Tag Archives: surgery

OK we have a date

Mrs. the Poet has a really bad back, but it’s something that can be fixed with an operation. But she also doesn’t like hospitals and she really doesn’t like operations. Even just thinking about them causes her distress, the closer the person is to her the worse the distress gets, so you can imagine what it’s like when the person getting the operation is her.

Well now she has a date for/with a spinal fusion. She is getting three vertebrae turned into one, and then as soon as that heals she is getting physical therapy to strengthen the muscles on either side of the fusion to keep it stable. I think I mentioned at some point her main problem is stenosis compressing her spinal nerves because she has scoliosis from repeated insult to her back. And no, not because I was making fun of her, the other kind of insult, repeated minor injury to her back, in this case her back muscles. As she got injured the injured muscles got tight, making them more susceptible to further injury, which made them tighter and led to a vicious circle that wound up with Mrs. the Poet unable to get to the bus stop, even with a cane, because the scoliosis causes the top and bottom of the stenosis to compress the nerves in her spine causing numbness and paralysis.

And now March 3 2020 that’s going to get fixed so that her legs and feet will work normally, again. That means I have to cook and clean the house, and basically act like I do when she’s not here except I have to take care of her as well. Now what I’m told is she will be eating at the table, or at least capable of that, before she gets out of the hospital. And it might only take 3 days for her to get out of the hospital. All we need to do is get stuff I can fix to feed her with, that we can get a bit at a time so we don’t have to spend the money all at once the end of February.

The pre-op synopsis is that Mrs. the Poet should be walking as normally as she ever will be by the end of March because that’s how little surgical insult there is with this operation. Basically there will be no tendons, ligaments or muscles damaged that will be still allowed to move after the surgery fuses the vertebrae (or vertebras if you insist on anglicized plurals) so the recovery time is essentially just the time needed to heal the incision enough to not bleed every time she moves her back. This is entirely unlike when my hip was repaired 18 years ago because there were 3 major muscles that had to be cut to get the hardware in and then back out 18 months later. As I understand it there will only be one small incision that they work/look through and instead of cutting through muscles they will be spreading apart the muscle fibers to get things out, which has a much better end result than cutting through the muscles.

Anyway, when I know more about it, and Mrs. the Poet approves of me posting it, I’ll tell you more. As for me I find it fascinating in a mechanical sense, because we are all just organic machines moving around and breaking down and either self-repairing or getting repaired. Machines that can repair themselves has been either a dream or a nightmare, depending on how you feel about getting replaced by a machine. But since we are all machines already (Calcium is a metal according to the periodic table, between Potassium and Scandium) just using a different mode of using energy than electricity or steam. We aren’t getting replaced so much as making way for the newest models.

After going to the doctor and the grocery store I do not feel like doing a blog post

Actually what I do not feel like doing is the massive late night scramble to get the Feed filtered, and then sorted and posted to this blog. I have all day and night tomorrow to create a post. It is almost 1800 now and I haven’t even finished my “normal” daily emails, the ones that are not about bikes. That means that if I rush like mad I might get done about 3 AM and collapse into the bed about 4 and try to force my mind to shut down and sleep before everyone starts getting up around 0600…

So, what the doctor said. He said I have a lump, and taking it off is going to leave a dent behind because there is as much dent below the “normal” level of my neck as there is above it. So yay? Also I can start mild rehab the day after surgery, but I have to wait until the wound heals before I can get chiropractic done on my neck. There will be much rehab to get my full range of motion back as this thing has been sitting on my trapezius and neck muscles since 2005 and settled on my neck full time about 2011. The funny part is I will not be allowed to leave the hospital after the surgery in anything EXCEPT a private motor vehicle. No public transit, not even a taxi. How messed up is that? Fortunately I have a support system set up with people from my church, and I will have a ride home.

