Andy had an aggressive three-level lumbar fusion surgery with a team of doctors. The surgery lasted nine hours on the table. He would spend two weeks at the hospital recovering. He then had post-surgical complications with his intestines that caused significant discomfort. Stephanie spent most of her time at the hospital but admits that even a caregiver needs a break to clear their head. Walks around the hospital grounds helped, as did an occasional visit home to see their dogs.
The team that was there, it was like this international team of beautiful people. His anesthesiologist, and it had a vascular surgeon come in because they went in through the front, so they didn’t disturb a lot of the arteries and the nerves and there’s less cutting that way. They put cadaver bone in through that way, sewed him up. I mean incision this big, turned him over, another incision as the doctor said to put in the hardware. So the screws, and the rods, and the pins and his nerves were all jumbled and it was like a nine-hour surgery.
We were there for about two weeks, we had to be there a little longer cause in the initial incision, they had found a hernia, so they just cut up a little higher, took care of the hernia, which cause huge postsurgical complications. He looked like he was 20 months pregnant, it was painful, and another doctor had to come in, and that took some time, and he was restless and anxious and just wanted to feel better.
When you’re in a caregiving situation or especially a hospital environment, you can go stir crazy. Because the patient is being cared for in IV’s and medication, and monitored, and taken care of, but I knew what was ahead of me, it was all starting to be laid out.