Saturday, October 25, 2014

Surgery Update

On Thursday, I took my dad to the hospital for his surgery.  Yes, finally, it was scheduled and happened!  What an ordeal trying to get it set up these past many months...and it shouldn't have been that way.  

A year and 10 month's ago, my dad had a cervical fusion involving the C-level vertebrae.  During that surgery, the surgeon implanted hardware - kind of like wedge-shaped spacers - between the vertebrae and then put plates over the fronts of them (anterially - front of neck side).  With the lower of the three, surgeon #1 left jutting out about an inch saying that he couldn't insert it fully due to bone spurs and proximity to the spinal cord, so with that in essence it was like having a big speed bump in my dad's throat, which obviously would be both uncomfortable and create some swallowing difficulties.  This, coupled with his dysphagia swallowing difficulties and choking issues created a rather burdensome situation for him.

The original doctor left town for back east "due to family emergencies"....well, I'm not so sure, but he isn't here, so we found a new surgeon and my dad really likes him too, though it is a further drive to that hospital as it's not here in his town.  So back to the surgery, Dad was scheduled for 2:15, but didn't get wheeled in until close to 4:30 - yep, a long delay - but it did happen.  The surgery lasted about two hours, during which time I drove the 45 minutes back to the house to eat as I'd only had breakfast, tend to the cats, and pick up my cell phone and make some calls.  Yeah, I'd forgotten my cell phone at the house that morning so couldn't keep anyone informed other than a few via my laptop, which I remembered.  I got back to the hospital about 10-15 minutes after the surgery was finished, and after missing the surgeon's call as I didn't answer my phone while driving - no bluetooth, I'm so behind the times - and it was a couple more hours before my dad was put in his room.

The surgery was 'successful' in that the surgeon was able to remove the offending piece of hardware and did not have to put a new one in as the neck was now fused at those vertebrae (a good thing medically) but the surgeon was a bit stymied as to why surgeon #1 did the original surgery in the first place - he said he saw no need from what he could ascertain via the records and from his exploration during the surgery.  He also removed a lot of the bone spur growth and I'm hoping that will help relieve some of the arthritic pain he feels.  We knew going in that this wasn't being done to relieve pain, but to give him better comfort from a swallowing standpoint.

It took four hours to get him released from the hospital yesterday (my only complaint) after the doctor did his morning rounds and pronounced all was well and good.  He has few restrictions which is good, he's a very non-compliant patient, he slept very little last night he said - not surprised as he sleeps very little usually but with, I'm sure, still having certain drugs in him from the surgery, it increased his hyper-ness rather than the reverse. He has also, up until the last hour or so, talked incessantly in a rather Marlon Brando-ish whisper (think The Godfather).  He's walked to the store - in the rain, worked busily in the garage for hours after getting home, with flashlight in hand went slug-hunting in the back yard last night, and is working on his very rustic leather projects.  

With the surgery going well, and his not needing a great deal of after-care, I see no reason why I can't go home on Nov. 10th as planned, and I pray I can stay home until after the first of the year.  One day at a time though.


  1. Sheesh, what a circus. I had my first encounter with dysphagia this summer when MIL aspirated some food bits and developed pneumonia. We had to liquefy her food for several days but have now gone to a more normal, semi-soft diet. I have a good cook book if you get to that point.

  2. So glad to hear surgery went well!! Praying for a very speedy and easy recovery!!! :)


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