My aunt had a fusion at C-7 and T-1 about ten days ago. The thing is though that she came out of her 7 day coma with a tracheostomy and now she cannot talk or eat on her own. I am basically being her in home nurse, regulating her meds and feeding tube and being good company for her. She is very confused about what happened and even more about what is going to happen in the future. In the last three days that she has been home her health has mildly improved, but she still has bad spells, which is totally expected. I guess i just want to find out if it has happened to anyone else, and try to find some more encouragement for her; I dont think my word and love is enough at this point. Maybe some proof that she could get better. Im open to any comments. I havent ever done anything like this, but then again nothing like this has ever happened this close to me. Thank you.
Why was she in a coma?
General health condition?
My husband is now four months post op from a cervical fusion. He is doing great except for the scar tissue, which not everyone develops and it only bothers him if he tries to bend over and doesn't pay attention.
This is so sad for your aunt and I am sure that it is scarry for her, but with love, positive thoughts and the care that you are giving her, she should do fine.
We thought that we would never see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we did. He is fusing. Fusion is your goal. Is she going to get a bone growth stimulator?
Just being there for her is the most important part of the healing process. You are in my prayers.
My mom came home from a different surgery with a trach & was very confused & it was very hard taking care of her. I was her total caregiver & it does wear you out, physically & emotionally. My mom did get better, I think the trauma of major surgery & being in a coma leaves them with loss of memory for a while. Depression is normal after major surgery also.
You will need some support yourself, look up a caregivers site & talk to others who are going thru it.
My mom had pt at home & that helped her a lot. She could hardly walk from laying so long in ICU. They told her she'd never walk without a walker, but she did. She got to where all she needed was a cane. So there is lots of hope, it just takes time.
You have to try to not lose your temper with her, it will come to that at times. As much as I loved my mom, it was very draining at times & also hard for me to see her like that.
If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
She was in a coma after she came out of the surgery for like 5 days.
She is 39 years old, young and beautiful.
What do you mean by general health condition?
We are taking it one day at a time, and all of our family and her friends are here for her and she knows that. She hears that we love her a thousand times a day. She also knows that it is a long process but it is still hard for her to cope with it. Today I took her to a salon that a friend of ours owns and she washed and styled her hair for her. When she saw herself in the mirror sitting there in the chair she started to cry. I think it was more because of the feeding tube through her nose than it was because of her neck. We are supposed to go tomorrow to get a PEG tube instead of the feeding tube she has now but my aunt just informed me that they might not do it tomorrow and shes somewhat upset about it. She really just wants the healing to be a lot faster than it is. We listen to soft music and practice writing and talk to eachother all day long to try and speed up the process of her mind's healing and her emotions healing because that is really the only thing that i can do to make it faster. I just try to keep her relaxed and comfortable at all times but make sure that she isnt sitting all day long, you know, so she is doing something productive every day. Any suggestions?
Quietcook, thankyou for your reply. I read it to my aunt, her husband and mother in law and they are helping my to reply to this one since your questions are a little bit more in depth than just i can handle. we all thank you for your input to start off with. My aunt (kim) will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss physical therapy options with the hospital here, where they will start her off with home visits and then finish with kim having to travel to the therapy when she gets well enough. She does have an in home nurse that comes a couple times a week to check vital signs and improvements. I speak with everyone that comes in here, and i am taking her to her appointment tomorrow to evaluate wether or not she can get the PEG tube put in. My uncle (kims husband) said that her coma was triggerred as a result of a neck injury. She went in for surgery on her back, but while going through her neck there were some complications in which her vocal chords inflamed and it also affected her windpipe, which is why she had to get a trach put in. I am not a health professional by any means. I was taught by the professionals how to administer her meds and clean/change parts of her trach, how the feed her and suction and things like that. If i have problems with anything Kim knows how to do everything too so she talks me through the rough spots if i need help. She cant be left alone, so thats why i am here throughout the day while everyone is at work. i enjoy it though because she is my favorite person in the world and i want nothing more than to have her healthy, happy and taken care of, just like everyone else. i just happen to be the one available on a daily basis to be here.the one thing we are most worried about is her vocal chords coming back into working order. there is non-stop stimilation to them, because she talks all day long, but no sound comes out. Soon, though, she is supposed to be getting a speech therapist in addition to the physical therapy, so that will hopefully be effective.
