So I had my first follow up. I admit it started out a bit rough… I got checked in and all was well, until the assistant smiled and said, oh you are scheduled to see “Rob” today. Now, Rob is a PA and I’m sure a very good one, but I’ve never met Rob, and I gotta admit, I wasn’t having it. I said I don’t really mind but I was expecting to see the surgeon… I really am not a fan of seeing PAs. Honestly some of them have less experience in healthcare than I do, and I’ve just not been too impressed. I also wanted it explained why I didn’t have the anterior approach I thought I was having. At the same time, one doesn’t want to be a jerk, right, so I was like alright…
Luckily I think the MA saw my irritation, and possibly the MD also overheard it. She shut the door and within about 45 seconds she reopened it telling me, Dr. H. will come see you.
In fairness, there isn’t much to do at a 2 week follow up for Neurosurgery. There’s been not enough time to see if fusion has occurred, and if one is having intense neurological symptoms, well.. that’s par for the course, so… a PA doing that first follow up kind of makes sense..and honestly if it had been Mr. Abass who I met several times in the hospital, I probably would have felt better about it.
Dr H. did come in and see me, and he was just as great as ever. He never did explain really why he chose the posterior approach, over the anterior, because I’m not really sure he knows why. One reason was the spacer device he chose. He implanted a new device that seems to frankly be enormous. He told me it was a “really big spacer” so I assume I’m not the only one thinking it looked huge on the film. It apparently goes in as a circle and kind of turns/ expands into a V… I of course tried to look it up and can’t really find it. He uses Lifespine devices, and even though I understood perfectly what the device does, I can’t really recognize it on the Lifespine website. Whatever it is, he did confirm that I could indeed run with it and the 4 tiny screws and 2 little teeny rods that hold my L5 to my S1 now.
He checked all of my nerve sensation, and we discussed the continued symptoms in my leg. No guarantees on those symptoms going away, but I expect just as in the past, some will go, and some will remain. I mentioned to him that my left hand did go numb. I thought he would kind of look at me like I was nuts, instead he went nuts. He was all over checking my strength and reflexes in my upper arms. I mumbled that I didn’t really care much as long as I could run. He looked me in the eye and said, well that’s nice, but I CARE if your hand got damaged. He explained that apparently a lot of needles are stuck into nerves to monitor sensation and that while nothing apparently went awry during the surgery, there is that risk, or perhaps something was placed incorrectly for the entire surgery. So I’m glad I mentioned it, even if it seemed silly to me.
The next follow up is with films in late December. I’m allowed back to ambulate in the pool in 2 more weeks.
Admittedly, I discovered last year that pool walking is really horrible exercise. I know there are a lot of websites that say it is great, but honestly when I did it instead of the running, cycling and regular swimming I was used to doing, I got weaker and fatter. So, since I am allowed actual walking… the addition of water walking is probably not critical except that it gives me TWO activities I can do at the gym. He did veto any type of lifting and clarified that he really does want that brace worn most of the time… kind of a bummer on the brace because I actually kind of hate it.
We left laughing with each other because I am very excited about gaining a few millimeters of height. He’s not the tallest, and said, “I should have these spacers put in” and I of course said, Oh no, you are perfect. This was overheard by a variety of office staff who immediately set upon him to which he replied “Story of my life, man, story of my life” I must say… I like the newer younger generation of surgeons. They appear to be real people committed to excellence.
So… put generally – I do feel positive. I am able to go back to work on the 27th. He asked if i didn’t want to just take that Friday off too and enjoy the holiday, but I really would prefer to get the 8 hours of pay…and start to get back into the swing of things. I honestly wish I never had to go back to any work, but… that is not the way of the world. People always say Oh you’d get bored, but I really never would. If I could maintain the same income and not work ( ha ha ha ha) I’d do a lot of gym working out, some volunteering, and I would have the cleanest home ever. I currently am doing none of those things, because I’m unable to bend lift or twist, so actually I might as well be sitting at work. I thought I’d miss work, but I don’t, however, I don’t remember hating it, so I will probably get used to going back there daily. I’m still getting very fatigued, but… this is in over a week, and who knows how I’ll feel by then…I assume by then I’ll feel stronger.