Friday, November 15, 2013

Quick Surgery


As you all know, Ammon had surgery on Wednesday. It was originally scheduled for Nov. 20th but on Monday, the hospital called to do a pre-op. We wondered why they were calling a week early and found out that they had moved the date up a week. That meant we had one day to get everything in place at home and at work. We had to be at the hospital at 6:15 a.m. so it was a very early morning rise and a very long day. While the surgery was supposed to be a same day surgery, they decided to keep Ammon over night simply because of his history. We were glad about that.

This first picture is of Dr. Marshall Smith, the ENT that performed the trach and reconstruction surgery on Ammon's trachea. We love this man. He is a very active member of the church and even helped Jim give Ammon a blessing shortly before doing the surgery to insert the trach. We respect him greatly. We now have to have a member of the ENT team assist in the surgery to make sure they intubate Ammon correctly. We were lucky to see Dr. Smith again. He knows Jason's boss, Dr. Hansen, quite well.
 We have never worked with the orthopedic staff at PCMC before. This was a first for us. We were impressed with the kindness and bedside manner of Dr. Stotts (below). He cut the muscles and tendons at the top of Ammon's legs and on the upper inside of the legs as well to help Ammon's contracted legs be looser. The surgery was successful in that the legs are much looser, especially with the lateral movements. However, the main nerve on his right leg is very tight and they don't cut that. Ammon will have to start physical therapy in a couple of weeks to begin to stretch that nerve, hoping to get a little more looseness. Since Ammon has no feeling below his chest, he hasn't been in any pain at all - just a little loopy and a little slower while the anesthesia works through his body.
 One thing I really don't like with the coming winter weather is the inversion in the valleys. The photo below was taken looking out of Ammon's hospital room - it looks like pea soup. You can barely see the Salt Lake Temple.
 One thing I do like with the winter storms are the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. They are pretty dramatic. I should have opened up the aperture a little more so it wouldn't be so dark, but I loved the streak of sunlight trying to break through the clouds as it shot through Spanish Fork Canyon.

In December Ammon will be meeting with a physiatrist. We had never heard of such a doctor. They work with muscles. Kids with cerebral palsy work with these doctors because of the spasticity of their muscles. The neurosurgeon thinks that's why Ammon's neck tips back so much. If that is the case, then they will inject Botox into the muscles of Ammon's neck to relax the muscles so he can look downward. I can't imagine that will be fun, but he really struggles with his head pulling back so far. I guess this is Ammon's yearly "tune up".

We accomplished a lot on this trip to the hospital. We got his health care directive filled out, specifying directions for the end of his life whenever that happens (hopefully not for another 50 years). That includes a DNR (do not resuscitate), whether to use measures to prolong his life, etc. Ammon was very much a spokesman for himself. We had it witnessed and with us when we went up. Dr. Smith wrote instructions on the paper saying how he has to be intubated. We also completed the POLST form which is to be shown to any emergency personnel outside of the hospital with instructions as to what they are allowed to do or not. Ammon has to carry that with him everywhere. This wasn't a fun experience but I feel much peace now that it is complete. We don't have to make those decisions in the middle of the crises if it ever comes. The decisions are made. All of us should have a living will. I have one. I can always change it if I want, but it's filled out so Jim would know what my wishes were if I could not make those decisions by myself. It's a tough discussion to have but one that is necessary. I was glad that we accomplished what we did and I'm really glad that Ammon was very vocal about what he did and did not want to happen to him. He's growing up, folks!!'
(This is mom writing this-- Jim messed up the account and it won't let me sign in under my name any longer.)



3 comments:

Ammon said...

Thank you guys for your prayers I really needed them I want you to know that I could not have done this without your thoughts and prayers I love you with all my heart and soul Bye.

Aurora said...


La luz de la tarde cae sobre las montaƱas, la noche se adueƱa del paisaje, y las luces y las sombras, juegan al escondite

Michelle said...

Glad the surgery went well. You are always in our prayers.