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My Micro Discectomy - D-Day

So Today is the Day of my MicroDiscectomy. I was originally scheduled to get operated on early Tuesday morning, however due to circumstances affecting other patients I was given the option to get operated one day earlier on the Monday, with surgery commencing at 1:30pm. While I have been coping ok with my sciatic pain as much as that is possible, I was more than happy to go in one day early to get a shot at resolving my pain.

A lunch time appointment opened  up the opportunity for a nice sleep in; much appreciated by my partner. It also meant more time for me to think and to get nervous about all the horrible things revealed by Dr Google over the days leading up to today. Being a first timer to surgery of any kind, receiving spinal surgery was something I was extremely nervous about. Signing off on possible paralysis, blindness, permanent pain,  and a bunch of other horrible outcomes made the bullet point death seem like one of the more friendly outcomes on the neatly formatted consent form. My anaesthetist later stated: “These things are as likely as rocking horse shit.” I may make a suggestion to amend the consent form accordingly.

Checkin at the hospital was at 11:30am. A sleepless night and the 20 minute drive was perfect for my sciatic pain to let me know that a Microdiscectomy is something I really wanted to have. The sign-in to Admission was unspectacular and aside from more medical forms to fill out no different from a Hotel Checkin, down to swiping my credit card then sitting and waiting.

After a little while chatting nervously with my girlfriend my name was called by a young nurse and I was off on my way to the first station leading up to surgery; lets call this the weigh in. Again more medical questions and reciting the answers to the mantra: “Full name, birthdate, are you allergic to anything”. Quick check of weight, height, blood pressure and confirming the type of surgery, I was tagged on both arms and sent off to the Pre Op waiting area for more waiting.

Next stop I was shown to a little waiting bay with a trolley bed waiting for me that would be my ride to the theatre. The nurse handed me compression stockings, gown, cap and the most unattractive underwear that a human could conceive with clear instructions to change. Dressed up in the clown outfit presented the perfect photo opportunity followed by a quick nervous trip to the toilet. My bladder maintained perfect timing and I returned to the bay as the nurse walked in to prepare my back for surgery. Luckily I am not to hairy so the “shave” with a epilator was not as rough as I’d imagine it would be for someone of Mediterranean decent. The nurse also wiped down my back with some antiseptic and applied some plastic foil to the low of my back. At this point it started to get “real” and I was very nervously pacing around and could not shut up. The clock showed that the moment of truth was getting closer, and in walks the anaesthetist to say G’Day.
 
I can’t praise this man enough he explained quite clearly what was going to happen and what to expect. More importantly he put the risks in perspective in one fantastic sentence: “These things are as likely as coming across rocking horse shit". I also got the special rules for men: “Don’t be hero, we can manage all nausea and all your pain. We just need to know.” So that was good advice worth following. He also explained his plan for me which would be to take a simple approach. Keeping the drugs to a minimum to reduce the chances of nausea and later if required upping them. Given that I am light weight, and fit for my age he felt post op I should be ok without any of the usual hardcore stuff like morphine; there goes my chance to legally try the closest thing to heroine. With that we shook hands and he was off to get himself ready. The nurse shortly returned with a pill order from the anaesthetist (let’s call him Dr. Feel-good) to get me settled down, with the pill (I hope red) working its magic I got into my ride for more waiting in the bay.
 
In walks a male nurse with a brief introduction that its go time. It’s also the time for last well wishes from my partner and a feigned smile of bravery good bye.  

The trolley with me on it is winding its way through long bleak hospital corridors. The journey seems a little surreal almost alien. I am really getting nervous and thinking way too much.  We arrive at yet another bay, the sign reads: “Anaesthesia Bay”. Two nurses welcome me and proceed to wire me up for surgery with practiced precision. Somewhat uncomfortable the electrodes pressed onto my forehead feel like upside down pieces of velcro. This time both nurses do a cross check with me to yet again do the mantra and to double and triple check that I am the correct patient with the correct doctor for the correct procedure, this is excellent and very comforting.

Before I know it my awesome anaesthetist pops in again to quickly checkup on me and proceeds with what will turn out to be the most painful part of the surgery, inserting the IV line. If you are following this story because you are due for surgery soon you will be glad to read that honestly, placing the IV line is no worse than the first prick when having bloods taken. So good news. I would find out later that the IV line is just a thin piece of bendy plastic and not a needle as I assumed. The needle is just used during the initial placement of the line. The line once positioned is slightly uncomfortable but not painful, in fact when distracted its not noticeable. So all good news if you are at all concerned about the surgery.

The anaesthetist points out that I have good veins (yay) and that he can place the IV line in such a way that I can still move my wrists after surgery (he placed the line a good 4 cm to 5 cm above the wrist, away from the hand). The IV line stays in the arm until well after surgery and I was glad to have it out of the way and to be able to move my hands freely after surgery like suggested by Dr Feel-good.  If your are due for surgery soon I would definitely recommend asking if you come into consideration for this placement of the IV line.

The pill from the previous waiting bay is working its magic and I am starting to relax, there is no backing out and its time to get things done. I tell my self … lets do this! My enthusiasm is cut short. I am informed: “We are just waiting on the surgeon”, and on that cue the surgeon steps into the bay with his entourage like a rock star walks on stage. I seem to remeber a quick pep talk and reassuring words from the surgeon the details of this conversation I have no recollection. I just remember thinking that these people will do there best for me.

It all gets pretty hazy from here on in. All I can remember no matter how hard I try is Dr Feel-good stepping into the bay: “Lets get this party started” (I am a fan of this guy) and pushes the first drugs down my IV Line. I am waiting for a burning sensation but the pain never comes. The doors on the opposite side of the Anaesthesia Bay open up and lead directly into the operating theatre. I remember proclaiming how science is: “F••ckin Awesome” and in a drugged stupor “You got some awesome looking Tech Shit in here”…….. then nothing.

“Marcel, Marcel”.

I wake up wriggle my toes and smile.

Day 1 Post Op Blog

Day 4 Post Op Video

Day 10 Post Op Video


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