There simply must be a disclaimer that I am writing this about 9 hours post-op, so if there are typos…I just don’t care. :) I want to make sure I document this for myself and for others as well. I feel well enough to write, so write I shall!
The anxiety and heaviness from so much planning, researching, wondering, worry was lifted yesterday when I got on the plane. It was really, finally happening. Flying sucks with SIJD (SI Joint Dysfunction) btw. My husband was pretty hilarious though and did a great job wheeling me around the airports.
We arrived at around midnight and didn’t get settled in bed until around 1:30 or after, and had to get up at 4:45 am to be at the hospital at 6:00 am. Yeah. I planned that well, hah!
I checked into Surgery and sat in the beautiful waiting room at St. Patrick’s. The room was walled with windows with a spectacular a view of the mountains. I started to cry…not an ugly cry. Tears of relief, of bearing the weight of working full time with chronic pain, having a beautiful toddler that I can’t run with outside, ugly insurance denials & appeals, bladder disease, still doing bible study & serving at church in pain, and the monumental attack of the enemy against my faith that God must not love me because he hasn’t healed me. The tears rolled down my cheeks as I was about to step into the first part of my recovery. I made it. God brought me to this moment. It’s surreal when you stand in a moment that will be a “Before and After” event…so many questions, uncertainties, and excitement. I will run again.
Before I had left for the hospital, I prayed that God would open my eyes to see him in a tangible way again. Things have become so dry and distant between us and I needed him to show up today, to give me the strength I needed and to show me that I’m not alone in this. I can’t do anything well unless I know He’s there.
Show up, he did!
So they took me back and I got all prepped. It was SO funny because “L” was my nurse and she was the same nurse that several of my Facebook groupies had, too. So she said hi to me for them and we really had a great laugh and conversation on the power of the internet and Dr. Beck’s fan club. We also chatted about how the SIJD patients that come to Dr. Beck from Facebook are some of the most informed and proactive patients they’ve ever met.
Dr. Beck showed up a few minutes late and I suppose he does that routinely because the nurses were betting what his arrival time would be. It was interesting to observe how they see him…He’s not only a rockstar to Facebook groupies, but he’s apparently a rockstar to the staff at St. Patrick’s. They all love him and speak so highly of him! It’s so encouraging to see this short, distinctive gentleman walk in, sporting an “old Harvard professor” look, yet is the most humble doctor I’ve ever met. He wants to heal people.
They’ve started using the SI Joint research file I compiled (over 100+ pages) in all of their insurance appeals and have already won two with it…hollar!! When I brought it up, he totally knew who I was and that I had been working with his staff on that. I was so appreciative. I did ask him for a discount somewhat joking-but-not-joking, and he said he would’ve loved to but his hands are tied with the hospital. He said he is currently trying to negotiate lower rates for his self-pay patients and by the look on his face, he was being genuine. This man cares.
The whole staff cares! My nurse came over and prayed with me the most beautiful prayer. I stopped to realize that I was in a “Providence” hospital with a praying and believing staff. Any anxiety I had disappeared in that moment. Peace washed over me. I had more than one nurse and tech comment on how calm I was and how my blood pressure stayed low & steady the whole time. One nurse asked me how I was staying so cool and collected and I simply said “this has been soaked over in prayer for a long time.”
They gave me a bunch of meds, especially since I get nauseous with narcotics. Tylenol, Gabapentin (ew), Pepcid, a muscle relaxer, etc. I think it’s somewhat sad that I knew what every pill was and that I have to be SO over-invested in being my own health advocate.
The next phase of surgery went quick. They wheeled me back, drugged me up, and I don’t remember much else there. I woke up in recovery in some serious pain, folks. Serious. They gave me everything they had – Fentanyl, Dilaudid, Percoset, etc. It’s very disorienting to wake up like that – I wish they would let the family members there, that’s when I could’ve really used my husband holding my hand.
They finally got the pain to a more manageable level and wheeled me to recovery. I had some snacks and some juice. Then came the moment of truth – standing and trying to walk to go to the bathroom. I stood okay but I needed assistance walking. I leaned on my husband’s arm and did most of the walking/limping myself, but there was a lot of pain. I was initially disappointed that I wasn’t strutting my stuff like a pimp, but alas, I have asked my husband to pick up some crutches. When we got back to the hotel, they had no wheelchair, so I had to hobble into the lobby and then we used their baggage cart to get me upstairs. Hah! Goodbye, pride.
I am extremely happy with the procedure and staff. I couldn’t recommend them more highly and I am SO glad I cancelled my iFuse surgery! I may be limping, but I AM bearing weight. IFuse would have been at least 3 weeks with a walker, no weight-bearing at all. I’ll take this. I can do this.
So to wrap up this surprisingly long post, I want to tell you how God answered my prayer to see/hear him in a tangible way so I wouldn’t feel alone in this. While I was under, I had a dream/vision. Mind you, I’ve had a few surgeries and have NEVER dreamed or remembered anything at all. In this dream/vision, there was a man standing there. A regular looking man in plain clothes – not anyone I recognized. He stood about 15 feet from me or so and when he spoke, his mouth never moved. I can’t tell you how I know, but I KNOW he was an angel. He just stood there watching me calmly and said “You are not alone. I am here with you.” And that’s what he did…stood there with me.
And that, my friends, is exactly what I needed.
I will be blogging throughout my recovery, so you can read the rest of my SI Joint Dysfunction journey here or feel free to subscribe to new posts right to your inbox.
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