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New spine but meds were weird

Posted by sleeplessinftwayne z4-5 IND (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 11, 06 at 1:20

I am not sure just how much I have forgotten about the past week. I know I don't much like it. I can only hope I didn't do or say anything embarrassing. I do remember most of yesterday and part of the day before that but the rest is a total blank. Shouldn't they warn you in advance about that? Oh well, I've lived through embarrassing things before and I guess I will survive this.
The good part is they took out my old spine and replaced it with new vat grown bone and a cage. The bad part is I want a cigarette, bad. I can't have one because nicotine keeps the new bone from fusing. That's probably the only thing that would keep me from smoking again. There isn't much discomfort, much less pain and the horrible nerve damage pain is gone. I almost forgot how nice it was to be pain free. I firmly recommend it. They tell me it will be at least 6 months and possibly as long as a year before the bone is healed. I seem to be recovering my memory but I really don't like that part of it. I think I said that didn't I? Have any of you had similar surgery or those kinds of meds?? I was too weirded out by the pain to pay close attention before but I would like to hear more about what happened to me and some of those medical forums are strange. Sandy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New spine but meds were weird

I know the topic of spinal surgery is a far less interesting subject than that of rehashing the superbowl but please forgive a little old lady. My school was too small for a football team and I guess by the time I hit college it was just too late to develop the football addiction. Sandy


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Sandy, did I miss you posting on your surgery? I do have a tendancy to skip around here. Glad to hear things worked out so far. As for the cigarette? Get over it!! Spoken from someone who quit 2 hours ago! I have been wanting to for a while now and knew that when the time was right I'd do it. I took the last of my cigarettes and soaked them in water and threw 'em out. (didn't want to take the chance on digging them out of the garbage.) So now excuse me while I go eat a cake, and a sandwich, and a bag of candy and a ......

Hang in there, Sandy, 6 months will speed by quickly. We know how true that is as one gets older, right?


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"Have any of you had similar surgery or those kinds of meds??"

Thank goodness NO!

Glad you are finally feeling 113% better. And don't worry about those pictures you posted while on pain meds.... we are all adults here... sort of!

JUST KIDDING, of course! Wishing you a full, speedy, and smoke-free recovery. :-)


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LOL!! Geez, Semper, what happens at GW stays at GW, right? :D

Seriously, Sandy, I can't believe you just went through spinal surgery!! I had no idea you were having that done! It sounds like you feel SO much better, though, and it's all downhill from here, I hope. As for the smoking...I feel your pain (a.k.a. withdrawals), and I admire your tenacity!

Brenda


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Way to go Sandy! Hang in there, honey. It will get easier and easier. I'm so glad you're feeling better.

You didn't say anything untoward. I have to say I was surprised by those photos of you and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, but upon reflection, they were nothing we haven't seen on late-night cable before.


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Sandy that sounds like a terrible ordeal. Glad your feeling better. I guess we don't know how lucky we are until one goes through something like that. What an incentive to quit smoking!

Hang in there.


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Sandy, I would never have thought that they could replace the bone in someones back. It sounds like you are doing great and we won't tell anyone what took place for the last week here or at least till the price is right. Wishing you the best of recovery.
Mike
PS they say you can sell anything on ebay but what's the going price for embassing information.


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Hi there Sandy.

I sincerely hope this will get you all better and that leg out of the ice bucket! :-)

The very best of everything to you always!

I have tried more meds than are in the PDR ...(well, almost) for my issues. Everyone responds to surgery and medications individually.

C3D :-)


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Geez and I'm whining about having a few wisdom teeth pulled.
You're a trooper, hang in there, we're all pulling for you.

Jean


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Wishing you a speedy recovery, too, Sandy.

I had NO IDEA you were having your spinal column replaced. In fact, I didn'g even know they could DO that... Has to be SOME KIND of invasive, painful surgery, but I've gathered from some of your other posts the past few months that you've been in a good deal of pain (although you hadn't posted much that I'd seen about surgery, and so forth, I'd seen you talk about having your leg in a bucket of ice more than once).

