I had a very easy post op/recovery from my 12/20 surgery. I was shocked at how unremarkable the surgery was. I was released on Dec 22 and was able to cook Xmas dinner on the 25th.
On January 2 my fiancée and I decided to book a hotel to in Carmel to have dinner with friends and just get me out of the house. I planned on having a few drinks so did not take my pain Meds that day.
After dinner, while walking back to our hotel, I fell backwards and smacked my head on the sidewalk. I attributed it to the few cocktails and that I had worn a small wedge heel and assumed I just tripped on something.
The following morning, I was getting ready to shower and my fiancée asked me how my incision was feeling and I told him other than the awful itching it felt fine. He told me I needed to remove my bandage and I reminded him that the Dr told me to leave it on until our follow up on Jan 14. He would not take no for an answer and after removing I realized why. The bandage was full of pus.
I called the Dr. And he instructed me to drive to his office as quickly as possible. After his exam he informed me he would have to do an emergency surgery to clean out the infection and sent me to get an MRI immediately. I returned to him 1.5 hours later with my films and he informed me that not only did he need to remove the infection but that I also had a hematoma and that more of the facet joint needed to be removed. Because of the serious nature of the procedure he wanted his best team in the OR with him so we could not get everyone together until the next day at noon.
On January 4, I had my second surgery and as I awakened I met the infectious disease doctor who informed me the infection appeared to be mersa. This is a form of staph that is very difficult to treat and can be fatal, especially in the spine. He said that it takes about 5 days for the culture to give us all of the information and we should know late Monday as the my spinal surgeon had taken cultures the day before.
As I spent the weekend in the hospital I began experiencing incontinence and the most excruciating left leg pain I had ever felt prior to surgery. By Sunday afternoon I was unable to walk and when I tried my left leg would collapse at times. The infectious disease Dr came in to do his rounds and after I answered him about how I was doing he said, "honey, right now incontinence and leg pain are the least of your worries. We are trying to keep you alive." He reminded me that we should know a lot more on Monday afternoon.
On Monday morning I was in such severe pain I was hysterical. My surgeon came in and immediately ordered an X Ray (my stomach had become extremely distended) and an MRI. While on the X Ray table I lost complete co trol of my bladder. This made me even more upset. They then decided to sedate me for the MRI. I was met by my spinal surgeon when I was wheeled back into my room to be informed that a blood clot had formed and was putting lots of pressure on my nerves. They were just waiting for an OR to open up so I could go back in. At this time, my veins had all collapsed and the anesthesiologist could not get a line started. They called to order me a PICC line (as i would need this once i was released) but if the guy could not get there before surgery they would have to run a central line to administer the anesthesia.
It was another 3.5 hour surgery but the good news is that I woke up. I was scared to death that I would not make it through another surgery. I was also informed when I woke up that I had a bad staph infection but not MERSA. Thank God!
I was released on Jan 11 and am connected to an IV 24 hours a day administering me my antibiotics. My fiancée has been my "nurse" changing my bag every day but needs to get back to work so I will have a daily nurse come in to check on me starting Monday.
I am very sad as the leg pain and incontinence have not gone away it the Dr's now say my nerves looked severely bruised and I need to let things calm down. I need more surgery as the latest scan showed a large cyst has grown on my one remaining ovary and that could be a contributing factor to the incontinence but I need to wait til the infection is under control.
Additionally, more of the facet joint was removed than originally planned and they also discovered I am suffering from Spondylolisthesis and I am now suffering from severe lower back pain.
I have a fantastic support system of friends and family but I get down at times and force myself to be thankful that I am alive.
Thanks for listening as it helps to share my story with people that understand.