Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuts Like a Knife - Bryan Adams

Press play:
Cuts Like A Knife....
For my surgeon, I'm sure my procedure was very routine. Compared to other operations he did Tuesday, my ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy with fusion) was like an electrician fixing two sockets that were shorting, not like replacing the wiring in a whole house. But for the patient, it was a fairly big deal. Waiting, draw blood, EKG, waiting, gown and silly socks, waiting, IV, waiting, answering the same questions over and over. They must have asked me 7 times, "what are you having done today?" in order to make sure they didn't take out my spleen or amputate my leg or something. By the time the surgeon and the anesthesiologist came to see me I had it down, "ACDF, through the neck, C5-C6 & C6-C7, take out the disks, put in a cage full of cadaver bones and my marrow (from my hip), put a plate across the vertebrae, and we're out." Then the doctor wrote on the left side of my neck and off they took me. On the right is an xray (not mine) of what it looks like now.

It got me thinking a lot about how amazing it is that people had surgery 100+ years ago, and lived, much less were "cured." Battlefields, disgusting facilities, etc. Even 60 years ago, when my grandparents had back surgery, they were in full body casts for three months. And I was sending notes from my BlackBerry within 48 hrs.

And then I realized that for most people in the world, the medical standards of 1950's America would be a significant improvement. It makes the projects we have on the GlobalGiving site focused on safe health treatment even more resonant for me. Our health care system may suck by some standards, but I tell you what, we've got it pretty damn good.

And it sure was nice to get to pick the music I listened to off the doctor's Ipod in the operating room. Bruce Springsteen, Badlands, was playing as I drifted off. I asked for the "The Rising" but they thought that was too grim.

1 comment:

akmcquade said...

You also might have thought your phone was ringing the whole time.