Hope you're up and around and pain-free (or at least feeling much better than before -- AND more ambulatory) in no time!
Jeff


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Hey guys. Since the meds gave me amnesia all I can do is report what I was told. I was interested to see how effective the self administered anesthetics were and so I was surprised to find myself hooked up to a drip system. They tell me they had to do it because I refused to punch the button to release the meds unless someone put my thumb on the button, held it in place and said push. Then I would push their hand away. Oh well. I told them I had control issues. C3D, I will always shudder when I look at a 5 gallon bucket. From today onwards they will form the basis of all my nightmares. Mike, I thought the Doctor was going to have a piano repaired the first time he showed me the bone blanks. For those who are congratulating me on not smoking, I never said I wanted to stop! ROTFALMAO! It's all downhill from now on! I always said life is all a matter of your point of view. Zinnia, drummers will always hold a place in my heart as well as pianists and those who blow a great sax. But for the very, very best I have to admit it is getting between a Bass Viol and the guy with the bow. The vibrations can't be beat. DH refuses to take me to live jazz performances anymore. Sandy


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Sandy, my dad had part of his hip bone replaced with cadaver bone. I must say that he is still doing pretty well for a man in his late 60's.

G'day,
Scott


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Ahhhhgh!!!I want to scratch. It's a 6inch plus incision closed with mostly staples, most of which should disolve by my appointment on the 21st. But they itch!!!
Scott, I'm glad to hear your dad is doing well. I haven't had the chance to ask why they wanted to use vat grown stuff. For those of you who really, really want to know... the choices are human cadaver, live donation, your own bone and vat grown (which has never seen the inside of a body). I got vat grown. Hooray for genetic research!! I guess I'm on the hook as an organ donor now, at least morally.(My licence already has a little red heart on it. Does yours?) Now that I think of it they must have needed to use a lot of it. Scott, isn't it a God given thing that will keep your father straight and healthy. A few years ago such surgery would have been unheard of outside of a top rated hospital and now it can be done at the second level where they don't have funds for research. I don't know the reason for the injury but I think he was blessed for the repair. Sandy ( who is trying to type while sitting on her hands.)


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"My licence already has a little red heart on it. Does yours? "

You betcha! I just hope for someone else's sake that they don't use my 1 brain cell.

Here is a link that might be useful: Back Scratcher :-)


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Sandy, him and my mom were hit head on by a drunk driver in a pick-up truck. They were driving a 1979 Chrysler New Yorker. They were told that if the car was any shorter, it would have killed them. They were also pulled out of the car by a volunteer fire department.

G'day,
Scott


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My word Scott. I have heard so many jokes about the Chrysler, New Yorker. It sounds to me I will have to butt in on a few jokers from now on and tell them what reality is.
It itches. Come on all you inventive types. What can I use to get the itching stopped or at least eased. I'm asking DH to pick up a can of compressed air in the hopes it won't be harmful but will chill the surface of the skin enough to disrupt the nerve impulse. I'm not about to use the TENS. I've never been the type to get hurt so this is a new experience for me. I know alcohhol will dry the skin and make the problem worse and I don't want to think what alcohol would feel like on that 6 inch plus incision. Surely we have someone here with a opinion or definite info.
I just found out the waist band of my slacks has iritated the incision so that is another problem. Come on guys! I can't call the doctor til tomorrow. Put those imaginations to work, please. Sandy


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WOW, I also didn't know that could be done! Sandy, my prayers are with you! I wonder if some sort of cortizone or anti-itch cream would help...? I dunno!


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I've never found those anti-itch creams to be much good, HOWEVER, anything that acts as a local anesthetic will also deaden the nerve endings... Such as the Aloe-Vera gel with Lidocaine in it, sometimes sold under names such as "Solarcaine" for sunburn relief...

You might have trouble finding THAT this time of year, but my biggest and best suggest is gonna sound weird... however, I actually ran this one past my pharmacist when my mother was having pain in a personal area due to continual urinary tract infections... The strongest Orajel (and Wal-Mart and most other major stores sell their own brands, same strength, for less) is 20% Benzocaine... The pharmacist said if it's safe to put that stuff all over the inside of your mouth and gums to help with toothache pain, he saw no reason why it wouldn't be safe other places... You can get it in both liquid and gel forms, too, so whichever works best for your particular situation...

