Thursday, March 01, 2012
I am certainly in the hospital. The kind third shift nurse had to take my vitals at 3:30 and apologized for waking me up. They have to do such things and it is just a part of being int he hospital.
My surgery took 4 1/2 hours. My pain doctor got to be my anesthesiologist like we both requested. Before I went into the OR, he came and told me that when he had the same procedure, he woke up in terrible pain and burning in his neck and throat. He said that the anesthesiologist had caused his problem because when the doctor needed to open up the throat, they blow a tube full of air to give the surgeon a good view and access to the area. He said that his anesthesiologist did not inflate the bubble when it needed to be moved and that caused the inside of his neck and throat to be scraped all of the way across. He then explained that he had a procedure where he used two bubbles to do that and how he would inflate and deflate and not move any air bubble that was inflated. I was told to expect a really sore throat and it never hurt at all yesterday. Now that I am awake, I am noticing it is a bit sore, I have a bedside container of cepastat and I probably should get some pain medication. There is no good reason to let things hurt.
I'm back. After they visited me, I had about ten more minutes to wait and that is when those doggoned spasms got started. I had three of them in a row. It was time to go to the OR. They wheeled my in my bed, and had me slide onto the table which is when I had a problem. I sleep in a recliner because all of the damage in my lower back and the fusion I had in it just doesn't let me lie down flat. My anesthesiologist was right there and had them elevate my head. I started having spasms again and he gave me some medicine. I counted five spasms and the next thing I knew was that I was in recovery. It took 4 and 1/2 hours. The surgeon reported to my husband that there were several bone spurs clamping down on the nerves to my arm and that he was surprised at the extent of what was going on in there--the NRI didn't show all of that. My anesthesiologist and I had talked at my last appointment and he told me what I had already guessed, that when I fell on November 30, it knocked some things around and loose which is why I had the "sudden" issue after they relieved the pain in my extremities with enough injections to settle anything down. I have thought that all along, good to have a doctor who is listening and who respects my opinion.
When I was in recovery, it was my lower back that was seriously in pain. I was again flat on my back and had most likely been that way in surgery. They had to do a few things--I needed some ice chips too. Again, my anesthesiologist came to the rescue. He told them to get me turned off of my back and he put some medicine into my IV. Talk about your "johnny on the spot!" He is just so good and so experienced that I am guessing he knows when he is needed and what he is needed for. He is still riding on that scooter to take care of his foot after his multiple surgeries and bone breaks. Sometimes, his joking and mannerisms remind me of a good natured little boy.
I have been receiving top notch care, which is good because what has going on at school has been just awful. The principal decided to try to get a sub for me, even though they never do that Monday evening. I don't even have a sub plan and my work is so specific that I don't know how to have someone else do it. (It would be like getting a PE teacher to do physical therapy.) I spent over 5 hours on Tuesday writing lists and notes. Add to that the changes in schedule for 7 of the 8 days I am not at work which means a lot of other issues. When I opened my email after I had surgery, I had one from the principal needing a pile of paperwork that I am the only one who can get it for her. I have to collect data on a student that covers 3 years of service, and have it organized for a conference by Wednesday. I still haven't finished my report cards because I had to do all of the planning for the sub. She is just mean. I am going to have to go there and do it, otherwise she will start going through all of my things and I don't even feel like dealing with that.
I have a bit of shopping to do--I found a beautiful prom dress for Marissa and have been given the "go-ahead" by my daughter and husband to buy it. It is burgandy with a semi halter top and beautiful beadwork with a bell shaped flowing skirt at the bottom. I will have one important thing done ahead of time with plenty of time for shipping.
Thank you all for your kind words and support. I feel like you are all here with me cheering me on. I will be chatting with you off and on during the next several days, along with doing report cards and catching up on my homework. I have good things to do and a computer--that works well for me. My day time nurse just came in to introduce herself and ask if I could use anything--she is getting me some better tasting cough drops, planning to cut my pain pills in half so I can swallow them better, fresh water and she let me take the collar off for a rest. Life could be worse--and I have no spasms!!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
This is a quick note to let you know that I am now sporting 5 snazzy hospital bracelets, an IV, ted hose, and the leggings for the blood clotting machine and I am waiting to go to surgery.
