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Thread: 8 weeks and 2nd thoughts...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    8 weeks and 2nd thoughts...

    I don't know if it's because today marks 8 weeks to the day of my 1st of 2 surgeries (Jan. 24 & 31) - or if it's because i heard some horrific stories from my patients last week about Cooper Hospital (where i will be having mine done with Dr. Clements) - or a combination of both. But I have somehow completely freaked myself out...one of my patients told me how her father went to Cooper for a hip replacement in 2009 and ended up with MRSA and in ICU for 2 weeks due to respiratory complications from a rather "routine" orthopedic surgery. The other one said how her granddaughter went in for gall bladder removal and ended up on a ventilator b/c they punctured her lung somehow and now she's vent-dependent and lives in a LTC facility. HOLY CRAP! Now, these 2 patients have NO idea that i'm going to have surgery - this was completely random...BUT it has completely freaked me out and now i'm terrified....i can't help it...i need some advice.....

    That being said, i have seriously reconsidered Dr. Girardi at HSS - - what worried me about going there was geographical distance (3+ hours from home) and getting to and from post-op appointments, and how would i do getting home AFTER surgery?? And what in the event of an emergency?? Now I do have to preface that with Clements and Girardi had completely different approaches: Clements would do 2-stage 1 week apart operation (hospital 2 weeks); Girardi would do 1 surgery (in Tuesday out by Friday - which seemed WAAAAY too fast for me) and made it sound like a walk in the park and that i'd be a-ok in 6 weeks (which was completely different than what 3 out of 4 opinions said). It was almost like Girardi made it sound "too good to be true" and you know what they say about that...hence, Dr. Clements and Cooper....OMG, i don't know! I'm driving myself absolutely crazy....

    WISDOM....INSIGHTS....help me work thru this before i have a meltdown!
    Last edited by jerseyot; 11-29-2011 at 01:30 PM.
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    The only advice I can give to you, since I don't live in your area and know absolutely nothing about either doctor, would be to get in touch with some kind of medical board that certifies hospitals. You can check out whether there is a lot of MRSA infections, or just flat out medical complaints. I wouldn't quite know where to start. Maybe you can private mesage Linda Racine to find out who to contact. Also, take into consideration which procedure you are most comfortable with as that has an impact on healing. Sorry I couldn't have been more help. I know there are many, many fine doctors in New York.

  3. #3
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    May 2010
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    NJ
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    Hi Michell, If you talk to enough people you will hear good and bad about all hospital and Dr's. Mersa is all over, my sister got it from Vertua, Marlton from knee surgery, a friend had got it from hip. It is bad, and the best thing to do is get in and get out. I always though Cooper was one of the better hospitals. go with the best Dr.you know of. keep one thing in mind it is not a easy surgery, don't let any Dr. make you think it is. Lu

  4. #4
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    Jun 2011
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    South Jersey
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    Thanks Lue....i know....it's just that my mind is racing and i think i'm just freaking myself out with all of this. I am so scared. I know that Cooper is a very good hospital with nationally ranked doctors and that all hospitals have their issues. I'm just so freaked out because it's 8 weeks from today i think. I play with my kids and i rock my 2 yr old to bed every night and i almost cry because i say to myself "i hope i'll be able to do this after my surgery" - - i want to be able to live my life and enjoy my kids. And i feel like everything is just welling up inside of me....just overwhelmed i guess....i needed to hear what you had to say so thank you. Today is just a bad day i think.
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    Northern California
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    6,801
    Hi...

    I totally agree with Lue. I can guarantee that even the best of hospitals have some number of MRSA infections.

    I don't think that going into surgery with a lot of fears is a great thing. Perhaps you can get some help from a counselor, to talk out your fears.

    I pretty much know what all can go wrong with such a big surgery, and I've known people whose lives were ruined by spine surgery. For me, the time had come where the potential risks were of lesser concern than the possibility of going through the rest of my life with the pain and loss of function I had, so I really never second guessed my decision.

    These decisions aren't easy (nor should they be).