I CAN tell you it helped my mom with her particular problem (and I don't discuss this lightly, as this is a sensitive subject, only trying to help). However, I'd be careful to not get ANYTHING the doctor doesn't first approve of directly in your incisions, which probably means the gel-type would be better... I doubt this will make the itching go away completely, but it should make it more bearable.

Hope you get to feeling better soon. I HATE an itch you can't scratch, and having been through two major foot surgeries where my foot was in a cast for 6 weeks and itched OFTEN during healing, and I couldn't get to it, PERIOD, I certainly have at least SOME idea what you're going through.

Feel better soon!
Jeff


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Hi Sandy, how's it going today? Is the itch more bearable? Is the brain working better?

I'm very impressed so far with what you've gone through already. Pretty soon you can add "not smoking" to the list. Even if you didn't care to stop - it's much cheaper when you don't... just think what you can get for yourself in a few weeks or months from the money you saved!

The only things I know for itches shouldn't go into cuts. So I can't help you. There are prayers going up for you though!

Hugs,
Mary


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Semper, that is one effective backscratcher. Just show it to the skin and it quivers into obedience. Jeff , thank you. That will go on my list of questions,and complaints today.
Thanks to all of you for your good wishes. I'll go over what the surgeons did one tine and then you all won't hear about it in bits and pieces for the next year. The surgery, as I am certain you understand, was not a case of take out the spine and replace it with a new one. It involved three vertibrae with various degrees of damage. The procedure is called a lumbar fusion. If there is enough bone undamaged, rods are attached with big hulking titanium bolts, debris such as extra bits of bone and damaged disc material is removed and the spaces filled with the donated or vat grown bone. I was not so lucky. The remaining bone was too fragile for the bolts so I got springs to hold the remaining bone together. Then the surgeon sculpts or carves or hacks as the case may be at the new bone until it fits. I remember seeing a Nova show on this and it was neat to see the finished product. Tiny flakes of what becomes bone are attached to a frame and encouraged to grow. They wind up with 3x3x1/4 " plates that are a grid that is easily shaped.
This is not as easy as it sounds. Spaces must be left for such things as the sciatic nerve which started the whole thing. Each plate must have a live attachment to existing bone so it will continue growing in the body without invading normal bome and tissue. Existing nerves,blood vessels and muscle groups must be allowed for. A lot of work can be done prior to the surgery thanks to new imaging techniques. I feel like I have been wrapped in EPDM from the chest down. I'll quit now and later regale you with the wonderful world of recovery. Sandy


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I googled around a little and found this:

My incision itches, what causes it, and what can I do about it?

Itching occurs when the incision starts healing. It's perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about. Applying something warm or cool (not too hot, not too cold) to or around the site can sometimes alleviate the itchy feeling for a while. Though it's not fully understood, many women claim that the change in temperature helps. You may also try scratching "around" the incision. Many times, this helps as well. Do NOT apply anti-itch creams to your incision (i.e. Cortizone, etc.), or anything else until the wound has completely closed. Once it has completely closed, you probably won't experience anymore itching.
---------

Also, maybe try a fresh washcloth dipped in a sink of warm water and epsom salts, just laid briefly over the incision. I don't know anything about it so ask your nurse first -- just thinking of mild things that might help.


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  • Posted by horton 6 b Ontario. (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 13, 06 at 12:41

Sandy, please excuse my tardiness in responding. Hope you are fit and well soon.
"H"


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Hot water does alleviate itching. I used it back when I got broke out with poison ivy. Boy, did it feel good and it helped clean our the blisters.

G'day,
Scott


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Horton, thank you for your good wishes.The sooner the better. Zinnia and Scott, thank you. I can have showers though the nurse tells me it will begin to make the skin dry after a while. Now I will spend the day getting everything set up just to get in the shower without hurting myself.What ever happened to extended families? Sandy


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Owie owie owie! Good luck and fast healing. And I only have a few chips of someone else's cadaver bone in my mouth.....I can relate to the itching....been there with my several surgeries....


