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Disaster

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  • Thankyou to all who are following my plight and taking time to read my thread, especially those who also help me keep sane (ish) and take my mind off it all when we meet in chat.

    I feel I need to tell you a little about the Danish Health Service following Kathys post, so that there are not any mis-understandings, firstly the adult population here is only about 3.5 million and of the very few who have spine problems, they get prompt attention as I did with my first operation , I saw a surgeon and had x-rays in February`07, MRI and pre appointment in March and operation was in early April , beginning to end in 7 weeks, and basic spine operations like fusions and discectomies are still done pretty quick.
    However when it comes to the complicated stuff, there just are no surgeons. In fact the last time there was need for a revision surgery like mine in Denmark was 1999, so its understandable that no-one here specializes or if they do have the expertize , then the doctors move elsewhere where they can use their education, a fair few are at the two huge specialist spine hospitals in Sweden and many are working in America and UK where they are making some real money whilst they can travel about , before they are married and start families and the children are at school age.
    The Danish State often hires in after its needs, or sends patients to Sweden. Swedish surgeons were flown in to Copenhagen when there were trauma cases. But in my case which is planned , there is no criteria to rush someone over and since there is no prestige in this type of surgery ( dubious outcome) and the doctors here get their normal monthly wage and an amount per op then no-one is really running to voluntere themselves to my case. The nurses strike last year has crippled the waiting lists here and many docors have fled the system having received very handsome offers from The US, Canada and Australia, instead of working their fingers to the bone here, many come back after doing 5 to 10 years in other countries, but none are rushing back during the financial crisis, they are making a nest egg whilst they can, and they are out there improving their skills.
    This doesn`t help me though !! All I can do is hope the surgeon in Odense who is looking through my papers as we speak has picked up some expertize during his time in Sweden and in Housten TX where he has worked before coming home to settle in Denmark again. His time is very booked up consulting and with childrens surgery which he is very well published with. ( I googled him !)
    So this is where I stand, irritating for me , but I understand the surgeons point of view and as a nurse who wouldn`t have stayed working for the British NHS either, I know how they feel about the wage issue and that if you want to learn more and have more opportunities , travelling abroard is the only option, or going into the private sector which wouldn`t be for me either.

    There are waiting list guarentees in place for life threatening problems and cancer patients are seen within days, and treatment is available 24/7 with agreements in place at German, Swedish and Norwiegen hospitals, in fact from the day I found a breast lump last year,the whole ordeal was over and done with, within 9 days, including 3 appointments with a specialist a mammograph, and a small surgical procedure. (All clear .. no problems)

    Oh dear, I have rambled, sorry about that, but I felt there was a need to explain the size of the country and its downfall for "non life threatening" cases like mine.Uk has a simular Health Service , but due to being a larger base with some extremely prestigeous Hospitals and Universities, there is more scope for expertize and research(More Cash !)I fact there are more specialist hospitals in my home city in England than there are in the whole of Denmark , so bigger is better as far as health systems go !!!
    Oh I`ll shut up now , Bye for now Viking :)))
  • That must say something for the spinal surgeons there that there hasn't been a revision or complication to a spinal surgery since 1999. Maybe more of us from US need to go there and get our surgeries :?

    I just read through your story tonight and am amazed at your patience with this whole matter although, I guess you don't have a choice.

    I wish you the best of luck and will follow your situation and pray for success for you. I hope you hear back from docs soon and it's good news.
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  • Hi V,

    New to the site... been bouncing around different forums and found your story... it's like reading a good book and hoping for a happy ending! Hope you get your happy ending and please keep us posted.

    THinking of you and Best wishes!!!!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • I rang the hospitals involved on 28th January, and the first said they had sent my papers, and the second said they had not received them yet. Stalemate. Also the secretary was well versed in evasive action , making you feel like you are the most inconvenient patient they have dealt with ever.

