View Full Version : I didn't expect this to happen...

2nd September 2004, 01:26 PM
I'm doing practice on the Orthopaedics Department in the hospital now (the ward, the OR and consultations), for 2 months. :niceone:

I thought that the chances were very small, but I was already able to see a scoliosis surgery last Tuesday! :-o It was very weird to see it. The thought was continuously on my mind that they did all this hacking, capping, sawing,.. on my spine too! :-?
The patient was a 46 year old woman (B. V.), with a single 45 lumbar curve (she had a lot of pain pre-op). They inserted a lot of screws and 2 rods, along 7 vertebrae with USS instrumentation...

I visited the woman on the ward today, 2 days post-op...
She was in a lot of pain and very sick of the morphine. She can't take Voltaren (diclofenac) because it irritates her stomach too much, so she has to do it with an IV Perfusalgan (paracetamol) only. She was very very down. :( And then I told her that I had scoliosis surgery myself on 12 vertebraes 5 years ago... She took my hand (to never let go again) and started to cry. :cry:

I think she was very relieved to talk to someone who perfectly understands what she's going through. She said that her pain was more bearable when she has visitors. I gave her my address and my phone number, and I also gave her the URL of SSO. I need flyers (small posters), Titch! :-)

I will visit her again tomorrow!

2nd September 2004, 01:32 PM
It's great that you were able to visit her. You can always tell people how you feel, but no-one can truly imagine what it feels like if they haven't been through it themselves. Let's hope she'll come here too. Wish her good luck and a fast recovery!

2nd September 2004, 02:35 PM
I doubt there are any other scoliosis patients who have actually seen a scoli operation done in real life!!! You're very lucky. It must have been really freaky though!!

The poor lady....I am so glad you were there to comfort her. It is a such a big procedure and I can't imagine the pain she was in if she was unable to take the full range of painkillers :( I do hope she shows up here so we can help her recover when she gets out of hospital.

2nd September 2004, 03:15 PM
I saw an op on tv when the series 'Your life in their Hands' was on, remember that. It was on the spine of a young girl. This must have been going on 20years ago. Little did I know at the time that I had the same condition (though not as bad) and knew nothing about it. We used to call the show 'Their knife in your Glands'

2nd September 2004, 07:21 PM
I watched that show!!! It was on just a couple of months after I had my first operations when I was ten. They did the wake-up test on the girl, and after watching that, I realised that I could remember MY surgeon saying "Antonia, Antonia, wiggle your toes" to me too!!!!!!!!! I remember thinking "why's he asking me to wiggle my toes, and when is the anaesthetic going to take effect so I go to sleep?" when in fact I had been lying face down on the operating table for a good few hours and my back was clamped open. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice :D I think it's quite cool that I remember that actually!!

2nd September 2004, 07:32 PM
thats cool i have always asked my surgeon if i could have a tape of any of my surgeries but they always say they dont have any yah right!

2nd September 2004, 09:13 PM
Liv, that's really cool that you got to see it, but I can imagine how it made you feel... knowing that the same thing had been done to you. I've seen some surgeries on TV that involve manipulating bones and stuff (not scoliosis surgery, though). It must sound very loud when you're actually in the room with it.

Ian: I love your name for that show... "Their Knife in Your Glands!" That's really funny.

Toni: Umm... they wake you up before they close your back? *looks a bit squeamish* Tell me I just misunderstoood...

2nd September 2004, 09:49 PM
No you didn't, it was called the stagnara test to see if you had neurological damage and check if you could wiggle your toes and other extremeties.
Happily I don't remember mine and certainly don't remember any pain.I think it's still used but probably has been replaced by technology based cord monitoring!
I've never heard of anyone waking up in pain, most who do recall it have only a vague recollection like Toni.

2nd September 2004, 10:27 PM
Kim - yes, they wake you up. They did that for me. I don't remember though, thank goodness. They do it after they'v put the rods in, or that's what they said they did for me.

Liv - what's diclofenac? I don't think we have it here, post-op I had morphine and antibiotics andwhen I was off morphine I took tylenol which is acetaminophen. I hope she feels better soon! And I hope you're OK,you seemed a bit shocked/rattled after watching the surgery.

2nd September 2004, 10:45 PM
You do have Voltaren, right? Diclofenac sodium? :-? It's an NSAID like ibuprofen. But very irritating for the stomach...

Yeah, I'll be fine. I just hope the same for that woman!

