Saturday, May 29, 2010


Well, here I am, a week after my surgery and starting to heal. First off, I was wrong about the two incisions on my back. I have one four inch long incision going down my lower back with 15 staples keeping it closed tight. The procedure itself is called a Double Lumbar Discectomy. My surgery took about two hours, but 40 minutes of that was them trying to intubate me. It turns out that I am part of a small minority (4% of the world population I am told) that has a small throat and can be intubated in the normal way. Aside from that, the rest of the surgery went fine. I spent the next 48 hours in Beaumont's ICU due to my low oxygen levels.
Now, let me take a quick moment to mention care that I received at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. This was hands down the best hospital experience I have ever had. You could not ask for a friendlier and more professional heath care facility. Every measure was taken to make sure I was as comfortable and as happy as possible. Even though it is an hour away from me, Beaumont is my families new hospital of choice.
Anyways, I was only out of the hospital about 24 hours when I noticed that my feet were swollen to almost double their size. I seriously looked like Fred Flintsone. I called up my surgeon and he instructed me to get to the nearest emergency room a.s.a.p. so off I went. The nearest hospital to me is Genesys, which is about eight minutes away, but I have to be three seconds from death before I will enter that hospital as a patient. The next closest hospital was McLaren Hospital in Flint, so we headed there. When I arrived, I was greeted with "We are busy as hell and we have 40 patients back here. You aren't that bad, so you're going to have to wait.". If they are busy, that's fine. If there are people in worse condition than me, that's fine. But to make that little speech my welcome is not. The main concern was a blood clot and secondary was CHF (chronic heart failure), yet it was hours before anyone even came in to start my work-up. After many more hours, they had ruled out blood clots, but my oxygen was dropping very low, so they decided to admit me. After hours of trying to get some kind of answer as to what was going on and why I was swelling, I still knew very little, so I decided it was time to transfer down to Beaumont where I had a much better chance of survival. So, with ten new holes in my arm (does anyone at McLaren know how to start an IV???) I was taken by ambulance to wonderful Beaumont where I spent another two days. But staying at Beaumont is a step away from staying at a resort, so it wasn't that bad. Plus, my wonderful sister in law works there and kept me company when she could and brought me a late night snack (Thanks Jackie!!!).
Come to fine out that the swelling was a result of another condition I have called Angio Edema, which is another story in itself. It was triggered by the pain medication I am on, so it's kind of a catch 22. Get rid of the pain and keep the swelling or get rid of the swelling and keep the pain.

Now, the most important part of all of this is did the surgery work? Well, I don't know. After waking up after the surgery, the first thing I said was how wonderful it was to feel my foot again and have no pain. Well, the numbness is slowly coming back and the pains started again last night. Now, around my incision is very swollen, so we are thinking that the swelling might be pressing on the disks that were altered and causing the same symptoms. I won't know if it fully worked until the staples are removed and the swelling goes down. I will try to make another post when thing s start to get better.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another Stepping Stone On The Path to Recovery

For anyone who has been following my blog for some time, my path to recovery has been a long and trying. What was supposed to be a two month hiatus from the outdoors that I love has turned into a long and painful voyage that has lasted over half of a year and the end is a long way off. As I write this, I am 11 days away from having surgery on my spine to try to correct what a simple four foot fall and a little gravity has done. I will be going to Beaumont Hospital where they are going to make two incisions in my lower back. They are then going to remove a small portion from three of the disks in my back, then put me back together. This will be the first major surgery I have ever had, and I have to say I am a bit frightened. But I have high hopes that this will put me on the right path back to the outdoors. While I have enjoyed all of the new video games I have been able to play, I am looking forward to the time when I can spend hours on end deep in the woods or wadding in a marsh. After I recover from this surgery, I will be going back in to have them fix the damage to my ankles. Anyways, I just thought I would give an update as to what is happening and thanks for reading!