    :W So I waited, gave them grace to let my papers come through their utterly complicated and slow system, and I rang today, just over a fortight later, when they couldn`t use the "still in the post system" excuse . Well, the charisma bi-pass secretary on the other end said that I should be receiving a letter either this week or next! She said, I will be called in to an "ambulatory investigation", when I asked if this would be a call in to a pre-op appointment, so here I go again , watching the post box at the end of the drive for signs of a large envelope, containing my future.

    As far as my life goes at the moment goes, I have been a bit blue, and lacking in energy, but I have been sleeping nights, sort of, and have been trying to keep my self busy at home, walking and exersize has been limited due to the snow and ice outside, but I have managed to keep up the core exersizes to a point, and I took a 4 day break from the oxy , just to show myself that I could. No withdrawal symptoms except for increased pain , which slowed down my walking, but since there was no safe place to walk in the frozen landscape, it didn`t matter too much. I have finished every sewing job in my sewing basket and hope to go to town after more material and make some cushion covers over the next few weeks. Concentrating on something else always helps .

    So I hope to be writing with positive tidings in a few weeks or so. I am looking forward to my husbands annual company party in mid March so something is bound to happen around then to take that joy away from us !! Its a weekend do at a lovely hotel, which has pool , sauna and spa included in the deal . =D> YUM
    Viking

  • It arrived today, in the B post , which takes 2 days, and its exactly 2 days since I rang and asked how my case was coming along ( figure that one out ! :| )
    Firstly I have been accepted on the surgeons list and he wants to see me 2nd March . Thats in 11 days time !!!
    I have to be there at 9.15 am and expect to stay the whole day and have bloods, ECG and have various chats with nurses, physio, surgeons, anaesthesiologist, have a tour of the patient hotel, have my hubby make his booking and I can run through any questions I have , little do they know I have been working on a list of questions since I found out about the non-fusion in July last year ;) .

    I then have to meet at 11am on the 11th March and they plan to operate on the 12th .
    My world just rocks at the moment !! I have rung my mom and dad and all family and friends , its just the best news I have had since goodness knows when, so just a month shy of two years after the first op ,I am going for an op which will hopefully be the beginning of a new life for me . <:P Ahh ..... no more neurontin !? <br />Anyhow I am off to send E-mails and make phone calls to anyone who will listen.

    love a very happy Viking :D

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  • My alarm clock is set to go off in just over 4 hours and I can`t sleep, tomorrow I have my long day of preliminary examinations and tests and time with surgeons, anaesthesiologist, physiotherapists and nurses prior to being admitted in 10 days time. I can hardly believe I am writing the word "days" . Time is just flying by suddenly and I am trying to keep myself busy, even taken to knitting , only scarf standard , but it keeps me occupied , maybe I will auction the resulting ugly scarf off in aid of a new clock in the spiney chat room. ;)

    I am pretty anxious :SS as to what the plan is and how much titanium scaffolding and concrete they are planning on patching the condemned building which is my lumbar spine with . Each doc has had a different idea as I have been passed along the line. I suppose all in all, I just hope it is a reasonably painless day and there is an opportunity to have a lie down at some point during the busy day especially after the car ride there.

    Ho-hum , gonna go to bed, rest my body, even if my mind is racing and speculating, and my heart is praying that this really is the end stages of an 8 month wait .

    Night, night and God Bless ,
    Viking
  • Hey V,
    I'm so excited for ya and happy. finally good news and the long wait is just about over with. Make sure you post about how it all goes will be looking forward to your post.
  • Been checking everyday to see what happened so i hope no news is good news. I hope you post soon to let us know how it all went. I'll check back later to see what happened. Take care of yourself.
  • I just have not been able to sit and type until now, some 24 hours after arriving home from the hospital yesterday.(Then I forgot this missive on word pad as I suddenly got busy and forgot to post it , Thankyou neurontin !!)

    The alarm clocks went off at 5.45 and we left home just before 7.00 am. When we arrived at the hospital we found that the car parking system was quite excellent, where I just had to insert my Health Card and it registered that I was a patient and printed out a whole day free parking permit to put in the wind screen. Cool!

