Sunday, March 30, 2008
My blogging has taken a back seat - again - to watch over the recovery of my dear friend whom I wrote about on February 25th. Turned out there was a serious, life-threatening complication that developed after the original cervical laminoplasty: a complication that the surgeon in all of his of 33 years practicing had never seen before. Two words: cervical kyphosis. And if you want to look it up, it's as bad as bad can be. Fortunately because the severe curvature of the cervical spine (neck area) developed so rapidly (five weeks after surgery) it was not the type of deformity termed 'fixed' and the Gardner-Wells tong traction technique in hospital straightened the spine after 24 hours; this fact alone was very encouraging to the surgeon, enough so because my dear friend's head was no longer so severely pushed downward on his chest (kyphosis can eventually sever the spinal cord causing total paralysis or even death - yes, it can get as bad as that). So, the surgeon placed my dear friend in the Halo mobile traction device, a serious, state-of-the-art contraption held in place by four ultra-sharp pins that are screwed one-eighth of an inch directly into the skull (quadruple ouch!). Now, he'll be in traction at home for two months, after which - if all goes well - the neck muscles will adhere to the spine and heal properly.
But that's not the main point of this post.
This time, however, the five days in hospital were as different as night and day from before, during the initial operation in January '08. This time, my dear friend had 'round the clock care; aggressive pain management; a private room; and more doctors and nurses in and out that it was dizzying. The staff even allowed me to sleep in the room for three of the five nights.
While my previous post (below) stands I would like to gratefully acknowledge the many superlative health-care professionals who made such a profound difference during my dear friend's second hospital stay. I cannot name the hospital or the doctors' and nurses' full names (for all the obvious legal reasons), but here are some of the wonderful professionals that turned my dear friend's life around.
Michael, the lead ortho-technician (and an angel on this Earth), made us feel from the start that we were the center of attention and insisted we maintain a positive attitude. His was a take charge personality that filtered down to his entire team.
The Registered Nurses: Margaret, Don, Brenda, Jeff, Tori, et al (I wish I could remember even the nurses aides' names) were in the room within minutes when called upon.
The doctors: Dr. R. you know who you are! Dr. Y's second opinion proved most informative - but we went with Dr. R. this time.
Sonny, the physical therapist, convinced my dear friend he could actually overcome the pain as well as the top-heavy Halo-vest to get out of bed and walk (sounds easy until it's your turn!).
I know that I will update this post as the memories of those five days become even clearer. Suffice it to say that we shall never forget the compassion and care received.
And my dear friend is well on his way to recovery...