Thursday, June 29, 2006

On the mend

Well, if my own eyes are any judge, Chris is faring far better after this surgery than he did after his shoulder surgery. He is in really good spirits and has been since he got out of surgery. First thing he did when his mom and dad and I got to his room last night was give his dad the victory fist. He's in pain but it seems to be a lot less than the with the shoulder. He's off the pain medication pump which means that he'll be going home as soon as the ooze coming off the bone remnant slows down. Sounds lovely, does it not? But his surgeon explained that when you take out a bone, you don't actually take out the whole thing because you need something to anchor the graft to, and the bone that remains has a tendency to ooze. The bad part about that is if you take the drain out too soon, the person could actually die. Well, Chris and I thought about that and decided to just keep the darn drain in. So, he's going home tomorrow instead of today!

As you may have guessed, the surgery went as good as it could possibly have gone. Chris's surgeon said that he expects Chris to start feeling good quite soon - not just "well," folks, but *good.* And to think we would have settled for a mere slight improvement!

I'm more happy than I can express at the improvement I see in Chris already. His whole countenance is uplifted compared to where he was a week ago. Even with the lack of cigarettes, he's going to be a lot happier recovering than he ever was pre-op.

Ok, now that we've got all that settled, back to the good stuff! I'll be back to posting my usual nonsense in no time! And Grandma, I PROMISE you pictures. Not tonight, but soon. SOON.

smiley face

Monday, June 26, 2006


I don't know about the hotties that work with Dr. Eyke, but I can this about him: he's a spitty nerd. You ever see people that let the spit just kinda build up in their mouth? Yeah, he does that. It's gross. That's what I noticed. What Chris noticed is that he doesn't shake. Not at all. Like when he was holding his hand up to mark the MRI, his pencil didn't waver a bit. Chris felt a lot better about everything when he saw that.

Ok, update! We saw the spinal surgeon, Dr Eyke, on Friday at one o'clock and spent the rest of the afternoon getting fitted for the cervical collar and getting all his pre-surgical testing done. He will be going into surgery on Wednesday morning. It is rather amazing considering all the little details and scheduling availabilities that needed to line up to make this happen! Somehow though, the staff at Orthopedic Associates of Muskegon called in some favors and got everyone on board and making accomodations for Chris. It was faintly miraculous, actually.

The best best best news of all is that this surgery, if successful, will reduce Chris's pain by 50-80%, something that got Chris and I very excited! You have no idea the improvement in the quality of his life by just reducing the amount of pain he has to deal with everyday. Ooops. I forgot about something. Chris doesn't like everyone to know he's in pain so when you see him, just pretend like you don't know about his pain. But anyway, the other thing I am super excited about is that he is going to quit smoking. Dr. Eyke and Dr. Moulton told him outright that the surgery will fail if he continues to smoke. And Chris said in that head-on, deadly sincere way of his, "Whatever it takes, man, I'll do it because right now I've got nothing. Nothing." What he means is that he feels like he is not living up to what he feels he needs to be and do for the kids and I. And it is really making him crazy with frustration. I could tell him a hundred times that I'm not a materialistic person and it doesn't matter to me that he isn't making all kinds of money like he used to, but in his eyes, he just isn't a man. So, let's hope that the surgery not only restores his neck to working capacity, but also gives him a little better outlook on his life!

Anyway, everyone, we spent a wonderful weekend together and really enjoyed just being together with the knowledge lurking in the back of our minds that he isn't going to be able to do much in the way of fun stuff for a while. I want to thank all of you for your good thoughts and prayers. It means a lot! I will continue to update everyone as things progress! In the meantime, however, I'd better get my pictures posted here. I won't have a lot of freetime in the next two weeks or so!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm still shaking

This morning Chris and I went to see his orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Recknagel (the same wunderkind who patched up Paige's broken wrist) for a follow up visit to Chris's shoulder surgery (which was a radical reconstruction in lieu of a complete joint replacement). Chris and I both let Dr. Recknagel know how much pain he is in everyday. "As a matter of fact, my neck hurts worse than my shoulder," Chris said.

So Dr. Recknagel ordered neck x-rays in addition to Chris's shoulder x-ray. The minute he put the neck x-ray up on the big white glowy view thingy, he said, "This is bad. We will have to get this taken care of today." He turned to his assistant and told her to get Chris an MRI and an appointment with the spine surgeon today and start scheduling a neck surgery.

After saying that to his assistant, Dr. Recknagel pointed to the obviously jagged black line going through Chris's neck and said, "Your neck fusion is broken. We need to repair it immediately or you will most likely be paralyzed." Apparently, all it would take is for him to move the wrong way or trip and fall, and he would be permanently paralyzed.

You have no idea the terror of hearing a statement like that.

"I don't understand!" I said, "Why didn't the ER doctors see that when we were in there just a few weeks ago?!?!"

Apparently they were only looking for NEW fractures. To see a fracture in an old fusion was apparently not worth the trouble to consider a problem, despite the fact that Chris told them about the numbness, the tingling, the light-headedness. No, they sent him home to not only suffer, but potentially a lifetime in a wheelchair.

