I celebrated the end of the Easter holidays with a trip to NOH for my pre operative assessment, a 6am alarm and 5 hours later we left with more information and another few weeks of waiting!
I was given a checklist of all the people we were scheduled to see during the day and a form to fill out about the conditions of your home in preparation for release from the hospital post op. First up, I was taken down for an x-ray, my consultant had ordered a bending x-ray so that he could see how flexible my spine was and thus which surgery (posterior or anterior).
We had a long discussion with my consultant, where he went through all the risks associated with the operation, what he was planning to carry out and how much of my spine he was going to fuse. (T11-L3 ± L4) Thankfully, my spine is still flexible - my curve reduces from a 42º to a 14º when bending meaning that my surgeon will be able to carry out a posterior surgery, rather than anterior and my surgery should only be a few hours. My consultant also told us that he’d requested another MRI as the one i’d had previously at Royal Berks hasn’t found it’s way to him!
After the chat with my consultant I was taken for an ECG, blood pressure checks and blood tests. The nurse said that they don’t normally do ECGs for people of my age but because of the length of the surgery and the fact that it’s the spine, they were going to do one anyway. I was told I had a “text book” blood pressure but that my veins are wiggly and shallow. It took 2 nurses and about an hour for them to get enough blood to fill the little tubes they needed. I don’t have any visible veins in my “elbow pit” so they tried my hand to no avail. As a last resort, they tried the other hand and managed to get just enough.. the nurse said I was being “stingy” but it would have to do!!
I had a chat with another nurse afterwards about the health of my lungs, heart and general health - questions about smoking, previous ailments and any medicines you take etc. After that, was a chat with another nurse about being a part of the British Spine Registry, which I joined - I think it’s just signing up to become a statistic essentially!
Following that was another chat with a different nurse that went through more questions regarding my health and the suitability of our home for returning to, she carried out a MRSA swab and then gave me a bottle of antiseptic wash to be used the night before and morning of surgery and also a tube of cream to be used 3 times the day before and once the morning of!
Finally, a little hallway chat with the Occupational Therapist about returning home and getting back to work. (essentially everything had already been covered throughout the day) It was a quick chat that concluded a very long day.
All-in-all it’s a pain-free and relatively easy process, one that goes on forever but answers a lot of questions! I’ve been told to stop taking my pill (which you have to be off of for 6 weeks before they will operate) and to swap vodka for water! I’m still waiting on a date for surgery but have had the updated MRI, it’s now been 6 weeks since my pre-op and considering they only last 12, i’m hoping to hear soon.
But for now, we wait. Again!