It was the beginning of the second day of my life with the halo. I was discharged from the hospital on the second day as well. They were going to send me home on April 6th but because I had an early morning appointment the very next day, my doctor decided to just keep me the extra night because it made it a lot easier on me not having to endure the car ride. For those who aren't familiar, Chicago has VERY bumpy roads.
|First car ride home in the halo. It was also the|
first car ride where I did not feel like a
bobble-head toy. It was the most pain free
car ride in quite a while.
|Picture says it all. Daisy had no problem seeing me in the halo. She tried|
crawling all 60 lbs. of her into my lap.
Now that I was home, I was in panic mode. It felt like I had a ton of things to do in preparation for surgery in just 4 short days. The strange thing is, I didn't really have a ton to get done. Unlike the past several surgeries, this surgery was actually in the same state that I live in. The preparations I had to do were learning basic things like brushing your teeth. This involves having two cups. One cup filled with water and a straw, and the other cup empty. You rinse your mouth with the straw cup, and spit into the the empty one. Another thing I had to learn was being aware of my surroundings. You don't realize how big this thing on your head actually is until you start banging into walls, scratching refrigerators (literally), and hitting car doors.
|That horizontal line that you see...yep, from the halo...oops|
April 9, 2016
The first thing I wanted to get in order was clothing. After all, I would say it's pretty important to have some clothes to wear. Wouldn't you? They say going shopping helps decrease stress too, right? So that's what I did. My goodness...WRONG! I never thought clothes shopping was going to involve so much thought and drive me nuts. It was aggravating. My clothes had to be big enough to fit over my vest, and big enough to fit under my vest. Not only did I need the shirts to be big enough, but I needed the shirts to be stretchy enough because I needed to be able to pull the shirts on like a skirt since I can't get my arms up over my head. Stepping into the shirts like a skirt has been working out really well for me. Fortunately for me, I had some clothes given to me from a friend a few days before the halo installation so I had some stuff to get me by until I could really see what would work once the halo was on.
(Pins have been cleaned every single day since halo application)
Now, you might be wondering about pin care. They teach you this before you're discharged from the hospital. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO WASH YOUR PINS TO PREVENT INFECTION! My mom washes my pins twice daily; once in the morning and once before bed. I have two pin sites on my forehead, and one above each ear. To clean my pins, I was told to use diluted hydrogen peroxide, and bacitracin ointment. Some doctors may advice otherwise so do what your doctor tells you to do. I am not giving out medical advice.
|This is what the pins that are screwed into my skull look like. The entire screw|
doesn't go into the skull. It goes in a few millimeters. You have to be careful
hugging people with this halo on. You learn quickly you can't hug like you used to.
|This is a side view of how the halo portion is attached to my head|
and a front view. You can see the two pin sites on my forehead.
|This is what the halo and vest looks like from the back and what|
the other side of my head looks like.
|This is our setup of materials. Scissors to cut the Gauze pads, bacitracin |
ointment, long Q-tips so our fingers aren't near the pins, hydrogen peroxide,
and saline solution.
|Mom's favorite time of day: Pin cleaning!!|
This is how I get my hair washed with the halo. My dad is a very handy guy and he likes to make things to solve problems. He made a platform of sorts for me to lay on so my head would hang over the bath tub and it would avoid me from having to put pressure on my arms. My mom or sister could then sit on the edge of the tub and wash my hair for me. I know it is possible to wash your hair by yourself but since my arms don't have that ability I have no clue how to explain that to you.
|This was the platform my dad made and how it was intended to be used. The first time my mom and sister washed my hair, we put the platform half way in the tub. Ever since that time the platform has stayed out like this.|
|Putting a garbage bag over the vest|
|Towels surrounding the vest for extra protection|
|Memory making with my sister :)|
April 11, 2016
Day before surgery. I did a lot of thinking that day and all of those tears that I had been holding back to stay strong finally came flooding out. In less than 24 hours, life was about to change forever. I was scared something may go wrong with the surgery and I'd end up with some sort of paralysis. I was scared the surgery wouldn't be beneficial and make me better. I was scared to go out in public in the halo. I was scared for my family and friends to see me in the halo; especially my nieces and nephews. Besides crying at all the things that could potentially go wrong, I was also crying at the thought that the horrible pain that I'd been living with would eventually be gone once I had recovered enough. I had been fighting for years trying to find somebody to listen to me, and believe me, and all that fighting was finally over.
|Daisy hard at work helping me write :)|
#1: I had to walk the hallways in the hospital when I first got the halo on, and then I had to be wheeled to the car in a wheelchair through the hospital where people saw me.
#2: I needed fresh air and needed out of the house
#3 Most importantly It's not healthy! I've owned every other brace so I will own this brace. I will hold my head up high (literally since my halo has it stuck in that position). It will be okay.
You can follow me on Instagram at thetravelinghaloofhope