Sunday, November 16, 2014

Almost Two Months of Hell

On September 24th I was taken to emergency at the DECH in Fredericton with acute back spasms. After a week of diagnoses and painkillers, I was taken to the neurological unit at Saint John Regional Hospital. On October 4th they operated on my back, removing an epidural abscess caused by streptococcal infection. After some healing and then physio in Saint John, I was brought back to the DECH for a few days, getting home on October 20th. Since I've been on a antibiotic pump that gives me a megadose of penicillin every four hours, with extramural nurses coming to our apartment to refill it every morning. As of last night, I'm finally free of that!

The infection really ramped up my MS symptoms, to the point where I was not even able to transfer myself from one chair to another. Since the surgery I've gained some of my strength and balance back, but I still have to use a walker to get around, which means I’m still much worse than I was before I was infected. In particular, it really feels like the vertebrae in my lumbar region [where the surgery was] are rubbing against my spinal cord causing much more spasticity in my walking. I've been wearing a back brace when I'm sitting up in a chair or walking around for any distance, but I don't know that it's really helped reduce the spasticity, especially now that my back is somewhat stronger. I'm hoping that, when my healing is finally done, I'll be back to being able to do what was normal for me before the infection.

On the bright side, I can always hope that the surgery has reduced the stenosis in my spine. Certainly my hip and sciatic pain (and some other symptoms) are way less than before my surgery. I don't know if that is due to surgery or just the fact that I'm not moving around much these days. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

Between the infection and painkillers, I was in a fog for most the time that I was in the hospitals. I hardly even remember my daughter’s first visit (before surgery). I'm sure glad that I got home before my son left for his teaching job in China, and that my daughter had a second opportunity to visit us at home.

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