Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Camo Vest (Or the Joy of a Good Doctor)

While I was laying in the operating room before surgery my neurosurgeon walked in with a camouflage vest. I was well drugged and thought, "Was he just out hunting? What is in that vest? Scalpels?" It didn't really matter what he used it for; it became a sign of comfort for me. He was showing a side of his personality that made me feel like I was going to be ok.

As we know I was not only ok after the surgery, but better than ever. The camo vest became a joke because my mom thought I had imagined it (for the record I had not; it was an x-ray vest). While in the scheme of things I realize I don't know Dr. Henderson, I do feel there is a bond between patients and good surgeons.

So what does this matter? The truth is I never really trusted my last neurosurgeon. He didn't like me and treated me like I was complaining about pain when I should be thankful I wasn't dying. What he didn't understand was chronic pain was a death sentence for me- at best it was the death of any chance of a normal life and suicide at worst. Dr. Henderson was the very first neurosurgeon who understood that I wasn't having all these surgeries for nothing. He talked to me while looking me in the eyes (instead of walking out the door like the other), he listened to my fears and told me he could fix it without being conceited.

Not everyone will be as lucky as me and have a leading neuro-modulation neurosurgeon preform this surgery. While I wouldn't trade it for anything, I don't know that it is important for everyone. However, I think trusting your doctor is absolutely necessary. Liking them is even better! It's easy for me to say, right? I had a pick of doctors while others can't even get the surgery preformed. But do you really want to have multiple revisions? Recovery can be very difficult, it breaks your heart, and it hurts.

Ok, gushing about Dr. Henderson is over. I had my follow-up today (I'm almost 4 weeks post-op) and I'm doing beautifully. Scars are healed, no infections (first time ever!), and most importantly I'm out of headache pain! My surgical sites still ache, but I have 3-5 weeks left of that. I have been released to do as I like, as long as that doesn't include skydiving. I even got the ok to do yoga again (my old surgeon said no way, never again). I am looking forward to my life for the first time in a long time.

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