Surgery, death and post op recovery
Ok, a number of people are waiting on an update from me regarding surgery……here it is.
Suffice to say that I made it through ok, even though I did experience a looming sensation that I would die in surgery. I know that sounds melodramatic, but for the first time in a long time, I really did think that luck and good management were not with me. Maybe it’s because I recently lost an aunt who was admitted to hospital and she never came out. And she looked fine in the photo I saw of her the day before she passed away. It took me a long time to come to terms with it and I would suggest that given my mental state in the lead up to my own surgery, I can see that I have not dealt with it well at all.
I even broached the subject with Mark as to which kids would get what special and significant pieces of jewellery. This conversation did not go well. Mark refuse to listen. I also told him that under no circumstances whatever, he was to sell all my card making and scrapbooking supplies for what I told him I purchased them for! Bernie Butler, this is probably a job for you and mum to do if the time ever comes.
But all this got me thinking. Since having kids, Mark and I have not finalised our wills. Sure we have the main stuff covered, like the farm, the assets and the land. But we don’t have the most important things covered. Our kids. This is a hard one. But after having the shit frightened out of me in regards to this whole episode (not just the surgery but the whole thing), it has me thinking that we better get this stitched up.
But it is not as easy at it seems. When you have a gaggle of kids, it is difficult ask people to take on that amount of responsibility. Either the people you trust live too far away for the kids to keep their normal lives, or they have moved into a different phase of their own family existence, or age might be a factor with them.
I know that solicitors and legal professionals tell you to “just make the decision, put it in a drawer and move on”. Really the chances that both Mark and I will die prior to at least Tom reaching age of consent is pretty low. But it could happen. And this surgery and my unfounded fear has bought it all rushing back at me. So this is back in the table as far as a discussion. And quite possibly, the older kids might be able to have some input into it all as well. However, seeing as the 6 of us cannot agree on what take-away to have at dinner, the chances are we are going to be pulling names out of a hat for guardianship! So get ready……it’ll be like winning the lotto!
But back to the surgery. Well, Monday morning loomed fast….very fast considering I didn’t sleep very well overnight. But as I was first off the rank, my wait time was about 3 minutes to get into pre-op and then about 30 minutes to get into anaesthetic. Mark and I had to part ways at this point and I was getting more and more worked up. Greg Malham, my surgeon, came in to see me and after I told him not to stuff it up he reassured me that he does these all the time and everything would be fine. He said it would be much like me not letting any of my swimming kids drown when I worked…..he would not let me become a quadriplegic.
The anaesthetist, Arthur Penberthy, was a champ. Quiet, funny and once I started crying because I was as nervous as shit, he knocked me out! LOL.
The surgery took around 2hrs and I woke up in pain, feeling like I had been hit be a tractor and disorientated. I know people were talking to me, but I dunno what they were saying. I had a drain tube in my neck to relieve bruising and soreness, and a catheter because I can’t pee on heavy narcs. Over the next few hours, the pain from my neck was really only localised inside my throat where they pull all your innards around and out of the way, but the pain in my back was something else. I couldn’t lift my arm very well and I had weakness down the left side of my body. I was drugged up enough so that this did make not a scrap of difference to me (except the pain), but Greg and the team were not happy and quickly shot me down for another MRI to make sure that everything was still where it should have been after surgery.
Greg came and spoke to me yesterday about the extent of the injury. It turns out it was bad. Quite bad. Worse than he saw on the MRI. I was one good knock away from being a quadraplegic. And because of where the spinal cord injury was, I would have also been on a respirator for the rest of my life as well. Of course, I was upset because I wasn’t being flippant with my health for all this time. I simply have not been in any pain and had no idea had bad it actually was. But everything is stable now; the new cage is in place, the screw are holding and as an added benefit, the scar I will end up with will be minor because of the way they stitch everything back up. I will be fine. And so long as I am a good girl and allow myself to heal properly, I will have no trouble resuming my normal lifestyle in the future with no risk to any part of my spine.
The weakness has also improved everyday. When the drainage tube came out of my neck yesterday, the pain in my back disappeared. So it must have been referred pain. I am in pain of course still from surgery, but we are getting on top of it They have these pain management teams that come around every day to see you. They have change my meds around quite a bit and I think we have got it right with a new regime for me to go home with.
So with the catheter out, the drainage tube out, the IV out and the oxygen off, I think I am good to go home and face the mob…ahem, I mean the kids. And sort out once and for all who will be the guardians of my galaxy if I wind up in a life threatening situation again.