Before writing about where I left off with going back to Colorado for physical therapy in 2013, I want to write one more current post so you all know I'm alive and made it out of surgery on January 28th okay. The photo below is the last outing with my nieces and one nephew to see Disney's Frozen on Ice five days before surgery.
HOPE, STRENGTH, BELIEVE, DREAM, LAUGH. They're daily reminders. I think of it like putting on my straps of armor. Then of course I have some Chicago Blackhawks hockey pride!
|Front of brace|
|Back of brace|
It was the day before surgery with Dr. E. I had an appointment with Dr. E. It was a chance for me to ask any questions I had and to go over any concerns before surgery the following day. Thank God for that appointment because the procedure completely changed by the time I left. When Dr. E walked in and asked if I was ready for surgery he could tell that I was hesitant by the way I said yes. I told him I didn't think putting the allograft (cadaver) tendon in by itself would work as efficiently without repairing the muscles that are detached too. He smiled and said I'm thinking too much. My response was I'm ALWAYS thinking and my brain NEVER shuts off. I then proceeded to explain when previous doctors fixed one thing at a time it didn't work and I was back in surgery 2-3 months later. I didn't want to be in that cycle again. After listening to my explanation, Dr E agreed to open my incision top to bottom and fix the muscle detachments. Dr. E then said, "There, now no more concerns!" and I said, "Actually there's one more thing; you still haven't gotten my arm up over my head like the doctor and therapists in Colorado did." At that, Dr. E said, "Let's work on this. Stand up and tell me what you want me to do." After some directing and explaining Dr. E finally held my scapula in the correct position and my arm went over my head!! YAY! Good thing I spoke up, because this completely changed how surgery proceeded.
|This was my view from my hotel bed...the hospital. It beats looking at a dumpster|
I was up early in the morning day of surgery because I didn't sleep very well. I showered and did my tradition of painting my toenails. I had to be at the hospital at noon so beforehand I watched the movies; Mean Girls and Patch Adams...nothing like complete polar opposites. Mom, Dad, and I did lots of waiting at the hospital because we were there at noon and I didn't get wheeled back to the operating room until after 6!! So what do you do when you're bored? Play cards and take pictures. Man was I hungry!!!
|Dad and I|
|Mom and I|
|It was unbelievably hard to get comfortable while waiting to get wheeled back.|
When I saw this picture I really noticed how odd my neck looks
I remember someone holding my hand. It wasn't my parents, or a nurse. I honestly thought it was Dr. E. He was asking me what I did back in the O.R because everybody liked me a lot and had nothing but good things to say. My mouth was so dry so I just did the "I don't know" motion with my hand. He laughed and said they all loved me and kept talking about me. He then let go of my hand and the pain just started increasing. I remember saying my scapula, my spine, and my neck are killing me. That person that I thought was Dr. E was in fact him. He grabbed my hand, squeezed it again and told me I know you hurt, I'm sorry. There was lots wrong." Dr. E is the most compassionate doctor I have ever met. He is truly amazing.
There sure was a lot wrong with my left scapula (shoulder blade). I stayed in the hospital 4 or 5 days. The scapaulathoracic articulation was unstable (scapula joint). We knew I had muscles detached but we didn't know which ones or how many. One muscle had detached for the first time ever; my levator scapulae. Two other muscles had re-detached from my scapula; rhomboid major and rhomboid minor. There was also a mass that had just detached and stretched from my scapula; not sure which muscle that is. So there were at least 3-4 muscles detached. Now it was time to do the original procedure; stabilize my scapula. To do this an Achilles Tendon allograft was attached to my scapula and anchored to my spinous processes. Dr. E said it's basically a fusion only without plates and screws. A I read through the surgical report so many pieces fell together as to why I've been killing with pain for 3 years just on this left scapula alone.
The pinkish color is the spinous process and is where the Achilles tendon
allograft was anchored
Below is what I looked like when I got wheeled to my hospital room. I don't care how medicated you are but those bumps coming out of elevators ALWAYS kill. You can think of them like hospital speed bumps.
|Immediately after surgery. |
Definitely not the most comfortable sleeping position.
|This visually explains why it kills to put pressure on my back and stand vertical.|
It was nice not having staples this time around. That cord is a tube
that is attached to a drain to collect excess fluid.
|Do the best you can. That's all you can do.|
The last time I needed this much help was when I was a small child. In the hospital I was humiliated when I had to brush my teeth while sitting in a chair and had to spit into the cup the nurse was holding because I couldn't bend forward. I was humiliated being checked for bed sores because I was pretty much stuck on my back. The nurses had to sponge bathe me. They had to put my medicine in my mouth and give me my drinks along with a million other things to help me.
|Nurse helping me clean my hair|
|One of my nurses|
|One of my other nurses|
|My sister doing my hair|
|My 9 year old niece feeding me|
|Feel Better card from my niece and cuddles from my dog|
|My first outing was 4 days ago. It was so hard but|
so well worth it. Baby steps