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Thread: Back surgery?

  1. #31
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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    I saw the surgeon, Dr. Brodkey, again on Friday. My sister came with me. He gave us an even more detailed tour of my MRI, showing just how miniscule the opening for the nerves in the bottom vertebra is.. much smaller than I'd thought from the first visit.

    He also clarified just what the surgery and recovery would involve: three or four days in the hospital (which is about what you said yours took, Ellie),

    and then... well, it wasn't quite what I thought when he said last time that I'd need 3 or 4 weeks in a rehab place:

    I could go back home, but I would need someone to come live with me, or I'd need to go stay with someone else. In other words, I'd need someone who would take care of me, to help me with things I wouldn't be able to do alone at that point, like take a shower every day. I said, there's no one who could come stay with me and no one else I could go stay with for that.

    That's when he said, well then you'll need to go to a (this time he didn't use the euphemism of rehab place) ... nursing home. For about 3 weeks. So that is the same as before.

    I asked, how about a home health person, and he said that might work. So I guess I need to find out more about what is involved in getting one of them and just what they would do.

    I also need to find out just how much everything is going to cost and how to pay for it. I have Medicare and a Medicare-supplement policy with Standard Life, but I somehow doubt they'd pay for everything.

    I again asked Dr. Brodkey just how much time I have to explore options before I have to do something. He said, if I start having a lot of numbness and/or losing my balance a lot, that's a sign that nerve function is being affected and we'd better act quickly then.

    We made another appointment for me to see him again in six weeks, so I guess he feels I'll be okay for that much time, at least.

    I'm looking into getting another opinion from surgeons in the University of Michigan heath system.. see if they would have any different treatment ideas. Looks pretty clear to me just what is going on in my body.

    I will be starting some Physical Therapy sessions in about a week and a half, but all the P.T. in the world isn't going to fix this, of course. I hope it might at least help to alleviate the pain, because this is getting to be quite painful.

    That's the latest, folks... Thanks for all the good wishes!
    Last edited by phesina; 05-04-2014 at 08:05 AM.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  2. #32
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    It was indeed an yes he did ^^ he walks funky now. its hard to describe but at least hes mobile an able to do almost everything he used to before it happened.

    glad it to hear its not as big as you thought it was. thats good news. hope you have luck in finding a helping person. my dad didnt have any worries about that with us here with him an yeah Medicare dont covers everything. they will up to a certain amount an then you have to pay the rest. i dont know about Medicare-supplement stuffs though. maybe they aid in the sameway as Medicare does.

    best of luck to you once more ^^

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  3. #33
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    Glad that you were able to get some more definitive answers this time. Continue to ask anything and everything that concerns your condition and treatment.

    As far as what Medicare and your supplement will pay - you will probably be surprised. Since I've been on Medicare and my supplemental insurance (United Healthcare thru AARP), I've never had to pay a penny for anything..........doctors, hospitals, labs, imaging, therapy, etc. I don't carry prescription coverage because it's rather pricey - and I don't take anything on a regular basis, and when I do have to get a prescription, then I get a huge discount as I am an AARP member. When I bought my supplemental coverage, I elected to go with the highest option possible, simply because I didn't want to be left with big medical bills to pay when Medicare didn't cover it all. I don't even have to pay any deductibles or co-pay - everything that Medicare leaves sitting on the table, United pays. Can't beat that - and both Medicare and United have paid out a HUGE amount of money for me.

    Keep us posted, Pat. I hope that everything works out for the best for you.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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    Thanks, Ellie. After your surgery, did you have someone who came to stay with you or you stayed with them, to help you with things like taking a shower? Or were you able to function on your own right after your surgery?

    Pat
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vette View Post
    It was indeed an yes he did ^^ he walks funky now. its hard to describe but at least hes mobile an able to do almost everything he used to before it happened.

    glad it to hear its not as big as you thought it was. thats good news. hope you have luck in finding a helping person. my dad didnt have any worries about that with us here with him an yeah Medicare dont covers everything. they will up to a certain amount an then you have to pay the rest. i dont know about Medicare-supplement stuffs though. maybe they aid in the sameway as Medicare does.

    best of luck to you once more ^^
    I'm glad your dad did so well, Vette.

    That is something along the line of what I heard: that Medicare pays up to a certain amount, 20 days or something, and then after that it's another something like 70 days before the other policy kicks in. That would leave me thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. I need to check all this out further.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  6. #36
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    Delaware, USA - The First State/Diamond State - home of The Blue Hens
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    Quote Originally Posted by phesina View Post
    Thanks, Ellie. After your surgery, did you have someone who came to stay with you or you stayed with them, to help you with things like taking a shower? Or were you able to function on your own right after your surgery?

    Pat
    I was actually functioning pretty much on my own and with no trouble at all, and I just wasn't allowed to drive for 2 weeks, and of course no bending or heavy lifting for a while. I live in a mulit-generation household. I sold this house to my son and his wife (now ex-wife ) at a dirt cheap price, with the stipulation that I was part of the package. So at the time, I had both of them to help if needed, and also my grandson. I still have my son and grandson (he's Steve's from a previous marriage), and Steve's girlfriend is here too. I don't anticipate having any more trouble this time, than I did last time - just can't do much in the way of bending and/or lifting. You might want to consider picking up a shower bench or stool - that way you can sit and not be concerned with the possibility of falling.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  7. #37
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    Mar 2006
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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    I just got a call: I now have an appointment on Thursday, June 5 with an orthopedic surgeon at U-M.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  8. #38
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    Aug 2004
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by phesina View Post
    I just got a call: I now have an appointment on Thursday, June 5 with an orthopedic surgeon at U-M.
    Good to hear. You might just get a whole bunch of new and great information!
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by phesina View Post
    I just got a call: I now have an appointment on Thursday, June 5 with an orthopedic surgeon at U-M.
    That's great news, Pat. I have a feeling that you'll get get a whole lot more accomplished and more definitive answers there. University teaching hospitals normally have only the best doctors and researchers on their staff. It took the Univ of MD to save my life, after a couple of local "doctors" almost killed me.

