The day we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Somehow we managed to get to the hospital a half hour late, then proceeded to go through three and a half hours of pre-op waiting games. Typical. So we didn’t feel bad for being tardy. We came here on Monday to pre-register, but still had to answer all the same questions again today. We met with both of his neurosurgeons and the general surgeon. The general surgeon’s job is to make the incision across Nick’s abdomen and then move his guts out of the way in order to expose the spine. The spine guys take over from there. When they’re done, the good old general surgeon puts Nick’s innards back where they belong and staples him shut. Easy money. He was quick to tell us that he’s done over 2500 of these surgeries. That’s a ton. Literally.
They took Nick back at 12 noon today. He was all smiles, not nervous at all. I wasn’t nervous either. His surgeons are a real class act. Also, when I say we’ve been looking forward to this, I really mean it. We were excited!
I got the call from spine guy numero uno at 4:45pm saying that everything went according to plan, that Nick did great and that he was waking up slowly in the recovery room. I got there just as he was being admitted into his regular hospital room.
His eyelids were sticky, mouth was parched dry, and his face and hands were swollen. Yep, just got out of surgery. He was immediately complaining of intense abdominal pain at the incision site. They sliced him horizontally from outer-left lower ribs to center pubic area. With the bandage on, it’s hard to tell exactly how long the incision is though. I’m guessing it’s quite a doozy.
He’s been pretty out of it ever since. In and out of sleep. When briefly waking, he pushes his morphine pain pump, then complains that it isn’t doing shit for him. I believe him, too. PCA delivered morphine didn’t help him last time either. So after some coercing, the nurse is getting him back on his usual pain medicine in addition to the pump. Ironically, that includes morphine as a long lasting, continuous release pill. It used to work for him. Hope it does now.
As far as a hospital is concerned, I have mixed feelings about this place. The staff is wonderful! We’ve really been treated well here. But the rooms are tiny! His room is the size of my bathroom. That would be fine if he wasn’t sharing it with another patient. In this modest little room they are squeezing in two beds, lots of medical equipment, adjustable food trays and chairs for visitors. I feel like an over grown dog in a cage with no room to turn around. This is a far cry from the huge private room with two beds we had at Ballard. I think I’m spoiled. The other guy in Nick’s room likes to watch movies with the volume on level 6000. So Nick is using my headphones to listen to soothing meditation music on his iPod. He did this before today’s surgery, and often times when we are waiting in noisy doctors offices. It makes all the difference in the world for him, to be able to relax and get centered.
I’m staying in a cheap little motel (they call it an Inn, whatever) less than a mile away. I expect to be putting in long hours bedside here, so a quick hop to bed is essential. Nick should only be here less than a week. I’m counting every single second until we’re back home.