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Ranger107

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Best of luck with it all Steve, sounds nasty.

Finally able to somewhat function. At the ER there was no one in the waiting room, but apparently several emergency coronary cases were brought in by ambulance. We arrived at 8:00 am got registered in, but no exam until 10:30, then it was several nurses, a resident and an ER MD, whose father I knew when I worked in Duluth, MN in 1974. I got prepped for an MRI, shot up with dilaudid, valium, and an anti-nauseant before the MRI. Was in the MRI tube for about 20 minutes. They gave me headphones and piped in loud music. It really didn't matter. With that drug combo, I fell asleep almost as soon as I got in the tube. After I was returned to the ER, it was 90 minutes before the ER doc returned with the report. Stenosis at the C4, C5, C6 as expected (Where I'd had prior surgery.) Current severe pain caused by the herniated, massively swollen C7, pressing on the nerves. The recommended surgeon (who operated on my brother 3+ weeks ago) said he would see me ASAP. He was in his office in the UMN hospital complex. We were 5 minutes walking to his office from the ER. Truthfully, had my daughter not been with me, I could not have managed. The drugs given prior to the MRI were still in my system until last night. I was in a daze.

The surgeon, Dr. Christopher T. Martin, was very thorough explaining what the course of treatment would be. He said he would prescribe a 6 day pack of methylprednisolone tablets to begin shrinking the disc, oxycodone to relieve the pain, and Neurontin to also relieve the pain. We took the script but only filled the steroid and Neurontin. My experience with opiates is very unpleasant. They shut down my gastrointestinal tract and even after discontinuing there are residual effects. I also have had an horrific experience with Neurontin, but thought I'd give it another try. I took a Neurontin tablet before going to bed last night and this morning, it took several hours before the dizziness and nausea ended, so no more Neurontin. To somewhat take the edge off the pain, I'm rotating OTC meds every four hours, Extra Strength Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve. I began the steroids this morning.

Next Tuesday, Dt. Martin will phone me to ask about progress. If there isn't significant improvement, he'll schedule me for another MRI, then determine whether another round of steroids should be given or to schedule surgery. I'm hoping the steroids do the trick. He said that if surgery is the course of action, he'll go through the front of my neck, not cutting though the muscle at the rear or through the prior healed incisions. He said he'll need to take some bone from my hip to use as a spacer when he completely removes the C7 disc.

Getting old is isn't easy. I'm just very grateful that medical science has advanced. At least, there is a prognosis and hope that the pain can be somewhat alleviated.
Wishing you best of luck Stevie. I have the same problem with opiods. Took them for one day after my surgery and I was blocked up for several days. Switched over to Excedrin and tramadol, a much less stringent pain killer. Hope the steroids work and it works out well for you. Yeh, getting old ain't for sissies. Hang in there, we are all rooting for you.
 

Timbo

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Good to hear it went as smoothly as possible Steve, my thoughts are with you and I hope the second shot doesn't beat you up too much. And I second Blackhorse's suggestion on doubling up on different types of pain killers. My doc recommended paracetemol and ibuprofen together last time I needed some pain killed and it worked a treat.
 

RSteve

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In an hour leaving my house and headed for my second Covid vaccination.
 

Ranger107

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In an hour leaving my house and headed for my second Covid vaccination.
Good luck. My friends who have had the second shot experienced no problems. Hope you have the same results. We are due for our second on the 28th.
 

kxg

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I hope you're doing OK Steve. I had my second C-19 vaccination (Moderna) on Tuesday. The first 24 hours was fine, the next 36 was unpleasant, with aches of the head and body and general fatigue. I'm pretty much back to normal today.
It sounds like you have a reasonable surgeon that will do what's best without rushing you under the knife. Best wishes continue!
 

Ranger107

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Stevie, just checking in to see how you are doing? Hope the recovery is going well. I'm out of the sling, off the pain meds and PT is going well. May be able to muck the horses in another month. Hang in there.
 

RSteve

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Have been in considerable discomfort (pain and tingling). Surgery is imminent, just waiting for the exact date. I have another MRI, CT scan, and X-rays slated for next Tuesday. Surgeon says he'll take a piece of bone from my hip to use as a spacer, get to the spine from the front of my neck, remove the disc, use the harvested bone as a spacer, screwing and cementing it in place. Recovery should be faster than going though the muscle at the rear of the neck. When I had the C4C5C6 done previously, it was through the back and there were layers of stitches and heavy staples. Going through the front may only require glue and stitches.
I think the surgeon is trying to expedite things, knowing that I'm not able/willing to take narcotic pain killers.
My toddler granddaughter, whom I've been caring for since last March, starts daycare on Monday.
 

ftrplt

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Bless your heart!!! My sincerest hopes for a successful surgery and swift recovery!! Sounds like you have a good surgeon. FTRPLT
 

Ranger107

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Hope all goes well. Will keep you in our prayers for a successful surgery and speedy recovery. Let us know the date of your surgery and I will light a candle for you. Best wishes.
 

