Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Yesterday morning at 7:45am I checked in at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center to have my neck operated on. When I woke up in the morning I actually felt better than I had in quite a while, and I had slept through the night pretty well. I told Lori that I was feeling like I should call in and cancel my surgery. She quickly told me that I shouldn't let one decent day take precedence over months of pain and discomfort. I agreed and off we went to the hospital. I'm glad I listened to her. By the time we got to the hospital, I was in so much pain I could hardly stand it.

We got checked in right away and I was asked to put on a hospital gown. It was a pretty neat little gown that had some hookups for tubes that blew hot air onto my body to keep me warm. Only problem: I rarely get cold, so it just made me hot. After I got all dressed and ready to go, my mom and dad, Lori, and I sat in a tiny little room for what seemed like an eternity while I starved to death. I wasn't allowed to eat anything after 9:00 the night before. I started complaining about being hungry and my mom told me that I sounded like my brother, Mark the night before. I was unaware up until this point that my brother had suffered a pretty gruesome mountain biking accident and had spent Monday night in the ER at LDS hospital. He had a good fall and split his forearm open on a rock. He's tough and was back at work the next day, but you can see on his face that this didn't feel too good! He went for a ride on his lunch break, planning to eat when he got back to work, and ended up spending all night in the ER where they wouldn't let him eat because of the anesthetics they were using to ease his pain. Poor guy!

So anyway, I was hungry and miserable, but felt worse for Mark after seeing what he was going through. He came to visit me at the hospital and told me that they took a scrub brush to his wound in order to get all of the gravel, sticks, and leaves out of his arm. Wow! That just sounds miserable.

After what seemed like an eternity, my doctor came to my room, explained the surgery to my family, and introduced me to his nurse practitioner and the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist doped me up and I don't remember another thing until after the surgery was over. I woke up in an immense amount of pain and was unable to talk because my throat hurt so badly. The guy that was there when I woke up kept asking me if I was in pain and I couldn't manage to tell him that YES, I felt like I was going to die! Finally I muttered out that I needed something and he quickly hooked me up with some fentanyl which dramatically reduced my pain level. Since then I have been on a steady dose of oxycodone and soma that has been keeping me quite pleasant :)

The first picture there at the top shows a close-up of my incision and the tube that was placed into my neck to help drain the fluids away from the operation area. Sorry if it grosses you out. The next one is me doped up on my hospital bed. Don't you just love the V-neck? When I was getting dressed, one of the nurses was going on and on about my chest hair. She was absolutely blown away by it. She said that she now knows that Sasquatch does exist. Shortly after that I lifted my leg while getting up to use the restroom and showed off my johnson to the entire hallway. I think my dad saw it too. Oops! I apologized to the nurse and told her that I was just trying to impress her. She quickly reminded me that she was already so impressed by my chest hair that I didn't need to do anything else to gain her respect.

The black and white picture is an x-ray of the plate and screws they installed into my spine. It is a profile shot with my chin pointing to the left (so you can have some perspective). The titanium plate is right on the front of my spine and holds the C6 and C7 vertebra together. In between the bones (and right behind the plate), you can see the piece of cadaver bone they replaced my disc with. Over the next 6-8 months the two vertebra above and below the cadaver bond will grow into the dead bone and fuse together. Pretty cool how it all works out. I'll have the plate and screws in for the rest of my life.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support, prayers, thoughts, and visits. It has been very, very appreciated. I am happy to say that I am more comfortable right now than I have been in months. I'm sure everyone's prayers played a huge role in the success of this surgery. Thanks again!


Rachel said...

Nice hardware! Did you find out if that will set off security alarms at the airport?

So glad you're doing better. I'm sure it's nice to be home again.

Joshua J said...

it will not set off any metal detectors. dang!

Jen said...

Glad to hear things went well with the surgery! Hope recovery is okay...let us know how we can help!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are doing better. I about died when I saw your brothers arm though.. not going to lie. I don't think I will be biking for a long time after seeing that.

Kelly said...

Holy crow!! What an ordeal. I am so glad that all is well. Let me know if you need any thing. I can bring you dinner if you would like. I make a mean pizza and some yummy Peanut butter bars. seriously call if you need anything.

The Luke Family said...

You even look good in the hospital!
Dang, Josh.... you and Mark had Halloween early this year!!!

Love you!!