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Eastern Europe Trip

A year of adventure and misfortune - the story of our Eastern Europe trip, the accident and subsequent recovery, and our lives up until September 2008... For the latest blog, click on Blogs in the header...

Sunday, 30 December 2007


Back on the road to recovery...

I've deliberately held back from updating the blog until we were clear on the success (or otherwise) of the operation on Tracy's back. The good news - no, great news - is that it appears to have been successful.

She had the operation as planned on Christmas Eve, and was back on the spinal unit ward around tea-time, but in considerable pain. The operation is considered to be major surgery, as they have to go right into her back, then hold the spine whilst drilling the vertebrae to fit the screws and pins. I spoke to one of the team who had been in theatre with Mr Ross, and he explained that they had put a pair of screws in both her 10th and 12th vertebrae, and these screws then hold the pins that run parallel to the spine to hold it in place - effectively bypassing her T11 vertebrae and fixing that part of her spine rigidly. The pain she was experiencing was therefore due to the operation itself - because in getting to the spine the surgeons have to cut through significant amounts of muscle, tendons, nerves etc...

She also had a more worrying problem, in that her right leg (the one she had trouble with that resulted in her being rushed to hospital the week earlier) was still very heavy and she didn't have much movement in her toes. To check this out, they performed a further MRI scan on Boxing Day, which came back all clear. The issue with her leg being attributable to the effect of the operation and the soft tissue damage around her spine caused by the operation, and the bones moving prior to the op.

Since then, they've managed to get her pain more-or-less under control, through a cocktail of different pain killers. At first it was so bad that when she woke up she'd be instantly sick, and so they've given her some medication to prevent this too. Now she's able to eat again and they're constantly reviewing her medication to gradually reduce the dosage as her body heals itself and the pain levels reduce.

But the best news is that on Friday they got her out of bed - to stand up for the first time since August without a back-brace holding her steady. She's still very weak down her right leg, and the pain is pretty severe, but each day they get her up and to take a step or two.

It's now only a matter of time before she gets control of her leg, and is able to move about more. Then she'll be able to come home again, this time without needing to wear a back-brace and be dependant on others in order to move around. That day can't come quickly enough for me and the girls - and that's not because we can then have our Christmas Day (and open our presents!), it's because it'll mean she's well on the road to recovery...

Meanwhile, they continue to change the dressing on her right arm, and that is now healing well. She's obviously had to cancel the physio appointments whilst she's in hospital, but she continues to do the exercises herself and is showing signs of greater movement in her elbow.

All in all, we're looking forward to getting her home soon, and then focusing on the final stage of her recovery... she still faces a long journey, especially to get useful movement in her right arm and hand, but now her back is fused, at least that will be one less thing to worry about.

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