    Keep us posted. On June 5th my surgery will be over and done with, and I can sit at home (hopefully not in rehab) with my laptop and recuperate and catch up on everything.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    13,379
    As Dr. Brodkey said when I asked about symptoms for increasing severity, if I start experiencing numbness or losing my balance.. both would signify that nerve function damage is starting to occur.

    Well, last Tuesday there was some numbness on the top of my right foot and the leg was more sore.. this got more intense Wednesday.

    Boy was I getting scared!

    But Thursday the numbness had subsided somewhat, and it hasn't been nearly so bad since. I thought, well maybe whatever nerve had that gotten more pinched to cause the numbness, maybe it has somehow unpinched, something moved back to unpinch it some. In other words, maybe this is not a progressive condition that will just keep getting worse and worse.

    Meanwhile, on Thursday I called U-M, said I was having increased symptoms and could my appointment possibly be moved up from 6/5? They rescheduled it, also with Dr. Patel, for 5/27 . That's somewhat better, anyway. I don't want to suddenly have to rush to schedule surgery after only having seen one surgeon.

    So that's the latest. It's still more painful to get around.

    Pat
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  11. #41
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    Aug 2004
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Pat - I hope you have a solution soon! It will be interesting to hear what Dr. Patel has to say - an orthopedic approach compared to the neurological approach. HUGS!
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  12. #42
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    Delaware, USA - The First State/Diamond State - home of The Blue Hens
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    Sorry that you're having more issues with his whole mess, Pat. But yes - the numbness and balance impairment are all a part of it, and I have it all the time, tho some times are not as bad as others. Ive had this since the cervical fiasco, and then the lumbar issue made it worse. I'm hoping that my surgery on 5/28 will alleviate some of that, as well as eliminating the pain. What I find strange,, is that the leg pain only goes down to the knee, then the numbness kicks in with the foot. I wonder why there's no compromise between the knee and ankle??? I do have swelling in my foot and ankle as well as numbness on the top of the foot and the underside of 3 toes - the middle to the little toe - but not nearly as much on the 2 others. Is this what you're experiencing? My balance which is crappy to start with, is getting progressively worse, so I really have to be extra careful. You will probably see that the balance and especially the numbness will come and go - but it won't go away - so if this new doctor recommends the surgery, you really should give it serious thought.

    Boy - maybe someone should just put both of us in a burlap sack and dump us off a high bridge. Just kidding of course...........
    Last edited by pomtzu; 05-11-2014 at 03:15 PM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    13,379
    Thanks so much, Candace and Ellie.

    My sister reminded me that Dr. Brodkey had said there could be "episodes" of numbness and balance impairment. I haven't had balance trouble, though I feel like I've caught myself now and then just before I might be losing balance a bit. I don't know if this is really happening or I'm just more sensitive to it maybe happening.

    The pain has been going down my lower right leg too. The numbness is just on the top middle towards the front of my right foot, not under any of the toes.

    So it isn't exactly the same as what you've been experiencing, Ellie, but I do notice just how similar it all is.

    Thanks again, and .
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  14. #44
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    I saw Dr. Patel, the orthopedic surgeon at U-M, last Thursday. My sister's partner Helen came with me. Dr. Patel thinks I just need to have fusion of the lowest level, L5-S1 (and not the next one or two up as Dr. Brodkey proposes) and laminectomy. He also doesn't seem to think I'd need to be in a rehab facility as long, but still it would be 12 weeks rehab, during which time I could not lift things. Helen said she and Mary Kay would help, and I know they would, but they both are very busy and there is only so much they could do.

    I asked him what the different approaches would be by an ortho surgeon as opposed to a neurosurgeon. He said they do pretty much the same things at this point. They also often work together.

    Marie, a good friend of Mary Kay and Helen's, has had back surgery done BY Dr. Patel. She really likes him. I am meeting her for lunch tomorrow to pick her brain.

    I didn't remember to ask Dr. Patel: how much of the surgery does he actually do, or does he supervise others doing some of it. I did ask Marie, and she said she'd asked him this. He told her he does all the surgery himself, and since it is a teaching hospital he may have students there, but he demonstrates to them what he is doing, doesn't hand off any of the work. That was a relief!

    I have had 4 physical therapy visits so far' 4 more are scheduled. I think it helps some, but I'm still in quite a bit of pain if I stand or walk for much times at all.

    That's the latest..
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  15. #45
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    Delaware, USA - The First State/Diamond State - home of The Blue Hens
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    So glad you posted this, Pat. I was going to send you a PM to see how you made out with the consultation. It's good that Dr Patel will do the actual surgery and that you'll know exactly who is doing what. That is the same with Dr Ludwig - UMMC is a teaching hospital and he has others there to observe and possibly assist, but I know that Dr L is the one doing the actual procedure. Makes a big difference to the patient to know just whose hands you are in.

    Have you decided to go ahead with it? Keep us posted.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

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