I am pleased to report that I have had what seems to have been a successful spine surgery on Wednesday. I cannot thank the Neurosurgeons, Anesthetists, nurses, and nurse practioners involved in my care enough. The surgery went better than expected because when the dura was opened and the cord was exposed, the tip of the dural tear could actually be visualized on the left side. The cord could be pulled to the right and the 5mm longitudinal dural tear could be directly repaired with sutures without the requirement of a patch of synthetic dura. This has the potential to be a more definitive treatment. The extradural CSF collection was also fenestrated to allow quicker resorbtion. The diagram below was drawn by Jeremy based on Phil’s description. Thanks guys. I am so grateful that my problem would seem to be Neurosurgical as opposed to Neurological! But no, I have no interest in switching
Above: Jeremy’s diagram on my hospital room white board showing the surgical field – separated dura and exposed cord. I may not know the date or time, but at least I have some visualization of the surgery! Notice how the dural tear was visualized by pulling the cord to the right. The tear was longitudinal and approximately 5mm in length. It was sutured shut. Thanks!
The hardest part now will be lying flat for 5 days to try to seal the repair. I am only on day 2 and I have to admit it has been way more difficult than I had anticipated. My incision site is swollen and I imagine way more painful than if I were able to get up and move around. Bedrest is not nearly as restful as it sounds.
I also now have way more sympathy for things that our patients regularly suffer through quietly and routinely, such as midnight pokes for blood work just when they finally fall asleep, in-and-out catheterizations (ouch!), and being dependent on others for pain control. I will never make the mistake of telling someone how they “should” be feeling. I am not in that patient’s body. I promise I will make an effort just to listen.