She asked if we had a living will, which always makes things get pretty real... I said no so she gave us a packet to look at to consider starting one. Lastly she gave me soap that was supposed to be antimicrobial and antibacterial that I was supposed to use the morning of the surgery. She also told me that I couldn't eat or drink past midnight but I could take my medication for pain in the morning with a sip of water.
So we arrived the next morning at 7 AM. The nurse took me back pretty quickly into the holding area that had a curtain in front of it. The nurse started to ask me a bunch of questions about who my doctor was, what surgery I was having, and what side it was gonna be on while she had me dress into my medical gown and put foot coverings on. Another nurse came in whom I knew from church, which was a comfort to me. She gave me medicine to settle my stomach and she's set my IV in, as well as brought me warm blankets to make sure I was comfortable. The chaplain from the hospital came and prayed for me as well as the nurse that I knew from church. It's brought me more comfort and had me more relaxed about the surgery.
They finally let my husband come in and my mother and grandmother came in as well (they showed up a little bit later than us). I had butterflies in my stomach, but my loved ones talked to me for about an hour while I was waiting to go into the holding area before the surgery where I would talk to the anesthesiologist.
The time arrived, and I said my goodbyes and I love yous. I was feeling okay at that point, but I had to use the restroom before they rolled me into the holding area. It's difficult when you have to change a pad as well as maneuver your IV bag and use the restroom at the same time.
I got more warm blankets and into to my little holding area on my cot (or whatever they call it) and I felt sort of like a horse in a stable. We had curtains but most of them are were open and people were just waiting there ready to go into the operating room. An Anesthesiologist (not mine though) came to talk to me ask me a few questions about if I hadn't eaten our night and a few other things. He then left me to blankly stare at the ceiling. I didn't mind though, I used this time to pray and make sure that I felt totally at peace with what was about to happen.
A woman was rolled into the holding area across from me, and she was clearly in pain. I felt really sorry for her, she was crying. I then heard a familiar voice with a heavy southern accent and she said "are you in pain honey? well it's Christmas! what kind of medicine do you want? I'll get you some medicine just hold on a minute." I then realized that that was the anesthesiologist I had when I had my emergency C-section with my son. I had to be put under and she was the one that did it. She put me totally at ease and I had good memories of her.
Then as fate has it, she saw me just laying there and asked if I wanted a magazine or something. I said no, but then I told her that I remembered her from when I had my son. We talked about how he was doing and she was just really sweet and she helped ease my mind even further.
My actual anesthesiologist finally came in and gave me some medicine that would relax me and make me a calm when I entered the operating room. Shortly after that my neurosurgeon and his entourage came and made sure that he was operating on the right side and marked it with a marker.
This was it. A nurse came to push me to the operating room. My Anesthesiologist came up on my left side and started talking to me about his son who is due to be born the day after my son was born. He and the nurse were making chitchat with me. They put a mask over my face which I assumed was just oxygen, and I thought that they would have me countdown as they had previously with my C-section. But they didn't. I tried to tell them my vision was getting blurry but before I could get anything out I was unconscious.
After what seemed like only a few minutes I woke up but I couldn't open my eyes yet... but I was conscious and I could hear. The nurse was asking me if I needed more pain medication, but I wasn't really aware of how much in pain I was in. I do remember I felt a dull burning and aching feeling in the middle of my back. Later I was told the surgery took about an hour and my recovery also took about an hour.
I remember being rolled to my recovery area where my husband and my grandmother and my mother could come in. I remember almost crying because when I flexed my right leg I had no more sciatic pain. The only pain that I had was a dull incision pain in my back.
My husband, mother, and grandmother told me that the surgeon said that the surgery was very easy for him. There were three chunks of disc that were very easy for him to take out and it didn't take him very long at all. He said he was surprised I was walking so well because of the size of the herniation. He gave the analogy of the disc material pushing into my nerves like a football helmet being shoved up into your ribs. My incision is about 1.5 inches long, dissolving stitches on the inside and derma bond glue on the outside.
After they monitored my vitals for about an hour, I was able to change back into my own clothes and as long as I was able to go to pee, I would be able to leave. My husband helped me put on my clothes and I was amazed that I had no pain from standing up besides the pain in my back. I was able to take baby steps down the hall to the restroom and use it and then come back out. I couldn't believe it. I was ready to go home so the nurse got my stuff and put me in a wheelchair while my grandma and mother were standing there. My husband brought the car around and they pushed me down to the car. Getting in the car wasn't too difficult because of all the pain medication I was on. My husband dropped off my prescription and took me home which was really close. He got me into the bed and I laid flat down. I was in good spirits that day and I was home by around 2:30 PM. I got up a couple times with the help of my husband to shuffle around the house and walk as I had been told to do. Besides the soreness of transitioning from position to position, I was in heaven. Luckily I had a reacher, and comfy clothes on so I was set. The doctor prescribed me oxycodone and the muscle relaxer I think it is diazepam. I took it when I was supposed to and didn't miss a beat.
I'll save the next week of my recovery for my next post.