Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Post-Cervical Surgery Update

I am one week post-op now. My surgery was last Tuesday the 15th. The neurosurgeon took marrow from my hip and used a cadaver bone along with fusing the titanium plate to the two discs. Surprisingly, the marrow extraction from my hip didn't hurt at all...and that was what everyone said was going to hurt bad. Just a tiny ache when I'd turn on my side but hardly noteworthy at all. There are two tiny "holes" where the put the needle in and they're slightly bruised and covered with this purple goo-covering to protect them while they heal.

The worst part is my throat. I apparently had "problems" with the breathing tube and there was a lot of swelling in my neck area that still hasn't receded. I don't know what the scar really looks like because he stitched it up and then put this yucky purple goo over it...reminds me of Super-Elastic-Bubble-Plastic in purple. It dries up to a purple crust and I guess it will come off on it's own or the doctor will chip it off next Wednesday when I go see him.

I had problems swallowing the first few days. I had trouble choking down the pain pills and when we got home my husband and I started to crush them and toss them in a Snack Pack pudding to get them down. They gave me Oxycodone for the pain and Flexeril for the muscle spasms...and there are spasms. When I get them, they're right between the shoulder blades and you can feel everything just seize up. So the muscle relaxers do help. Every waking moment is spent wearing the cervical collar...I'm only allowed to take it off for showers and sleeping. I take it off to eat too because I don't need to feel any more restricted in my throat than I already do. The collar actually doesn't feel too bad and now I feel naked when I'm not wearing it.

The thing that I'm most worried about is my voice. It's gone. I barely speak in a whisper now. My husband swears it's better than the first day but it's still "gone" and I'm worried it may not come back. It's like the world's worst laryngitis and no amount of clearing my throat makes it better. Couple that with kicking smoking cold turkey this week and I'm a basket-case. Since smoking apparently interferes with the titanium plate fusing, I didn't want to risk it so I haven't had a cigarette since the morning of my surgery.

But the arm pain and shoulder pain are gone. I knew I needed the surgery because I was having more and more periods of numbness in my right hand and fingers. While there was some pain toward the end, there was more numbness which is pretty scary.

I'm trying to be patient but the throat thing is really bothering me. Since I'm a police dispatcher, I need my voice..not some whisper-voice that no one can hear. I'm considering calling the doctor tomorrow and not waiting for my follow-up appointment on the 30th to find out if it's going to come back or not. I've heard horror stories about vocal cord paralysis from this surgery.

One thing my husband and I agree is that I should have stayed at the hospital longer. I had the surgery Tuesday morning, it lasted 3 hours, was in recovery for a couple hours and then in my own room that afternoon. They discharged me the next morning around 10am. I could have used a few days in the hospital especially since swallowing was such an issue. I sleep a lot now, the pain pills make me tired, which is good because it takes my mind off wanting to smoke.

The morning of the surgery wasn't too bad. They did most of the "prep" while I was inserting the catheter. They also took the catheter out before I woke up which was nice. I vaguely remember being in the operating room with the i.v. in and them putting the mask over my face. Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room moving my fingers. Since I've been home I made sure to take some Correctal every few days because anesthesia and pain pills slow everything down and I didn't need any bathroom issues in addition to everything else I have to deal with. The Correctal really helps.

Would I have the surgery again? Not sure...if my voice comes back and the plate fuses correctly, then yes, I would. We won't know about the plate fusing until at least 6 weeks post-op when the doctor says he'll take another xray. I'm going to try to find out about my voice tomorrow.

I'll update as soon as I know.


Tammigirl said...

I'm waiting to see what the doctor said about the voice. What can I bring you?

Kirsten said...

Wishing you a fast recovery. How are you doing? Seems you have all the right things to keep you comfortable.