You see, Chris has broken his neck twice before and his back once. His first injury was when he was 15, and he broke his neck playing football. When he broke his neck again in his twenties in a car accident, the doctors finally went in and put in what is called a butterfly clip (not to be confused with those pretty things little girls like to wear in their hair, of course). We don't know if the fusion failed to heal or if the fusion was rebroken in the rear end collision a couple weeks ago. Judging by the pain and symptoms he's been having since then, however, it is a likely culprit.

So, we expect Chris to be in surgery sometime next week, and Dr. Recknagel told him outright that he won't be back to work for at least a year. A year. On top of which, he is facing either a re-scope on his shoulder or the joint replacement.

I'm still shaking.

However, having said all that scary stuff, as I explained to Chris, this is very hopeful news. To continue living with the pain he has been having was not an option. To be able to look forward to even reducing his pain by 50% would be a significant improvement for him. Between his neck and shoulder, he can no longer do the things that he loves; playing golf, hunting, fishing, playing football, working out, even riding his bike. But if he were able to get his pain under control, life would be so much more enjoyable and he might even be able to participate in all his favorite pasttimes.

As scary as it is to hear that that person you love has a broken neck and could become paralyzed, it brings a huge measure of hope that now that we've caught it, his life could take a huge step in the right direction with these surgeries. Let's pray!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Holy Macro


Since it's been so long since I deigned to even glance in the direction of my blog, I thought I would do something charitable and actually post something of interest. However, according to many of my readers, what constitutes "of interest" to them is anything sans the mushy Chris stuff, so now I am going to have to think hard to find something to say since almost every thought I have in my head is connected to him some sort of way.


Ok, here's a thought. We live in the United States, right? At least most of my readers do (and for those that don't, put on your self-righteous, egotistical thinking cap and pretend your an American for a minute, ok?) Alright. Now, we're Americans. Our official language is English. Less than a third of Americans have had any foreign language instruction, and of those that have had foreigh language instruction, lets be generous and say 2% of them can speak the language fluently.

Ok, now....official language: English. Almost no one - from the order taker at McDonalds to the policeman that responds to my 911 call - can speak anything but English. And let's pretend I'm an illegal immigrant, ok? Now, my number one priority, you would think, would be to learn the native language of the population in which I am attempting to become a member. You know, blend in and everything.

But NO.........!

Every major corporation starts out the voicemail by saying, "If you speak English, press one. blah-blah-blah-espaniol-blah-dos."

Yesterday I went to JC Penney's and the door said, "Push" (which don't even get me started on why Americans are so retarded they have to be told whether to push or pull on a door) and then right below it was the gobbledy gook word for push in some other language (I am going to assume here it was Spanish.)

Ok, people. You live in America. A-Mer-I-Ca. We speak English. Comprende? Don't make us strain our brains to learn your language. Don't cost our evil corporations any more money having to say everything twice. Let us just stay nice and ignorant, speaking only one language and don't bother us with having to figure out what you are trying to say.

Oh, and another thing....about that accent.....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I sure hope trouble doesn't travel in 3's

Yesterday after Chris picked up the girls from school, he was plowed by some young chick from behind in a hit-and-run accident. We spent all evening in the ER. Luckily, there was little property damage and Chris is going to be all right, but it was scary seeing him so disoriented with his arms and hands tingling. He'd broken his neck playing football and has a butterfly something holding his head to his shoulders, so it was pretty hairy thinking he could have inflicted further damage. And to think of that woman who slammed into him and then just took off. Because of where the accident occured, she was able to escape through a parking lot and hop onto 31 south with Chris having no hope of catching her. Which was just as well, since he was so light-headed anyway. The last thing we needed was for him in his injured state to go chasing some crazed woman with the girls in the truck. Thank God, though, he'll be ok. And the girls were fine because they were strapped in and comfortably leaning back. His neck snapped because he'd been leaning over reading love notes Emily got at school from her crush Josh. Life can be so quixotic, can it not?!

So, today at work I got a call. My brother (ChillDaddy) and his wife (TrophyWife) were involved in a terrible accident around 7 a.m. this morning. A woman ran a stop sign and he absolutely t-boned her. There was no where for him to go and no time to do it. He knocked her vehicle into a parking lot and completely totalled both vehicles. Ray seemed to be ok, but Cindy was having a lot of pain in her back so she spent a lot of time in the ER waiting to see if there was anything wrong. They finally determined that she has whiplash and sent her home with a neck brace and strong meds. Again, thank God it wasn't any worse and the lady who ran the stop sign wasn't seriously injured either. The loss of their truck is going to be felt with their busy lifestyle and four kiddies, but again, at least everyone is going to be ok.

It just makes you realize how tenuous and how precious the lives of our loved ones are, and how important it is to make sure you remember that no matter how busy life is, or how irritated you may get at each other, each day is a gift that can't be taken for granted.