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hello, sandy! what an amazing experience you have had and still are. good luck and be careful!

thanks for sharing- i had no idea there was such a thing as vat grown bone. fusing bone i have heard of but it sounds that there have been amazing advances since my dad had back surgery, though a diff type and reason. i am so glad your nerve pain is gone!


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How goes it Bubba???


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i've been wondering about sandy myself.

sandy, paging sandy, your lack of presence has been noticed!


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Oh the joys of recovery. Now that the right sciatic nerve no longer hurts, the left one starts. Doctor says swelling is the problem and that will go away shortly so I'm still on the super doses of narcotics and neuralgia meds. Must admit it isn't as bad as previously. Turns out they used the humongous bolts anyway so that was a surprise. What blows my mind is I now know why the Doctor was so persistant in telling me I was going to get the vat grown bone rather than cadaver bone or donated bone. It seems some up and comers in New Jersey as well as some UCLA employees have been hijacking bodies on their way to the undertaker and selling the parts on the medical black market. They weren't particularly picky about what bodies they used so parts might have come from AIDs or HIV or cancer patients or other non usable cadavers. I figured things like this would be happening but didn't expect it to get so close to me personally. Sci Fi is only tomorrows news. Sandy

Here is a link that might be useful: Body parts for sale!!


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  • Posted by horton 6 b Ontario. (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 28, 06 at 20:35

Sandy that article has shades of Burke and Hare!
Glad your on the mend.
"Horton"


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on Tue, Feb 28, 06 at 19:55 FTM wrote:
"sandy, paging sandy"

2 minutes later, sleeplessinftwayne wrote:
"Oh the joys of recovery. Now that the right sciatic nerve no longer hurts, the left one starts. Doctor says swelling is the problem and that will go away shortly so I'm still on the super doses of narcotics and neuralgia meds. Must admit it isn't as bad as previously. Turns out they used the humongous bolts anyway so that was a surprise. What blows my mind is I now know why the Doctor was so persistant in telling me I was going to get the vat grown bone rather than cadaver bone or donated bone. It seems some up and comers in New Jersey as well as some UCLA employees have been hijacking bodies on their way to the undertaker and selling the parts on the medical black market. They weren't particularly picky about what bodies they used so parts might have come from AIDs or HIV or cancer patients or other non usable cadavers. I figured things like this would be happening but didn't expect it to get so close to me personally. Sci Fi is only tomorrows news. Sandy"
__________________________________________________________

WOW! Instant messaging! Now for her next trick, Fairy_Toadmotha will click her heels and...


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You know I have often wondered if Burke and Hare might have had a longer career if they had not gotten greedy and introduced Burking. Leave it up to you to remember that little oddity, Horton. :) I've found it hard to sleep with a chest cold since I first heard that one.
When I submitted my response I was surprised myself. LOL. FTM is indeed talented. Do you suppose we could market her as a substitute for Instant Messaging? Sandy


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Wow, glad you're doing OK Sandy. I have that hideous chest cold, and I've given up sloth for Lent, so here I sit, trying to work and instead reading the pond forum. Good to see some good news though.

I read that body parts theft ring story when it first came out, and was particularly taken by them stuffing pvc into limbs to replace bones. What some folks won't do for a buck.


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A buck??? They were paying the funeral homes here $1000 per body!!! The company in question had an office here for a little while and was 'sampling' from several funeral homes. Then they would modify the death certs so it looked like the 'donor' died from natural causes making them a good canidate for 'donation'. About 40 people here were affected. NONE of them have had any problems however.


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From some of the things I've been reading,it sounds like the profit from a single cadaver could reach $500,000 for that $1,000 investment. They must have been doing it for a while considering the money they invested in their operating room.
I have been told off for making an allusion some would not understand. Sorry. Burke and Hare were among the first modern, for profit body snatchers. There was a huge demand in the early 1800's for fresh bodies to be used for disection at medical schools and many coffins went into the ground with stones or other trash instead of bodies. Burke became impatient with the natural death rate and with Hare's help began murdering lodgers at Hare's wife's Inn. Their prefered method was suffocation by covering the mouth and nose. Burke (who was always very impatient) sped up the process by sitting on the victims chest. This method of murder has since been known as Burking. Sandy


