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DJW

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Hey Dennis,

I had to go to Tampa first to do the preop diagnosis, MRI, blood tests, etc. That is where I was last week from Tuesday - Saturday. Then they had to submit them to TriCare for approval which we just got for both the Lumbar and the cervical procedures. No fusions or cervical replacements, and I should be pain free. They are ready to do them back to back if you'll pardon the Pun. It is five days after each procedure before they want me to drive, so ten days for both. My only hang up is my wife can't go and I have no close friends in Tampa tostay with me for 24 hours after surgery. I may end up having to pay for a nurse. I'm going to shake the bushes on base and see if any of the young troops could use some extra cash and free meals. They have a gorgeous beachside RV Park, full hookups for 20 per night but I won't be able to crawl under, hitch and unhitch, hookup and unhook with the neck and back braces. Just drive or fly.

 

If you know of any RVrs that want to stay there for ten days I can sponsor them in and pay the whole ten days RV parking. They would have to bunk in my room on base in the hotel for the night of surgery only, and drive me to and from surgery twice.

 

I'll let you know how it goes.

 

Thanks for asking.

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Thanks Mike and Dennis!

 

Roger, that is so nice of you! They prefer us to have our surgeries within 30 days of the MRIs and tests, so we will be a few weeks sooner if possible but I will ask. It looks like we won't be getting them done in the same fiscal year as the test in any event which can make a giant difference in the co pay. I am trying to figure out the best way first. I will be talking to their scheduler Monday. If that can work I will get in touch and see if it might for you. I am easy as there will be no major trauma. I used an Uber last time for the one day they did a temp nerve block to make sure they were going to be working on the correct nerve area.

 

I am not a drama king or whiner so in and out should be all it takes. I will be staying on base and can guest you in there with your RV or get a two bed room and pay your expenses etc. They have fast broadband wireless with multiple access points all over. I brought my own movies loaded onto a Fire tablet. I was just trying it our for a small travel device. It worked out great!.

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Roger,

I can call and schedule around Halloween without having to redo the MRI etc. It would be nice to meet. Please Email me RV@rvroadie.com and maybe we can make it work. They want me to schedule in the next couple of days. Regardless thanks for offering.

 

Dick,

They don't want to have two months between the tests and the surgeries. But thanks for offering. You ever been in the beach Famcamp at Macdill AFB?

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Roger,

I can call and schedule around Halloween without having to redo the MRI etc. It would be nice to meet. I'll PM and maybe we it will work. Regardless thanks for offering.

 

Dick,

They don't want to have two months between the tests and the surgeries. But thanks for offering. You ever been in the beach Famcamp at Macdill AFB?

 

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RV,

 

My Internet and phone service is not very good at this campground. I sent you an email with my schedule and contact info, it had a problem but finally appeared to go out. I look forward to speaking with you again.

 

I have not been to Macdill in years and have not been to the famcamp. I only managed to visit a few before I got out of the Army Reserve and no longer had privileges.

 

Safe Travels...

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"Dick,


They don't want to have two months between the tests and the surgeries. But thanks for offering. You ever been in the beach Famcamp at Macdill AFB?"

 

Quite a few years ago. Pretty nice place. Haven't gone back since we found a state park to volunteer at for the winter.

 

DICK

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Everything is taken care of and I will update everyone after my surgeries. Thanks for all the offers. I will let y'all know the real skinny of Laser Spinals institute's surgery versus their claims. I can say I would not use any of the surgeons around here. Not a one. I went to one and got tired of paying specialist co-pays and never seeing but a PA, and he was too stuck up to return calls when his scheduling did not happen on his end. After fighting them for a month I fired them in a letter that Started with those words. You're fired! I felt sooooo good and that is what made me decide to use minimally invasive Laser Spine Institute specialists. I actually had the specialists working me up for the preops! The real convincing part was talking to folks in the waiting area that had surgery the day before and were in no pain. And they were old farts like me, most overweight as I am now too. I will remedy that once I can move to exercise again, and take long walks.

 

This is gonna be fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hey guys,
OK, first thanks for all the well wishes, they worked!

The short version: I am better than fine, pain free, not crippled, in fact have to rein myself in.

 

I was prescribed Percocet 5mg and after I saw what was in it I was determined not to use it. I filled the script but was willing to endure a lot of pain. It turns out I don't need any pain meds!!!

