Friday, June 28, 2013

Crazy Week

Last week was super crazy in so many ways. First off the Corolla hit 100,000 miles and both Patrick and I had anniversaries at our jobs: 2 years for him, 7 for me. Patrick also connected with his estranged sister Jenny after 15 years of no contact, my dad had extensive surgery on his spine and a major storm went through the Twin Cities. From the storm we lost power for 36 hours and our neighbor's box elder tree fell into our yard. I am not sure we could pack any more into a five day period.

On Wednesday June 19th, my dad had surgery on his spine. In January he slipped on the ice and hurt his back. At first it wasn't too bad, but eventually he started to feel numbness from the chest down. After many trips the doctor they finally figured out that is spine was shrinking and his vertebrae was pushing on his spinal cord. They would need to put six inches of titanium rods in his vertebrae to get the bone away from his spinal cord and hopefully fix the numbness.

The surgery was scheduled at 6:45am in Rochester at St. Mary's Hospital. I went down for the day to hang out with my mom while the surgery was in progress as it was supposed to be a 6 hour procedure. I arrived at the hospital around 8:00am and my parents were still waiting for them to start. There were a couple emergencies that kept pushing back my dad's surgery, so he didn't end up going into surgery until 1pm, they started the anesthesia at 2:30pm and the actual surgery started at 4:00pm. To kill some time my mom and I walked to the Mayo Building and looked at some of the art there. They have quite the extensive collection. It was pretty cool to see. My dad ended up getting out of surgery at 8:30pm and was in recovery for a couple hours so we finally got to see him around 10:30pm. We talked to my dad a while before we went to bed. He was pretty with it considering the amount of drugs he was on. I am so glad we were able to see and talk to him, it gave us both a huge sense of relief that the actual surgery was over. Since it was so late when we finally saw him both my mom and I ended up staying at the hospital overnight. My mom slept in my dad's ICU room and I slept in the waiting room.

As soon as those doctors know you are doing well, they start pushing you to get moving. An occupational therapist was in his room right away in the morning. She had him sitting on the side of the bed less than 24 hours after surgery. He was released from the ICU before lunch and transferred to a regular room. Once he was in his regular room, the physical therapist showed up and that's when did his first walk. He walked 200 yards on his first attempt. Pretty good. He was still in a ton of pain in his neck, but he really is a pretty good patient. We would adjust his bed and his pillows to make things more comfortable, but really if you had two titanium rods and thirteen screws in your neck I doubt you would feel very good either. Later that night my brothers, Patrick, Nickie & Ben came to visit. We all left around 8pm to head home. At this point we didn't know when my dad would be released, but my mom was pretty optimistic that it would be Saturday. My dad did have a scare in the hospital that night with an irregular heartbeat, but after confirmation from the doctors it was determined to be a normal side effect of the surgery.

On Friday my dad was given the goal of sitting in his chair five times and going on five walks. He managed to do that and he was eventually released to go home on Saturday. He is still on quite a bit of medication at home, but he is getting out on walks and moving around. I hope the rest of his recovery goes smoothly and the surgery helps him regain feeling in his legs.

Dad's Spine Surgery

On the left is a MRI photo of his spinal cord before the surgery. At the point where the white spinal cord disappears is where the vertebrae is pinching his cord. The photo on the right is a x-ray of his neck after they inserted the rods and screws to pull the vertebrae away from his spinal cord.

Dad's Before and After

And this is Dad before the surgery and on his first walk after surgery.

Dad's Spine Surgery

On Friday June 21st we were planning on relaxing after a hectic three days. Both Patrick and I immediately took a nap when we got home from work. When we woke up it was around 7pm and it looked as though a storm was coming through. My brother Luke texted to say he was on his way since he was staying with us that night. By the time he got here it was a really bad storm: the tops of the trees were swaying back and forth and rain was going sideways. We even decided to go to the basement, we never go to the basement. In that 10 minutes we also lost power, a tree from our neighbor's yard fell into our yard and rain water started leaking into the bathroom through the vent. What a lovely way to end the week.

At this point the storm was over and we hadn't eaten dinner. So, the three of us ventured out to find somewhere to grab dinner. It was crazy how some places had full power and others didn't. We ended up getting Leann Chin's and brought it home to eat in candlelight. We went to bed shortly after dinner as there isn't much else you can do without power after dark.

Downed Tree

In the morning we assessed the damage. We still had no power and the tree was still down. The water stopped dripping right after the rain, so we were just left with a stain on the ceiling. The tree took down a section of the fence, but missed the shed so we were really lucky that was all the damage. We went off to Elysia and Nick's to enjoy Long Island Iced Daze for the day, but on Sunday Patrick and Adam worked really hard to get the tree cleaned up. Our power finally came back on Sunday morning around 11am as well, right after I moved our food to coolers. Oh well at least I got the fridge cleaned out.

Downed Tree - June 21, 2013

Downed Tree

Downed Tree - June 21, 2013

Downed Tree - June 21, 2013

Downed Tree

Downed Tree - Adam

Downed Tree

And here is our yard all cleaned up. We also got the stain out off the ceiling by spraying a bleach water mixture on the stain for a few days in a row. So although those five days were crazy, things could have been much worse.

Downed Tree After

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