Injury Update–Post Surgery

Got to come home today after a successful anterior cervical discectomy and fusion of my C6-7 disc. First, regarding the surgery, I feel way better than I expected to. Pain is minimal, and mostly comes from a massive sore throat due to the retraction of my esophagus and the intubation. It’s also a bit hard to swallow for the same reasons, but that’s another well known side effect. Since I was up and moving around under my own power less than 8 hours after such a significant surgery, however, these are pretty minor gripes. All and all, thus far it seems like the surgical team at Stanford did an outstanding job.
On the other side of the coin, they pushed our surgery up by a day, and then made us wait on the OR. I wasn’t actually told to go into the hospital until 3PM (we had been calling and asking since 8AM), and the surgery didn’t actually start until around 8PM. Since they tell you not to eat anything or drink anything other than clear liquids after dinner the night before surgery, when I went into the OR, I had been fasting for ~24 hours. For me, this is no big deal, as I do it twice a week anyway, but for someone who isn’t used to fasting this would probably really suck.
I got out of the OR about midnight, completely whacked out of my mind on pharmaceutical grade narcotics, and wheeled to my room where it was all the nurse and my wife could do to keep me awake long enough to cram my medications down.
From then on, I basically slept (without a CPAP, as they didn’t have one ready despite telling us that they would) until I was released. Despite that, I’m still setting here in kind of a half-awake state, a testament to the fact that I still need my CPAP.
On recovery, the doc says I can’t lift anything ‘heaver than a milk jug’ until the fusion has gotten partially set, which should be between 2 and 8 weeks out. While I’m tempted to go out and troll my doc by repping milk jugs in my squat rack, I imagine the prudent course is just to lay off until my body is better able to handle lifting again. I have to keep reminding myself that strength training is a marathon, not a sprint.
Anyhow, since I know how much people love to cringe internally when they see something that should hurt, here’s a shot of the incision site (bandaged, unfortunately). When the bandage comes off, I’ll try to get a properly gross one….

  1. #1 by paulrobichaux on August 2, 2012 - 12:18 am

    Glad you’re well enough to be back online, but I think I’m gonna have to avoid your blog for a while to ensure I don’t accidentally see the gross-incision pic. After all, what has been seen cannot be unseen…

  2. #2 by Brian Hill on August 2, 2012 - 12:52 am

    Well, with any luck, there actually won’t be any grossness to see. They supposedly glued it shut, so I don’t even get cool stitch-scars.

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