Thursday, May 31, 2012

Well on His Way

Well, Steve is almost two weeks out from surgery and a little over a week home from the hospital and I think things are going well.  His pain is being well controlled and he is not yet bored.

He is getting up (with help) and walking around the house a lot.  He did go out and walk around the driveway the other evening which was nice.  With lying around most of the time when he does get up to walk or shower when he is done he is worn out.  Looking forward to him being able to start PT and get on the way to a FULL recovery!!!

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
                                                                                                                       1 Peter 5: 10-11

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Being Blessed by Family and Friends

Things are going so slow.  Steve seems to be getting better one minute then having lots of pain the next.  He feels best when he is walking even though he still uses a walker and his right leg is still weaker than the left. He is not real stable walking and needs lots of help to get up.  When sitting there is a lot of pressure on his spine which is the fusion.  That explains why they only want him to sit 20 minutes three times a day.  When lying down he has to change position about every two to three hours or he get extremely stiff and he needs help to do that too.

I am really surprise how much help he needs, but this is what God has called me to do!!  I keep telling Steve, "I signed up for this."  Because I need to be here to help him with all this I have had to depend on LOTS of family and friends.  Everyone has been very gracious to help us out giving the kids fun things to do and keep them busy.

He goes back to the doctor on June 4th and hopefully by then he can handle most things on his own.  Its good this happened after school was out (sort a) but the kids are busy with baseball, t-ball, volleyball and work.  I have had to ask for help getting them to there things.  Tuesday's are the worse.  Jack has baseball at 6:30, Evan has T-ball at 7:15 and the girls have volleyball at 8:00.  Luckily all activities are at church.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  My sister is keeping everyone, but Tyler (he works Sat. and Mon.) Saturday and Sunday night.  They, of course, are good and can help around the house, but they need something fun to do.  Steve and I have had very broken sleep.  He wakes up about every two hours to get up and change is position so with the kids gone we can get some rest through out the day.

Thanks for praying for Steve and our family during this time.  We can really feel God through all of it!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home at Last, He is Home at Last!!!

Finally home.  We made it here at about 3:00 PM, three hours later than we thought but finally here.  He is doing pretty good.  Still having incision pain and stiffness in his back when he sits, but that's to be expected.  He has what seems to be weakening in his right leg (the leg affected by the L3-L4 bulge).  It is a bit concerning, but most likely something that will improve over time.

We (well the kids) moved our bedroom around yesterday so that he can lay and watch TV comfortably.  I will be sleeping in the recliner until he is more comfortable.  He was able to get the MLB Extra Inning on Direct TV.  That way he can watch EVERY baseball game being played.  He will be laying around for about 4 weeks, with trips around the house and sitting in a chair for about 20 minutes three to four times a day.

This has been a long, hard road for him, but God's hand has been in all of it.  Even when you think he isn't around you look back over what has happened and you see his fingerprints everywhere.  When the first surgery was denied and denied he felt so defeated.  But now that we see just what happened this last week we see God was still in control.  If Steve had had the surgery earlier he would of then had to have the discectomy later once it bulged.  God is so Good!!!

Thanks for all the prayer!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Almost Home...

We finally had a visit for someone in the doctor's office.  Don't know why the doctor can't come in or the Physicians Assistant, but we get the nurse practitioner.  Anyway, she checked out his incision and it looks good.  Asked about his pain level and what kind of pain he is feeling. They are ready to send him home tomorrow (Yeah!!!!).  So today they will take him off the morphine and make sure they can keep his pain level down with oral meds.  That will also help with his walking around not to have to push his IV everywhere.  He is still having high blood sugars because of the steroid, which he hasn't taken since Saturday.  They said we don't have to worry about them at home which seems weird since he has been getting insulin for a week.  I will probably continue to check his levels once we are home to just make sure all is ok.  Still think its weird they don't want us to worry about it.  How do you tell a wife that worries about everything not to worry about her husband's blood sugars?????  Anywho, we are so  ready to get home and the kids are ready for us to be there.  Hoping that by this time tomorrow I will be fixing dinner for my family and taking care of my husband without the nurses around to interfere!! If you're a nurse just joking!!!

Thanking God for this wonderful blessing and praying that he continue to heal and gets back to his life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hoping to Live Pain Free

I did have some company during the surgery.  I thought I would be by myself and thought that was what I wanted, but not so much.  Ended up Caroline need some Mom-time so Dani brought her and Samantha up to the hospital.  Samantha ended up staying too.  We really enjoyed being together and just talking.

The surgery went well yesterday.  It lasted about three and one-half hours.  The doctor thought everything went just as he expected.  He said that the disc at L3-L4 was worse then the MRI showed.  There was actually a large piece of disc that had broken off (about 2 inches long) that was laying on the nerve.  He did the discectomy at L3-L4 and another at L4-L5.  He then did the fusion at L4-L5.

