Thursday, October 9, 2008

Getting Ready for Surgery

Oct 27, 2008, is D-Day !

Technically, the diagnoses is spinal stenosis with spondylolysis. The surgical procedure is called decompressive laminectomy with fusion, including instrumentality.

As of today (19 days BS) most pre-surgery details have been completed. That includes such things as: extra iron for 6 weeks, cardiac clearance, acquiring a back brace, occupational and physical therapy classes and a pre-op exam by the surgical nurse. Other items scheduled but not completed include: autologous blood donation (1 unit) and family doctor clearance. Since mobility and travel will be SEVERELY restricted for 3+ months following surgery, other items that have been completed include: flu shot, absentee voting, dental cleaning, any other minor medical appointments, winterizing the outside of my home and fixing the living quarters for a limited-mobility patient.

The surgeon is Dr. Herbert Roth, Jr; he operates out of Beaumont Hospital in Troy, a suburb of Detroit. Both Roth and Beaumont are world-class by any and all standards. Therefore, my confidence in the outcome is as high as any surgery I have previously faced.

I have had numerous opportunities to get answers to every one of my questions--and there were many--from Roth's surgical nurse, Nonie P. While I never agree with all the choices that surgeons and hospitals make, I do understand the reasons behind their decisions.

My main concern, as always, revolves around the anesthesia. The general anesthesia, administered for 6 hours in this case, always plays havoc with one's bowels and urinary functions, and I seem to be particularly susceptible. (Maybe that perception is enhanced because PAIN in never a factor in my approach to surgery.) My second concern is the pre-surgery administering of 'relaxing' drugs that mess up one's cognitive functions for days, often long after all the pain is gone. As the saying goes, 'a mind is a terrible thing to waste'. My third concern is uniquely mine--a skin sensitivity to tape. I always break out in a rash where any tape is applied.

I should balance these concerns with my feelings about the two biggest concerns with any surgery: infection and surgical/hospital errors. I truly belive these factors are nil in my upcoming surgery. My mathematicial side would describe these risks as 'asymtotically approaching zero.'

Next time I will bloviate on my present feelings on post-surgery recovery. I hope to form a network of other patients with similar surgery, and get the facts from the other side of the knife.


Tags: surgery, back, spinal, stenosis

No comments: