Friday, July 28, 2006
Just a note to let you know we are home from getting the spinal cord stimulator trial and all went well from a no complications standpoint. I'll probably write this on my blog but wanted you to know right away.
They checked me in at 11:30 and I changed into scrubs and they placed an IV where my elbow bends. They took my vitals-I'm still running high blood pressure-have been for a month or so, but hopefully it is pain related (and stress, of course) and will subside when all this is over. They put antibiotic in the IV and some valium to sort of relax me for the surgery. I did NOT get the twilight sleep cocktail I was so looking forward to! I guess I get that the next surgery.
The medtronics nurse met me in pre-op and asked if I had any questions and showed me the trial device.
So, they took me by gurney to the operation suite. It's one they also use for heart catheterizations. The doc met me there and the medtronics nurse was there to deliver the equipment and also to program the gizmo. And then there were 2 other nurses/techs to help.
The nurse scrubbed my back with betadine. Then the doc scrubbed it with MORE betadine. The biggest risk factor is getting an infection through the open hole to the spine that will be here until Tuesday when they take out the equipment (since this is a trial).
They numbed the area (no good medicine in the IV--frown--). Then the doctor narrated the whole procedure to me. He was so sweet! He first put a catheter in there, taking photos with the fluoroscope the whole time to make sure he didn't go too far. He especially warned me when he would bear down with pressure on my back to get the wire in the area, and of course he had to puncture and go through ligament and that sort of thing. He said most people squirm or flinch or are off the table, but I was as still as could be-he called me a trouper. It wasn't unbearable (not great but not the end of the world), and staying still helped him get it right the first time. So when they were satisfied with the location, they put in the lead wire with the electrodes.
At that point the Medtronics nurse hooked the lead wire up to the computer to program a basic pulse and strength, to see if I could feel it and if they were getting good coverage. They thought they might need two lead wires to cover the whole area of pain, but they only needed one to cause the paresthesia (tingling) in the low back, sacrum, buttocks, and both legs. Amazing! They almost did a high five when they got it right the first time. They looked at the clock and said it was the best this procedure had ever gone for them in regard to accuracy, no complications, and amount of time. I told them it was because so many people were praying. They agreed! They stitched the wire into place and then cleaned me off and said we were done. It only took one hour.
I had to practice my logroll to get from the surgery table to the gurney to take me back to pre-op which was also recovery. Russ and Pastor met me in recovery and the medtronics nurse continued to program the device, so that there are more options to consider. I have 4 different programs I can choose from at this point. She showed Russ and me how to use the remote to change the settings. Then she showed Russ the dressing in the back. He said it is the size of a piece of notebook paper. She said it is essential he inspect it often to make sure none of the edges are unsecured because even a little bit of opening could let in bacteria or viruses that could cause a major infection. If it happens, he is to tape around the edges. So, they were thorough.
I am in a lot of pain from the surgery, because he had to bear down a lot on my back to manipulate the wire to get it were he wanted it, and because they didn't put any pain meds in my IV. They said this should get better in a day or two.
The sensation from the device is unbelievable. Very hard to describe. Not unpleasant, but strange. Will take some getting used to. And the restrictions are CRAZY. But this time it is just until Tuesday so I can deal with. I'm walking like a granny with a cane, but that should get better when the surgical pain subsides.
I'll keep you posted. Thanks so much for praying. Pray especially at this point that the surgical pain gets better and that I can figure out a way to get some rest.
Russ just put in a toilet riser for me and said with a smile, "You should be good to GO." The king of puns he is!