I'll talk to you soon and will be happy to announce that my neck and shoulder pain and these horrid spasms in my shoulder and right arm will be a thing of the past.
Have an awesome leap day!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I am kind of off right now. This antibiotic is making me feel a bit nauseated and I had another big injection in my neck when I saw my pain doctor today. I found out that he hadn't been given my message when I asked for someone to let him know about my surgery because I wanted him to be my anesthesiologist. He called and took care of that right in front of me. I realized that we have been together for 14 years--he was the anesthesiologist when my youngest son was born and talked my husband through his role of Daddy during the c-section. They were funny chatting away about all kinds of army stuff. Anyway, that nurse purposely didn't let him know, she is up to no good all of the time.
So is a certain staff in a certain school. Things are so petty and mean-spirited that I cannot even talk about them. I am tired of being treated like someone who is under their feet or like someone who is there to be taken advantage of. The principal sends me an email about our need to have a meeting to discuss my evaluation, but after the ornery things in this weeks email, she leaves the room when I come in. I now have 12 out of 20 readers for our reading day and finally, the others are finding a few people. I don't think this is a difficult job, just one that needs to be done. Everyone should know a person who can read!
Anyway, I took the afternoon off and I am sure glad that I did. I didn't know I could have another if these injections. The nurse who cared for me today was very kind. She told me that you can have up to three of them every 6 months. She also apologized that I wasn't told that when I had to make the appointment. I wish she was the gal in charge.
I am going to go find a popsicle. I need to get my tummy to calm down a bit. Only 3 more doses of the antibiotic and on Friday, I have to go to do another test to see if the bacteria is gone. That one, I am praying for.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I am trying hard to avoid thinking about this pain--I can't when it flares hard or when it makes my right arm buzz down to the tip of my thumb and renders it useless, but especially while I am typing, I don't have to talk about it.
I am taking a homework break right now. I wanted to check emails and do some sparking. The first thing I noticed was all of the thoughtful and caring comments on my last blog. My dear basset hound friend is correct, my colleagues are a very self-absorbed lot. They are competitive and they work closely with a partner and terribly with other people. I have a constant push and pull think where they want me to serve their students but they won't let me take them out of their classes. I have a couple of close friends, mostly people who are on the end of the same whipping stick that I am. In our building if you are over than 30 or weigh more than 130, you are not one of the chosen ones. Self-absorbed is a good way to put it. It will be interested when school starts and 4 of them are all off on maternity leave. I wonder if experience will be coveted a bit more then.
My church family is another group that I can count on. I sent a request out via our prayer chain looking for guest readers and I may be up to six now. I think it is interesting that the folks I work with had trouble finding one reader, but through our little church in the heart of the inner city, I am getting a lot of warm and caring responses. Even the folks who are telling me "sorry, I cannot" are sending some wonderful messages.
My own family gets kudos from me as well. They are walking on eggshells around me and they are being kind and they are getting along a lot better recently. Megan is doing my laundry (again.) The biggest problem that I have with family is that Marshall and Miles keep buying me food that I wasn't expecting. For VAlentine's Day, my husband commissioned my daughter's musical group to bring me a singing valentine along with a long stemmed red rose and a sweet stuffed teddy bear. It was sweet when they came to school, I was quickly returning to my room after a discipline issue and one of my first grade groups was in my room. The little girl in the bunch had her hands over her heart, sighing and swooning a bit. It was cute.
Anyway, it is a tough time in my life and I sure do appreciate the many ways my spark friends are showing kindnesses. I know I am barely reciprocating. I have broken spark streaks recently and missed taking care of things on a couple of my team pages. I simply am without enough energy because this pain in the neck is taking more than its fair share of my energy.
I am down to a ten day countdown. I got a letter from my husband's insurance approving up to 5 days in the hospital. My insurance , which is primary, approved one day. The doctor was clear that this may not take care of all of the pain, so I am expecting some pain to linger. I also know that my first days are going to be rough because I already use the pain meds that they would use to make me comfortable to treat my lower back problems. However, I know it and I am not expecting everything. I do expect that removing the offending disks and replacing them with gifts from my hip should take the pressure off of the nerve that is upsetting my right arm. Eliminating that much of the pain makes this a worthy procedure--anything else will be "lixury."
