02.21.13

Finally, the Light!

Posted in People Stories at 6:51 pm by Administrator

I injured my back last spring while I was working in our new herb garden. After a trip to the doctor and several tests, I was sent to a neurosurgeon who told me I had 4 ruptured discs, a pinched nerve and the beginnings of scoliosis (curvature of the spine.) I was shocked, to say the least. Thus began a long and sometimes painful journey.

Being a senior citizen and on Medicare, scheduling surgery wasn’t easy. I had endure the “conservative” treatments first. These included epideral steroid injections into my spine and physical therapy. Both made the pain worse. After both were completed – and the problems had not gone away – surgery was scheduled. On November 2, 2012, I entered St. Michael’s hospital in Texarkana for surgery. The procedure went well and, after 4 days, I was discharged to recover at home. The first three weeks were painful, but I was recovering well. Phil took very good care of me and, fortunately, is very observant. The weekend of Thanksgiving he began to notice that my incision was draining. By the Monday after, he called to doctor who had me come to his office immediately. After checking my back, he admitted me to the hospital. The next morning I was taken back to surgery to reopen the incision and drain three and a half liters of infection from my back. I had MSRA – super staph that has become resistent to most antibiotics. With the infection so close to my spine there was real concern that I would become septic. The outcome of sepsis is not always good.

I was in the hospital again for 4 days, then sent home with a PICC line for IV antibiotics and a wound vac to drain the incision that was left open to heal from the inside out.

I have little memory of the second hospitalization. Phil tells me I ran the folks who wanted to put in the PICC line out of my room because I thought they were selling something I needed. Phil convinced me it was okay. I also have very little memory of the first two weeks at home. I slept most of the time, awaking only to eat and for the home health nurses to change my dressing and give me my daily dose of IV Vancomycin. Gradually, over the two months of treatment, I began to feel that I would be well again. I really doubted that for some time. Phil and I celebrated when the antibiotics were stopped and the picc line removed. Two weeks later, we celebrated when the wound vac was removed and again two weeks later when the incision finally closed completely. Now, I am well on the road to being able to do what I love again – digging in the dirt! The pain in my back is gone, although cold weather makes it stiff sometimes. The incision is still tender, but that will go away with time. By the time it’s time to start tomato seeds, I should be up to the task.

Some have asked me if I would go through the surgery again even knowing what I know now. Yes, I would. Those three months were like being in a dark tunnel and at times I wondered if I would ever see the light again. I am seeing it now and it is shining brightly!