Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Post-Op Report

Monday was a long day.  It was also extremely hot.  Mum and I flew to Toronto for my follow-up with Dr. Gentili.  The basic gist of the appointment...

Posterior fossa decompression surgery looks like it was successful.  Dr. Gentili is very pleased with my recovery and progress thus far.  
My scars look good - the head is great, the thigh is not as good, a little hypertrophic - it's red and wider than it should be.  I can get some serum to reduce the look of the scar if I want to. But as I see it, it is a battle scar, not a beauty mark.
I can start driving in about two weeks.  But no driving in Toronto - hahaha!!  And just for short periods of time to start.  No 3 hour trips for a while.
Dr. G (I'm tired of typing his whole name, sorry folks, you get who I'm talking about) isn't confident that the numbness in my left leg is Chiari related (I disagree with this, but he is the doctor) and said if it persists that I should bring it up with my family doctor.  I also have some disc issues in my back which might be why I have the numbness.
I was told to see my eye doctor to make sure I don't have any retinal issues as I've been seeing more spots and halos than normal and Dr. G wants this monitored but doesn't think it is from the surgery.
I will have an MRI done here and send the results to Dr. G.  He will use the MRI as a base line to monitor my herniation and the arachnoid cyst in my right temple.  If the MRI looks good I don't need to see him until June next year.  If he sees something amiss he will let me know and I will see him in December or January.
After checking the clinical notes for the length of my herniation (sorry, didn't record it, but the tonsils were into the first vertebra) and if he took a picture during surgery of my brainstem (sorry, guess I didn't this time) he also looked for anything about my shoulder (nope, sorry, don't see anything and the positioning during the brain portion of the surgery should not cause my shoulder distress).  For the brain surgery I am laid on my face (obviously) with my arm externally rotated at my sides, not splayed out in a T.  But he does not know what happened when they moved me or rolled me over like Raggedy Ann.  He is sorry about my shoulder issues and did concur that the orthopaedic I found at Toronto Western is an excellent shoulder specialist and recommended I be referred to him by my family dr. as well.
Dr. G left the return to work discussion up to me and my family dr.

Mum and I walked approximately 7 miles in the 40C / 104F temperatures.  We walked through the Eaton's Centre, China Town, to the hospital, back through Kensington Market and back to the shuttle to the airport.  We were hot and exhausted, but it was a good day.  We had a few good laughs and a really nice early supper at Red Lobster.  And thank goodness for air conditioned airports and free cold drinks. And our flight was only about a half hour late getting in, so in all it was only a 18 hour day.

Today was the trip to my family doctor to discuss the shoulder and the return to work plan.

Family doctor (from hereon in fam dr.) did the referral to the second orthopaedic surgeon - the one at Toronto Western.
Fam dr. also did my referral for my brain MRI at Dr. G's request, sooner than later.  Hopefully it will be in the next couple of weeks instead of the traditional 6 to 12 week wait we usually have here for MRIs.
Return to work - hahahahahahaha - not possible with my shoulder right now.  My shoulder is getting worse by the day and the activities I can do with it are less and less.  I cannot hold a bath towel with my arm outstretched to fold it.  I cannot pour the kettle without supporting my arm with my left hand.  It's killing me to type my post, but I can't stand typing left-handed only... And the pain gets worse as the day goes on to the point that by 3:00 or 4:00 I'm usually very uncomfortable and bordering on wanting to go to the emergency room.  (but what's the point, they can't do anything for it anyway)  It burns in my shoulder, radiates down to my fingers, down my clavicle into my chest, up my neck into my jaw and ears, and down my spine.  OUCH!!!! And no pain killers work.  Where was I?? Oh yeah, even without the shoulder issue my fam dr. would like me to have 4 more weeks off of work.  But because of the shoulder 6 to 8 weeks more off work, minimum.  We will revisit the return to work sometime early October.
Fam dr. would like me to have the MRI results before I return to work.  And if it's in the stars, the cards, the heavens, and any other thing that could work in my favour, also to see an orthopaedic before I return to work.  So I'm on extended "vacation".

After my appointment I stopped in at my office to let my two bosses know what was up and talk to the HR department about the end of my short term disability coverage and the start of my long term.  Good news there, there should not be a lapse between the two plans and when we get close to the end of October I just have to pay my fam dr. to fill in more paperwork to confirm my symptoms and that I cannot yet perform my duties at work.  (I have not mentioned how much I dislike having to pay $30 for my fam dr. to write on a form for my insurance company telling them I cannot yet return to work.  But them's the breaks right??)  Both my bosses were in meetings, so I had to hang around for a while.  I chatted with a couple of colleagues and then brought my bosses up to date.  Both are sad that I cannot come back right now, but neither want me to rush back either.  My male boss noticed that I'm still having trouble with the cognitive thinking and transferring it to speech, but he was nice about it - said he could live with it.  (not in a condescending way, typing it out sounds condescending...)  It doesn't happen all the time but only when I'm trying to think quickly - like responding to a question.  My female boss misses me and really wishes me nothing but the best (she is possibly the nicest person I've ever met).  She too said once I am back she will accept any difficulties I might have returning to my duties and we will work with them so I can be the assistant I was before my surgery.

So, 6 to 8 more weeks off, at home, continuing to heal my head and hopefully hear from an orthopaedic!!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad to hear that recover is going fairly well considering all the pain, and numbness.
    How is your shoulder doing today?

    Much Love~