April 12, 2016: Surgery Day
|Waiting in pre-op before being wheeled back to surgery.|
I uploaded the video to Youtube. Just click on Neurological Deficits with Neck Instability to see: Neurological Deficits with Neck Instability
|Based on the picture of me here smiling, you would have no idea|
about the true situation that was happening. On the outside I look happy but on the inside I was freaking out.
Below is a X-ray of my neck from November 2014 compared to February 2016. Notice in the x-ray from 2014 there is a curve at the back of my neck, while the one in 2016 everything just drops forward. When I told the doctors in the Fall of 2015 my neck moves in ways now that I couldn't before in 2014, they just blew me off...I beg to differ.
|Nov. 2014. Notice there's a curve at the back of my neck.|
My neck still moves more than it should
in this x-ray but you can count 7 vertebrae.
|Feb. 2016. Notice there's no curve at the back of my neck and everything drops forward. You can only count 5 vertebrae. This x-ray shows my facet joints subluxating and dislocating starting at C3.|
|Enjoying my final moments without pain in my neck because|
I knew when I woke up it was going to be a different story.
|Got to love that EDS lovely connective tissue of mine. A vein blew trying to get an IV started. This always happens.|
|This is the same x-ray image as above. So this is a still image of the video that was taken of my neck. The circled areas are the facet joints. Those are the joints that were severely unstable.|
|Picture of facet joints.|
Shortly thereafter, my pre-op room was filled with nurses, and the anesthesiologist. The time had officially come to be wheeled to the operating room. I gave my parents as good a hug as you can in a halo brace, and I was wheeled off. The last thing I remember once in the OR was chuckling about how they were going to have a party because there was music playing. The anesthesiologist then gave me versed medication in my IV which blocks your memory and that was it.
|Operating room was directly to my left. I was so nervous.|
The anesthesia was starting to wear off and I was becoming a little aware of my surroundings, but my eyes were still shut. The pain in my neck was unbearable. I heard a nurse to my right say, "She was on her stomach for 6 hours." I could hear the nurses walk over by me. I'm saying out loud my neck hurts. My eyes were still shut but the nurses are looking at the sores on my knees and hips from being on my stomach for so long (I knew they were looking at the sores because they were talking about them). Next thing I remember is having both of my parents on my left side. I heard one of them say I was in the ICU. I should have known by all of the alarms and beeping machines going off. I was crying. Sharp, stabbing, throbbing pain was radiating through my neck. I was asking for pain medication but something got lost in translation because there were no orders for any pain medication. The nurses' hands were tied; they couldn't give me anything. They couldn't even give a single over the counter Tylenol...not that it would have done any good. All I kept thinking to myself was, "I just had my neck cut open to have rods and screws drilled into my bones and nobody ordered any pain medication? How is this possible?" My mom was holding my hand. I kept telling her to let go because I needed to squeeze something and I didn't want to hurt her hands. I told her to let me hold dad's hand instead. I squeezed with all my might. I kept saying I can't do this with tears rolling down my cheeks. My blood pressure was high. My heart rate was high. The one nurse tried to distract me by telling me she liked the pink nail polish on my toes. I completely ignored her and said, "Dammit my neck. My neck!" The only thing the nurses could say was, "We know honey. We're waiting for the orders to give you pain medication." To which I repeated, "Dammit. My neck. My neck hurts so bad!" as I squeezed my dad's hand as hard as I possibly could.
|Wet eyes and cheeks due to so much pain. It was horrible.|
Finally my pain was becoming "tolerable". I still hurt like no other but I didn't feel the need to squeeze anybody's hand off...I'm sure my dad was thankful for that!
|You can tell from this picture my pain is under control, right? This was a huge improvement. I gave the "thumbs up" sign indicating|
that I'm fine. As my parents would say, "You're a lot of
things but fine isn't one of them."
The next few posts will be about the days that followed this surgery. I didn't want to write it all in one post because it would become a novel. The coming days were certainly hard ones indeed. You'll get to see pictures of what my brand new stable neck looks like too.
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