    We went and found the blood test department, found there were hundreds of people who also had a start there at 9.15.
    It was a "take a number" system and in the meanwhile sit in the spine unfriendly seats. When my number was called I found to my horror that there was yet another waiting room, with equally nasty seats.
    Eventually it was my turn and my inner elbow was butchered, Not the usual small blob of cotton wool and strip of micro-pore here, a huge wad off cotton wool was needed to stem the flow, and ½ a yard of micro-pore to hold it in place. The bruise today is about 2 inches long, just hope she isn`t ever let loose near children or people on blood thinners !

    So next to find the ECG , this went smoothly except for my astonishment at having to bare my breasts, with only a flimsey curtain between myself and the general public walking past on the corridor.
    Next stop was the consultant, Yet another take a number business, two soduku puzzles later we were called in and greeted by the tallest surgeon I have ever seen , he had to duck to come through the door and greet us. He was German , but had nearly no accent and seemed very pleased to show me
    what the surgical team had got planned for my spine, the whole appointment with him had a rushed air about it and although I managed to have most of my questions answered , not all of them were , which disappointed me terribly.

    They plan to repeat the PLIF , only with larger screws and to place a PEEK cage inbetween L4 and L5 , using own bone yet again, I didn`t manage to ask why they will use own bone again when it failed last time , but hope to get some answers the day before the op when I am admitted, I had a copy of my daily medicin with me and he asked me if he may keep it as he didn`t know which meds I was on. I said there was a copy in my notes which which should have been sent from the last hospital in January , but he told me that that was not in there . Niether was the newest X-ray from January , just some cursary notes about it.
    We were ushered out and given instructions to come back in ½ an hour, when the anaesthesiologist will be ready to see me, and found an alcove with some comfy seats to sit and have a coffee and tackle some more crosswords. We were then in with the anaestetics doc, a tiny lady doctor who
    turned purple when my husband checked with her about my intolerance to penicillin . No-one had asked so far, and since I am on neurontin , I really can`t remember much at all , she was disgusted that this information was no where to be seen on my journal . She had a note from the consultant for me that I am to cease taking Ibuprofen a week before the operation.
    I shall have to see how that works out , I have tried to cut it out earlier, but ended up with awful joint pain , especially , my knees , Other wise she was pleased with my ECG results and the fact, that I haven`t had any previous problems with an anaesthetic.

    Last stop , and it was 1.15 pm by now, on a day which started at 5.45 am. after very little sleep .A chat with the physiotherapist who gave me a booklet ,she was very annoyed that I couldn`t sit on the wooden stool provided, and even more irritated that I took note book and pen out to take notes .
    She`d "rather have me pay attention to what she said " she obviosly had never met a neurontin victim before , so that was a waste of time , and I couldn`t tell you what she had to say, in fact I switched off when she started telling the basics off how to log roll out of bed.
    I really do hope that I don`t meet her next week when I am admitted . Lj said she just said exactly what was written in the booklet and made it sound even more uninteresting . lj could see that I was tired and in pain , so he thanked her and said Good bye, and half carried me to the car where I already felt better sitting in a comfortable seat, reclined and on my heat pad. Lj thought the physio was probably still up there dictating
    to an empty room .

    Lj went back in after a hot chocolate for me and a coffee for him and went by the patient hotel to ask about the possibility of him having a room to stay in whilst I was in hospital , but they couldn`t guarentee him a room , so we have to drop that idea, and he will drive to and fro everyday.
    When we arrived home again, we both changed into pjs, had something to eat and went to bed.LJ (hubby) told me today that I was asleep within a minute! It was a very , very long day. I hope the 11th isn`t as crazy especially since I turn kinda mean when food and drink is withheld !

    Sorry its such a long post, but as I say the day was long too !

    Best Wishes Viking





  • I've been following your story and admire your courage and strength through all of this. I wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and hope the surgery goes well. I will be praying for you as well as for the surgeon performing the surgery.

    Good Luck and God Bless!
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