RSteve

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It's been a very difficult process, but now that all the preliminary scans, x-rays, MRIs are complete, all I have left is the Covid test this coming Tuesday and the C7 disc removal on Thursday, March 11. I'm told that I'll have a 3-spot for pain: (1) my hip, where the surgeon will remove some bone for the spinal graft (2) the front of my neck where the incision will be made and (3) my spine itself, where the disc is removed and the spacer grafted into the open area. I go through periods of relative discomfort, but no severe pain, then, bang-o, I make a wrong move and the pain and extreme tingling runs down the back of my neck and into my left armpit, then travels down my tricep to my elbow, then over the top of my forearm and into the fingers; all in my left arm.
And if that ain't the shitz, the side effects of my second Covid shot knocked me for a loop. It's better now, but a week after the 2nd shot, I experienced extreme fatigue and then incredible pain in my left jaw at the back joint.
To relax through this I tried to smoke, but as soon as the nicotine hit my system, the nerves in my neck lit up. The pain was otherworldly. I waited a few days and tried again; same result, so I'm on the wagon for a while.
 

Timbo

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Ouch Steve that sucks that you can't have a smoke to calm yourself. Hoping your surgery is soon and goes well mate.
 

Brewdude

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Sounds unpleasant as all get out Steve. Hope you can get through all the next steps with as little discomfort as possible. Sounds like your daughter is doing a great job caring for you.


Cheers,

RR
 

Ranger107

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What a bummer Stevie. Saying prayers and keeping fingers crossed that all turns out well for you. CH in a cob in your honor. Hang in there bro.
 

ftrplt

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Ouch, Steve!!! I'm cringing just reading your missive! Hopefully in a few days, all this will be behind you! Keep on hangin' on!! FTRPLT
 

D.L.Ruth

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Hope things start to look up and a speedy recovery after the surgery
 

RSteve

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3 hours in surgery. Surgeon went in through the front of my neck to the left of my adam's apple. He removed portions of the C7 disc and pieces of vertebrae that had broken off and were impinging on the nerves. After the drains were removed I was able to leave the hospital, which I insisted on doing. I spent only one night in the hospital. I don't take opiates because they create havoc with my gastro-intestinal tract, so I'm only taking Tylenol to take the edge off the pain. My throat, as expected is very sore, and my voice is close to being a croak. Apparently, by getting to the anterior portion of the spine through the front of the neck, requires working around the vocal chords. My voice should be mostly back within a couple of weeks. I am staying at my daughter's house for a few days. I tried sleeping in a bed last night, but ultimately moved to a high back recliner which provided neck support. Cream of rice, apple sauce, and yogurt are my friends.
I was told that because of my age, remnants of the anesthesia could remain in my body for 2-3 days, so I was given copious amounts of fluids intravenously during and after the surgery. Without eating anything in the hospital, other than clear broth, at discharge I weighed three pounds more than when I checked in. Needless to say, I'm passing fluids about every half hour.
No important complaints, 'cause I came out alive.

The U of MN Riverside hospital's 3:00 to 11:00 nursing staff could not have been less responsive. To get a nurse at 9:35 PM, I disconnected three monitors attached to me and multiple loud alarms sounded. It took eight minutes before a nurse's aid looked in. At 9:23 pm, I had already pressed the button for a nurse. I demanded to see the charge nurse, who presented one excuse after another. Later, my assigned nurse admitted that the entire night staff, including the charge nurse were in the staff lounge together. I spoke with the surgeon before I checked out. He asked me to send a certified letter to the hospital director detailing the experience.

On Friday, the 7:00 am to 3:00 pm staff was on me in an instant. I'd guess the 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm charge nurse left a note relating what had happened the night previous.
 
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Brewdude

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Quite the tale Steve but happy to see you're back and on the mend. I'd be mightily PO'd with the treatment from the nursing staff and would pursue it to the nth degree for whatever good it ends up doing.


Cheers,

RR
 

Ranger107

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Stevie, glad you're doing okay and wishing you a speedy recovery. Being married to a retired nurse( 37 years in ICU and CCU) I am saddened to hear about your experience. Guess nurses these days are just not as attentive.
 

D.L.Ruth

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Glad the surgery went well, no so glad to hear about the nurses. 8 minute response time to the alarm going off? That seems unacceptable. Hope you heal up quickly.
 
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