Author Archives: mumofruth

A Post About Toast (and other things).

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I’m feeling so much better today, and Mum said that it was my turn to do a post. 🙂 So, here it is!

I don’t remember a huge amount from the first couple of days, and, due to the morphine pump, I really didn’t have too much pain. I’ve found it very hard to get used to sitting and standing up, though, and for a while I couldn’t sit up without becoming very light-headed and nauseated. But that’s all pretty much passed now, and I’ve gone for a few walks down the hallway and sat in a big chair for a while without feeling too bad.

I was taken off my morphine pump last night. This didn’t make me particularly happy, and I’ve found it a little difficult to adjust to taking my medications before I need them, as opposed to being able to press the button for instant pain-relief whenever I want. It’s all getting sorted, though, and I’m feeling fairly comfortable now. At the moment I’m on regular doses of Panadol, ibuprofen, slow-release Tramadol, as well as a morphine pill if I feel I need one.

my looooong bandage

I’ve had a number of visitors over the last couple of days, which has been really nice. I apologise if you came and I didn’t interact much – some of my memories of the last few days are quite blurred! I’ve also started eating real food again, which has been amazing. There’s a limit to how many clear liquids one can partake of before it all gets a bit much. The first thing I ate was a piece of toast with Marmite… and I’ve never tasted better.

I had some xrays taken yesterday (when I was able to stand up for long enough) and Mum says they look pretty amazing. My surgeon said that he was very pleased with them too, and so I can’t wait to finally see what my spine looks like now! One of the doctors said he’d email the xrays through sometime soon, and so I’ll post a “Before & After” set of photos.

Mum and Lizzie helping me walk down the hallway. Observe my great height...

That’s pretty much it! Dad and the girls have gone back home for the weekend, as I’m probably going to be discharged on either Monday or Tuesday. So Mum and I are up here with crosswords, internet and cups of tea. Everything’s going well!

I’ll leave you with the view from my room’s window at night….

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Small Steps Forward

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Day 2 – this is the one which has a reputation for being the worst: the really heavy-duty drugs from the surgery and immediate post-operative period are starting to wear off, and the physiotherapists are keen to see good progress in the sitting, standing and walking departments; the patient is encouraged to drink and gradually build up to eating soft foods, and the patient’s insides do not wish to cooperate 🙂

Ruth has been aware of this for months, having done lots of very thorough research.  She is now in a position to report that the rumours are true, but that in her case, she has not found them to be quite as bad as she expected.

Ruth trying very hard to achieve her goal of sitting in a chair for 30 minutes

Today she has sat out of bed twice and walked around the bed once.  When she stands up, she seems very straight and tall.  She says she feels as if her back is heavy and off-balance, but in reality her posture is perfect; it will no doubt take some time to adjust to the new situation 🙂

The upside of having lots of blood tests Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wiggles bandaids.-

The decision was made today to give Ruth a blood transfusion, which is still in progress.  She is already looking much better and feeling much less tired and nauseated.

Gradually various tubes and pieces of equipment are being removed, which is making it easier for Ruth to move around in bed.

Her surgeon has just been in to visit and is very pleased with her progress.  He has told Ruth that it was a difficult curve to correct, but he is glad he was able to do it without the anterior release he was originally planning.  So are we; seeing the huge effects the surgery has had on her whole body, we are thankful that she hasn’t had to also contend with chest and lung issues.

Today was a real family day here:  Ruth’s sister Sarah and her husband and two children came up for the day from Hamilton, and her sister Elisabeth and her husband visited, too.  The two brothers-in-law took themselves into the city to the movies, the sisters all spent time together, and the little ones enjoyed the atmosphere at the hospital.  Starship is a great place for children – playgrounds, toys, lots to look at and things to do.  Perhaps the most exciting thing for the 3-year-old was a trip to the Auckland Zoo with Grandpa and Aunty Becky.  Ronald McDonald House organises a free weekly bus trip to the Zoo for families.  Despite the fact that it was raining, they all had a great time.

It’s a pity they weren’t here yesterday when Ruth had a visit from the Clown Doctors, who managed to make us laugh in spite of ourselves.

The Clown Doctors visiting Ruth

Thanks again for all your messages.  I have been reading them out to Ruth, as she hasn’t been able to focus well on reading anything, but she is hoping to be able to get back onto the laptop tomorrow, so the next post will probably be one from the girl herself.

Drugs are great

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I will try again – the computer seems to have eaten my post!

 

Sorry for the delay in updating things here; once Ruth was out of surgery last night, things were very busy, and then we didn’t have access to the internet until this morning.

As soon as he had finished operating (it took about 6 hours), the surgeon rang us to say that he was very pleased with the way everything had gone from his point of view.  We weren’t able to see Ruth for quite a while, as her blood pressure was very low when she got to the Recovery Room, and there was concern about some unexplained bleeding from her kidneys.  However, she is OK, and this seems to be resolving.  She did lose a considerable amount of blood during the surgery, which was not unexpected;  this particular operation involves a lot of gore.  (Sorry if this is too graphic – I am trying to be as polite as possible 🙂  Some of this blood was replaced at the time.  So far she has not had a blood transfusion, but it is quite likely that she will within the next day or two.  As you can imagine, she is very pale and tired, but in good spirits.

Ruth now has about 16 screws, 3 hooks and two straight rods attached to her spine.  We are all looking forward to seeing the Xrays they will take when she is able to stand up in a few days’ time!

She is particularly fond of the “Patient Controlled Analgesia” button, which gives her an instant burst of Morphine any time she presses it.  It makes her smile.  And then she falls asleep for a little while.  She says she “Loves, loves, loves” it.

She had a good night, back in her own room, and slept on and off in between all the frequent interruptions and close observations.  She has been sipping water and sucking on ice blocks, and thanks everybody for them – she is a great girl!

This morning, the physiotherapist came to help her sit up briefly on the side of the bed, which was quite a feat.  She asked Ruth if she would like to sit out on a chair, but was politely declined 🙂  She is coming back this afternoon for another session.

We can’t tell you how much it means to all of us to read your comments, and to know that so many of you are praying for Ruth, asking God to take care of her.  He certainly is.

Despite being tired, pale, sore and attached to lots of equipment, Ruth is her usual, calm, capable self.  She got the laptop organised this morning, through the bedrails, and Skyped her sister Miriam in London.  And then drifted off to sleep again.  Those drugs …

It’s all happening

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This is a quick note from Jill (Ruth’s Mum, for those who don’t know us personally) to let all Ruth’s readers know the latest.

Ruth had a reasonable night’s sleep; she wasn’t worried, just woken by the lights and noises on the ward. Prior to going off to theatre this morning, we had some very welcome news.  The surgeon has decided, after looking carefully at the traction Xrays from last Friday, that he is not going to do an anterior release as he had originally planned.  He feels that he will be able to get a good result without this, and so he is only (“only” being a relative term, and a bit of an understatement) doing a posterior fusion.  This means that the surgery will be some hours shorter than originally expected (still 5 – 6 hours), and will not involve any of the scary things associated with entering her chest cavity.  We are so grateful to God for this, as is Ruth.  I didn’t get a photo of her face when he said this, but it was very happy.

David, Becky and Abby are in luxury accommodation at Ronald MacDonald House, Grafton Mews, just off the hospital precinct, but about 15 minutes’ walk away.  We are all so blessed, to be living in a time and place where all this is possible.  God is so good to us.

We will try to update this later today, when we have some more news.  Thank you to all who are praying for Ruth, for us and for the surgeons and anaesthetists.  It means so much.