 

I have not taken a one, and the weird red seal they put on the bottle is still in place.

 

I got ready for the two days before I flew here to Tampa on the 8th to settle into my suite for my last pre-op tests on Wednesday the 9th, for the cervical surgery on the 10th. Roger KR4S from here, who I have known online for 16 years but never met, lives 60 miles from here, and he drove in to stay with me as my care partner for the surgery for two nights in the suite I got at bayside. The care partner is usually the spousal unit, but mine needs to take care of her dad with last stage Alzheimer's. Roger Thanks so much! What a great friend and surgery care partner you turned out to be.

 

I am quite capable of operating on my own, but spinal surgery can go wrong in the best of places and facilities and docs.

 

I met my doc and he was impressive. 40ish, fit Hungarian who emigrated here and lives the American dream as a very respected neurosurgeon, and one of the most thorough. He walks fast and is super high energy, obviously works out and is so professional but friendly. He is interested in his patients and really has a conversation about mutual interests. (He skies and scuba dives too)

 

If anyone needs spinal surgery, I will pass along my experience. But do not expect the same results as it is different for each person. I expected great things and if they were half as good as I'd hoped it would be good enough. They exceeded my highest hopes!

 

I walked away from the wheelchair they made me ride downstairs to the shuttle back to the hotel. No pain save what you would have after a deep cut was treated, stitched and you were comfortable again. Not "no pain," but no more than a cut you forget about until you stress it without thinking. Yes if I twist around while carrying my 5 pound case with my tablets and chargers I could hurt it. But I walk fast as was normal before my back problems, my original pain appears to be gone as is the numbness I had in the upper back and arms. They said many get the same results but not all. I saw one guy that looked like he was in severe pain with the same surgery the day before I had mine.

 

I thought I was nuts having both lumbar and cervical surgery 5 days apart, almost at the same time. I do not need hardware in either place, just the nerve routes lasered out and the spurs, if any, removed that press them. He said based on my body's response to the first usually more painful surgery, that with no promises, I should do as well or better with the lumbar roto rootering of my nerve pathways. While my cervical problems were causing less debilitation than the lumbar issues, he said that it was worse than I thought it was. I thought I could live with it. But he told me my lumbar was a mess, worse than my cervical issues and needed it immediately so he was glad I scheduled both and so am I. I should be pain and numbness free after it next week on Tuesday the 15th.

 

My problem will be reeling myself in and not forgetting I have deep wounds healing even though I cannot feel pain unless I overdo it. The prognosis is I can take off my soft neck brace in a couple of weeks and be able to lift reasonable weights in four to six weeks. And ride my lawnmowers for the leaf fall in about three weeks after the lumbar surgery.

 

No I do not want to see what the high from a single Percocet is like. I read about too many people like me hooked on them. Then when the pill mills are cracked down on, like here in Florida, former upstanding citizens are using Heroin!! :o

 

So I am fine, the surgery was a success to put it mildly, and I look forward to the next one and the pain relief it will bring. I am finding bending down now to type for more than a few minutes is making my neck feel like I have a crick in it. Mild but I do need to keep it straight for a few weeks. I straightened up and the crick feeling stopped. An example of being mindful of my physical recovery limitations to make it the least recovery time and not be patient with myself until I reach each stage for the next few weeks, and then just take it easy while I work for about six months which is the release point where I can stand whatever my pre surgery, pre disability body could.

 

That's my story and I am sticking to it. Next stop is lumbar spinal surgery next Tuesday, then a flight home on Thursday the 17th.

Instead of hobbling through an uncertain recovery in pain, I now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and in this case it is an exciting fast tunnel!

 

Life is good

 

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RV

 

That is great news. Now take it easy and don't screw it up by overdoing. It's good to have you back even for a few days. Will keep you in my prayers that the spinal surgery goes well next Tuesday. Stay Safe my friend.

 

Dennis

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Thanks Dennis. Nice of you to say so! :D

 

Roger K4RS from here will be back tomorrow night to go in as my surgery care partner, and stay for the surgery day through the day after post surgery appointment. Then he gets to go home and then Thursday I fly home with both my Lumbar and my cervical spine done. Fingers crossed it goes as well as the cervical did.

 

Thanks again Roger! What a buddy. :)

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