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Spinal Fusion

Post-op Update, Day 3

We were hoping that Anthony would come home today, but this morning, he had a lot of drainage around his J-tube. The drainage looked like formula, so the doctors had to hold his feedings and do a radiology study to check the placement of the tube. It took half the day to get this test booked and done, so there was not enough time to get him up to the volume he needs to be at for discharge. Here is a photo that I grabbed with my camera phone during the radiology exam.

Anthony is lying on his side, the metal in the right of the photo is from his spinal fusion. The dark spot is the dye in his small intestine, which shows that the tube is working well and there is no leakage. By the time he got back to the floor and the feedings were restarted it was 4:00pm.

The surgical team made rounds at 5 pm and said that they want to keep Anthony in the hospital one more night in order to reach a goal of 50cc/hour via the J-tube. They also want to discontinue the TPN, although I would like to continue it a bit longer to be sure he gets enough calories, but the team wants to remove the central line ASAP. No problem, one less trip to the hospital to take out the PICC line.

So, hopefully he will have a good night and will come home tomorrow.

Here is a little something that made me LOL. Looking out the window of Anthony’s room there is a big message in the snow. Most people think the medical students wrote this message in the middle of the night, but no one saw a thing.


November Update

Anthony had his follow-up appointment with his surgeon yesterday.  The only problems we’ve had are with his digestive system, both ends… But nothing we can’t manage.  She did an x-ray of his spine and was very please with the correction she got. “20%, that’s my personal best”, she said!  How awesome is that?:-)

Here is the new x-ray:

His incision looks great too, all healed:

She said that technically it takes a full year for the spine to be totally healed.  The bones are quite “squishy” now, so we have to be careful moving Anthony and we have to be sure to keep his spine straight and not bend his hips more than 90 degrees.  She said we should be safe after 3 months, even better after 6 months.  Loooonnnngggg recovery time!  He can go back to school on November 20th.  She did ask if we wanted a body jacket for school, but I thought it would be tougher handling him with a body jacket.

Here is a photo of Anthony and his surgeon Dr. Shelton:


Anthony’s Progress

Anthony continues to make wonderful progress! He no longer needs any pain medication and his incision is pretty much healed. One interesting problem that has come up, his reflux is much worse after the surgery. I assume this is because his posture is so different now or maybe his fundoplication loosened a bit. Fundoplication is a surgery he had years ago to prevent reflux.

Fundoplication: the part of the stomach that is closest to the entry of the esophagus (the fundus of the stomach) is gathered, wrapped, and sutured around the lower end of the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter. (The gathering and suturing of one tissue to another is called plication.) This procedure increases the pressure at the lower end of the esophagus and reduces acid reflux.

The surgeon said this problem is common after a spinal fusion. I will ask her more about it when Anthony has his follow-up appointment on November 2nd. In the meantime, he has been started on Zantac twice a day.

Yesterday, a bunch of Anthony’s teachers came to visit him! Anthony was so happy to see them all!


Anthony’s Incision

Anthony is so happy to be home! I talked to his surgeon today, he does not have to be seen again until next month. His sutures are subcutaneous, so they don’t need to be removed and the steristrips that you see on his back will just fall off (some have already). No school or therapy until at least after his follow-up appointment on November 2nd. So, time to rest and heal.