Izzy's Surgery Story
Hi, my name is Izzy and I am 13 years old. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 5 years old and immediately fitted for a brace. I wore a providence brace for 1.5 years and it was holding my 20 degree thoracic curve. Later I was switched to a Boston brace, I did not do well with it and stopped wearing it by age 10. On March 5th of 2019, two months after my 13th Birthday, I went in for a spinal fusion surgery that would change my life forever!
Night Before Surgery
The night before surgery was rough. I couldn’t sleep because I was scared. I was scared about the surgery itself, scared something could go wrong, scared it wouldn’t work, scared I forgot to pack something that I would need! Funny but true......I spent a lot of that night bending down because I knew I would be able to for a long time!
Morning of Surgery
We woke up at 4:00AM - me, my mom and my dad. My hospital was thankfully only 25 minutes away from my home. We checked in and immediately went upstairs to the room where they prep you for surgery. This is where I changed into my gown (that I would have on for the next 3 days!). Next it was time to put in the IVs. They gave me a little tablet to help distract me. The nurses were all very good about trying to make sure I was comfortable and relaxed. They also put numbing medicine on me, so I wouldn’t feel it. Once that was done another doctor came in and wrote on my shoulder, “surgery on back.” This was so they wouldn’t cut the front instead of my back! My surgeon came in to talk for a little while and make sure everything was ready. After this, it was time to go to the OR. I said goodbye to my parents in the hall, and they wheeled me away in my hospital bed. Once I was in OR, one of my surgeons asked me some simple questions about myself to try to keep me relaxed. Then, he said “ok are you ready?” Before I could even answer, I was asleep.
Day of Surgery
The next thing I can remember is moving around a lot in my bed and nurses asking me if I was ok. I couldn’t figure out why. I was in the recovery room, and only my mom was allowed to come see me there. I only stayed there for about an hour before they moved me to the PICU. In the PICU, my family could visit, and I could have other visitors as long as there were no more than 2 people in my room at a time. I remember really wanting visitors to come because that really helped take my mind off things! I had 3 IVs in my arms and a drain tube in my back shoulder, and I had a catheter. I was also hooked to a morphine drip where I could push a button to get morphine. I pushed it every 10 minutes! I was able to grab the rails of my bed and roll myself if needed. PT came that evening and had me sit up and stand up. This was painful, and I cried. She told me the more I moved, the better I would feel. This was hard to understand at the time, but she was definitely right! I ate macaroni for dinner, I was starving! Most people say they are not hungry the day of surgery though.
Next day (Post-Op Day 1)
First thing in the morning, PT came and I sat up for an hour! This was very painful, and there were more tears. For some reason sitting up was the hardest thing for me to do for the first week! I still had so many tubes and cords connected to me. Later that day, I moved out of the PICU to a regular pediatric room. Then they removed my catheter, so I had to choose to walk to get to the bathroom! That was difficult, and I guess it’s normal if you can’t urinate right after surgery!
Day 2 Post-Op
This was the worst day for me, and I have learned that this is the most difficult day for most people! The meds from surgery are wearing off, and you start to feel the pain more. We had a hard time getting my meds correct, and I was in terrible pain this day. Thankfully my night nurses were so helpful, and it made me feel better just to see that they were there. My parents slept in the room with me every night that I was at the hospital. On this night, they had to call my surgeon and change my meds because the ones I was on were not controlling the pain. The nurses would always ask my pain level on a scale of 1-10, and I was always at a 10! During the day I rested a lot, but could not sleep.... probably because of the meds I was on. PT came, and we walked around the whole floor of the hospital! It was hard and made me so tired, but I pushed through!
Day 3 Post-Op
I did well, so they said they would send me home once I had done stairs with PT. They removed all my IVs and got me ready for discharge! I did stairs, and they sent me home after lunch. They wheeled me out in a wheelchair when leaving the hospital. The car ride home was very uncomfortable - sitting was still the hardest thing for me to do. It was nice to be home in my own bed though!
The surgery was rough, but the more you get up and do.... the better your recovery will be. You have to make yourself do it, and it will help you in the long run! I’m now doing well and back to normal activities mostly. I found a support group called Curvy Girls and became a leader in my area. I love helping other girls who are going through some of the same experiences I have had.
Thanks for reading,
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