Sunday, January 26, 2014

June 13th, 2019, DBS IPG Surgery Day

I could have waited to schedule my Parkinson's DBS Medtronic IPG replacement surgery. My battery was still at 2.57V and it might be months before it dropped to 2.20V and stopped working. Then again, it might drop really fast. It's the unpredictability that bothered me. 

Plus, I was getting tired of putting off any kind of travel or vacation plans and tired of checking my voltage level daily. So, I got ahold of Dr. Norton's assistant and asked if anything was available mid-June. She said how about Thursday, June 13th at Noon? June 13th?? Well, at least it wasn't Friday the 13th. I said okay. 

We'd driven over the day before and were soundly sleeping in our hotel room when my phone rings. I groggily answered hello.

"Hi, this is Stephanie, have you left yet?"

What? I mumbled.

"This is Stephanie, from Tucson Medical Center, have you left Yuma yet?"

What?? Huh?

Slower and more clearly "This is Stephanie, from Tucson Medical Center, Dr. Norton is sick, he's canceling all of todays surgeries. Have you already left Yuma to come to Tucson? He wanted me to catch you before you drove all the way over here. That's why I'm calling you so early. Have you left Yuma yet?"

Dr. Norton sick!? Now, I'm wide awake. Hi Stephanie, we are already in Tucson, at the hotel just down the street from the hospital. We came yesterday. What's wrong with Dr. Norton, is he okay?

"You are already here? Can I call you back in a few minutes?" 

Sure, no problem.

Phone rings five minutes later. "Hi Bev, I just talked to Dr. Norton, since you are already here and it's just a battery change, he's going to go ahead and do your surgery. He cancelled the others. He came down with a bad cold yesterday evening. He said he'd double mask, so you won't get sick. Can you be at the hospital by 9, he'll do you at 10?"

Sure, I said, by the way Stephanie, what time is it?

"5:45am she said."

We arrive at the Tucson Medical Center at 8:30am. We go up to the outpatient surgery floor, I get checked in and pay my co-pay. The hospital wants their money before surgery. I no sooner get done and my name is being called, so we head back to pre-op.

Nurse Esther gives me the designer one-size-fits-absolutely-no-one gown and says take off everything and put it in the bag, EVERYTHING. She pulls the privacy curtain and I comply.

YumaBev ready for surgery

Joey the Medtronic Rep comes in. He checks my current settings and will make sure the new IPG is set the exact same way. He says he'll see me in the OR (operating room) and leaves.

Dr. Norton pokes his head around the curtain. He's wearing multiple surgical masks and gives Hubby a fist bump and me a thumbs up. I ask how he's feeling. He says the cold came on quickly, but he took some Nyquil last night and is feeling well enough to do my battery change but cancelled the brain drill and generator placement surgeries scheduled prior to me. I thanked him. He said it's okay, I can't see you having to drive all the way over here again. He marked an X on my right shoulder (hospital rules, he mumbled) and listened to my heart and lungs. 

I asked him if I can have the old IPG that they are removing? He said he'd ask, but he didn't see why not, after all, you paid for it. 

A few minutes later, a man comes in. "I'm Dr. Offerdahl, your anesthesiologist." 

I tell him about my adhesive allergies and ask him to get the EKG pads off me as soon as possible. I also tell him that I want to be as wide awake as possible so I can blog about it. He says how about I give you just a bit of Propofol when Norton is doing the painful numbing shots? Then I will wake you right up again. I say okay. I kiss Wonderful Hubby goodbye and Nurse Esther takes him out to the waiting area. 

YumaBev ready to go

We get to the OR, they slide me over on the surgical table, tuck my arms in, give me a warm blanket and an oxygen mask.

As Dr. Norton is doing his thing, he tells the OR nurse to figure out how to get me the IPG he removes. He's telling them about my blog and how I kept the drill bit he used on me during my DBS brain surgery six years ago. I say "I wish we could Live Stream this on Facebook. I want to see what you are doing." 

YumaBev's actual surgical site

I ask Dr. Norton if he ever plans to retire? (he's 79) His reply:

"No, I will just keel over during surgery.
Dr. Offerdahl will try to revive me.
He will be unsuccessful.
My estate will then sue him.
And he will end up living in his car."

Dr. Offerdahl says, "I'm not doing surgeries with you anymore."

I'm laughing so hard that it's difficult to stay still. 

I can feel the sensation of Dr. Norton suturing me. There's no pain at all. He says he's done and going to find my hubby. I ask Joey to take a picture of Dr. Norton and me. Two other male voices chime in and say "We want to be in the picture, too!"

(L-R) OR nurse Chris, YumaBev, Dr Offerdahl, Dr Norton

And we were done. They slid me back on the gurney, wheeled me to recovery. Wonderful Hubby came in. A nurse went over the post-op care sheet with us. Another person said I should call pathology later because they have the IPG in their possession.

Joey came in to make sure my new device was working properly. A nurse helped me get dressed. They wheeled me down to the car and Hubby drove us back to the hotel. It wasn't even Noon. 

We eat lunch and then I call the hospital and ask for the Pathology department and ask how I go about getting my old IPG. 

"Let me check. May I have your phone number?"

An hour later, my phone rings. My 'specimen' is ready to be picked up. We go get it. 

Yes, this is the actual IPG that has been inside me since October 25, 2012. It's been a long day. I'm tired, but in no pain. 

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