Dead, or better

By Mick Mouse · Sep 11, 2013 · ·
  1. Mick Mouse
    I am prepping for major spinal surgery and the doc says the odds are 50/50.....dead, or better. Not healed, just better. I am scared, but courage is facing your fears head on and not allowing them to stop you. I have been a great many things, and not all of them good, but I have never been a coward. But I would be a fool and a liar if I said I was not scared.

    This might be the last post on my blog. I.....we will know in about 90 days or so.

    it has been one hell of a ride for the last 50 years, and I have no regrets. Well, that is not true. I regret not being kinder to those I know and love. I regret the stupid and senseless arguments I have had with my friends here. I regret the taking of lives I did while serving my country. I regret not being a nice person. I guess I have a lot of regrets after all! But you can't change the past, only the future.

    I just hope I have one. I am, and have been, honored beyond all measure to be a part of this family, and I hope to return.


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  1. Mick Mouse
    Well, it seems as if I made it. Too early to tell the full extent of the "recovery", but, barring any major infections, I should heal up completely in another several weeks. Whether or not I am "fixed" is a different story, though!

    i will say this though-things have changed. Things that I thought were important suddenly seem to be quite childish, differences of opinion on what may be right or wrong just don't matter to me anymore, and people who want to argue over stupid shit can do that by themselves-i am not obligated to raise the intelligence of others, much less give instruction into the meaning and proper uses of sarcasm and opinion versus stated fact. Of course, 14 hours under the knife and having your heart stop twice tends to give one a unique perspective on what is really important. My focus is on my friends and those who have stuck by me, as well as those that i can help with what little knowledge I have, and not opinionated assholes who have to dissect and find fault with every little comment or opinion made, regardless of context or meaning. Which is a good description of myself, more often than not!

    I will be in and out quite sporadically for the next several weeks. I have no strength in my upper body, and even typing gets to me after a while, but I am looking into one of those "type what you talk" software programs, so I can just speak and it gets on the screen. Doc says typing is good for the hand coordination and muscle control, but it fucking hurts. Maybe my refusal to utilize narcotic pain meds has a little something to do with that though! They pumped me full of shit while I was unable to do anything about it, but I stopped that as soon as I could. I'm not going down that road again. Ever!
  2. Potter
    YAY!!!! Good to see you alive!
  3. Mick Mouse
    Maintaining on Diclofenac, Cymbalta, and Zanaflex, with fairly good-sized amounts of cannabis thrown in for good measure. Inversion therapy to relieve stress on certain vertebra, meditation techniques, and essential oils have been worked into the regimen as well. The cannabis is mostly used topically and in the form of an oil, as well as edibles. I have pretty much stopped smoking it completely, except for the morning 'wake and bake ' or when I am waiting for the edibles to take effect.

    Still no narcotics!
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    I echo Potter's sentiments: Yay! It's great to see you posting again. Please continue to tell us know how things progress.

    Your blogs are such an important, well-written aspect of DF. I'm looking forward to the next (positive) chapter. "Good to see you alive," and thriving.
  5. Mick Mouse
    Went and saw the neurosurgeon today. She said that everything was looking good and it looked like there was no need for further this time. The lower back is as good as it will ever get, now, instead of 4 problem areas, there is only one, and it has been reduced to about 65% of its former "size". The cervical area, on the other hand, is a whole different story! They reduced the pressure on the spinal cord in two locations, but there are still two areas where they could not get to sufficiently, for some reason. It would appear that the problem consists of unwanted bone growth-there are at least 4 "bony growths" that are staggered between C-3 and C-6 and are pressing on the spinal cord itself, and this was not found until the end of the procedure. They elected to stop at this point and zip me back up, and "re-visit" the situation "as needed" in the future. Yay! The neuro-cutter also suggested the addition of Lyrica to my med regimen, and I will take that up with my PCP at the next visit.

    Still opiate and opioid free!
  6. Beenthere2Hippie
    Sorry I didn't catch your update till today. I'm glad to hear a great deal, though not all, of your spinal issues have improved. Please let us know how the Lyrica regimen works out for you. So good to know you're on the mend, and narcotic-free! There may be hope for all of us chronic pain sufferers yet.
  7. Mick Mouse
    Fuck. Shit Fuck. Shit Fuck Son of a Bitch!

    On April 28th, I will be going back into Swedish Medical Center so the good doc from the Colorado Comprehensive Spinal Institute can get his hands messy again. The neck didn't hold up, so we are going to do a multiple fusion at C3, C4, and C5.

    It would seem that, when assessing physical damage of the spinal cord, they look to the measurement of the diameter of the channel in which the cord is located. 12mm is reasonably normal, 9 mm is pretty bad, and anything under 8 is considered "catastrophic", because the cord is in physical contact with the bone and it is like dynamite with a wet fuse-it is going to blow, but when?

    Mine is 7.1 mm. In three separate places.

    Wonderful. So, even MORE titanium in my body!

