Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A scoliosis patient journey having new body wef 17th of Feb 2014

Notes :-  This blog was initially meant to share my birding field trips reports. Ever since I started to use Facebook I  have not post any updates since then.  This series of posting on Scoliosis is my personal experience.  I had Posterior Spinal Fusion for Scoliosis on 17/2/2014. 

I hope my sharing will serve as an encouragement to those who have spinal deformities like me.  For those who  have Scoliosis, spinal disc herniation, spinal disc degeneration, spondylosis, kyphoysis, do not be afraid/avoid when the  spine doctor recommend  the solution is surgery.  There is hope for you in today modern medical technology.  Please do not endure the pain in silence.

17th Feb 2014

I made my journey to the hospital shorter by staying  overnight at my younger brother’s house. Arrangement has being made that I parked my car there until I am strong and he ferry me to the hospital.  This is because I come to realised that even though able to walk on the 1stday after spinal fusion and then able to drive back after discharge from the hospital (usually on the 3rd- 5th day) is too big a dream for me to achieve.

I was at the admission counter at 9.25 am, the counter staff never expect that I am the patient cause usually Posterior Spinal Fusion for scoliosis patient are in the range of 14 yrs – 24 yrs old.   I told them that my parents are ignorance when I was in that age range and I don’t know where to source for medical help until recently.

I like the room cause this hospital seems to have the sky blue and white clouds as their color schemes. They are my favorite color.

I was advised to wash my hair and take shower even I had a morning shower before cause it will  sponge bath on bed tomorrow.  I look at my watch it is about 11 am and my fasting commenced (no food, no liquid intake) to prepare for this evening operation.   The medical assistants put a tag on my left hand stated my full name ,age and IC, brief me the proper way to get in and out of  bed,  bed physiotherapy exercise eg move ankles,raise my hands, measure my height.  About 1 pm Professor Kwan is doing his ward round walked into my room with a blue file label with my name. While he took my blood for lab test, he details down my medical history eg  any sickness I had,  any hospitalization before , any medicine that I am allergic to, when was my last menstruation...etc.. etc..   He also asked where is my next of kin or any of my immediate family members cause this major operation required consensus from family members.  I ask should my signature is adequate enough as my parents are in the senior citizen categories and I am not married.  I then suggest that I need to change my next of kin from my father to my younger brother.  I then request for another session of risk of operation briefing later for my younger brother.
Professor Kwan then brief me the procedure what would happen on day 1 after admission and read out to me the list of risk.  Beside having the spine bone do not fuse up within 6- 9 months this type of operation might lead to
  1. infection
  2. Blood clots that will lead to stroke or total permanent disability
  3. Bleeding extensively
  4. Reaction to morphine and antibiotic that is unknown to me all this while.
  5. Nerve damage
  6. internal organs failure due to could not adjust/adapt to the realignment of spine
OOOOh shit!  I thought the risk is only 1% and 10% hardware failure in this modern technology.  I have not write my will yet Doc.  I have yet to see and photograph Vultures on migrations.  Prof Kwan advised me to think of something happy and good while the general anesthetic  (white milky liquid) inject to my body later when I am in the operating theater.

SSEP was done on me about 2 pm.  Dr Shaharol  pushed in his equipment with a laptop.  He preferred to perform this test in my room.  I was then asked to lie down on the hospital bed, relaxed with so many wires attached to my body and leg.

Somatosensory Evoked Potential, is a test showing the electrical signals of sensation going from the body to the brain and spinal cord. The signals show whether the nerves that connect to the spinal cord are able to send and receive sensory information like pain, temperature and touch.  The info is set as a baseline how my nerves will react and the maximum correction of curve can my scoliosis achieve.  To much correction can damage the nerves and lead the patient to total permanent disable.  To achieve the best baseline I was coax to sleep while my toes react being electrocuted.

This test took about 1 hour and I was then sent for special spine X-ray.  Even though I am still mobile I was on wheelchair as I need to maintain the position of those wires.  The wires are needed to attached back to the SSEP machine for monitoring of my nerves during the operation later.

Once I reached the imaging room I was attracted to the wallpaper.  There are so many ships and flags. All of them are either white or blue. Some have the sign ready to sail. I ask permission to take some pictures while waiting for Professor Dr Ng.  Professor Dr Ng and the imaging staffs ensure that I stand/lie down in the right position to achieve the necessary spine x-ray.  The hardest one is the (stretch position) S curve position where a bolster need to position on my rib cage. It need to be so precise until to that bolster need to be position at which rib bone.  Re-adjusting again and again we tried 3 times and it is very tiring for me. The stretch position of spine X-Ray is  to determined how flexible is the spine. 

RM600 for this special spine X-Ray.  Whole spine X-ray  done in a few position eg Standing, Lie down  and bending. The most hardest is the bending this is to see how flexible is the spine.
After this I was then push back to the room. While the risk briefing is going on  by  Dr Chan with my brother to ensure he fully understand before he put down his signature  while Dr Shaharol re-affirm that all the SSEP wires attached on my body are intact.

Times past so fast it is nearly 5 pm.  We are waiting for the Operating Theater green light for my entry. I was being push in with my  medical file on my hospital bed all the way. The journey is quite a long way need to take lift go through a connecting bridge.  The head nurse greet me when I reached the isolation area.  Now as I track back my memory..someone (could be the neuro doctor) used a long strips of cotton bandage wrap around my feet up to the calf. This person work on my left feet and then on my right feet. Then he put a special stockings on my feet.  This special stockings look like the my leech sock that I use in rain forest trekking.

This special stockings is protect the patient from loosing body heat during the surgery. The operating theater is very cold. Usually our feet is the 1st part of the body to feel cold.  This special stockings will then be removed before the patient wake up after the successful surgery.  
I told them I am very cold and I am not scared cause I believe that God has given me the best surgeons.  
The head nurse told me that it is much colder inside the operating theater and she assured me that a warm blanket will be used to keep me warm.

Finally I being pushed into the OT room.  I take a brief look  of the surrounding it is exactly like those korean medical drama operating theater.   People walk around in sky blue surgical gowns  and everyone wore surgical face .  I have a brief  look at OT bed  that I am supposed to lie on it for surgery..  Hear also the clicking sounds of  someone preparing the  surgical equipment  Someone walked up to my bedside ask what is my name.  I reply loud and clear WONG CHOR MUN.  I also reconfirmed my IC no. This is to ensure that I am the  patient to be operate.  I  look around  I recognized Dr Shaharol even though he is now wearing  blue surgical gown and with face mask.  I saw another surgeon carefully washing his hand just like what I saw in the medical movies. I exchange some words with him cause I know he is Dr Lee who is my colleague buddy.  I told him I expect to walk again and it is my wish to see vultures and I want to go Nepal when my body is ready.

While the white milky liquid injected through the tube attached to my hand, within second I said “Good night I am very sleepy”… with a smile on my face my thought quickly switch to standing with my canon D7 and 400mm lens focus on vultures on migration. There are few researches in the scene.

Who came in, how I was position on the operating table, what they did to me,  what conversation they did...I am totally unaware as I am on full general aesthetic.

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