On October 1, 2013, my dad woke up with no feeling in his right arm. Well, he had feeling- immense amounts of pain. He couldn’t move it, and had no idea what he had done wrong. He went to bed feeling fine and woke up like this. At this time, my mom was in Oregon, so Matt and I (and Aaron- he was a huge help!) stepped up to the plate and did anything we could to get him feeling better. We waited in the ER, made appointments, and helped him out. What we had hoped to be maybe just a one day thing, lasted on and on. We would have given anything to get him out of this pain.
About two weeks later, his neck become immobile. He had been to see multiple doctors, and through this time, his neck had deteriorated. He was unable to lift his arm, still had more pain than ever, and just looking at him broke your heart. Finally, the consensus was that he needed to have neck surgery to relieve the pain, as the neck surgery he had 20 years ago had basically, become nonexistent.
He had surgery on October 31, where they went in, put in metal plates, and did a bunch of other things I am not positive of. Immediately after he was able to lift his arm, and had some of his strength back. He left the hospital on Sunday, and we thought the worst was behind us.
About a week later, that Thursday to be exact, my dad went from being able to lift his arm, to again having no function. What was immediately better after the surgery had been taken away, and he was left basically like before the surgery, but without as much pain, and with the mobility of his neck.
Months have passed, countless tests have been done, and things haven’t gotten better. In fact, they took a turn and have regressed. He went back to work at the beginning of January, and had just started getting into the groove of things again. (How he didn’t go nuts staying home all that time is beyond any of us! I get crazy after a day at home!). Two weeks ago he went back to his Dr. to see how he was progressing with the PT he went to 3x a week, and did at home for about 2 hours the other days. This was no joke. He has been working SO hard at getting his nerves back, and I couldn’t be any more proud of all he’s done for his health. It wasn’t just muscle strength he lost, though. In fact, no one really cared about it. He was working to bring back his nerves. After seeing the two surgeons, they determined he hasn’t made any progress, and is in fact, declining. They sent him for a nerve study later that week, with the results coming in last week.
My dad is having another surgery today. Where they went in from the front of the neck last time, they are going in from the back of the neck this time. They are doing what is called a Cervical Laminectomy. They believe there is something pressing on the nerves, like arthritis or bone spurs, that they can remove and allow him to work towards a functioning arm. He is in surgery now, and all I can do is pray for him. This surgery will not be a cure all. He will not have function of his arm immediately after. He will be in a lot more pain, and will be in the hospital longer than last time. His recovery time should be 4-6 weeks, but again, that isn’t saying he will have full control at that point. For a realistic idea, my dad can bend his elbow 90 so his arm is in front of him, and ever so slightly move it up. His arm does in fact go up if he pushes on it with his other arm, but he is unable to do it on his own.
It hurts me more than ever to see my dad in pain. Just to know someone you love is in pain every single day and you can’t do anything. All we can do is to wait and pray this surgery works. And all I ask from you is just to send some prayers my way today. Prayers that the surgery goes well. Prayers that they are able to do what is needed. Prayers that he will in fact, be able to use his arm again this year. But more importantly, give the ones you love a hug today. A real big hug. My dad’s hugs are my favorite things, but I haven’t been able to get one in months. I am waiting for that day when he can put both arms around me and squeeze me tight. You never know what might happen tomorrow.