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  6. #6
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    South Jersey
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    Hi Linda,

    Thanks too for your reply. I know what you're saying - about going in to surgery with too much fear. I definitely have a lot of fear, but i don't know who in my particular shoes wouldn't have too much fear. I don't know that anyone could really ease my fears - they are numerous and complex, not just about the pain i live with every day, but about what will my life be like afterwards. I had one doctor tell my i have a 40% chance of never returning to work if i go thru this, and another basically said it's not big deal, you'll be back to work in 2-3 months. I have made the decision but now it's all coming into play as i think of how will i do this after surgery with having a 2yr old and 4yr old? They're so young and i worry that this might have ill effects on them. But in the same breath, i tell myself that i'll be doing them a favor by getting this done so that i can be more of a participant in their lives. My husband and my parents (who will basically be moving in for a few months) tell me it will all be ok - my parents will basically be taking care of the kids and tending to them while my husband works all day. Ahhh, if i only had a crystal ball....wouldn't that be a great thing?!?! Believe me, i talk alot about this to my husband, good friends and parents - but in spurts - like i said, today is a bad day. Tomorrow i may wake up and say "yeah i can do this." It just ebbs and flows...thanks so much for "listening" - - i like that i can vent here with all of you who understand. So thanks again for your support.
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyot View Post
    I had one doctor tell my i have a 40% chance of never returning to work if i go thru this, and another basically said it's not big deal, you'll be back to work in 2-3 months.
    That's a huge range. I've never heard anyone say that there's a 40% chance of not returning to work. Wonder where s/he got that number?? The truth is probably somewhere in between. While I've known people who got back to work within a few weeks, most people seem to be between the 3 and 6 month mark.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Location
    South Jersey
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    That is EXACTLY why i am not going to him (he's out in Abington,PA if anyone is interested). And you are absolutely correct in that the other 3 doctors i saw said just that - probably back to work part-time within 3-4 months and possibly 100% by 6 months. Now alot depends on the nature of your work - and he knows that i'm an OT working in rehab myself. He gave the bleakest, most discouraging outcome possible to us and we left feeling numb. This doctor made it sound as though i had to get my affairs in order and basically told me it would be better for my children "to not see you [me] that way." My Dad was with me and we were horrified at his response. Needless to say, i did NOT choose him.
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    133

    another ot sends hugs

    Hi Jersey OT,
    I,m also an OT, don,t have a lot to add for surgical advice, but thought I,d mention that not all ot,s work in rehab. You know that, it is sometimes hard to visualize change. It sounds likely that you will be where you are a year from now, but just in case, there are other options in our profession. Over my 35 years in the field I,ve enjoyed various specialties from long term care to dd to teaching in an OT program to working in schools. It is easier than you think to work in a new specialty area. Take care, focus on a positive outcome.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    133
    Hello Julie and fellow OT! Today marks 3 weeks til surgery and what a difference 5 weeks makes. I've calmed down a bit and I'm not second guessing my decision, my surgeon or my choices that I've made thus far anymore. Sure I'm scared (well that's an understatement) but It's weird -- as the months dwindle down into weeks and now into days, I'm more anxious to just get it over and done with so that i can start to feel better! My family friends and coworkers are just awesome and so supportive. I know it'll be hard but we have faith family and friends to help us get thru it - so that helps. I'm seeing more of the positive and trying not to focus on the what-if's and stuff I can't control. I've worked in almost every setting in 13 yrs: schools, EI, rehab (adult and peds) and now LTC/SNF. I'm considering a more administrative role when I'm finally able to go back - I'm just not sure I'll be able to do all of the physical tasks our job inherently requires when working in a rehab facility. Time will tell. I'd love to keep in touch. Thanks for the post!

    Michele
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    197
    Michele, I have no advice other than be very confident in the surgeon you select. As for MRSA, I pretty much hotfooted it out of the hospital and despite my surgeon's pre-op guidance to anticipate 5-7 nights in the hospital, I was out after 4 days because I was very concerned about MRSA. Plus the food sucked and the nurses were overstaffed. And I had a crazy roommate for part of the time.

    I will be thinking of you and hoping for the very best!!!!
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    133
    Hi Lily...unfortunately the 2 operations I'm having wont let me high tale it out (lol) anytime earlier - it's just not an option unfortunately but it would be nice if it was! One good thing is that I will have a private room (no crazy roommate issues!) but no idea what the food is like though! Yesterday was my pre-admission test day and all went well. Now I just can't wait to be on the "other side!"
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

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