't have to have a Foley.

He was up and walking within a few hours of surgery and walked out to the car today. He said he was expecting it to be a lot worse from everything he'd heard but he says he's fine. All the pain associated with the surgery and since is far less than what he was experiencing with his back on a day to day basis since his last major episode last fall.

He climbed the four steps into our house with no problem and just acts like nothing's wrong. I attribute much of it to his very high tolerance for pain. We even went shopping at WalMart, before coming home, to get his prescription and some groceries, but he did use an electric cart there.

He can't drive or lift anything heavier than 5# until his two week post surgical appoint- ment. Now he just has to heal and from all indications it won't take long.

The facility is fairly new with all the modern conveniences, including a five-star chef and Direct TV, no TIVO though :-(. There are only 18 in-patient rooms as much of what they do is on an out-patient basis. news story Their entire staff is just awesome.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I know they made a difference. We were both at peace before and during the surgery.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Getting Ready

Today was the day to get all the paperwork and other preparations done for my disc replacement surgery on the 23rd. I am convinced that surgery is not done with medical instruments but instead is done with paper! In addition to signing about 100 documents and confirming that I do not have any allergies for the umpteenth time, I watched a video on what to expect before and after the surgery, got my back brace (velcro & kevlar belt), had a physical including blood tests, did my pre check-in at the hospital and met with my doctor.

You always want to have an experienced surgeon when you undertake these kinds of things. Texas Back Institute has done more disc implants than any other facility in the country and Dr. Guyer has personally done over 200 of them. There are few if any who have done more. The access surgeon is also very important and needs to have a high level of skill according to what I have read so I asked Dr. Guyer about that. He told me that my access surgeon has done over 3,500 of these procedures! Talk about an experienced team.

I know it is not going to be much fun and will hurt for a few weeks, but I really hope the end result is an improvement in my quality of life so I can do the things I enjoy for the rest of my life. Our RV lifestyle requires some lifting and a certain amount of activity and flexibility that I just cannot do now without serious pain. I just want to get this behind me so I can start living again.

I appreciate everyone's concern and thoughts. I feel about as comfortable about it as one can given the circumstances.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No news is good news

At least in the case of my folks it is! They are doing fine. Meals on Wheels brings them two meals a day five days a week. They have someone coming in to help clean. A local senior center has many activities which is what my mom desperately needs. With Daddy not being able to hear they don't communicate often and she needs a social outlet. She admitted that yesterday so I think she will start going out more, maybe even take an art class at the adult education nearby. She's really feeling great, symptoms all gone and she's gaining weight and getting stronger.

Richard goes in for his day of pre-op tests and informational meetings tomorrow. He said he's read that the "access" surgeon is critical in this type of surgery. He's going to ask Dr. Guyer tomorrow if he will be the one doing it. He's one of the pioneer surgeons doing this procedure and has done hundreds so Richard really feels comfortable with him. I'm glad because I'm nervous enough for the two of us!

Darin has been diagnosed with Reynaud's Syndrome and is on a new medication for it. The cold weather in TN seems to bring on his attacks. Hopefully the medication will bring him some relief.

We're sure glad we have a new nephew and that mommy and baby are doing great! Welcome, Carsten!!

Richard says he wants to spend our first summer after retirement spending time with our parents. He hasn't seen either for a couple of years. I'm grateful I've been able to make so many trips to visit. And Mom L. now tells me she's got her genealogy files confused again so I know what our visit is going to entail, at least for me! She does this periodically so she'll have some company I know!!