ACDF Anxiety health

Cleared for take-off – Prepping for ACDF surgery

My doctor gave me the a-ok to have surgery today. Honestly, I’m relieved. This process seems to turn up surprise after surprise, but today was an ordinary pre-surgical exam that led to a thumbs-up from my primary care physician.

The surgeon required me to have a pre-surgical physical within 30 days of my operation to make sure that I’m healthy enough for surgery. Honestly, after the herniated disc diagnosis and the thyroid thing, I was fully expecting to be told, “Hey, so you have __(fill in the blank)__ and we just can’t clear you for surgery.”

Today’s appointment included a physical exam, an EKG and some bloodwork, but not all of the bloodwork–so I still get to have more blood drawn before Dec. 18. Go figure.

Going to the doctor in the time of COVID is so strange, but luckily (?) I’ve had some practice visiting the office in the last few months so I was ready. I made it up pretty quickly to see the doctor.

The medical assistant started with the EKG. We talked about my mitral valve prolapse, her SVT and the tachycardia I had while pregnant with Kaelynn. We comisserated over wearing a monitor for weeks on end. She started the EKG and said, “Oh yeah, your rhythm is wonky! You need to relax.”

Listen lady! I’ve spent the last five weeks feeling like I’m falling apart! I don’t need anyone describing my rhythm as wonky or telling me to relax!

Things evened out a bit as I took some deep breaths. Enough for her to feel comfortable getting the print-out and moving on with the vitals. Next was my blood pressure. 136/92. Um no. This is incredibly high and abnormal for me.

Unhelpful medical assistant: If my blood pressure were that high, I’d have a headache! Also, you can’t be cleared for surgery if your blood pressure is that high.

Sure. Right. Okay. Let me just sit over here, listen to all the things you are telling me and then, you know, calm down.

So, she left the room and I panick texted my mom and Jacob. “What is wrong with me,” I asked them. They both told me to take some deep breaths, relax and have them take the blood pressure again.

The doctor came in and we talked about the surgery, how sometimes we just run out of options and that’s where I am at. He listened to my heart, had me breathe, and checked for adema.

Then, I asked him about my thyroid. I told him my function had changed and with the nodules, I was wondering what it all meant. He said, “Well, the function changed for the better so I don’t know what you’d be worried about it.” I told him I really don’t know thyroid function and I just wanted to check. He said we would check it again in a year.

With that off my chest, he took my blood pressure again. It was down. He told me to head downstairs for my bloodwork and I was cleared for surgery.

So, T-15 days.