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Golly gee, I missed out on getting on the television news programs. A local lass who had cervical fusion last year had several minutes out of her 15 telling how distressing all of this is while one of the Ortho Docs explained how unlikely it is to get a disease from the non treated bone. They didn't mention organ transplants. A news maven claimed up to 75 patients affected here. I heard the first mutterings of a class action suit. Sandy


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"we're sorry but your message cannot go through as dialed. dr. bunson is currently indisposed in the lab making improvements on his/her wand."

just kidding! that was timing,eh? semper, who needs heels when ya gotta wand. oh, and i tend to think rather loudly. :)

sandy! glad to hear from you. thank you for that burke and hare tidbit. very interesting. i totally forgot about the past history of body snatching and i never heard the other part. funny that this subject came up. i just changed my voicemail message yesterday referring to a diff type of body snatching- pod people.


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  • Posted by horton 6 b Ontario. (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 2, 06 at 19:15

Below is a little rhyme that circulated Edinburgh, Scotland where the murders took place in 1828.

Up the close and down the stair,
In the house with Burke and Hare.
Burkes the butcher, Hares the thief,
Knox, the boy who buys the beef.

Knox being the doctor, that the body snatchers and muderers, Burke and Hare, sold their wares to.
"Horton"


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Lord o' mercy! I'll be dreamin' of the knackerman tonight I will.


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hmmm, can i help it that my first thought was knox gelatin??? oh the morbidity!! :)


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I have to feel a bit sorry for the Doctors here. I never thought I would say anything close to that but, there is a large, new and half empty Orthopedic hospital here and I'm sure this is going to cause a slowdown in the plans to make this a big ortho medical center. More interviews on the news with at least a halfway decent rebuttal by one of the doctors. Somehow a superimposed image of a PVC pipe beside a cadaver leg bone made a very bad impression. They also followed it up with another patient interview and the husband of the the patient saying he didn't expect it would affect the kids much but he might get something from her and he wouldn't stand for that. I have to admit my mouth is still hanging open for that one.
I think I give the doc about a 75 to 80% credit on this one. It's obvious when my surgery was discussed, they knew about the 'problem'. They made sure vat grown was said several times but the reason for vat grown was not mentioned unless the pain blocked out my memory of it and I don't think it did. I'd give them a lot more credit if they had gone into the reason. On the other hand, I was hanging onto my crutches with white knuckles demanding to know what the delay was all about. That may have given them a bad impression of my reasoning abilities. Sandy


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Just a brief report on my Doctor's visit yesterday. He says my recovery is much better than he expected despite my overdoing things physical this weekend. (I went stir crazy and tried to do without the walker, went shopping and made dinner. I want to go outside!!!)Got some prednisone for the slight swelling that is causing chills and twinges from the left sciatic nerve. Physical therapy is next. Decided to use Scar Reduction Pads to even out the edges of the incision and that seems to be very successful. Thanks to all of you who have been encouraging me. You have made the whole thing much less traumatic. Sandy


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Yay Sandy! Glad to hear you're doing well.


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Ditto.


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Always ready to make each other feel better!
Anytime you have something else like this going on, feel free to let us know ahead so we can send all this good stuff to you while you're in the thick of it!

I'm glas to hear the check-up was a good one. Now for the therapy!

:) Mary


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Great news Sandy!! :-)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 23, 06 at 11:34

You're an inspiration, Sandy! Congrats on the great progress report! :)

Brenda


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glad to hear sandy! STOP! no digging a new pond just yet! but you will be in no time :)


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I think I am in shock. Our modern Burke and Hare may have been helpful in keeping implant costs down. I was just going over the itemized list of hospital charges and the charge for supply-implants is $72,325. I'm pretty sure that includes the titanium as well as bone chips and is the most expensive item on the list. We will be getting continuing charges for such things as Physical Therapy, Doctor's services and X-rays for a long time but that one item is over half the total of the bills I have seen so far.
There is a recent article in Readers Digest about medical bills that is very simplified and doesn't mention this type of surgery but you might be interested. Thank goodness for insurance. And to think all this was caused by a little gust of wind. Sandy


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need more meds to stop this reeling i am feeling!


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