Time off

29 03 2010

I was totally unprepared for the “aftershock” of the neck surgery in Joburg. I guess I was a little naive in thinking that after nearly 5 hours of surgery I’d be up and about in 5 days or so and ready to do a bit of easy shopping. The pain was intense and not very well managed. Nursing varied hugely from non-existent to professional which was not great for what I’m lead to believe is the top private hospital in Joburg. One thoroughly nasty little woman on hearing that I wanted some pain killers plonked them down on my bedside table with a glass of water and walked out leaving me flat on my back and unable to sit up unassisted. Another nursing aid could not understand English and had no idea how to adjust the back of the bed. Thank goodness for Moira, the hilarious Scottish physiotherapist who could not do enough for me and always had some amusing anecdote.

The surgery consisted of a 3 level cervical spine fusion and a corpectomy on the C4 vertebra. Now I am held together by a titanium plate and screws. The surgeon was pleased with how it went though on the 4th night I woke to realize that I couldn’t get my right arm off the bed and my left hand was also losing strength. Panic! The surgeon ordered another X-ray and MRI but they showed nothing untoward and my left arm recovered fast. My right is back to about 70% pre-op level so I am hopeful.

Initially I was scheduled to have the surgery done here but on advice I brought my offshore medical aid to use and had it done in Joburg. Subscribing to this medical aid some years ago has been one of my better decisions as I am not at all confident that the 79 year-old surgeon who was going to do it would have been up to the task. Not doing anything would have been disastrous eventually leading to a form of quadriplegia.



2 responses

30 03 2010
Big Blister

Yikes, I’m glad I didn’t know all the surgery details beforehand! So sorry the care was substandard and that were in so much pain. Here’s to full recovery soon!

4 04 2010
Brokeback Mountain Club Charter Member

Recover soon, Andy. Damn those spinal fusions!

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