The Neck Surgery

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is an absolutely true story. Every bit of this happened.


  On January 23rd 2003 I had to have neck surgery. I had been having issues and pains with my lower back for some time up to this point. My lower back was causing me a lot of pain and eventually it got where my fingers were going numb and then it was hard for me to hold onto things. I had hardly any strength in my hands. I figured something bad was going on. There were times when I could hardly walk, being in great pains and such. I've had back issues since 1992 so I knew that something was up.

 

  I was thinking when I went to go have an MRI on my back that they would tell me that I needed lower back surgery. Much to my great surprise, they told me that it was my neck that needed surgery and pretty quickly at that. It turns out at that point my neck was pinching nerve endings in my spine and that was causing a lot of issues. Mind you, I still had lower back issues but the neck was much worse at this point. In fact it was so severe an issue that they told me that if I turned just the wrong way I could end up being paralyzed which truly scared me. I had already prepared my mind to the fact that I may have to have lower back surgery and instead it was my neck, which was a whole another ball of wax.

 

  Its a scary thought that they are going to put you to sleep and cut on your neck or your back. Either way its scary and I was thinking all kinds of things, lots of "what ifs" that I tried my best to suppress. But you know how the mind works and how fears creep in. I was a bit scared but kept up a calm exterior.

 

  Anyways I went in early on Thursday, January 23rd, 2003 for the surgery. My ex girlfriend was with me. She had taken off from her job so she could be with me the whole time. I'm honestly glad she was. My natural family had all died by this point with the exception of my father and my brother. My brother lived in another state (Washington). So I was basically alone with the exception of my girlfriend.They prepped me and put me to sleep. I don't remember if I dreamed or not but but before I knew it I was slowly coming too.

 

  In the procedure, they took a chunk of my hip and wedged it into my neck, between the L4 and L5 vertabrae and put a plate and some metal pins to hold everything together and then they sewed me up. I had a nice little scar on the front of my neck which surprised me honestly. I thought they would cut me from the back.

 

  In any case, when I came too not only was my neck hurting me but also my hip where they had dug out part of the bone and I had a little divot in the hip. Let me tell you, that hurts like hell to have a chunk of your hip taken out. It hurt me as much as my neck so there I was hurting at both end. I had a drain tube sticking out of my neck with tape around it and they would have to come change it from time to time.

 

  They kept me over night to recuperate and let me tell you that was one of the worst nights of my life. While I thought the surgery staff was amazing, as well as my doctor, the nursing staff was terrible. I would be in great pain and ask for pain medicine and it would take them forever to come to my room. At one point the nurse was gonna stick a needle into my IV and she had taken the cap off the needle and dropped it into the carpet, needle down and then she still stuck it into my IV. Another time I needed to use the rest room, like badly. They had several IV's attached to me and some bags on both legs that pumped air in and out to keep the circulation going and so just to go to the bathroom was an ordeal to unplug things and then slowly walk with the IV bag attached to a little rolling pole. After a while of trying to get the nurse to come help me I asked my girlfriend. We had both seen what they did so we basically undid everything we needed and I slowly made it to the bathroom with my ex girlfriend's help.

 

  45 minutes later the nurse finally shows up.  Literally 45 minutes later she shows up. 

 

  Yeah. I was NOT impressed with the nursing staff. It was almost like they were trying to kill me or something.

 

  Anyways, I survived the night and I was soooo happy to be going home the next day. My girlfriend stayed the night and cat napped in a chair in my room and I had a very restless night and hardly slept. I knew that the doctor on duty would come check on me and release me after I signed my discharge papers and I couldn't wait to go home. Like seriously couldn't wait.

 

  But this is where everything takes a weird turn for me.

 

  While waiting for my doctor to come sign me out another doctor walks in. I recognize him from somewhere but I can't place where. He asked me if I have a father named Robert Green and I say yes and right away I was wondering what this could mean. I had an uneasy feeling.