I am so blessed to have the people in my life I can count on. You and my other spark friends, my church family, my family, and a few special people like my best friend. Our lunch date for this month is tomorrow because we had so many other things on Saturdays this month. President's Day is a good day to spend with her. I will go to the pool after that and I have class in the evening. I am going to wrap things up now and work on homework for as long as I my neck will allow it. Although this body and the arthritis that is in all of my joints is painful and tricky to live with, I am blessed to have the best people around me. People I can count on is a definite plus. Thanks for being one of them!!
Gentle hugs to each one of you, my reliable and caring friends!!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I feel as if sometimes the only places I can be myself are at the pool, in my chair at home, and on the computer. I am so hurt by some of the people in my work world that it has added to the physical pain I am feeling in a nasty way.
I have been told that I need to give up some things I do at work because "I am going to be gone." Hmm, it will be a total of 8 days at the most. It was a snippy little email from the principal about handing out prizes that the kids earn on their way to making a reading goal for the ball game. NOBODY else wants the job and I had it covered so that I distributed them one day a week and there would only be one day that I couldn't do. Now, I am trying to figure out an entirly new way to doit.
Next, we have our other reading day coming. It was supposed to be a fun day, based on "Read Across America." We couldn't do it on the national day because it is an ISAT day (our state's standardized testing.) The group working with me has changed it to "Read to Succeed" and they want all of the guest readers to share their career and give it a career theme. Okay, I can work with others--and this group of 6 was supposed to be responsible for 2-3 guest readers apiece. (We need 20.) When I asked for a meeting to put the schedule together and to see how many readers we had, I was told that there wasn't time this week. (Reading day is March 9 and I won't be back to work yet.) I got three emails from one of the team members Thursday night that told me a number of things about the ball game and reading day. The big piece is that they think one of the teachers husband has two readers coming. I have three scheduled and that gives me 5 out of the 20 needed. Nobody else got one person. I have to figure out where to find 15 readers who will talk about their career. When one of them asked if I was going to be there, she told me "Wow, you really picked a bad time to be gone missing ISAT, the ball game prizes, and reading day."
What in the world was I to say? It didn't matter, she walked off after spewing that anyway.
Thursday was not my best day. On Wednesday, I went to the hospital after school to do my pre-op lab work. On Thursday, my PCP called me everywhere. My urine test turned out like the one I had 3 weeks prior for my regular physical. There was bacteria in it. He did a repeat and did a culture and there was bacteria in it. I am not having any symptoms of an infection and my doctor decided that it is probably colonies of good bacteria causing the test to respond that way. He said with my history of the infection in my spine that it would not be a good idea to treat this because the good bacteria would be killed and then bad bacteria would replace them because they were colonized. (I guess it is something in women my age and I have to believe it makes sense. He is a pretty picky doc worrying about every detail of test results.)
Now, my surgeon is balking because the new urine test showed bacteria. They are doing a culture now and these cultures take time, so there were no results yesterday. I told the doctor that I cannot have this surgery canceled over this. They are telling me that there is plenty of time to manage it, if they get results on Monday that indicate I need to be treated. OK, calm down, Sylvia.
My entire world is revolving around this awful pain. My neck and shoulder and arm are making me crazy. Somehow, I had pushed my regular low back pain out of my mind, but it reminded me yesterday that it hasn't gone anywhere. It is almost impossible to function with my lower back inflamed. I am stiff in one of my knees right now as well which tells me that our weather must be changing. Arthritis can really be mean.
I am hanging on, but my patience is almost gone. I wish I could just hide in a corner until the surgery and let the school deal with itself. However, I don't have enough sick leave to cover it and staying here thinking only about this pain probably isn't a good idea.
I am going now, to Weight Watchers to weigh in. This isn't going to be good because I am ashamed to admit that I have also started engaging in some comfort eating. There were too many things around on Valentine's Day for me to resist. I am not myself right now. I am going to go face the scale--it has been weird while I have been behaving, so I am hoping that this helps me get back on track. I have either not eaten or enjoyed the chocolates around me when I didn't need them.
I love the pool. It is weird to swim when this thing spasms, but I am getting used to the sensation. I wish I could live in the pool sometimes.
I need to go--take care of yourselves.
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