I will start this post by saying "WOW"..... "Overwhelmed".... "Scared".....
We started the pre-op adventure today at 1:30pm and it ended at 5:30pm and involved the following:
1st stop was at Dr Walperts office where we met with Dana who works with the company that markets the "Bone Stimulater" which we learned how and why it works and Mom will wear this contraption (after she gets home) for 30 minutes a EVERYDAY for upwards of 5 months. (This will promote healing of the bone growth) Then we met Dr Walperts PA and answered lots of questions, then came the time to meet Dr Walpert. Another "WOW"...what a SHARP cookie she is, not to mention she looks like a "Rock Star", needless to say Mom and I were both VERY impressed with her all the way around (which is a great thing). Dr Walpert spoke to us about how BIG this surgery is going to be...how involved it is going to be...the medical lingo for the procedure that Mom will be undergoing is called....4 Level Decompressive Lumbar Laminectomy & 2 Level Lumbar Fusion with instrumentation @ multiple levels, fluro navigation & autograft! In other words...a Major, Major Surgery with a very long recovery period. Mom will not be allowed to bend over, twist OR lift anything for 6-8 weeks...I told her that she wasn't even going to be allowed to do laundry and God knows....I love my Laundry Fairy...she will be on hiatus until further notice after next Wednesday. (I am currently taking donations for my dry cleaning bill) Okay, enough of the visit with Dr. Walpert other than we both feel VERY comfortable that we were fortunate enough to end up with her as Mom's surgeon.
2nd stop....Saint Mary's Hospital. This is where we registered for today AND Wednesday...then it was off to tee-tee in the cup, have a 12 lead EKG, have 5 tubes of blood drawn, chest x-ray and answered another thousand questions and THEN we met with the anesthesiologist....the one we met with is not the one the one that will be sleeping Mom but nevertheless we both knew him...Dr Santoro and he was MORE than honest and blunt with us. Dr Linda Ritter will be sleeping Mom who we "hand picked" to be her anesthesiologist for the surgery. Dr Ritter and Mom have known one another since she came to St Mary's some 25 years ago AND she also lives in our neighborhood. Personally, this makes me feel better knowing that Dr Ritter will be "watching" over Mom while she will be under some 4-5 hours....I do know for a fact that she will pull no punches, take no chances and be VERY realistic about what Mom needs while in surgery and in recovery.
3rd stop....Atlanta Prosthetics and Orthotics where Mom was fitted for her back brace. When they finally got her fitted with the proper size she wanted to bring it home with her because it felt so good"....I told her that was a "view into her future"..... feeling good... as it has been so long since she has felt "normal". We don't know how long she will have to wear this brace but we are guessing that it won't be "short" term....looking VERY forward to her getting her awesome "quality of life" back where it belongs!
With all of the above said...the next 5 days are going to be VERY long for Mom and I as we wait for June 3rd to arrive. In all honesty, and I am not pulling any punches here....we are both going to need all the support we can get...it's gonna be a LONG haul. Dr Walpert told us today that complete healing won't occur for up to a year.
Personally, I am so glad that I am here for Mom to be with her, to take care of her and nuture her through this long healing process because God knows she has certainly seen me through many times in many different ways. It is a blessing from above that I am here and I am blessed to have a Mom like I do...she is EVERBODY'S friend, other than all of you out there that she considers a close friend she is also a great friend to all of my circle of friends...she is so much to so many people.
One last thing....a GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO our own personal Angel...Garnett Dress who made this surgery opportunity come MUCH earlier than it would have...remember..."it's not what you know, but who you know"
PS Number One: A huge "THANK YOU" to Gail Hutchins (my boss) and to all my co-workers at VistaCare for being so understanding and supportive of what Mom and I are facing!!
PS Number Two: A quote from Mama Jane herself " Thank you for all the prayers and support...I will come out on the other side of this better than ever...everybody better watch out"
PS Number Three: A huge gracious "Thank you and we love you" to my Aunt Judith (Mom's sister) for spending the money to come and be with us when we come home from the hospital!!!
PS Number Four: Another huge "thank you" to my friend Julie Rizzi...and she already knows why I am saying this!!! I love you like a sister!!!