Surgery Files: Day of Surgery

I am going to explain what I remember about my surgery and recovery.  There are definitely really foggy areas, but bear with me.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30/6 am on Friday, July 13th.  The check-in was the normal process but instead of heading to the back where I have gone through some out-patient procedures, they brought us to the second floor.  I knew I would be spending a minimum of one night for this ACDF procedure (anterior cervical disc fusion) on two levels: C5-C6 and C6-C7.  In layman’s terms, they are taking out those two discs, replacing them, spacing them out as they should be (instead of rubbing on each other and the spinal cord) by putting a plate and screws.  In the process, they move your esophagus and vocal cords to the side.

The enjoyment of the surgery day began with the first nurse trying to put the IV in my right hand.  Once in, she said she lost the vein and was digging inside my hand with that large IV.  I could not hold back tears – so friggin’ painful.  The second nurse comes in and tries to put an IV on the side of my left hand/wrist area.  She sprays something to numb the area and, again, misses.  A third nurse, who looked utterly pissed off because she is probably always called in to do things correctly, quickly inserted the IV into the top of my left hand.  However, by the time the surgeon came in, I was still in tears over the first IV attempt still hurting. The normal paperwork was signed and questions asked and I was rolled back closer to 7:30 than 7 am .

I awoke in the recovery room unable to breathe.  That I do remember.  I was crying trying to breathe.  Rob relayed that rather than the 45 minutes we were told I would be back in recovery, I was there for roughly two hours.  He was not informed of what was occurring but just told the surgery went well and no drain was needed.  At some point, I passed out again and woke in my room.  I saw Rob quickly and, again, upon waking, I could not breathe.  They rushed Rob from the room, took an in-bed X-ray and wheeled me down to get an emergency CT scan.  Thankfully both came back “normal”.  I had to keep oxygen on at all times.  At that point I had not been able to drink anything but given grotesque swabs for my mouth.

Other things I recall from that day:  Carolyn bringing Roger with Get Well balloons to see me (she was so sweet to watch him while I was having surgery).  Rob being utterly sweet and kissing me in the bed.  My parents visit is utterly blurry.  The itchiness of the oxygen up my nose was horrible.  My inability to swallow without choking was horrendous and lasted about a week.  They told me they were putting steroids in my IV.  The nurses wanting me to get up and walk around after the breathing ordeals (yeah, no – to the bathroom and back was fine – and there were many walks to there since I pee a lot).  I remember trying to push the morphine button as often as possible while conscious.  That is about all I remember.

Tomorrow I hope to blog about the rest of my hospital stay.   Thanks for reading!