Gary’s Story

Site created on October 7, 2018

As many of you know, Gary underwent back surgery in mid August and shortly after was hospitalized for staph infection. Recovery was underway and everything seemed to be going in the right direction for the first 2 to 3 weeks.  The last couple of weeks we noticed a change. It was getting harder for Gary to get up, more pain when sitting or standing (with a walker), until it was unbearable. Saturday, Oct. 6 we went to the ER to try to get some answers. After an MRI, the staff at Mayo/Mankato advised the infection had returned and an abcess was in front of his spine in an area that has a lot of vascular stuff around it. Mankato said they don't have the expertise to handle the case, so Gary was transferred to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.  After many, many doctors, nurses, and other care staff have reviewed his case, it was decided that two more surgeries were necessary.  Today, 10/9, the surgeons will carefully remove the abcess that is nestled among veins and such and also insert a cadaver bone that will replace the disc that is gone. (His vertebrae are currently rubbing bone on bone.)  This is done thru the belly. They will start growing cultures in the lab to make sure the antibiotics are the right ones.  On Monday they plan to go thru his back and fuse the L5/S1/S2 area. 

Needkess to say, this was an unplanned detour to getting Gary back to health. The Abbott staff has done a good job of managing his pain, so that's been a really good thing.  Now we just pray these highly skilled surgeons can work their magic and we can get Gary back on his feet. It's been a long road, and we know there are more challenges ahead, but know this, too, will soon be a memory.  Prayers are welcome and appreciated.  I will try to post updates as much as possible. 


Newest Update

Journal entry by Deb Johnson

Sorry I haven't journaled since we got home. It's been a week of just getting schedules in place and routines started. PT, OT and the home nurse have all visited.  The nurse will be here every Tuesday to clean his PICC line and draw blood for labs. PT and OT will be here for 3 times a week.

Gary is still having a lot of pain in his foot so we sure hope that means the nerves are regenerating.  His foot brace causes him to raise that foot kind of like a horse, so now his hip is painful because he's walking wonky.  Two steps forward, one step back!  I really want PT to work with him on that issue this week. He is doing good at getting around the house with a walker and uses a cane on the stairs. He seems to be getting a little stronger each day, it's just not fast enough for him. 

Not much else to report. I'm hoping maybe next weekend he'll feel good enough to get out of the house, if only for a short drive.  He's been cooped up a long time.

Have a good week.

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