It is hard, especially for someone so young to be in this situation, we all would like our healing to go faster & that is the hardest part. All you are doing for her seems to be wonderful & all the right things. Patience is what she needs & what she doesn't have right now, because of the complications that she didn't expect. I'm sure she is confused by why all this happened.
Just keep doing what you are doing & it sounds like your aunt has a wonderful, big support system in place.
Reassure her that she will get better, that it takes some time.
We who are in chronic pain all need that reassurance over & over. Good luck & bless you for being such a caring person.
good morning ladies. I am taking Kim to her doctors appointment today at 10:30; i will let you know how it goes. Thank you for your support and encouragement. we botha ppreciate it very much! have a wonderful day.
At her dr appointment today we scheduled the surgery for the PEG tube on monday. she is a little scared because they have to use the anesthesia and that is one of the things that the doctors are blaming her condition now on from her previous surgery. She also is going to have to stay overnight for evaluation etc after the surgery which she isnt too happy about. Today we had a huge improvement though: kim ate some pop-tart and some spaghetti...very little pieces and very slowly but she did it and was very excited. i will keep you posted on what happens next week.
Know you all were excited with the eating today, and sorry to hear abou her having to use anesthesia again so soon, but I'm sure they will be doing something quiet different Monday. After her last reaction, they will be extra, extra careful Monday. Keep us posted and best wishes for your aunt.
Yes, keep us posted. My mom was able to eat some with the trach, mostly soft foods, but she did gag a lot. Eventually they were able to remove it & she did fine after that. She was a lot older than your aunt, so I'm sure your aunt will make a full recovery...My moms came about due to her being on a respirator so long in ICU & then she became dependant on it so they had to do the trach.
I am wondering just what in h***these surgeons did to her??This really sounds odd to me and wayyy off the norm for this type of surgery.If you haven't done so already, get a copy of the op notes from her surgery to see just what happened to her.All you have to do is call the hospital where she had the surgery and ask for the medical records dept.,and ask them to send you out a form to obtain the records.You just fill out the info and send it back and normally somewhere between a couple of days and a couple of weeks, they will send the records out to you in the mail.You really need to find out just what occured during her surgery.you can also ask for ALL records that were generated during her stay there,just request the op notes, the anesthesiologist notes, docs orders and the nursing notes.i did this for my last surgery as there were many complications that happened at various times during my ten day hospitalization.I wanted to know just who did what,mostly for my own peace of mind and a REAL big curiosity.I found out all kinds of things that i did not know before.this could border on some sort of malpractice.Is she now permanently like this or will this get better with time?I am so sorry that this happened to someone you really care about.hang in there,and please let us know how things go.Marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
Hi marcia; good to hear from you. We think that it is going to be a malpractice case and as a matter of fact, my aunt has an appointment at the hospital she had her surgery at to obtain all her medical records from her whole visit. We are having all the bloodwork tests, all the nurses notes, chart information, cat-scan results, everything to get the show on the road. the drs are trying to blame what happened on the anesthesia though. As for her situation being permenant, we dont know. but they did say that if it is only temporary, she will still have the trach for at least 6 to 8 months which really sucks. but she is improving every day in other aspects; well really, only her swallowing, balance and her emotions are getting somewhat better under her control. she is understanding more day to day. there is still no sound at all coming from her, but she is adapting to not having a voice by using gestures more and by using her facial expressions and stuff. shes a very strong woman and wants to have her life back in her hands. I will let you all know how monday goes with her swallow test and her PEG tube operation.
I understand why they did what they did and that if she was in a medicated coma that is also sometimes standard. BUT, I don't know if there was an error that caused this or something else out of the drs control. I sure wish her all the best and from experience in a related field, I can say that everyone needs to keep an upbeat attitude and push forward and she'll do better and better. The more support she has from family and the more positive thoughts she has, will push her through to a faster rehab. I wish her all the best in the world and hope things go okay. Gtubes are no big deal, I have seen them put in and taken out. If it will help her get better, then it is a good thing to have. I understand why she is nervous though about the anesthesia and hope for nothing but the best. Keep us updated.