My surgery earlier this month went well. Originally, my surgeon was saying that I could go home the same day, but then when he saw me pre-op, he said he thought about it, and wanted me to stay overnight so that they could pump me full of antibiotics. My favorite part of the whole thing is that I do not remember having a breathing tube in place. I think the breathing tube is the absolute worst part of waking up from any surgery. It is impossible not to think about it too much, to focus on it, and when I do that, I tend to hold my breath because it hurts to breathe. This doesn’t work very well with a breathing tube stuck down my throat either, because it hurts just as bad not to breathe. This time, however, my throat was dry, but it didn’t exactly hurt. I was grateful for that at least.
My Papa was there, as well as my parents and sister, waiting with me before I went into surgery. Laying on the gurney waiting to go into surgery, I had no pain. It was nice. Of course, I knew it was short-lived, but I enjoyed it just the same. The nurse started me on some fluids, and I was covered with heated blankets. I love warm blankets! It is my favorite part of being in the hospital, if I had to say what my favorite part was. At one point, I said goodbye to everyone, they kissed me, and left, only to have me lay there, waiting. Then the surgeon came and said, “Where is everyone? Where’s your dad?” Ha. Luckily, my dad came back, and that was when my surgeon said that he thought I should stay overnight. It was a minor surgery – it took about one hour to remove the broken piece of rod and cut down the other one on the right side of my spine.
After I initially woke up after the procedure (it was a short and quick one), I slept on and off for the rest of the day. My brother brought his family to visit. Aliza brought me a little stuffed animal of hers and one of her books (it was no mistake that the title of said book was, “God Watches Over Us”) to borrow, I guess. She also drew me a little picture and told me that it said something like, “This is for my Danielle, because Aliza loves her very much since she buys me presents.” It made me smile.
I normally do not like jell-o very much, because it reminds me of hospitals and a number of other reasons, but that day I was grateful for its coolness, as it soothed my parched throat. Where I had no pain before the surgery, I now felt like yes, I had been sliced open, and things had been done to me. So. Much. Pain. I do not know what they were giving me as pain medicine, but I was surprised at the smallness of it and the fact that they were just giving me one at a time. I felt how women in labor must feel: give me drugs and give them to me now! Getting up to go to the bathroom was pure torture, so I only did it when I felt like I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Needless to say, it was a long night. Are nights in the hospital ever anything but long?
The surgeon came by the next morning to check up on me. He asked me how I was. I told him that I hurt. He said he would switch my pain medicine to something that was stronger. And he did. I did not like it when he had me sit up so he could take the tape off my back. Twice, I felt something wet (blood) run down my back and I screamed out, “Wet!” I was out of that hospital before lunch, cheered by the fact that my brother’s best friend’s wife had their baby girl that morning. Welcome to the world, Shiloh Mae! I can’t wait to meet you in person!
It is now two weeks later. Whereas I do feel somewhat better, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that this surgery won’t work in the long run. I am to the point where I only take my pain meds when I absolutely need to, mostly at the end of the day, when my back begins to ache. I can’t help but worry endlessly – what if I am right back to where I was before my full spinal fusion in 2010? What if we have to find a surgeon in Seattle to do it again? It is really hard work, recovering from spinal surgery, but this time, it was easier. Minor surgery, quicker recovery. Major surgery, longer recovery. My scoliosis is a tricky thing, because it is the result of the radiation treatments I received back in 1983, and I would be hard-pressed to find another person out there who can say that.
I have an post-op appointment Thursday morning. I am looking forward to it if only to get the blasted tape off my back. It itches so much. But I know I am blessed. All of my complaints are minor. And when the pain gets to be too much, I just lay down and curl up with my cuddly dog. I worry, but I try not to. I know God has this.