Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dr. Rudi and the post op follow up

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Dr. Rudi isn't really a doctor, but a Physician's Assistant. I don't mind because in my experience, they have a better bedside manner. Dr. Rudi didn't make a great first impression on my when we went for the hubby's pre-operative appointment, except when I stumped him with my questions, he got the surgeon to talk to us.

The poor guy looks like he's a kid fresh out of the sandbox. I expected to see him with a sand shovel in his hand and juice box in the other. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. He is tall, his facial features are kinda mature, too. He probably plays Call of Duty with his roommates at night.

We were definitely his first Chiari case and an exercise in learning for his young mind. At our first meeting, Dr. Rudi certainly lacked the confidence that experience brings. On our second meeting, he had a little more confidence in his skills. I told the hubby he must have been brushing up since we saw last him.

I still had to lend him a hand. The hubby complained of feeling "disjointed", like he was watching the movie that was his life. Dr. Rudi had a hard time with this one. He gave one reason for that that seemed very vague and we watched his confidence plummet. I felt bad for the poor guy, so I chimed in with a timely question: "Couldn't the pro-longed headache cause that sort of sensation?". 

I could have been a brat because I was in that mood (the hubby and I a tense debate over pantyhose, mysoginy and the workplace in the house we waited to be seen). But Dr. Rudi's demeanor was somewhat disarming. The fact that he remembered my husband's case and seemed to have devoted time to it made me empathetic to the whole experience. The fact that he apologized for our wait (They had to do emergency surgery, which we both understood and appreciated because it could have been my husband in that emergency situation) and for my husband having to go to the ER was extremely uncessary, but really nice. Brattiness wouldn't have done anyone any good.

Dr. Rudi said everything looked good and sounded normal. He explained that they used the pericardium because they found that the mesh leaked too often. While donor tissue may take longer to heal and may have issues, those issues are less severe than cerebral-spinal fluid leak. That was information I didn't know, so score one on patient education.

The hubby was prescribed some Prednisone to help relieve the inflammation which in turn will help to reduce the headaches. Dr. Rudi, unbeknownst to us, asked the ER to administer these to the hubby last week touting the steroids importance in reducing pressure on the brain. It was very disappointing to learn the ER failed us.

Hubby also got a new prescription for pain meds, but was asked to try to stretch out the dosage, which he is trying to do. The unfortunate part is now that he has less of a headache, he has more neck pain. No surprise between the way he slept last night and the fact that he had all his neck muscles sliced apart.

The recovery continues. I'm hoping we are in phase three now: Relief from headaches, larger appetite and more activity. Our next appointment is in month. Where we go from there I have no idea. He will see the actual surgeon at that appointment, but it would be nice if he sees him with Dr. Rudi. I've started to like this kid. He is going to be great at what he does someday.

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