 

  They doctor informed me that he was my father's doctor. And then I realized where I had seen him briefly before. He said he had some bad news. My father had suffered a massive stroke the day before and was 5 doors down the hall way in a coma.

 

  I was in shock. The nursing home where he had been living had been trying to get a hold of me to let me know he was in the hospital, having suffered a massive stroke. Of course I had no idea because I was having neck surgery at the very same hospital. It didn't occur to me to inform them (the nursing home) that I was having neck surgery. Hind sight being what it is, it was, what it was.

 

  I would later figure out later, that about the time I was having neck surgery, my dad was having a massive stroke. By the time they got him to the hospital in emergency, they were rolling me on a gurney up to my room. My father would end up in a room 5 rooms down from mine all night long and I wouldn't know it until the next morning when I was getting to be released. It turns out that my father's doctor had left the one nurses station (near my dad's room) and was walking down the hallway and came over to the nursing station outside my room. He just happened to see my chart with my name and mailing address and he put two and two together and that is why he came in to see if Robert Green was my dad and of course, he was. Dad had been using me and my address on his emergency contact. That's the only way dad's doctor figured it out. It was just by weird luck.

 

  What are the odds that a father suffers a massive stroke and ends up 5 rooms down from his son who had neck surgery on the same day and both men spent the night that close to each other and didn't know it?I mean it still freaks me out when I think of it but then my life has always been a little weird and such. My brother would drink himself to death and die on his 40th birthday among other things. ( My mother's passing was also extremely painful and weird but I'm leaving that for another time and another story which I'll be writing about later and posting here. )

 

  So there I am in shock. The doctor leaves and after a while my doctor comes in and we sign the release papers and they put me in a wheel chair and roll me down the hallway so I can see my dad. And he was indeed 5 doors down. They opened up a door and dad is of course in a coma.

 

  Of course there was nothing I could do to help him at this point. They told me he wouldn't recover from the coma and so I went home, still in great pain and hardly able to walk and such. Two days later my father would slip peacefully away. This was Sunday, January 26th 2003. Super Bowl Sunday of that year.

 

  I was sad in some ways but silently relieved. My father had already lost both his legs at this point. He had gone blind and deaf and so he was basically a shell of his former self. He had a strong spirit, up until the very end and I have the utmost respect for the man. He worked hard all his life. He made mistakes like all of us but he was basically a good man. He was. I still miss him. He was a great provider for his wife and kids and he was quite the character. So to see him finally released from the hell his body had become was almost a welcomed thing. I hope everyone can understand this. You never want to see your parents or other loved ones die and its so painful to see them slowly waste away or suffering etc. My father was a very strong man, he was a survivor of WW2 and the Korean Conflict, he had had planes shot out from underneath him, he had survived a broken back and had to learn how to walk again. Just a lot of different things and so to see him finally released from all of that was a blessing.

 

  Anyways my father was cremated later and I was bequeathed his ashes as well as my mother's. That of course is another story altogether.

 

  Six months later they would run an MRI on my neck to see how well the surgery was taking and strangely enough the procedure would somehow magnetize the pins and plate in my neck. And for a month and a half afterwards every time I went through one of those electronic security gates in the doorways of stores like Walmart and Eckards I would set them off. The pins and plate would set them off and I would have to explain to whoever that I had had neck surgery, that they put pins and a plate in my neck and that the MRI had magnetized them blah blah. What a pain that was.

 

  So this is my neck surgery story. Every bit of this is true.I still miss my dad as I miss my mother. I still have pains every once in a while (especailly my lower back) but the surgery did help me. I regained the strength in my hands. The tingling and numbness went away. I probably need lower back surgery still but that will have to wait.  The whole thing though was truly bizarr. I wouldn't wish any of this on anyone.


Submitted: February 07, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Jim Green. All rights reserved.

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Jim Green

I do apologize. I had to revise this. I had stated that my natural family was dead at the time of my surgery and that was incorrect. My father was still alive (living in his nursing home, bed ridden ) and my brother was living in Washington State. Sorry. This was an over sight on my part.

Wed, February 7th, 2018 2:11am

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