I left you last time with me waiting for a call from Dr. Martz, a neuro-surgeon, to get a appointment. Meanwhile I am getting a little worse each day. The pain has moved down into my lower regions and is aching at night. My pain pills aren’t doing the job so I am not getting much sleep. I still struggle around trying to do a little work to help the time pass but I am not much use,
By Friday I was exhausted, depressed and frustrated. Dale has been suggesting the hospital all week but I keep putting it off. But I am ready to do anything. So we drive the 90 miles into Sacred Hospital’s ER. I doze most of the way but get right in. I get the usual treatment, hurry up and wait but lots of attention. But a doctor then comes in and she has reviewed all my records and suggests a pain management plan to tide me over until I can get an appointment with Dr Martz. So they put in an IV and pump me full of morphine, prednisone and nausea prevention medicine. Whoo hoo I am feeling way better. She sends me home with more pain medicine, and another course of Prednisone. For the first time in a very long time I, am albeit temporary, pain free.We head for home and I am on cloud 9 for two days.
The Dr. gives me Discharge Instructions and an actual diagnosis. I have LUMBAR RADICULOPATHY, ACUTE. Quite a mouthful. She also orders that I call Dr. Martz’ office and schedule an appointment.
I don’t wait for the Dr’s call, I leave a message first thing in the morning But I still don’t get a call back until later. I was then told that to see Dr. Martz, I would have to wait util August sometime. They suggested that I see a PA (Physician Assistant) from the office so I agree and I get an appointment for the next day. (* My previous experiences with a number of PA’s has been very positive. They are not only more available and can spend more time with you, but are very well trained and can administer drugs and treatment options).
We arrive at the Drs. office at 10:30 as directed and get right in. The PA, Linda goes over my MRI in great detail, showing us the troubled area. She explains the dangers and remedies for this type of conditions. It appears that my lower lumbar region has a slipped disc as well as pinched nerves on another area. This can make the spine vulnerable to collapse. She is fairly confident that the Surgeon will recommend fusing these discs. It appears that speed is a consideration , especially if my bones are weak. She orders 4 more x-rays to be done today and I already had a Bone Mass Test booked for Friday.
She says she will get me the first available appointment with Dr. Martz or his partner Dr. Gruber. We headed for home and while driving the secretary from the Dr’s office phoned and said that Dr. Gruber had a cancellation and could we be there by 10:00 tomorrow?
I’d like to note here that the 90 minutes drive to Spokane has become quite tedious and it sounds like there is more to come We will be looking at a more convenient method which might include asking our friends who live much closer to house us for a bit of help.
This operation will include the usual pre-op procedures, a 3 or 4 day stay in the Hospital, and I will be fitted for a vest that I will have to wear for 3 months.
Another day, another drive to Spokane. We arrived at Dr. Gruber’s office near the hospital and got right in. Dr. Gruber is a pleasant looking big man. Maybe once a football player. He looked like a big good natured boy but when he started to explain the procedure he was all business. And he knew his. The repair will entail barring the lower vertebra, L4 and L5, cutting the offending piece of bone to widen the area for the nerves. Then put in two screws like moly bolts, and a steel rod to stabilize them on both sides. Then if they find out there is enough room, they will insert a small cage into the space to form a kind of triangle of support. This should take about 3 hours. It sounded kind of neat. But the bad news is that I can’t get the surgery till the end of August. That’s a long time with this pain. I figure I will be a card carrying druggie by then.
The good news is that we can have some time to enjoy the summer.
So hopefully that’s all the medical talk for a while.
Stay tuned for more thrilling adventures!