My number finally came up on the great wheel of The Unexpected this week. Not being a person that deals well with these sorts of events under normal circumstances (normal being eating whatever I want while sitting on the couch or at my computer, wondering how to confront the situation), I am tremendously anxious.
I mentioned in a previous post that my mom had taken a bad fall. From what I understood she was doing a great job of following the instructions of her physicians, and I had assumed that the worst was over and that she would be pulling through with flying colors. I had marveled at the fact that she wasn’t worse off, given her osteoporosis diagnosis and the severity of the fall. My one concern was that she was still having a lot of pain in her shoulder, and as time passed, it was getting worse.
She met with a neurologist on Wednesday, who after looking her over and subjecting her to a battery of neurological tests (which she failed – every single one of them), began to suspect a collapsed disk in her back, and ordered an MRI to verify for sure. My parents begged and pleaded with a nice woman in the radiology department, and she (thankfully) accommodated her request to get in for an MRI the following day, since my parents live 40 miles out of Denver and were headed home that afternoon.
After the procedure my parents hit the highway home, and before they could get there they received a call from the hospital, saying that the MRI indicated that my mom’s spine was “unstable”, and that she needed to return to the E.R. to be admitted right away.
Long story short — my mom will be having surgery tomorrow (Sunday) to have two vertebrae fused together in the area of her fracture to stabilize her spine. Turns out she had suffered damage to her ligaments on either side of her spine when she fell, which left her spinal column unsupported, and the movement of her vertebrae could have easily caused paralysis. They did not notice this damage on her initial trip to the E.R., because she was in trauma, and they generally only do CT scans there, and an MRI was never performed. Frustrating that it didn’t occur to the hospital to do one at the time of her initial visit, but I am extremely grateful that we know now, and that further damage wasn’t inflicted. My mom has been in a lot of pain (and it probably sounds completely crazy of me to say this), but I am also very thankful for that fact — without that unexplained, unbearable pain, we may not have known the extent of her injuries in time to prevent a much more dire situation. The human body is a miracle.
So, the plan is for me to wing my way to Denver this afternoon, where my brother and dad will be waiting for me, along with my sister, who is flying in from Arizona and will arrive about 25 minutes before I get there. I am glad and relieved that we’ll all be able to see and be with my mom, and I know she will be, too. She will have at least 1-3 days in the hospital after surgery (provided there are no complications), and will be enduring a lot of physical therapy for the next several weeks. She has been told that she should expect to lose some mobility in her neck (up to 6%), but we’re praying the PT will help her beat those odds.
I humbly ask for your warm, fuzzy thoughts and prayers as I make this trip. I don’t do well in limbo, and having to plan this trip very last minute, and to be going without Malcolm (my rock and my fitness buddy) for at least a week as he takes care of some business prior to joining me – will likely take a toll on me. Hopefully my work at the gym has made me stronger than I realize, and that the stress will be minimal, and everything will go much more smoothly than I could hope for. Any support or accountability you can provide in regards to eating healthy and getting my buns to the gym (Trainer Sharon emailed me the information to a location in the suburb where my brother lives, so NO EXCUSES!) as I check in from the road would be greatly appreciated. And prayers for my mommy would be wonderful, too.
<Deep breath> I’ll check ya soon.