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Glad to be Here, Questions and Why I'm Here

AJdaBuldogAAJdaBuldog Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in New Member Introductions
First, I'm impressed with this site as so many others are. The information is practical, useful, relevant and user-friendly.

Second, I have two questions (uhm, well, sets of questions):

1. When retrieving bone fragments in the spinal canal, what happens to the central spinal fluid? Is that a pressurized area? Does the fluid regenerate itself/re-pressurize? How does that happen? (I was an EMT nearly 20 years ago for ski patrol and I recall some anatomy, but I'd like to know what happens here.)

2. How long can I expect to be out of it from a C7 ACDF/allograph/Atlantis plate on C6/7? What I mean by that is how long will I be down? I intend to fully comply with Dr orders on rest, but I'd like to know approximately what to expect. Ie- when can I get back to my computer to do some work and post here again?

Third, I apologize for the length of this message, but I'm cutting and pasting a memoir I wrote about to some friends that explains why I'm here.

I have been asked by several to explain why this 38 year old broke his neck playing “old man baseball” (as some have affectionately called it).

Before I get into that, let me say that this has been a humiliating event. Not only because of the fact that it happened, but I feel like a dog with one of those cone collars that’s been cutoff from licking himself… Here’s what happened:

We were in a baseball (not softball) playoff game Saturday afternoon and I was playing left field. We were in the third inning, down by a run, the other team was at bat and they had a guy on 2nd base. The player up to the plate had a good swing so I had taken a few steps back, knowing that he could drive one deep. Sure enough, he did.

I crossed over to my right and ran back on a hard hit ball that was about to carry over my head. Given its trajectory and the speed at which it was headed out to left field, I never checked to see where the left field fence was.

I tracked the ball in full sprint until it was just about to pass over my head. I lifted my left arm and grabbed the ball with my glove. With the ball firmly in the glove, my arm propelled me in a horizontal diving position towards the fence.

I felt like a road runner, with my body basically horizontal, with one leg at a time touching the ground. Except I had no rudder and I was headed for what would have been a dive slide had the fence not been there. Trying to gain balance, I took no more than two steps, one of which was on the grass and the other on the warning track.

The outfield fence was approaching faster than I could avoid it. It has a large sign on it in remembrance of Frank Sollecito Jr., an outstanding kid we played against in high school who spent a lot of time at that park before he passed away of leukemia at an early age.

Time froze as I instinctively threw my right arm up and spearheaded the fence with the top of my head, hand and elbow. I heard the loud smack of hard plastic slats woven in a chain link fence and internal crunching within my head and neck that retrospectively make me feel queasy.

I’m not sure what happened after the initial collision. Our shortstop and center fielder say I dropped like a rag doll.

All I know is I landed looking straight up at the sky with my back, right arm and both legs lying flat on the warning track surface. My left arm, with the ball still firmly in the glove, remained in the air.

Unfortunately, the center-fielder-to-short-to-catcher relay after grabbing the ball out of my glove didn't work out. The runner at second scored (jerk). Neither did the score for our team. I found out later that we lost decisively, despite my attempts to rally our team with the "thumbs up" from the ambulance parked in left field just before leaving... ;)

But, I remain lucky, blessed and exhilarated knowing the speed, angle and compression of the collision. I've been granted another chance. And, after all, I made the catch.


  • Wow, I am sorry for what you have been through. I really do not have any answers for you but did want to welcome you to the site. Good luck.
  • Your cerebral spinal fluid is contain in a "sac" for lack of a better term that holds the fluid around your spinal cord and brain. This is contained within a bony framework creating a spinal canal. So if you have bone fragments in your spinal canal, the surgeon won't have to go into the thecal sac, in fact he will avoid creating a leak if at all possible. If you had a leak at the moment, you wouldn't be able to sit up without the worst headache you'll ever feel.

    When's your surgery?

    Hey and that's really a "head's up play" at the fence! =))

    Sorry couldn't resist.

    Welcome to Spine Health

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  • Hiya AJ, >:D<
    I would just like to take this oppurtunity to Welcome you to Spine Health >:D< I hope you enjoy this site as we do. :D You will find this site full of information :) , and members who have simular health issues as yourself ;) .I do not suffer with the same as you :B , as my problems are in the lumber area :''( .Check out the chat room here :))( . Hope to see you around 8} , chat soon. :H

    Angie x :D
  • Thanks for the response...that makes sense. I couldn't remember how the CSF fit in the equation...a question I intended to ask doc tomorrow.

    He said that the material he is removing (retropulsion of bone 4mm into the canal, along with disc material) is closer to the cord than he had expected, prompting my concern about CSF problems. He was thinking of surgery in 8 days from now after his vacation, but after reviewing the MRI, he delayed his vacation and said we need to do it tomorrow afternoon. I've got tomorrow morning to complete my crash-course research on this procedure. But, the good thing is he's a reputable surgeon and I trust his opinion.

    ...nice one :) ... You just couldn't resist ;) !!
  • Thanks for the response and warm welcome. I've uniquely got time on my hands now...although I'll probably be out of it in the next couple of days after the surgery... I enjoy the camaraderie... I'll be up later checking out the chat room. Thanks
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  • I guess I just got zapped for trying to be funny. had a nice long reply written and it disappeared into nothingness.

    Basically it was about having your home prepared for your return and things to take care of.

    Also when you see the doc, since he is going out of town, make sure he has a backup plan for your support in case you need any assistance while he is gone. Like having a fellow surgeon there briefed on your case that can provide support until his return.

    Normally you won't need that, but it's really smart to have just in case.

  • nice to have you here! Sorry I can't help with your questions, but I hope someone can.

  • Between friends on the phone at home and on this board tonight, Ive received some good info. I at least know what further questions and concerns I will be raising tomorrow before the operation. Thank you!
  • Wow, that's some story. On Oct. 21 I had a 3-lvl C4-7 ACDF w/hardware (a whopping 8 screws in my neck). I had surgery at 8:30am Oct. 21 and was on my way home at 12:30pm the next day. That night I was eating pork chops. I was up and at em right after surgery, but did NOT go against anything the doctor said (no BLT, etc.). I've been wearing a hard collar since the surgery and last week was given a soft collar for driving, lying around the house, etc. I have grown to love my collar, as it makes me feel like my neck is protected. Anyway, I felt relief from my symptons in the recovery room and was on the computer the afternoon I got home. I seem to be having a little more pain now than before (muscle spasms in my neck), but that's to be expected.

    Everyone is different and I just wanted to let you know that neck surgery doesn't necessarily have to take you down for the count. I know that it does for some, but not others. I'm an other. :D

    Good luck and it'll be over before you know it.

  • Hello, there. :H

    You have nothing to feel embarrassed about. When you were playing, it probably caused the last straw to hurt your neck. A lot of people have things going on, and don't know about it, until it's too late. There was nothing you could do to prevent this. All I did was drive somewhere, and blew out a disc over that. Then all kinds of problems came raining down. It's just like there is one precipitating event that will cause a cascade of troubles. I did have a spinal headache a couple of times and required 2 blood patches. I think that you when you start to leak spinal fluid, it causes a drop in the CSF pressure, and you get the horrible headache, nausea, vomiting, distorted hearing, and dizziness. It will become dangerous if not treated, and you can have seizures. It took 2 weeks for me to get totally over it. I'm glad your surgeon is going to operate on you soon.
    I hope surgery goes well and keep us posted when you are able to. We'll be thinking of you. Take care
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