The surgeon has offered to use my cell phone camera to take a picture of “Chris Christie” after removal so I can post it to the blog Wednesday after the operation. That’s right, I’m going to take more time off from the blog, 2 days in fact. I’m taking Tuesday off because I know from previous experience I have less than a 50-50 chance of being able to use a keyboard for anything other than a drum kit for my fingers until several hours after the anesthetic has worn off. And because my neck will hurt something fierce after getting cut apart and sewn back together. I have enough problems typing without chemical “assistance”.

And I’m tired now and want to lie down, so I will. I will see y’all tomorrow (actually very early Saturday, but I will be working all day Friday).

PSA, Opus

Getting ready to leave for a while, no Feed

Every so often I have to completely disconnect from modern life and spend some time closer to nature than our modern hyper-connected world. I know that reads like a cliché, but clichés start as truths that get repeated so often they lose their meaning. So I’m going to spend the next 5 days at a clothing-optional campout with about 700 like-minded people, celebrating the change of the season and the Celtic New Year. We traditionally have a consecrated camp fire that we bless at the start of the camp and do not extinguish until the last thing before we leave. Our fire pit at that point is so heat-soaked that the water we put on the fire boils for up to 10 minutes after the fire is out. I put a picture of the fire pit full of boiling water from the spring edition of the campout with the report I made from that camp.

fire pit full of boiling water and no fire

I will not be taking Francis/es this trip, although I had planned to. Unfortunately the growth on the back of my neck makes riding Francis/es impossible at the moment. I find this deeply annoying, to say the least, and the hoops my insurance is making me jump through to get this thing removed are even more annoying. I have to make an appointment with my PCP to get a referral to a surgeon in my network, then get an appointment with the surgeon, then get the surgery signed off as “necessary”, then schedule a day for the surgery… Of those steps more than half are just for the insurance company, the PCP has to agree with the Lab Rat Keeper, the surgeon has to be “in network”, and then some bureaucrat has to agree with the LRK, the PCP, and the surgeon, that I need to get this thing off my neck so I can finish a cup of coffee and see where I’m riding my bike. Stuff like this is why the US needs single-payer health care like the rest of the civilized world. If we had single-payer then this thing would have been removed from my neck shortly after starting to interfere with my everyday life.

One thing I like about this particular camping trip is we pay for someone to shop and cook for the group, and she does a fantastic job of preparing gourmet-quality food in primitive conditions. I’m not sure of the menu this trip but I have heard rumors about crab legs, boudin sausage, and all kinds of snacky goodies. Our cook has Carnivore, Omnivore, and Vegan options for every meal, and they are always delicious. Being a cyclist with the definition of a cyclist being “eating machine on two wheels” I take a little from column A and a little from column C and a bunch from column B.

I bought a new tent for the fall this year but I’m also taking the old tent in case there’s something wrong with the new one that can’t be fixed at the campout. I’m also taking the air mattress that is the main reason for buying the new tent and fervently hoping the old tent stays packed in the car. I have been accused of packing “Party Central” this year as the new tent has space to put two queen-size beds and still leave room to stand between them. This is so Mrs. the Poet can camp with us next spring, although I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the bed frame to go with the queen-size air mattress I’m buying…

Packing for this event is… interesting. While the entire event is clothing-optional there are certain gatherings that are not, in that some types of clothing are NOT allowed. One that I plan on attending does not allow bifurcated lower garments, i.e. no pants allowed. Males are allowed to attend only when they wear a skirt. I have a long skirt (mid-calf) to wear specifically at this meeting, red with blue mimosa blossoms on it. The skirt really accentuates my farmer tan from wearing shorts all summer with usually ankle-high socks so I have “socks” showing whether I wear any or not. Also there is such a temperature swing at this time of the year, some times you need long pants and sleeves with heavy socks and gloves, other times you need sunscreen… and maybe some wicking garments if you are wearing anything at all. I have attended gatherings this time of year that had temperature swings from high 50s F to low 90s all in the same gathering, sometimes in the same day. Needless to say packing for that involves a lot of clothes that never get worn but forget to pack them and… The forecast is 50s in the morning/late at night with low 80s during the day which means layers or lots of wicking clothing. And spandex shorts for moving around in.

And I have to stop typing and get packed so I guess this means I’m ending the post now.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet