View Full Version : Phil's story!

11th January 2006, 01:02 PM
My story at last folks. What i can remember of it anyway!

I woke on the 5th of December rather early to make my hour and a half trip to Hinchingbrooke.
I had to be there for 10.30 as they had booked me in for an MRI scan. So,
we set off with the caravan in tow which is where my parents would be staying for a few days during each of my surgery's.
We arrived at the camp site for 10am, unhooked the caravan and the hospital was less than 2 minutes down the road.
We got to the hospital and headed straight down to the MRI place. I was directed to this cubical where i was instructed to get
changed into this paper gown. It covered nothing at all and was not pleased sitting in the waiting area half dressed.
I was called into the room and laid down onto the board thing, they had to put a fair few padded things under my head because i couldn't lay flat.
Next thing i know the board is retracting into the scanner, then the noises begin. 45 minutes later out i come. He said for me to sit up
but i was stuck. He pulled my up which was damn painful. Never used to being on my back for that long.

We went for lunch and headed up to the ward for 2pm. Booked in and the ward clerk showed me my room which was not bad at all.
Mum started cleaning it as it was a little dusty. I switched on the tv, sat down and my parents went.
7pm came and my bed had still not been made, i went down to the nurses station and politely asked why my bed had not yet been made.
A nurse sharply explained that i was to make my own bed, i thanked her for telling me and went to make it.
The spinal practitioner nurse came to my room and took me down to my surgeons office. He examined me and then told me my second surgery had been
brought forward a week. I was chuffed to bits! I then met my anesthetist who was the nicest bloke ever and also turned out to be the clinical
director. He was very reassuring and i then signed the consent forms.

That night i hardly slept and was thankful for the texts i was receiving. There i was under my sheets texting away trying to pass the time.

I was woken at 6am Tuesday the 6th of December. Was made to shower in this pink nasty stuff and got dressed into my gown. A material one I
might add this time! 8.30am got here and the theater staff came in checked it was me and wheeled me down. I arrived in this reception area
where they transfered me onto a trolley. Some sister kept saying to my lay flat and relax. "God damn women! I can't lay flat!"
Mr McCloud the anesthetist then came, wheeled me into this room and put me asleep. He was making conversation about my job and such like.

Next thing I remember is waking up in ICU with lots of tubes and monitors. Surgery lasted some 8 hours i believe where they did anterior
release from T8 to T2 from what i remember. Very little was clear about my day and night other than the many
suppository's they gave me. The care was excellent from what my parents said and from what i could gather.

Early Wednesday afternoon i was taken back to the ward, put into my room and the nurses began plugging me back in. I got rather grumpy as one nurse
lifted the PCA over my head and dropped the plug onto my forehead. I further got upset as it seemed to take ages for them to stop playing with me
and give me back my pain relief. After a good half an hour i was kinda settled and was thinking "thank god i have only a week to wait for
my next surgery". That night i had the duty doctor out as my left lung (side of surgery) was making noises. The doctor explain i had some fluid
around the area. Got me x ray'd which was hell! Real hell! And proceeded to put me on a nebuliser. I stayed on this for about 10 days
and was on oxygen for around 6.

During my gap week i was not allowed to move at all unassisted. If i wanted to roll i needed to buzz. I admit i was slightly naughty a few times as i
found ways to adjust and move slightly myself. I had a fair few visitors and text's to keep me going. Many thanks to you guys!
I got very annoyed with the general care, or lack of it. When my morphine and drip ran out it normally took them ages to change it,
i started to time it. The record was just under 2 hours for my PCA to be changed during night, i was uncomfortable to hell and not happy.
During my whole gap week i was rather stubborn in that i refused to eat and stated i would only eat when i can sit up. Some of the nurses
including the sister were not really happy about this, maybe they were right but i survived.
Other events included my bed lowering itself and jolting which was rather scary. I insisted they changed beds when i went for my second surgery!

The following Tuesday came, i was washed by the night staff at 5am! Again, in the pink stuff! Around 8.45 the theater staff came in
and wheeled me down to the surgery area. Rather fast this time, Mr McCloud the anesthetist had me wheeled into the 'putting asleep room'
there was a short delay as the spinal monitoring lady who comes from Stanmore was delayed. I was then put asleep finding my self awake in ICU
after being in surgery for around 7 hours. Parents came in, again me remembering very little. Surgeon and anesthetist came in a few hours later
and explained all went well, fused with instrumentation from T5 to L3.
Still in ICU, that night my anesthetist came in who looked at my back drain, i then see many people running around and him shouting
"you what? he's filed nearly 3 of them" some SHO then replied "Lets take him back down and see what the problem is"
My heart was pounding, luckily my surgeon came in about 30 minutes later and told them to stop panicking and clamp it like he had asked.

Like before, Wednesday afternoon got here and i was sad to have to go back to the ward. The next day i soon became aware that my bed had not been
changed as it clasped on some nurse and nearly broke me. I remember me pressing the PCA lots and my father going mad at the ward manager.
So that night, they decided to get me on my feet and they got me to walk about a dozen paces to other bed. I said to the ward manager,
"you know, I'm pretty sure my surgeon said no getting out of bed at all for another few days. And shouldn't there be a phsyio here."
Her reply was something along the lines of,' I know what I'm doing'

I kinda started losing track of the days at this point, and everything is a little bleary so i will go through what i remember as best as possible.
A few days later i decided to ask if i could go to the toilet (wanting a number 2, can't spear the details, sorry) so i walked to the toilet
got locked in sat down. About 10 minutes later i started to feel really dizzy. I could see black spots, hear a sound like the sea in my ears
and my feet and angles had gone numb. I pressed the buzzer as i could not stand, 5 minutes passed with nothing. By now i was starting to
to wobble, my ears were burning and i thought i was going to collapse. The emergency button was near the door of which i could not reach.
Thankfully another patient wanted to use the toilet so i shouted for them to get someone. I was left on that damn toilet seat for 20 minutes.
Two nurses kinda carried me back to my bed as i was complaining.

I remember the rest of that day being terrible, in particular the evening, my catheter came out (i think) I also think i had some visitors, maybe Jonny
and my sister. (I really cant remember!) I also had a few accidents that evening. Will spear the details. PM if you really want to know.

From then on it was improvements, and waiting to go home. The Friday before Christmas i was ready to go. The Ambulance guys came to my
room with the stretcher and strapped me in. I really could not move. It took about 3 hours to get home and boy was i stiff.
Pleased to be home though.

Looking back at it all now i am rather shocked at all i don't remember. The days and issues seem to roll into one. I coped with the pain fine.
I did not cope with being hospital at all though. At times i got very depressed and wished i never went through it.
I thank you guys on here big time for your support, particular those who visited and txt'd me. Most of all though a big thanks to Abbi
for updating you all and keeping me sane. Even now!

While in hospital the biggest help was Mr McCloud, the anesthetist. He visited me daily for a chat which i was shocked about but he helped keep me going and put my parents as ease. Had a fair bit of clout as clinical director so things got done when we spoke with him. Great bloke though!

I will post bits as i remember them, lots more happened i am sure of it but concentrating still is a little hard. It's taken me 5 days to
do this so sorry if it makes little sense or is patchy. :) :)

11th January 2006, 01:17 PM
Its not patchy at all phil, wow you seem to have been put through the mill a little by them nurses i bet your glad your out and back at home where your mum and dad look after you properly. I hope you are managing to feel a little better as the days go on.

Thats a great account of your surgery phil and i'm sure will be great help in the future to people who may read your post.

take care


11th January 2006, 04:01 PM
Phil, that was a wonderful documentation of your two surgeries! Thank-you for putting it together for us...it will be a big help for pre op people to come!
You have definately been though some major dramas....but I am glad it is all over for you!

I am pleased that you got such a good correction, the surgery is all behind you, and you can continue on in 2006 with hopefully a pain free and much straighter spine!

I know your recovery hasn't been that grand, but it'll get better....soon you'll be on here "full time" (so to speak) and passing along that support to others! :squeeze:

Well done phil! your a star! :D

oh can I say: Mr McCloud - what a name!!! *giggles*

11th January 2006, 06:14 PM
Thats a brilliatn story of what happened and my god, you have been through a hell of a lot! Well done with getting through it all anyway, sounds like you've been very brave!

11th January 2006, 08:06 PM
Sometimes the standard of nursing care is not all it should be.That infuriates me.It would have made it so much easier if they'd been efficient and caring.
This sort of thing can leave you very angry and reliving the whole chain of events in your mind.Just coming straight out with it and being honest about the shortcomings in your care is the right thing to do.There's no point is telling us all it was wonderful and it was fine.
Complain,Complain, Complain!

11th January 2006, 09:11 PM
thanks for posting that phil - you really went thru the mill! dont fancy the collapsing bed! sounds like a carry on film!

Its all downhill now mate!



11th January 2006, 10:44 PM
Thanks for sharing your story Phil, as John said its all downhill, things will get better with each passing day.

Are you sleeping on your back or sideways? Did they recommend any particular position?

12th January 2006, 04:54 PM
Thanks all. I say it how it is sins, no need to cover up life.

I can sleep anyway with no trouble Marcilo, surgeon did not place any restrictions on sleeping.

12th January 2006, 05:15 PM
Wow, that's a great story of your surgeries Phil. I'm sure it was light when I started reading and now it's dark :D It's great that you now feel well enough to put such a piece together, and it'll be a great help for others undergoing surgery. Hope you're still taking it easy!

Little Ali
12th January 2006, 10:27 PM
Thanks for psoting that Phil!
I can't belieeeeeve they took 2 hours to change your PCA! And as for the collapsing bed and them dropping a plug on you! :idiot:

You certainly them in check though and you should be proud of yourself for getting through it so well! :niceone:

Amazed Jean
13th January 2006, 01:08 AM
Phil, You have certainly been put through the ringer as it were. Hospitals are never fun in the States but I had hopes that on your side of the pond things were easier. It appears that all hospitals are filled with apathetic employees. It pisses me off and I always complain after I go home......and I do it in writing. (I never do it while still there for fear I'll be fed ground glass or something). The hospital always sends its sincere apologies--yadda yadda yadda. You should know that we all were worried about you and glad that the hard part is over for you. Thanks for telling us your story. Heal quickly darling!

13th January 2006, 02:50 AM
Thanks Phil for your wonderful story, it didnt seem at all patchy actually. I mean it! :).

I have to say being a exceedingly nervouse pre oppy, I am thankful for the time and effort of each of u poor recovering post ppies for every single surgery story posted. :) xxxx kisses for all of you.

Hope that u continue to feel better. x

P.s. IT IS RIDICULOUSE THAT A BED SHOULD COLLAPSE ON SOME ONE WHO HAS HAD SPINE SURGERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what are they playing at? x

15th January 2006, 12:52 PM
Cheers guys :)

The worst part was my anemia. My hemoglobin levels started out at 14, after surgery were 6 and are now 9.7. Not great at all. My surgeon wanted to give me a transfusion but the hematologist consultant had a chat with me talking about the possible risks and said he would not give me one.

Some more pics=

15th January 2006, 02:17 PM
Wow! That is some equiptment you got attached to you there phil....(I guess your not really aware of it yourself, until you see a picture)

I hope your haemoglobin levels continue to increase.....I think my levels were up to my orginal level (also 14) when I was 7weeks post op!!

Eat some lovely Iron boasting foods....like steak and brocilli! (mmm :P)
(btw....your soooo lucky, in my house you would have beetroot juice shooved down your throat everyday) (yuck - majorly ick stuff)

15th January 2006, 07:57 PM
Yeah, is some equiptment there! Same as everyone gets i guess? Including the bed of which collapsed hours after those pics were taken.

15th January 2006, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by Phil@Jan 15 2006, 11:52 AM
Cheers guys :)

The worst part was my anemia. My hemoglobin levels started out at 14, after surgery were 6 and are now 9.7. Not great at all. My surgeon wanted to give me a transfusion but the hematologist consultant had a chat with me talking about the possible risks and said he would not give me one.

Some more pics=
Phill I to started surgery off at 14 for the hmg. During surgery I dropped down to 11 even though they were recycling my blood by filtering what I was loosing in surgery and giving it back to me. The next day however it dropped down to 6 and they didn't now why it went so low. I had to have three units of blood given to me. A six for your hmg is very bad most people will get blood tranfusions for that unless they have a religious belief against it. I am courious as to what complactions your Dr told you as receiving blood now a days is pretty safe. I do admitt I do worry about it though. I recieved three units and was brought back up to eleven after it. I am still with no energy most of the time so I still think it is down some.

16th January 2006, 11:13 AM
wow Phil - very impressive photo's. Are you sure you were not auditioning for a part in ER?

16th January 2006, 12:56 PM
I was not even aware those photos were taken untill the other day. So i cant be accused of posing ;)

16th January 2006, 01:43 PM
or taking them :-D

How you feeling now Phil i hope your well

18th January 2006, 06:54 PM
very impressive machines =O!

Hope you're feeling better! (and Guiness is iron boosting...but not to everybody's taste) x

18th January 2006, 10:39 PM
Wow thank you so much for sharing your story and photos with us!

I hope your recovery is still going well :squeeze:

5th October 2010, 07:19 PM
Just been thinking bout my spine and journey sorrounding it recently and found this post I wrote after surgery. Can tell how drugged up I was, my English was/is terrible lol!

Anyway, hope you are all well. It's been a long time! Unfortunetly a journey I may have to re walk in the not to distant future.

5th October 2010, 07:28 PM
Hey Phil! It's nice to hear from you again, but I wish they were happier circumstances :(

5th October 2010, 07:42 PM
Hi Toni, nice to hear from you to. Getting to the stage now where over the last 5 years I have lost a great deal of correction and have the offer of fusing higher. My fusion is fine however it's above my T8 correction. Have declined further intervention at this stage but got 18 months till next review. I think there will be no avoiding it then.

Cant complain though, had 5 years where I have near forgotten about my spinal issues. Pain had all gone etc. Problem is pain is coming back.

Gotta have a think bout how an even larger fusion is going to effect me. Probably be looking at increasing from L3 to T1 or higher.

Anyway, how's you?

5th October 2010, 08:08 PM
That sounds like Proximal Junctional Kyphosis (PJK), where you continue to curve over the top of your solid fusion? It's often a risk with kyphosis surgery, what a bummer :( Fusion up to T1 is OK, I'm fused from T1-L4 and don't feel restricted in any way. I generally think if you avoid fusing into the cervical region you'll do OK :)

I'm good ta - I had a little one-level extension to the bottom of my fusion last year and it almost completely sorted out the pain and sagittal balance issues I was having. I'm back to doing a lot of hillwalking and cycling and I feel great :D

5th October 2010, 08:18 PM
Yeah, PJK explains it pretty much. Will my existing instrumentation be removed and replaced with new stuff to support any further new fusion?

My surgeon seemed very disapointed. As if he blaimed himself for not fusing higher in the first place. He really does not want to do it but see's no choice short to medium term.

He kept mentioning full spinal fusion (whatever that means), he did not mention T1. I just assumed that as would not expect fusion into cervical area. His main concern is if I continued to curve over the top of any further fusion. As in curve at the neck and be stuffed.

I always knew I would end up having further surgery prior to having the first lot. Just had that feeling that nothing would stop my spine having it's own way.

Glad to hear you're well and re assuring to know further fusion does not need to equal loss of more mobility.

Little Ali
5th October 2010, 11:20 PM
Hi Phil.

Sorry you're facing these problems. Nice to hear from you though :)