ACDF

A neck brace and progressive lenses do not mix well.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, this post is not about CrossFit or running, as I haven’t worked out in more than a week. Yup, I had the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. It’s just been six days since procedure and I’m well on my way to recovery. Yay!

The diagnosis was multilevel degenerative changes along the cervical spine with disc dissection, mild heterogeneous marrow signal, and endplate osteophytosis is redemonstrated. Findings are most prominent at C5-7.

I was the first surgery that took place the morning of Friday, November 18. I arrived at NC Speciality Hospital at 6 am, waited briefly, and was wheeled into pre-op bay. I changed into a gown, met with doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologist, had IV needle inserted, and waited patiently for procedure to begin. I was wheeled into the OR — and then remember being awake and being handed a cup of ice to chew. I was parched, as I hadn’t eaten or had any fluids since 10pm the previous evening. Nurse Dee took very good care of me. I was in some pain and discomfort but was able to speak and make requests. Yes, I’ll have a popsicle! Cherry, please!

As the procedure took place so early in the morning I thought that I might get to go home that evening. My hopes were immediately dashed, as I was informed that they’d need to monitor drainage from wound and I’d need additional antibiotics in my drip due to previous case of MRSA. I was also informed a number of times that all of the private rooms were occupied and that I’d likely be spending the evening in the same bay.

It was too fucking loud, as I was directly across from the nurses’ station. It was particularly too fucking loud at every shift change. It was as if all of the nurses were hovering over me and screaming at the top of their lungs! I let Nurse Dee know that I wasn’t able to rest, as I was very sensitive to sound.

I had to pee but insisted that I be allowed to use the restroom. Nurse Dee got a wheelchair ready and I insisted that I walk. Whilst I was peeing a nurse opened the door to check on me. Uhm, that’s a good way to stop a stream.

Dr. M check on me about 4 pm and informed me that the procedure went very well. He informed me that I would be spending the night in my current location. I said, “I haven’t been able to rest. It’s far too noisy and uncomfortable here. I have to get assistance to travel to the restroom.” “We’ll get you a room,” he replied.

And I was transferred to a room at about 6 pm. Nurse Jackie attended to me once, and then I never saw her again. I was having vitals checked every two hours but I honestly don’t think she did so. Nurse Beth arrived at midnight, and she graciously attended to my needs, bringing me extra iced tea and fruit cups, and allowing me to use the bathroom unassisted each time my vitals were taken.

So that I could get some rest, I listened to music on my earbuds. The Piano Guys, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand. I probably managed to sleep a total of 3 or at the most 4 hours. Gah!

I attempted to guess my blood pressure (least accurate guess), temperature (never greater than 98.2), and pulse (most accurate guess and usually hovering right at 60) each time vitals were taken.

At least a dozen staff commented on my low body fat. I suppose it’s unusual for the patients to be in shape.

I was told a number of times to walk slower and each time I’d reply, “This IS slow.”

I was prescribed Oxycontin. I hate Oxycontin, particularly the side effect of constipation. I like breaking out into a sweat when I work out, but not what I take a shit. Oxycontin also decreases my vocabulary and ability to form cohesive and meaningful sentences. It’s as if I suffering from dyslexia of the spoken word.

To speed up recovery I’m wearing neck brace when up and about, as prescribed. I slept on my back with upper body elevated for the first few evenings but slept on both my right and left sides (the first time I’ve slept on my left shoulder in months) last night. The feeling is already returning to my left thumb and index finger.

I weigh 135 pounds, down nine pounds since day of surgery. I’m (hyper)concerned that I’ll gain excessive weight since I’m not exercising. I don’t want to once again look like a tick about to pop.

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