Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘Cerebrospinal fluid’

Bed Rest Buddy

Duke hung with me all day in spite of the rain.

Duke hung with me all day in spite of the rain.

I spent another day on bed rest.  And this time, I wasn’t cranky with anyone, didn’t chase anyone away, and although irritated, I wasn’t miserable.  I wasn’t comfortable either, but I wasn’t miserable or overtly cranky with anyone.  The incisions are less painful today, but my headache is more of a pain.

My hope is that two days in a row of bed rest will allow the back area to heal a bit more fully.  The constant headache is worse when I am up than lying flat, which is a sign of a spinal fluid leak, so I would prefer the hole seal up on its own.

Actually, I would prefer the headache go away entirely!  It has to be a slow leak because the headache isn’t severe.  It is just a bit more than an annoyance.

Meanwhile, I have accepted the challenge of figuring out how to grade assignments while I am lying flat!


Sunday Sum Up #11

Week #11

This week has been quite an interesting mix of events.  I realized just how well my rehabilitation plan is working for me when I once again found my way up the stairs at the Homeless Emergency Project.  I am thrilled at where I am with the illness symptoms heading into the surgery to remove the Intrathecal Baclofen Pump.

Thursday, the long-awaited surgery to remove the pump actually happened.  As I waited to go into the surgery, I did a mental check to make sure this was indeed what I felt was the best decision.  I had no doubts it was time to let go of the pump.

Apparently, I had relief the moment the catheter tip was removed from my back Thursday because that is what I told the doctor during my surgery.  All of the hardware was removed and I am recovering from the three incisions.  I still have to wear something to keep pressure around my spine in the area where the catheter tip was to prevent a cerebral spinal fluid leak.

I spoke with the doctor and found out that there was a reason I was having so much pain and strange sensations in my back area where the catheter tip went into my spine.  It is nice to have some validation after 2 1/2 years of hearing I shouldn’t be feeling pain or that the burning torso has to be from something else.

Duke and I are taking the week off from the Homeless Emergency Project, but I will still be tending to my classes online while recovering.

The surgery pain seems to be getting slowly better each day!

Post Op Day 1: Ouchies and Answers

The day of surgery always feels better than the day after, unfortunately.  Since there are three incisions, it is a bit of a challenge to get comfortable.

The one in the back is at an angle the doctor said, and that was the only way he could get everything out back there that was attached to the catheter tip.  He said that might take a little longer to heal as well.  The other two are on either side of my tummy.

I talked to the doctor yesterday because there had been some bleeding from my back incision Thursday, and we had been watching that incision to make sure that no spinal fluid is leaking from it.

Pretty Flowers

Pretty Flowers

That is the purpose of the girdle (they call it a binder) that I showed you in yesterday’s picture—to add pressure to keep the hole where the catheter tip went into my spine from leaking.

The binder is pretty uncomfortable on the other incisions, but I am not about to remove it.

I took the day off yesterday from teaching so that I could rest.  I did rest, but the pain medications aren’t helping that much with the pain and they seem to agitate me a bit more than I would like.

The doctor kept me awake (under twilight anesthesia) while he did the back part of the surgery and he said that as soon as he got the catheter tip out, I was saying it felt better already.

My previous doctors had created a small loop there with the catheter tubing to anchor it and prevent it from pulling out of my spinal canal.  I am sure they did this because the Codman was pulled all the way out.

It is likely why I was having so much pain back there and apparently was also responsible for my torso burning with nerve pain.  I no longer have the torso burning horribly, although I may just have the incision pain competing for my attention right now.

I get to wear this girdle for two more days before switching to an Ace bandage around the back incision.  A spinal fluid leak would be quite a setback and would require a neurosurgeon going back in there and applying a patch to stop the leak.  Reminds me of fixing a hole in a flat tire, but quite a bit more of an ordeal.

Resting and being still should help prevent that as well, so that is what I am doing.  Not that I really feel like doing much else yet anyway.

Thank you all for the facebook love, the comments love, the texts, the emails, the flowers, the help and the hugs!!

Kitt O'Malley

Bipolar Writer and Mental Health Advocate


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