Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Medical Miracles

I am not generally a fan of western medicine.  I think pharmaceuticals are used way too often when prevention or something else like more exercise, better eating or losing weight might be a better option.  However when it comes to surgical procedures I am a real supporter.

Jim's back has been hurting him for 10 years or more.  He has had progressive neuropathy of his feet resulting in his dancing when standing still (just to maintain some balance), no feeling on his soles and rarely being able to bend his toes.  In the past year the pain associated with all off this has grown and grown to where he could not bend over without severe lingering pain.  He did see a neurologist many years ago but that guy basically told him to 'suck it up'.  Being a guy, that is just what he did.  sigh

After many months of nagging gentle persuasion and the fact that he really really wants to paddle the Adirondack Classic again (he's raced it 13 times and won 3 times in his class) he agreed to see a physician a couple of months ago.  An MRI was taken and an appointment with a neurosurgeon was made.   Dr. Gregorie showed us the MRI on a computer.  It was fascinating (well most stuff technological is fascinating to me).  He could switch from one vertebra to another up and down Jim's spine.  The triangular area inside the spine was mostly clear except for between the 3rd and 4th lower vertebrae.  In that section it wasn't grey or dark grey, it was black.  Actually it was rather scary to think that Jim's nerve endings were trying to live and breathe inside essentially no space.  The soonest the doc could schedule surgery was 3 weeks away.

Once this appointment was made Jim stopped 'sucking it up'.  I got to see just how much he had been compensating for his poor back being so arthritis ridden.

  A couple weeks back I was getting worried about getting to the hospital by 6:30 am in the snow.  The hospital is in Sayre, PA, about 50 minutes drive south through the back of beyond from our house.  I searched on the internet and found only 2 motels in the area.  Both were rather high priced for just sleeping time for two nights - the night before and the night after.  However Cathy C's niece has connections so we got reservations at an extremely reasonable rate.  Turns out this was a great plan as we were expecting 4-8 inches by Monday night.  Cole, our pet/house sitter came over earlier than planned to get a snow blower lesson and we took off early too so we could drive in the blowing snow in mostly daylight.

This morning was the day.  The promised snow had not arrived in Sayre but it was 12 degrees and very windy.  We got up about 5 and to the hospital by 6:25.  Jim was taken in quickly and I was told he was in the operating room by 8:45.  I brought some hand dyed (by me) and hand spun by Jim mahogany bfl/silk cable plied into a 6 ply yarn to make him some toe up socks.

  It's like a prayer shawl.  I knit and send love at the same time.  I plugged in my earbuds to listen to the latest Chet & Bernie story and knit knit knit.  Did I mention how nice and helpful and friendly just about everyone was?  Well, it was a positive peaceful experience sitting there waiting and praying and knitting.

Somewhere around 10:30 Dr Gregorie came out to report that all was very well and that he thought Jim would be walking by this evening.  He said Jim would sleep for another hour and then be taken up to his room.  About 12:00 one of the volunteers suggested I put all my stuff behind her desk and go have some lunch as the Inn was rather full at the moment and it would be another hour before Jim's room would be ready.

That I did.  We can leave out the quality of the food in the hospital cafeteria.  I will rant on this subject another day.  Suffice to say the amount of salt and healthiness of the food offered is way behind surgical techniques.

Finally Jim was taken up to the 7th floor where he was encouraged to walk from his bed in the hall to his bed in his room. Being still a bit woozy he made it just fine with a bit of help and remarked that for the first time in memory he did not have shooting pains down his legs or lightening bolts in his back when he sat up and lied down.

And for the big show


kristin said...

Hooray for Jim!

Heather said...

Healing vibes coming Jim's way! Feel better soon!