2 September 2008

Back to back...

...surgeries that is. It has been a very tough past few weeks here in the land down under. When I had the first back surgery I thought great this will take care of a few problems that I had with my legs and feet and maybe it would even help in a few other areas. However, six weeks later I was sitting in the admissions department of the same hospital waiting to be logged in and taken up to the surgery unit. Just like last time, I had the surgery the same day as the admission and then there were four-five days of recovery. Everything was going along just fine the second time until Sunday.

I had was recovering just fine and had even started getting normal meals, which isn't saying a lot when it comes to hospital food. Anyway, the nurse in charge of taking care of me needed to change the bag that was connected to the drain in my back and did so with out any problems. However, in doing so he noticed that there seemed to be fluid leaking from around the actual site where the drain was, which is technically not right. They staff apparently tested the fluid that was leaking out of my back and apparently they found that the fluid contained CSF (Cerebral spinal fluid), which shouldn't be there. I had not been told they had tested the fluid until later. If I had known that that they had found CSF that would have explained why all of a sudden nurses and doctors that I had never seen were suddenly popping in and checking on me, asking me if I was okay and did I have any headaches. At the same time I also started running temperatures again like I did a few weeks earlier and as I had after the first surgery. I was put on strict bed rest, which meant all peeing and pooping where to be done from a prone position. (Peeing I can handle but until I could get up, go to a normal bathroom, sit down and take care of business, pooping lying down was not and never will happen. I don't care how backed I got it was never going to happen and thankfully it never did)

I saw the doctor on Monday and he told me that if the leaking didn't stop they would have to go back into to the wound, open it back up and fix what ever was the problem. Well I was not very happy about that I can tell you. The doctor also said that not only was I confined to bed from that point but I was also not allowed to sit up more than at a 15 degree angle. It's hard to describe a 15 degree angle but let's just say it does not lend itself to eating in bed and it definitely makes drinking anything a near impossibility. Hot beverages and soups where definitely not on the menu for the time being.

I was seeing the doctor every day both am and pm, which is very unusual because you're lucky if you see your doctor once a day in hospital much less twice. Late on Tuesday the doctor finally thought that the drain could be removed as it seemed to have stopped leaking from around the outside, or it at least had slowed right down. Needless to say the nurse removed the drain and sure enough it looked like we had stopped leaking. I was bandaged up and was told as long as there was no more leaking everything would go as planned and I could go home by Thursday. Seeing that it was Tuesday evening I was already past my first date of exit which was supposed to be Tuesday morning. We even had ticket to fly back home on Wednesday. I told James that everything was going to be just fine now that the leaking had stopped and that the drain was gone so he may as well use the ticket we had to fly home on Wednesday and that I would catch a flight on Friday after they let me out on Thursday.

The nurses kept checking the drain site throughout the night and they had to change the dressing only once because it was overly wet. Around midnight they woke me to have a look at the dressing and found it full of fluid. I was beside myself I knew that if they could not stop the leaking the doctor would need to open me back up again. I sure as hell didn't want to go through that again and besides we would have to pay for the operating room and all that goes with it along with a few more days recovery and to be honest I know it's my health but we didn't have the money. I mean in the course of 6 weeks we had laid out roughly $20,000. Now I know that many of you are thinking, but I thought you live in Australia with paid health care and you are right we do. However, because I chose to have these operations done now instead of waiting to have them done in the public system then we are responsible for the bill. In some ways we couldn't wait but what ever the reason we were bleeding money as fast as I was leaking out of my back and it had to stop. Anyway, they called one of the doctors on night duty and she put three stitches into the opening and we then all crossed are fingers that in the morning I would still be high and dry. Thankfully I woke up the next morning dry as can be. YEAH. My doctor wanted to watch it all day Wednesday and Thursday and if by Thursday evening all was the same I could go home on Friday.

End of story I went home on Friday and I'm here now typing away letting you know how it's going. James took the staples out last night and he says it all looks fine. The stitches will come out tomorrow when I see my doctor here at home. All in all I'm recovering just fine. The only drawback is that I'm right back where I was seven weeks ago, but lets hope this time that after another six weeks of recovery I won't end up back in hospital. I apologise for another long boring post but I promise the next few will be short and sweet. Spring has sprung in my end of the world and I'm taking pictures from around the garden to share with you. There is still snow on the mountain but there are daffodils blooming everywhere else. Things are looking good so let's keep it that way.


A Lewis said...

man oh man, i don't envy that horrible situation at all. i feel so badly for you and hubby. i can't do much from here except pass along my prayers and wishes. for the long-term healing. hugs.

Ur-spo said...

I have been on holiday for a week and all this happens.
but i am pleased to hear the 'ending' is oK and you are doing good.
leaky CSF is nasty stuff, no?

tornwordo said...

How awful being in the bed like that. And I spent several minutes contemplating how one would poop in a hospital bed. I'm glad it didn't come to that. Here's to a speedy recovery.