Sunday, August 22, 2010

A pain in the neck - surgery postponed

What a couple of days it has been!  I was all set after my trip to the clinic last week to see the dietitian.  I had my goodie bag with all the tools I could possibly need for the few days post surgery, I had Noo booked in for the whole week at day care, my parents were set to stay down in the city to help out, I'd even made up some yummy broth in little baby food containers to help get me through the liquid phase.  

On Friday morning, Noo and I were going to drive up to the Blue Mountains (a 2.5 hour drive from here in the city of Sydney) so I could watch the federal election countdown with my parents on Saturday night.  We woke up at our usual time around 6.30am after what was a particularly restful sleep.  My son shares my double bed with me.  He has his own bed, always has had, but has spent most of his life sleeping in with me.  Most of the time I don't mind this - he is a human hot water bottle who loves to cuddle - sometimes it can be terrible as I get heels and toes in the face if he is having an unsettled night.

So I get woken up with the usual "hi! hi!", cuddle, cuddle, "hi!" and I feel fine.  We then do the usual - me - trip to the loo, Noo - change nappy, get brekky, feed Noo, start to tidy up, put washing on, then ouch, oooh, my neck hurts a bit.  I'm thinking, what a pain, I'll have to do that long drive up with a stiff neck.  I start rubbing from behind my right ear along my right shoulder because its really starting to pain now.  After getting Noo cleaned up and out of the highchair I put The Wiggles (Noo's favourite show) and lay down on the floor thinking I just need to straighten out a bit.  Nup, that hurts more.  By this time I'm thinking I won't be able to drive on the motorway until this settles down a bit. My movement by this stage is really starting to get restricted.

So I call my parents and say I'm going to be delayed.  I tell them that my neck is killing me but it should pass in a couple of hours because I've got a heat pack on it and that usually helps (the same thing happened three weeks before but not nearly as badly).  I couldn't of course take anti inflammatory medication because my surgery was on Monday and I wasn't suppose to take any of that within three days of the op so I just take a couple of paracetamol.

Not long after that the pain is so excruciating and I can't move my neck at all. I have to hold it kind of face forward and slightly to the left. It feels like all the muscles on the right side of my neck have scrunched up and tightened. My shoulders are moving further up toward my ears trying to relieve the strain.  I call my mum again, by now I'm crying. Really crying. I hadn't felt pain like that since I gave birth.  It was mind blowing, in a bad way. Noo was being really good just staring at The Wiggles occasionally looking around looking a bit lost and not knowing what to do.  I've always hid my tears from him but there was no way I could control it on Friday. I was completely freaking out. What was I going to do? Mum and dad were miles away and my sister was at work.

On the phone I'm saying to mum "talk me through this! I'm freaking out, what do I do?". Oh my god, it was horrific. Finally she says she'll call my brother to come in and help out with Noo. By this stage I'm still thinking I just need a really good rub and everything will be ok. Then my brother shows up and asks if I want him to take me to Emergency. Instead of panicking he provides much needed calm so that I can start thinking again. 

My sister then gets in contact, she can get me into an osteopath early in the afternoon. I've never believed in osteos - I'm a physiotherapy person - but I couldn't get into the physio so the osteo it is. As I live in the city and there's no parking in the centre of town anyway, my brother, Noo and I walk in through one of the busiest times of the day. Suits are hastily marching everywhere, trying to make the most of their lunch hour. I'm walking along like a freak with my head cocked awkwardly, my hair still wet and clumsily held back with a band I struggled to put on, desperately trying not to bump into anyone. Each step is like a jolt of lightning through my shoulder and I'm gasping out loud as I move.

In my haste to the leave the apartment I've not checked the time and we're half an hour early.  I leave my brother with Noo in the stroller so they can go for a walk while I get this disaster looked at. While I'm sitting in the waiting room, I start to think "what the hell am I doing here?". Why didn't I just go straight to the ER as my brother suggested? Time goes by and finally my name is called.  The guy seems nice enough and I'm trying desperately not to cry. He tells me to lay down on the massage table but I can't move! Leaning to the side trying to lower myself is out of this world kind of pain. He insists I lay down and helps me on to my back and I'm screaming. Its like torture. Pure torture as pain shoots left, right and centre through my neck, my shoulders, my spine, my right arm. I'm crying as my body refuses to yield until finally I find myself in a horizontal position with my head in this guys hands.

The osteo attempts to rotate my head to see how much range I have and its extremely limited. He's telling me all this stuff and asking me questions but I'm barely listening, I'm just trying not to move too much. I so should have gone to the hospital. I need drugs! I need them now! Heavy ones. Morphine maybe. Because this is hardcore. Finally I'm back sitting up and I tell the guy I'm off to the hospital and hightale it outa there after dropping a considerable amount of cash just to have some guy hold my head. 

I leave the pseudo-physician thinking that's it, I seriously am off to the hospital until I realise that that will just cause more waiting and the pain is so bad I just don't think I can withstand it any more. My general practitioner's office is near but closed Friday arvos. Luckily though when I meet up with my bro and Noo again we find one just about 20 metres down George Street from where I am waiting for them.

I see a GP who, unlike the non-doctor osteopath, can prescribe me painkillers.  He doesn't even touch my body and says I should take it very easy and not to have anyone attempt to manipulate the area until the pain subsides. I tell him I'm due to have gastric band surgery on Monday. "No, you're not." I have a "wry neck" apparently and I won't be fit for surgery for at least a week. I'm shattered but not surprised.

After reading so many stories about other people's surgery and how they feel post-op, I know that most complain of pain in the left shoulder as a result of gas being pumped into the abdomen during the procedure. All day I had been thinking I don't think I could bare the pain of the recovery plus this neck problem but still I was disappointed to hear it from the doctor.

When I return home pumped with Di-Gesic and anti inflammatory meds I call the clinic and tell them I have to postpone. They are actually quite good about it and I'm now set for 6 September. Two more weeks of eating chocolate! Well that's what I am telling myself to combat the feelings of disappointment. It still leaves me four months to drop the kegs before our Christmas holiday down the coast too.

So that's my story and the countdown continues. 15 sleeps to go.



Seeing in colour said...

Wow!!! this was heavy.... you poor thing... i had slipped discs in my back so i know how crazy painfull this whole kind of stuff can be. Glad your getting better, dont worry it will all happen soon enough!


Bec said...

Hi, hope you are feeling better. I had a frozen shoulder a few years ago, and that was painful enough. Rest up!

Sam said...

I hope you feel better soon. Sorry to hear of the delay in your surgery, but it is better to be felling well before you go in:)

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