Sunday, July 29, 2007
It's been a long week. Over the past year, I have had many back issues that have caused me a lot of pain. I have had back issues since I was a child, wearing a brace for a few years and have had multiple issues since then. My back has always been a train wreck of sorts, and I've needed surgery for spinal stenosis, one of the my larger back issues, since my early twenties. I have been seeing a neurosurgeon since May of last year and been to the pain clinic where I had a few facet joint injections to manage the pain. I have been unable to exercise for more than year and was in a fair amount of pain and gained some weight.
In May of this year, things drastically changed and I was in severe pain, unable to walk, stand for any length of time or lie down. It took several weeks and I was finally able to lie down. Last month I saw the neurosurgeon and we agreed it was time to do spine surgery. The plan was that he'd address the most pressing issue, the spinal stenosis via an endoscopic lumbar laminectomy to relieve my leg pain and relieve some of the neural impairment. Since I hadn't had an MRI in a year, he ordered a new MRI and x-rays. The surgery is scheduled for August 30th.
I had an MRI this week and in addition to the spinal stenosis (I also have a host of other issues) they found three extremely large herniated discs which helped explain my severe pain. A further consultation with the neurosurgeon indicated that he will do the lumbar laminectomy as originally planned and fix the worst herniations since this will be the least invasive surgery and will give me the fastest recovery.
I'll have surgery at the end of next month and I have a person at Big Academic Medical Center that is coordinating a stay for Dear Son at a local facility that does Respite and After Hospital care for Special Needs children. He will be there two to three weeks since I won't be able to lift him for a while. They are still in the process of completing the required paperwork for the admission. At issue, was his insurance coverage as neither of Dear Son's insurance plans have provisions for Respite Care or Private Duty Nursing.
As you might imagine, it is very difficult for me to leave Dear Son anywhere. I am actually more concerned about leaving him than my own surgery. In all of the years he has been hospitalized, I have never left him for even one day. I have worked during his admissions but left only for a few hours and they've had a sitter during that time.
On the plus side, this place should be a lot of fun for him. It is situated on three acres, has an awesome outdoor play area including a wheelchair swing (they place the wheelchair on a glider, lock it in place and then swing) plus plenty of toys inside and a giant rocker similar to the one he loves at home. I can also schedule play dates with the volunteers for him. I think he will have a great time plus it's less than five minutes from my home. I have the added advantage that a few of the employees are clients of mine and know Dear Son well. In addition, one of his former physicians, a physiatrist (she specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation), is also the Medical Director there and visits once or twice a week. She has known Dear Son since he was three years old. We had also attended the Christmas party for the kids which Dear Son enjoyed immensely.
The surgery coincides with the first days of school so there is a lot to coordinate since the bus will need to pick him up from there. In the meantime, I have ordered a new sling for his Hoyer Lift; the prior one was too small and made using it unsafe.
I am somewhat relieved about the surgery since the success rate is pretty good but a little nervous about being able to really leave Dear Son. I have had a few conversations with him already, explaining that I have a bad back, will need some surgery in the hospital and that I'll need some help to care for him until I can do this. He seems o.k with it. I'll take him to the facility to check it out as soon as they confirm the dates and get the confirmations. Dear Son is very outgoing and has a great personality. He'll probably love having the other kids around plus the rocker and the swing.
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