Robert has had back problems for years and the past couple of years it has gotten really bad. Really bad. He has tried nearly everything from physical therapy to numerous surgeries to strong medications. He HATES the medications for their numerous side effects. He even has to be on oxygen at night because the meds decrease his levels when he sleeps. Luckily we both like the white noise of the oxygen machine.
Anyway, he recently had a spinal cord stimulator inserted. It has little wires that sit very close to the spine and leads that touch certain nerves along it and basically shock the nerves and block some of the pain. It's all hooked to a battery pack that is put in his um, bum and he has to charge it once a week with a belt. He has to carry around a remote controller for it and can adjust it depending on his pain level. My kids think he's bionic and his friends at work said that they were going to try to hack it and control it for themselves.
When he was on the operating table, a scan was taken and everything was in the right place. They moved him to a bed and woke him up to give feedback while programming it. He kept telling them that he was feeling it too high. They told him the swelling was causing him to feel it weird and they would try again later. Well, come to find out, one of the wires did slip out of place and was too high. So they had to do it all again after only a few weeks. Fun.
The second time around I knew what we were in for. I bought frozen pizzas, froze some crock pot meals, cleaned the house (with help) and got everything ready.
His Dr. planned to just pull down the wayward wire and the whole thing should be relatively quick. But he was in the OR for a long time. When they finally wheeled his bed in, after a few hours, there were too many nurses with him (for my comfort) and his Dr. was telling me things I didn't quite understand. Apparently the original wire had already started to scar into place so they had to remove the whole device and put in a new one, including a new battery pack. Then in the process of placing the new wires, a needle had punctured the spinal fluid sack and the fluid started leaking. They did a blood patch which means taking a bunch a blood from his arm and putting it in to the leak and letting it clot and form a plug. Robert had to be flat for a week and would have major pain in both his back and his head. He wasn't even allowed to lift his head a little to watch T.V.
I just wanted everyone out of that room!! I was not going to cry in front of them. Robert had no such thoughts and let his tears flow. That might have been because the San Antonio Spurs were playing that night and he knew he couldn't watch it.
I know it wasn't as bad as it could have been but seeing my strong husband lying there in huge pain and crying just about broke me.
The next few days were hard on us both and involved sponge baths, a dark and quiet room for him, bendy straws and positioning a mirror over his head so he could watch T.V. Family brought meals, cleaned house, watched the kids, mowed the lawn and really took care of us.
When Robert and I talked about things later, we found that we had both felt that things would not go as planned. We both knew that with anything spine related things can go horribly wrong and could have been so much worse. Thank you to everybody who prayed for us and served us.
We both feel that Robert was blessed and he sensed help from Heaven. We are so grateful for that. We both feel very loved.
Today at the gym I saw a girl who I have known and loved since I moved to her school in second grade. I remember that I always envied the cool stairs outside her apartment and I wrote a poem in 4th grade about how pretty and nice she was. She still is.
She works as a nurse for the foster care system and I would imagine she sees some very awful and sad things. She even got a little tearful and told me that it had been a hard day. Of course, she didn't say anything more.
Talking to her, once again, reminded me of the goodness of people. This world is very dark and ugly at times. But there are strong, beautiful people who are brave enough to wade through the ugliness to bring a light to those in need. I love that she still shows emotion, obviously worried and caring. She is truly an instrument in Gods hands. I can only hope to be like her.