As you all know Tammy had her back surgery a few weeks ago and I officially wanted to announce that I did not die the morning of Tammy's surgery when I had to wipe her down with the sterile wipes. I know you were all concerned about this, given the diagram I posted in the last blog. For all that were scared for my life:
I will say that I did get the nastiest look all the way to the hospital while I drank my coffee. I mean, I wasn't the one having surgery why should I suffer? Yes I am aware that I took vows, however there was nothing in our vows that said I couldn't have coffee if she couldn't and vice versa. That's just mean. Anyway, we get to the hospital and check in and within about 10 minutes, they brought Tam back for prepping.
At this point, I should probably mention that up until the night before her surgery Tam and I were binge watching Grey's Anatomy. I realize now how horrible of an idea that was for various reasons. I thought about this as I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for the nurse to bring me back to sit with her before the surgery.
I finally get back to the holding area and I see Tam in his bubble thing. I kinda looked like this:
Except she wasn't dancing like that but the suit was definitely that big. I asked her what the hell they had on her and apparently they put a heated suit on her because she was cold. At this point all the necessary people are coming in and asking questions and explaining the procedure. After they all leave, this is when I realize how bad of an idea binge watching Grey's Anatomy really was.
So, while we're waiting, Tam looks over at me with this serious look and says, "do you think the doctor will play music in the OR? You think they''ll have personal conversations over my open stomach? Maybe they'll talk about what my tattoos mean and why I got them. Ya know, like in Grey's".
Naturally my reaction was:
Who actually thinks about this before a major surgery? My wife does. The nurse comes in and says "It's time" and they took her to the operating room and I went back out into the waiting room and started to work. The objective of me working was to keep my mind off the surgery and the time but thanks to my wife, all I could think about was that this was actually happening:
After about 4 hours the doctor came out and said the surgery had gone really well and they ended up fusing an extra level which they didn't anticipate doing until they got in and saw how bad the discs were. The surgeon said that they were closing and getting her ready for the recovery room. I think the hardest part about the surgery for me was pretending to be strong and not worried when inside I was a nervous wreck.
This surgery was a little different than the surgery on her neck. This one was more dangerous and more serious due to the amount of levels that were damaged and the incisions. The surgeons had to make a vertical incision in her abdomen first to remove the damaged discs, replace them and decompress her spinal cord. Then once that part was over, they made two incisions in her back, one on each side of her spine which is where they placed two rods and six screws.
Since it took some time to control her pain and they had a scheduled CT scan, I couldn't get in to see her in recovery so they sent me up to her room to wait for her, which gave me some time to get coffee, have a vape and get situated. So I'm chillin' in the recliner watching Shark Week when I hear what sounds like my wife, screaming at the nurse to have medication for the pain. I got out in the hallway and my wife is on the stretcher and I walk up to her and I tell her everything is okay and that she's okay and all of sudden she turns to me and yells:
Followed by, "You don't know anything!" With that I turned around looked at the nurses and said:
I turned around and walked back into the room and sat back down. I know enough to not mess with a woman who is still under anesthesia and in pain. Finally the nurses got the approval to give her meds and she fell asleep. A few hours later all the kids came up to see her. I tried to wake her and she opened one eye, gritted her teeth and said, "DO NOT WAKE ME UP EVER AGAIN, UNDERSTAND ME?!" When she said that the fear of her wrath struck me to the bone, that I looked at the kids like:
With that I said to the kids, "yea I think we should just let her sleep!"
At one point during our hospital stay one of the nurses said that to me, "have you ever considered being a critical care nurse? You certainly know what you're doing and you definitely have what it takes to be a good one." At first I was like "aww how sweet", which quickly turned to "hellurrrr what the hell you think I've been for the past three years? I've been a critical care nurse without ya'll's salary. Don't butter me up so you don't have to come in here when you hear her IV shit is beeping because you know that I know how to make it stop! Git to work!
Six days in a hospital, 5 nights of me sleeping in a recliner. I ran out of clothes because I only packed enough for 3 days. That's how long we both thought we would be in the hospital. I became really good friends with the people in the Starbucks in the main lobby. At one point, I counted the empty Venti cups, there were 6 with double shots of espresso. Basically that day I had 24 shots of espresso! Hey care taking, playing critical care nurse and working a full time job ain't easy!
On a sidenote, thanks to the 24 espresso shots I also made friends with the midnight shift security guards!
Discharge day finally came and I was so excited to get home and shower, cuddle up next to my wife and sleep. However, that didn't go as well as I had planned it in my head. Once we got home, I had to run and drop off Tammy's prescriptions, pick up a shower chair, make sure her walker was at the right height, put together her bedside commode and shower chair. So let me fast forward to the present day.
Tammy is doing pretty well for being one month post-op. She still has some surgical and incision pain. She also has an inflamed sciatic nerve from her spinal cord being compressed for so long, which is slowly getting better as each day passes. She is no longer using a cane or a walker to walk. She has this awesome back brace she has to wear when she's walking. I tell her it's her superhero armor, that's when she gives me this look:
We've been taking it one day at a time since we got home from the hospital. If all goes well she'll cleared to drive and start physical therapy on September 7th. It's been a long 8 month and an even longer 3 three years since the accident, but I think our rodeo days just might be done.
Thank you for all the well wishes and the patience on waiting for our next blog, things have been a little hectic since the surgery.
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