Steve did really well. Was in his room within 90 minutes very awake and ready to eat.  The nerve pain he had down his right leg (thanks to the bulge at L3-L4) was completely gone.  That was the only pain he had been having the days prior to surgery.  He was so glad to have that gone.  He was of course experiencing incision pain, but the pain brings healing.  I helped him eat most of his dinner (Samantha finished it off) and he was able to keep that down. Jason brought the boys up for a quick visit which I really enjoyed.  I do miss the kids.  Steve's mom and brother Mark also came up and stayed a bit too. I think he had a good evening.

He was ready to go to bed around 11:00 (so was I!!).  The first hour and a half were great, felt like we slept for hours.  After that it seemed that the nurse and assistant were in here every half hour.  Wish they would learn to come in at the same time.  Praying that Steve has a better day today and can get some rest.  They will be getting him up and that should be pretty painful.  He did take a Valium this morning as a muscle relaxer, but it had an adverse affect on him.  He was fidgety and when he would fall asleep he would quit breathing.  He finally ate his breakfast and they helped with the breathing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Surgery Day!!!!

Well, yesterday we found out that the insurance company finally approved the surgery.  As I type Steve is back in surgery.

We were so relieved when the PA gave us the good news and even happier when she said the doctor was doing the surgery on Saturday instead of Steve having to wait any longer (or before the insurance company changed their minds). Steve has had lots of pain in his right leg the last couple of days, the morphine he has been on didn't help that pain at all.  We are praying that this surgery will take away at least 85% of his pain.

We haven't really had much notice when it has come to all the twists and turns this week has made.  Trying to coordinate where five kids and a little dog can go for multiple days and nights has been really hard.  Thankfully my mom, sister, sister-in-law and brother have helped us out so far.  Tomorrow all the kids will be going to different places (I'm sure they could all use a break from each other.).  They will be getting to spend time with their friends.

The surgery is suppose to last three to four hours.  He has been back now for about 70 minutes.  I hate waiting.  I'm sure the pain he will have after surgery will be really bad, but it is the pain that comes with healing!!  He will probably be here until Tuesday, then home for months of recovery.  No sitting up for longer then 20 minutes at a time, no riding in a car and no lifting anything more then 5 pounds for the first month. He will then start some physical therapy and recovering enough to get back to work.

Since I really haven't been home since Monday I have lots of work to do at the house; laundry, dishes, etc.  The kids will get some of that stuff done when they are there Monday night.  I can't wait to get my family back together under one roof!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Steve update...

The doctor came in yesterday and confirmed the bulging disk at L3-L4. He thinks ideally doing a discectomy and fusion at the same time is the best thing to do. He was very apologetic that Steve seems to be just lying here in limbo. Of course that's the fault of our insurance company. He suggested getting an epiderial steroid injection to help with the nerve pain, but Steve really didn't seem to interested in that. This morning in walked a pain management doctor wanting to go ahead with the epideral. Steve has reluctantly agreed. My concern is, if it helps with the pain will they not approve the discectomy?? Then he would end up back in pain someday. Anywho he is getting the injection sometime this morning. Insurance: we are still where we were. Steve has talked with the insurance broker through his employer. She is trying to get some information for him. We do know that the claim is pending just not sure why.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Insurance is a Pain in His Butt

We have had a crazy year so far. Steve has been dealing with back pain for ever and this year it has become unbearable. He started the year with an MRI and a visit to his neurosurgeon. The surgeon suggested a new device used for a spinal fusion at one level, L4-L5. The device, the Aspen Device, was denied by the insurance company, but not the surgery itself. The surgeon sorta appealed the denial in a very basic manner. The insurance company then said the device was an approved device, but the he was not a candidate for fusion surgery, "Not medically necessary". That led us to work on an appeal of that decision which led Steve to have epidural blocks (the third time in 6 years). They didn't work this time either. He then went in for a second opinion. That neurosurgeon didn't like the Aspen device and felt Steve was a prime candidate for a traditional spinal fusion. Since he only had one level of diesease it could take away 85% of his pain. So, they sent the information in to the insurance company, that was two weeks ago. Here we sit Baptist hospital East going on night two inpatient. Over the weekend Steve pain level become so high that he couldn't get any relief. So on Monday morning his brother (Steve's primary physician) called his surgeon and explained what was happening and they decided to admit him for pain control. We still had no response from the insurance company, but they are paying for ALL of this hospital stay. He has been on morphine and steroids since Monday night. The steroids cause high blood sugars so he is also receiving insulin. Yesterday the ordered another MRI to see if things have gotten worse. Then last night he started getting pain in his right hip and down his leg. He thought maybe that the disk had bulged again. Once the NP came in today we still have nothing from the insurance company and the MRI shows he now has a bulging disk at L3-L4. That means he will also need another discectomy. So right now we are on day two of hospital stay waiting for the surgeon to come in...tonight or tomorrow. So I will be staying the night too! Praying that the insurance company finally does what we pay the for and approve the surgery so my husband can begin to live the normal life of a 44 year old man. PLEASE JOIN ME IN PRAYER.