Friday 2/24 University Hospital--Trivia Night
Friday, January 24, 2014
I managed some monumental walking with my walker and broken rib today as I got my surgical update at University Hospital in IA City. It is our closest tertiary care center and they have an awesome reputation. I met with a nurse, a nurse practitioner and then the doctor, his intern, and the nurse practitioner. I had a similar exam to the one my local doc and the doc at Mayo Clinic did. This doctor did not mince a lot of words. He told me that I have lordosis of the spine because of the movement and strain of the joint next to my lumbar fusion. He said that it is the cause of the way I bend my knees when I walk, the way I bend over, and the serious pain I have when I walk. He told me that I don't have to do anything about this but it will never improve and the reality is that right now, I cannot really walk.
The surgery that can fix it is a big-ticket item. Actually it is two surgeries. They do a "smaller" surgery first and they put in spacers to correct the inappropriate angles of my vertebrae. That will have a routine 6 weeks recovery and as soon it has occurred, they do the big surgery where they place the longer rods in the spine to make everything straight. When it is done, the back doesn't really work, but one can move their neck and bend at the waist. He said the net result is that it would straighten my back, allow me to walk most of the time without my walker and it would change my pain level from its average 7 to about a 3. That's a big thing. That's more than I could have dreamed of.
The downside is the pain and rehab. Like I said the first surgery is rather quick and "easy" as a back surgery can be. The second surgery is enormously painful and he said for 4 to 6 months, you feel down and negative, lose your appetite, hurt excessively and have to struggle at rehab--but when it's done, it's done. I had an infection in my spine and can handle the worst possible kind of pain. I understand that I will never be pain-free, but I will never be free of arthritis which is apparently all up and down my spine.
I asked them to move ahead to run with this. The surgeon is internationally known for his spine work. (I know I can always cancel...) I am going to have the second consult at Mayo, and he gave me the names of two surgeons there who also work with this procedure. If I clearly go through with this, I prefer going to U of IA because it is about an hour and a half from our home and Mayo is about 5 hours away. It is a long drive and for the amount of time that I will be in the hospital and rehab for the second procedure (1+2 weeks at least,) it will be possible for my family to visit and come back and forth. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Right now, I am off to the school trivia night. We are taking our youngest son and meeting our second oldest son (who teaches 5th grade) at the hall to enjoy this. I offered 3 things for the basket raffle/ silent auction--5 reading lessons, a night of bowling for one child with our family, and a hand-made afghan--colors to be chosen by the winner. I think I've done my part.
It's time to leave--that's my update!!