Friday, November 6th 2015
OK let’s get this strait (ha ha). Here’s Mom’s spine (before surgery):
In the image on the right, down the center of the spine is of course the spinal cord, shown here mostly in white. I say “mostly” because towards the bottom the white part almost disappears altogether, because it is pinched so hard by the bones! You can see how the bottom-most square-shaped one on the left is in fact rammed in towards the right, not in alignment with the neat stack above.
That is about all my untrained eye is able to discern, although she suffers from both a slipped disc (from August 2014) AND a long term spinal stenosis (which seems a narrowing of the bone channel occupied by the spinal nerves or the spinal cord). Like, yikes.
Today Mom is undergoing laminectomy and fusion of her “L 3-4-5.” That’s TWO levels of laminectomy (removing two wing-nut “lamina” bones to relieve the compression) and ONE level of fusion (melding two bones together with screws and other surgical magic).
The “BLUE SKY” scenario here for Mom is:
- reduced leg pain,
- better ability to walk,
- stand up straiter,
- increased mobility and function
- walk better, further, longer
The total amazing side benefit mom is hoping for is also reduced *back* pain (which as of late has taken a back seat *leg pain*). The rainy sky possibility here is she has… residual weakness in her (left) leg.
She is not to LIFT ANYTHING (more than 10lbs) for EIGHT WEEKS. And no driving for about as long pending her level of medication, etc. She also needs to heal from surgical wounds and grow the two fused bones into each other. She should be out of surgery in another hour or so, then post-op, then her hospital room where she’ll be here at the New England Baptist Hospital for a couple-three days, then rehab and home type of thing. (Whee!)
Today, in addition to Dr. HWANG, she is also in the care of these professionals:
- Liaison Nurse Maryellen
- Pre-Op Nurse Mary
- Anesthesiologist Dr. Bode
- Nurse Anesthetist Elizabeth
- Nurse Anesthesist-in-Training Neal
- Spinal Cord Mentoring Technologist from “Safe Passage NeuroMonitoring”… whose sole job is to monitor the electronic impulses in all of mom’s moving parts AND from inside the center of each and every SCREW Dr. Hwang drills into her bones, making sure each one is exactly in the CENTER of the bone, not in any way off center or near any nerves.
OK so that’s about all I know. And now Amanda and Baby Mary are here, so we are going out on the beautiful patio on this warm windy fall day.