Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Parkinson's DBS Surgery: Part 3, the Generator Implant

Warning: This story has a few graphic photos, so if medical stuff bothers you, consider yourself warned.

I couldn't sleep, so I got up at 2 am. My Wonderful Husband didn't sleep well, either. We left for Tucson (220 miles away) at 6 am, and arrived at the hospital at 10 am. It was exactly a week since they drilled holes in my head and today (October 25, 2012) they would implant the generator in my chest and run wires under my skin and connect them to the leads in my brain. I would be asleep for this procedure, so I don't know how they do this, and I'm not sure I even want to know.

At 10:30 am, I was sitting in the pre-op area, waiting for the nurse. At noon, I was in the operating room waiting area talking to Bill and Adam from Medtronic (they make the device). The last thing I remember is me saying, "Do you want me to move over to that gurney or are you going to move me?" and this answer, "Dr. Norton likes us to move his patients." That was it. I don't remember anything after that. 
Checking Facebook & Twitter

Next thing I remember is waking up in recovery with my Wonderful Husband standing next to me. It was 3:30 pm. My chest hurt, my throat hurt and it felt like someone was pulling on my right ear. The nurse came in with a wash cloth and wiped off my neck and behind my ear. Soon I was getting dressed and being wheeled out to our car. I was wobbly to say the least.
YumaBev right after surgery

We went to the Holiday Inn Express and got checked in. I was still feeling wobbly, so my Wonderful Husband got me to the room first and then went and got our luggage. I hurt; not as bad as when I had a wisdom tooth extracted or when I got Montezuma's revenge after a trip to Mexico, but I hurt, mostly behind my right ear. The doctor had warned me that Tylenol wouldn't be enough for this, so I had filled the prescription for Vicodin ahead of time. There was a restaurant nearby, so Wonderful Hubby went and got us some food and I took the first pain pill. Within an hour, I was feeling much better, except for some nausea. 

I managed to stay awake long enough to take another pain pill and then we both went to sleep. I slept on my left side and placed an extra pillow between my right arm and my chest. I got up once in the night and took another pain pill and then fought nausea for an hour or so. I woke up about 7 am and took my usual morning Parkinson's medications. We went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast and afterwards, I took another pain pill. The nausea returned, so I laid down for a while and then, when I felt better, we headed back home to Yuma. The Holiday Inn Express was clean, quiet and the bed was comfortable, I will definitely stay there again.

I did okay on the drive home, but we stopped several times for me to walk around and get some fresh air. I ate a sandwich when we got home and went back to sleep. The nausea from the pain pills was worse than the pain, so I went back to Tylenol. I slept a lot that day, but felt well enough on Saturday, two days after surgery, to go to a Halloween Party at the Yuma Camera Club. I went as Dolly Parton.
YumaBev as Dolly Parton

Overall, the surgery wasn't too bad. The nurses forgot to take a couple EKG pads off me and my skin is still red where they were stuck to me, but it didn't blister.
Marks left from EKG pads.

I have a bulge under my skin where the generator is implanted, but it won't be noticeable under clothing. I'll probably have a scar, but I didn't plan to enter any bathing suit contests. 

They shaved a little more of my hair off, but the rest covers it pretty well. 

A few more stitches
Now comes the hardest part of this whole procedure; waiting for the unit to be turned on (next week) and programmed (two weeks later). It looks like I will have to be a patient patient. 

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