Category Archives: surgery

Bionic minus 9days

I have 9 days left.  And I have had way too much drama.  I had to let it all soak in, take a class, finish being sicker than a dog and care for my husband.

So, BadBird has a bad back.  Y’all know that already.  He can barely move his right leg, has to get around with a front wheeled walker.  He’s fallen a couple of times when that leg gives out on him.  Things are way beyond a cane.  His surgery is scheduled for Monday morning, exactly a week before my hip replacement.  We will both be laid up. We like to do things together, don’t you know.  He’s on warfarin, has had to stop that and is bridged with Lovenox.  Warfarin is a blood thinner that takes about 5 days to get up to speed, and about 5 days to wear off.  In between the last dose of warfarin and when he starts it up again, he still needs a blood thinner.  So we do Enoxaparin Lovenox subQ injections twice daily.  It is a low molecular weight heparin that lasts 12 hours, so he will have very minimal risk of bleeding during the surgery.  Since I am the resident nurse, the job naturally became mine.  I finally get to show him the quality work I do.  He has very little bruising at the injection sites.  I have him ice the target area for about 5 minutes, then I cleanse with alcohol, wave my hand over it to dry it (or to perform a blessing) then inject just under the skin.  You want to go very slowly to minimize the bleeding, then apply the ice for another 5 minutes or so.  Behold my handiwork!

 I considered postponing someone’s surgery, but really?  His leg is useless and he hurts so much.  His surgery has to go on.  Then, what about delaying my surgery?  Well, considering that I already waited too long, I have nothing left.  I already find it hard to get around at work.  I can do it, but I really hurt by the time I go home.  The patients are starting to feel sorry for me!  I call a patient to the ED from the lobby, and sometimes I tell him “I would tell you to walk this way, but it’s not fun” and I almost always get a chuckle.

I was slightly ill during Norm’s surgery consult.  Had to stop several times on the way down to the big city.  Sometimes I swear I have IBS, irritable bowel syndrome.  Still a fussy tummy during the consult, got violently sick and vomiting by the time I got home.  Had to lie down for a couple of hours to recover.  Didn’t eat anything, drank lots of water and Gatorade, although that’s not on plan.  I was beyond caring.  The next day I slept more, worked the ED that night, got off Thursday morning, rushed home to shoot the Lovenox, rush back to work to attend – and pass – PALS course.  I am once again certified to save children. 

 This class was more difficult than it usually is.  Although I took the online portion and passed, I had so much going on that I could not open the textbook even once.  On top of that, I took the one day renewal class.  In my rural area, I don’t use the skills I learn enough to feel comfortable with a refresher course.  I always opt for the full meal deal.  I flubbed a bit on my megacode scenarios.  I never expect the fake baby to die.  But I aced the written exam, missing only one question, the same question every one else missed.  I am once more certified.  But y’all knew that.

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Posted by on 6 August 2016 in Grandmothers, surgery, work


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BadBird’s Bad Back

BadBird’s Bad Back

I have 16 days left before my new hip arrives and is installed.  Five more shifts in two weeks.  At least that’s what my calendar says.  

My husband has had a bad back for the last week and a half.  He has a history of back pain which is sometimes debilitating.  He misused his back when he was in high school and played football.  Then he damaged his back when he worked in the wrecking yard lifting small engines single handedly.  

When he tested with a local police department 25 years ago, they told him then that he had the back of a 65 year old and they couldn’t hire him.  Now that he’s 65, it is worse.

Typical back pain means two weeks of ice, muscle spasm meds and pain meds.  Mostly ice.  This time it is different, with pain radiating down the front of his thigh and weakness to the point of falling to the ground.  The ice and The meds don’t work.  He walks hunched over with a hiking stick or walker.  Three visits to the Emergency Department later, we finally got his MRI.  Normally, insurance won’t authorize an MRI until the patient has been on nsaids and six weeks of physical therapy.  For us, PT would start six weeks down the road.  Not very helpful for someone who is in agony right now.

After the imaging and a rest at home, we visited the PCP.  “It’s a good thing we pursued the MRI,” he said.  One disk bulges into the spinal column impinging on the nerve and on the nerve root where the nerves branch out of the spine to provide the electrical power to the leg.  The pressure from the misplaced disc slows down the electricity.  Think of a garden hose going full blast.  That is your healthy nerve bundle with electricity flowing like gangbusters.  Now, park your Ford F150 on the hose and see how much flows.  The truck represents the disc blocking some of the nerve’s power, making the leg weak.

What makes this an emergent problem is that a part of the disc broke off and has traveled UP the spinal column.  It must be removed by surgery.  Soon.  Maybe next week.

This is not the best timing, since my own surgery is two weeks away.  I briefly thought to postpone it, but I don’t have much more to work with.  Just walking through Wal-Mart too fast caused me so much pain.  I’m still able to work, thank you, Father.  

So, both of us will be laid up.  Momma asked if he would be well enough to drive me to the hospital, and I couldn’t say.  I didn’t have enough information.  Our original plan was to rent a hotel room the night before, and he would stay there during my stay, driving me back home upon discharge.  Now I don’t know.  I told Momma what she told me so many times as I grew up: We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.  It is wonderful how my mother’s words have become so much wiser as I have grown older.

My oldest daughter and her husband arranged the downstairs to make it more manageable for me post surgery.  Now, it appears it is not for me after all, but for my husband.

Ok.  I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t know how laid up we will both be at the same time.  I do know that God has a plan and that I trust Him.  I have a calm faith, the same as I did when he was in ICU on a ventilator because of a massive PE, a blood clot in both lungs.

A nice non-scale victory is that as I was At work to tell My boss in person, one co-worker came by and told me I was a Skinny Minnie.  Of course she was joking.  My daughter also told me that I must have lost more weight.  No, I know I didn’t.  But I checked the scale, and it still says “more than 20 pounds” off. My BMI shows me still obese, but not morbidly so.

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Posted by on 29 July 2016 in family, healthy, surgery