I had the wake-up test too, and I don't remember it. :D

2nd September 2004, 11:03 PM
Apparently in Stanmore they no longer do the wake-up test, although I gather it's still done elsewhere. But I wouldn't worry - when we come round we're so full of anaesthetic still and morphine they give you before you go under, that we don't feel any pain, and it's bound to be the same in a wake-up test.

I think the idea is that the spinal monitoring equipment is attached to the cord and monitors signals while correction forces are applied, so that the surgeon doesn't do it too rapidly, or so much that it compromises neurological safety.

BTW I found diclofenac to be a very good and effective painkiller when I was in hospital, except that it gave me unbearable heartburn, so much so that I had to force myself to sit up to relieve the constant pain in my gullet. It made me feel ridiculously hot too - on day of discharge I was wandering around in x-ray waiting for my discharge films, and throwing water over myself desperately. It was a relief to go onto ibuprofen and co-codamol, but it didn't work as well.

edit: replace accidental HTML tags with forum tags...

2nd September 2004, 11:22 PM
I was on Diclofenac for a brief period of about 2 weeks, it did not agree with me at all :( It made me very very dizzy and a complete :nutter:, Craig said I looked dreadful when I was on them and I asked to be taken of them. I thought my painkillers made me fuzzy but they are nothing to the side effects I had with the Diclofenac :woe: I was given Methocarbomal instead and they are a lot better :D Today was definately a bad day though and I needed both painkillers and muscle relaxants.

3rd September 2004, 12:01 AM
Would you believe that the hospital that did my first surgery, gave me diclofenac on an empty stomach :-o

I'll get some flyers done soon, although you should also be able to get the existing one to print 4-up on a sheet of A4 by inserting it into a Word document and resizing it in there - or you might be able to do something in the print options. But I'll get a more optimised flyer size up there soon anyway :-)

I don't know if it will reassure your patient or not Liv, but I really had trouble getting my pain under control after my revision surgery, and I felt completely awful - the initial recovery was really slow, especially compared to my first surgery. They told me before it that I could expect to be feeling an awful lot better and pretty human in about 6 weeks, and I reached 5 weeks and decided they were lying toads. At 5 and a half weeks I suddenly started to really feel somewhat better, and at 6 weeks I was astonished to discover that they really had been pretty much right - hopefully she'll feel a lot better soon as well.

Leona, it's interesting to read that you were nutty on diclofenac - NSAIDs aren't supposed to do that to you, but in fact I get scatty if I take much ibuprofen - they really spoil my ability to concentrate or work well, but codydramol just make me a little yawny if they do anything to affect me.

3rd September 2004, 12:31 AM
I take diclofenac three times a day with no side effects :???: I think I must be very lucky as I don't seem to get side effects from any painkillers I've ever taken! Co-codamol 30s (which I take when I am not taking Voltarol - I rotate courses of painkillers so they stay effective) do make me feel a bit spaced when I first start taking them again, but that's quite a nice dreamy feeling so I don't mind :-)

3rd September 2004, 02:40 AM
I don't often take painkillers as they either don't agree with me or are basically ineffective.

3rd September 2004, 08:49 AM
I don't have any adverse reactions to painkillers, but I still don't take them often. Then again, I don't live with the kind of pain that many of you have described. *knocks on wood* I hope I still feel this good after surgery.

3rd September 2004, 11:05 AM
I saw the programme too i still remember watching the girl walking accross the beach. It was a friday night the programme went out i don't know why but it has brought a tear to my eye thinking back about that programme.

It was a couple of years after i was first seen by the consultant who crushed the little 13 year old kid who only wanted a straight back.

I can remember thinking that should me why am i not being operated on why is no one looking after me i cried through most of the programme. Is that selfish, well if it is i was only about 15 at the time the show went out and had probably had a bad day at school.

3rd September 2004, 12:08 PM
I had dicloflenac before surgery, but it was no good for my stomach so they gave me something else (mesulid). In the hospital they gave me dafalgan and contramal (after my PCA).
I don't remember waking up during surgery. Afterwards I heard I wanted to run away from the table and that I refused to wiggle my toes... I've always known I was stubborn but I never realised it was that bad :-D

3rd September 2004, 12:49 PM
I remember being woken up during my surgery and asked if I could wiggle my toes. I don't remember being in any pain and for days after I couldn't remember them doing it. As soon as I showed them that I could move my feet, I fell asleep again.

