April 13, 2017
Den and I spent the day getting ready for his Kyphoplasty procedure tomorrow morning. Den is excited and anxious about tomorrow, so we both tried to keep the day as low key as possible. My sister, Meg, came down in the evening to be here to take care of Em, so Den and I can leave very early in the morning.
Den had his last snack for the evening around 11PM and then it was nothing to eat or drink until after his procedure tomorrow.
April 14, 2017
Today is the day we hope Den will come home with no more back pain! Den and I got up very early…before the sun started to brighten the morning sky. We arrived and checked in at patient registration just after 6AM. We had a little bit of a wait to go to pre-op, but we both passed the time with games, reading and talking as best as we could. Den was finally taken to pre-op around 7AM. The nurses got Den’s vitals and started his IV right away. They also sent off so blood to the lab to check his INR. (This I found out later was the only hold up for the Dr. Lee to start the procedure.) The anesthesiologist came by to talk to us about what kind of anesthesia he thought would be most appropriate. After a short discussion, it was agreed that general anesthesia with intubation was best for Den’s current condition. This meant that Den would need to spend a little extra time in post-op, but it was felt that it would be safer for Den to be completely out for the procedure. Den’s blood work came back…his INR was 1.1. This was very good news…it meant that there was no need to wait to start and Den was taken to the OR a few minutes later. The procedure was started just after 830AM. Now all I could do was wait. I went to the cafe to get something to eat and watch the sun rise over the city. After I ate my breakfast, I went to the waiting area to read and try to stay calm. It’s not easy to keep yourself calm when your mind is racing a mile a minute, telling you everything that could go horribly wrong. Somehow I managed to keep from screaming every time my brain told me that too much time had passed and something MUST be wrong. I finally got the call that Den was in post-op at 11AM. My stupid brain was finally put to rest when I was told to go to the post-op desk so I could sit with him.
As I walked down the hallway with the nurse, I could hear someone singing at the top of their lungs. All the nurses flashed me big smiles of amusement as I went by…..I began to think, what is going on? When I got to the the nurse station where Den was being held, the nurse gave me a big smile and told me that Den had been singing since his procedure was finished. He had arrived in post-op singing at the top of his lungs and had not stopped. He was even asking for requests! I could not help but laugh and be mortified at the same time. Apparently, Den had been a great source of entertainment for all the staff since he left the OR. (To this day, Den does not remember any of his singing and antics after the procedure.) The nurse told me where to find him, but said I could just follow the sound of his singing. When I walked into his cubicle, he stopped singing and flashed me one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. He looked at me groggily and asked if I had any requests…..he was giving a concert! I chuckled to myself and told him I didn’t have anything special I wanted to hear. We sat and talked for about an hour when the nurse came in to let us know that Den would need to stay for at least another 2 hours before he could be discharged. This was because of the general anesthesia that had been used, he would also need to show he could drink without issue before he could go home.
We settled in for the wait and Den slowly came out of the sedation. He stopped singing, too. What a relief…he sings off key, just like me. When his time was up and he showed that he could eat and drink without a problem, the nurse went over Den’s discharge orders. He could use ice for any pain. He could also use his brace if he felt he needed it. The nurse told me to take the dressing off tomorrow and watch the site for any redness or swelling. Den could wait a full 24 hours before starting any of his blood thinners. And finally, we were scheduled for a follow up appointment with Dr. Lee next week. If we had any problems or questions, we could call the office.
We were finally on our way home! Den said that he could already feel a difference. The bumps and potholes we went over didn’t hurt as much as on the way in this morning! This was very happy to hear. Maybe we had found the “magic bullet” for his back pain this time! We would see over the next few days if this would all hold out.