    Labs on the 16th, followed by the Q & A session, then under the knife again 2 weeks later. What a day!
  8. Mick Mouse
    Well, Wednesday is fast approaching, and i will be going in early for all of the labs and prep work, reviews, and all of the other crap that goes along with all of this. The doc wants me to stay in the hospital for 72 hours after the surgery, but I am thinking more like 36 to 48. I hate fucking laying there! Wake me up, let me pee, and then get me the hell out of there as quickly as possible. My opinion is that if I am making a big effort to get out, they will let me go rather than put up with me!

    The doc has booked the OR for between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 hours this time. I told the wife to NOT forget the camera this time and take pictures for me, but I am thinking that I will be a swollen and bruised wreck at first.....and of course I want to share all of that with you!

    More in 2 days.
  9. Mick Mouse
    OK, I'm done and back again, to paraphrase a certain hobbit. Went in at 9:00AM on the 28th, got the giggle juice around 10:30 or so, and woke up around 5:00PM with holes in my neck and titanium plates and screws in my neck. It ended up being just a bit more extensive than we had originally planned for, instead of doing 3, 4, and 5, we ended up doing 4, 5, 6, and 7. Plus, there was a bit more reconstruction necessary than we thought at first, as well.

    I didn't do too bad this time, I had told the nurses before I went under not to have a male in front of me when I woke up because my PTSD triggers are predominantly male, and that might lead to some issues. Woke up and bitched mightily until they got that goddamn catheter out of me and then just laid there and stared out of the window, because I was also stuck there for the full three days because of the swelling in my throat and not being able to swallow, but I spent my first night home last night, with my dog not letting me out of her sight. We were both pretty happy about that. The wife is hovering over me like a drone tracking a terrorist, wanting to make sure I "have everything" I might need.

    Mi Vida Fucking Loca! Oh yeah, there are some new pics on my profile page, and I will add more when I clean this thing and we can REALLY see it!
  10. Beenthere2Hippie
    So glad to have you and your great sense of humor back home and healthy, where you belong!!! And welcome to the "Zipper on the Neck" Club, also! :D

    You have that front zipper option, right? I have the never-to-wear-a-backless-dress/shirt-again rear 14" slash-zipper myself. Very unbecoming.

    Glad you didn't mistakenly injure any nurses or health workers upon waking. Lucky them! :laugh:
  11. Mick Mouse
    Well, I popped in the CD with all of my surgical pics and was going to post a few, but I don't think I can now. It seems that they are divided up into 4 "studies', each of which has between 150 and 200 pictures. It also looks like it is an "all or nothing" deal, I cannot (so far) find a way to highlight and transfer individual pics.

    So, while these are really cool to look at, I don't think anyone would want to wade through 700-800 pics just to see 10 or 12. Plus, that would be a lot of wasted bandwidth or whatever. So, I am open to ideas!
  12. Beenthere2Hippie
    Can you open the photos in a screen program and then capture them individually? Like open in Photoshop or Paint and capture in any screen capturing program, like Screenhunter, Jing, etc? As long as you can pull up the images, you should be able to capture and re-size and transfer to here. I'm hoping...
  13. Mick Mouse
    I am running Linux Mint, rather than a Windows-based OS, so it is a little different. Also, I have not had much time to play around with it and see how to get screen shots and such. but I will eventually!
  14. Mick Mouse
    4 months out, and the surgeon says he is impressed with my ability to my age. Thanks doc, way to make me feel young again! Actually, he says I am, and have been, about a month ahead of where he expected me to be since I walked out of the hospital, and he is amazed at, as he put it, "how freakin' hard your bones are. It was like drilling into concrete!"

    Right now, The "spongy bone" has completely filled in the spaces between the vertebra and the spacers have fully incorporated. The doc is talking another 6 months or so before the "spongy bone" has completely hardened and it has fused into a solid and rigid mass. But I have been released to do whatever I want now, with the condition that I stay "within the limits of my body", so if it hurts.....stop doing it! Duh.

    Physical therapy has progressed to the point in which I am starting to use free weights to build up the lost muscle mass, but the left side remains weak, so it will be interesting to see how much I really get back.
  15. Mick Mouse
    Been a while since I updated this! Well, I am obviously still alive and kicking. PT is completed finally, which I am very glad of. I was supposed to see that surgeon this month, but got rescheduled to sometime right after the first of the new year, But all I expect him to say is "things are coming along nicely", show me the new xrays, and maybe one more visit.

    I have actually ended up with quite a bit more ROM that I was expecting. Well, maybe I should say I didn't lose anywhere near as much as I expected! All of the original loss of use has returned on the left side and I have increased my TRT from 50 mg topical to 75mg, so along with increased free weight use, I have actually gained some muscle mass. ROM is good in every axis except ear to shoulder, that is very limited. But who in the hell uses that motion regularly anyway? Also lost some weight, which is good on the lower back and knees.

    Lower back still gives me fits, but we might just be addressing that issue next. I still have concerns about lower back surgery, it is a world of difference from cervical. For one, cervical does not support the weight of the upper body, so it does not have to be so precise. I'll look into it a bit more, I guess. At least it is not as pressing as this one was!
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