3rd September 2004, 12:57 PM
Whoa! We don't do wake-up-tests here, atleast that's what my doc said. It wasn't needed. But as soon as my head cleared up in the ICU, I wiggled my toes :D It was such a relief :P

Liv, that sounds pretty weird, what you went through. I'm not sure if I could do it :roll: ....... and I'm concidering becoming a doctor or a vet? :???: :D

3rd September 2004, 02:32 PM
I remember my wake up test too :-) It's a pretty vague memory, but what I remember most clearly is that all I wanted was for the voice that was demanding I should wiggle my toes to just shut up and leave me alone, because I was warm, safe and cozy and all I wanted to do was to sleep. I also remember that I couldn't tell whether my toes were wiggling or not, because I really wasn't too sure I had a body at all, let alone toes :lol:

After my revision surgery, as soon as I woke up, I tried moving my fingers, then my hands, then when that worked I checked my toes and my feet, and breathed a huge sigh of relief :D

3rd September 2004, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by Kaja@Sep 3 2004, 11:57 AM
Liv, that sounds pretty weird, what you went through. I'm not sure if I could do it :roll: ....... and I'm considering becoming a doctor or a vet? :???: :D
Yeah, I feel a little bit special now! ;-) It was so unreal!!! Especially because it was only the third surgery ever that I saw in reality. I witnessed an elbow and a hip surgery on my first day of practice, but a spinal one is something else... :roll: :hammer: I'm sure you can do it too if I can do it, Kaja! :niceone:

I visited her again today, one her 4th day post-op. I spent 3 hours with her! :-D Mainly talking, but I also helped her walking! Together with the physiotherapist of course! ;-) WOW, she's really doing better than yesterday! I think she can go home after the weekend and she'll have an excellent recovery! She wants to stay in contact with me. She even called me her guardian angel... It feels great to be able to help people this way! :clap:


3rd September 2004, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by titch@Sep 2 2004, 11:01 PM
I'll get some flyers done soon, although you should also be able to get the existing one to print 4-up on a sheet of A4 by inserting it into a Word document and resizing it in there - or you might be able to do something in the print options. But I'll get a more optimised flyer size up there soon anyway :-)
Good idea! :-) I'll try to do that, Titch! :bounce:

3rd September 2004, 04:38 PM
aww that's so sweet :-) Now you must feel even more special :-)

3rd September 2004, 11:47 PM
Oh Liv that's wonderful. You must feel so good!

4th September 2004, 01:07 AM
You've done a wonderful thing, reaching out to her like that. Do you think she will she join SSO when she gets home next week?

5th September 2004, 11:05 PM
Wow Liv.. good for you!! You will make an awesome doctor if you can connect with your patients like that.

The wake up test does not sound pleasant?? Arent you in extreme amounts of pain??

5th September 2004, 11:21 PM
No, Carly, it doesn't hurt.

6th September 2004, 02:44 AM
Wow.... that surprises me!

6th September 2004, 09:49 AM
They have you full of all manner of painkillers and other drugs, and don't really entirely wake you up, so there shouldn't be any pain associated with it - I've never heard of anyone that did have pain with it :-)

6th September 2004, 03:04 PM
I visited B. again today, for 2 hours. She's walking alone and she's off the painkillers already (although she was still in pain). I was planning to leave after 30 minutes (I didn't have lunch yet and I was getting hungry) but she nearly ran after me and she grabbed me! I bought her a get well card and I told her a million times that she has to take it easy (she was pushing it).

She's probably going home on Wednesday or Thursday, and she won't start working again until January or February... I gave her 18-year old daughter my e-mail address and the address of SSO, so I hope she'll teach her mother how to use the internet!

6th September 2004, 09:31 PM
Wow! That is so encouraging! I love hearing how quickly everybody is up and walking again after their surgery... Jonny, BlueIce, and now B. It makes me less nervous about my turn.

6th September 2004, 10:47 PM
Don't be nervous Kim (yes I know!). You'll do great. I was out of bed the day after my surgery and walking the next for both stages.

7th September 2004, 09:09 AM
Thanks, Joy. I'll probably need more encouragement when the time comes.

Ugh. My consult is in 7 days... I don't even know if I am a candidate for surgery yet, and I'm already worried about my recovery.

7th September 2004, 04:04 PM
Liv that is so nice of you to spend that much time with that lady.
You are an angel.