Note: I'm really looking forward to being the teaching pastor at PCC this Sunday...And, YES, I WILL be there...kind of. The message is about one of my favorite heros from the Bible, someone who gives us an often missed, but incredibly important life example. You'll be glad you went, so I
Hope to see you there!
Well, my brace ain't pretty (see below), but it IS a sign of success. I'm in the car, headed home right now. Susan is in Target getting all of my prescriptions filled, and I thought I'd update everyone on how I'm doing, share a little about the experience, and tell you one surprise we discovered.
I had to be at the hospital 3 hours before surgery. I wasn't sure why, since I had already spent several hours on another day doing all of the pre-surgical work (tests, questions, paperwork and instructions). When I got to the hospital, they gave Susan one of those vibrating pagers with the lights on it like you'd get at a busy restaurant on a Friday night. It would alert her when the Doctor was ready to talk to her after the surgery was over.
They walked me back to my bed in a private room, where a nurse was ready to work on me. They asked a thousand questions, many of which were part of my prior interrogation, but I felt good knowing that they were thorough. I stepped into a bathroom to put on my gown. But there was something new there - packets of hot, disposable cloths and very detailed instructions on how to wipe down my entire body. It seems that hospitals these days are very protective of maintaining a bacteria-free environment...something else I'm grateful for.
About that time, my pain medicine was wearing off, so they expedited the IV and started me on the good stuff. Susan was invited back to the room with me where we waited and she shared with me the texts, calls, emails and FB messages sent on my behalf. It was - and still is - a great comfort to have so many folks praying for me.
Several nurses and hospital workers from PCC dropped by to see me. One of the nurses on my team said, "Who ARE you? Because it seems that I'm the only one around here who doesn't know you!" That was cool, and comforting, too.
The moment came, I kissed my girlfriend and told her I loved her, and they wheeled me down the hall - an entire medical team on each side. I don't remember anything after that. General anesthesia has a way of eliminating all sense of time. I blinked, and I was in recovery, groggy, with a sore throat, but with no nerve pain in my neck, shoulder or arm. None. At all.
And by the way, that team at St. Francis is incredible. I cannot imagine a hospital anywhere doing a better job of caring for their patients. I know that hospitals get a bad rap and not everyone has a good experience, but mine was unimaginably good. They have a way of taking a crisis and putting you at ease through it all. I'm so thankful for them.
The surprise came in the doctor's report to us. Something he found during the operation. He said that a piece of bone had broken off in the vertebrae and was 'free floating.' He said, "No steroid shot, no medicine, and no amount of therapy of any kind would have ever fixed this. You made the right call. Surgery was your only solution."
I just about cried hearing this news, because I really didn't want to have surgery, and I struggled a good bit with making the decision. Clearly, we made the right one.
So, I look a little funny with this monstrosity of a contraption around my neck. I look like I'm ready for a spacewaIk! have to wear it for 6 weeks in every situation, including sleeping. The only time I can remove it is to take a shower.