(This is the third in a series detailing Ben's hospital stay. Feel free to read it chronologically or reversed. I just wanted you to have the most up to the minute reports possible, and my ramblings did seem to go on!)
Six am found me walking out of the hotel, waking up a cabbie, and on my way to the hospital. Ben was scheduled for 7 am x-rays and 7:30 surgery. His surgery is the BIG one of the day and only two were scheduled. The other one is already over (not sure what it was, but the little girl’s dad was only sitting in here with us for a short while). They’ve blocked off 10 hours for his surgery, but don’t expect it to go much over 7 or 8. Long enough, in my opinion. First they’ll install the hybrid rod (1.5 hours to prep him for that, 2 hours of surgery) and then they’ll do the staples (1 hour of prep, 2 hours of surgery).
When I went into Ben’s room he was watching TV and quite depressed. Knowing what was coming and feeling a huge sense of dread. He’d had a fairly rough night (IV pain) and Mark looked like he hadn’t slept a wink. But, as soon as he got up, got into his hospital gown, and was escorted by the nurse from the PACU (Pediatric Anesthesia Care Unit) he pepped up, turning on the charm, cracking jokes, looking chipper. We walked down for the xrays and back up to the PACU and the doctors came to start checking and prepping for the Big Event.
Dr. Cahill and Dr. Betz (the BIG guy, the Chief of Staff and the main innovator of these amazing techniques) came in to talk to us about the xrays. They said his curves had progressed a bit more, but the technique should still work on most of his spine. The trouble is apparently, that he has three curves and though the upper and lower curves are most likely compensatory for his main thoracolumbar curve, the higher portion may not be affected by the placement of the rod and the staples. This area is, fortunately, not torqued which means it curves to the left but doesn’t twist around as it turns, Dr. Betz said this gave him hope that it would straighten some with the surgery today. However, if it doesn’t and continues to progress Ben will need to have fusion done in that area. I don’t know when exactly. We’ll just have to wait and see.
We found out that post-surgery Ben will be wearing a soft foam brace until the first lengthening of the hybrid rod (about 6-9 months). Probably only during the day and it isn’t constricting the way the brace he’s been in is. So, hopefully we’ll get more compliance. I’ll try to get more info on why this is, but I think it has to do with motion and rubbing on the bones until the hooks that hold the rod in place wear through or off or something like that. Blech.
Anyhow, here I sit. The internet connection here is weak so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post this or much more, but I’m doing what I can. It’s 12:20 pm, his rod surgery should be over. We’ll check in with the docs soon. What we’ve heard so far is everything is AOK.