This Turkey wishes to share his turkey neck with his vast legion of readers. A diagnosis of severe spinal cord compression at C3-4 led to a bout with the neurosurgeon’s knife—Jonathan Livingston Greenberg vs. the Abominable Turkey. As you know, I survived (I think). In spite of a three-level cervical spine fusion, which took place on July 10, the Turkey has continued to gobble gaseously. The neck brace has no doubt impeded oxygenation of his brain, which has led to some overly euphoric predictions, such as a 10-2 Penn State football season, as well as some paranoid ramblings of conspiratorial complicity by Al Qaeda in the Dominoes/Oreo partnership.
The five-hour operation involved removing three degenerated discs and degenerated ligaments, adding bone grafts to maintain the column height, and stabilizing the cervical spine. The incision is on the front of the Turkey’s neck, toward the left side. To access the discs, a retractor was used to move aside the larynx and the trachea aside.
Note the prominent hardware. The whole affair is held together by titanium girders secured by four golden screws. (And a golden screwdriver with a diamond encrusted handle issued forth from the heavens and descended upon him, slowly unscrewing the fastener, finally getting it all the way out…and his ass fell off.) This thing is located right behind the larynx, creating like a total lump in the Turkey’s throat.
So, was that an overshare? TMI?
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the metal stuff set off airport metal detectors?
- Through the throat?
- Were you in an accident?
- Did they give you good drugs?
- How long til you can take off that neck brace? Oy, it must be so hot in that thing in da summer, already!
- What did the doctor say?
- Were the nurses hot?
- Dude, how could you do this right at the start of football season?
- Bone grafts? Which bone did they come from?
- (Questions 10., 11., 12., and 13. all involve sex and will be censored due to the family oriented nature of this column.)
Frequently Delivered Wise-Ass Retorts
- Does the metal stuff set off airport metal detectors? I already have a hip replacement that’s got a lot more metal so this one is moot. I wind up being hand searched each time through. Besides, this device is non-ferrous titanium (which is sort of redundant). It was funny—when I got the total hip replacement six years ago, my mother asked if I could be struck by lightning. She thought having all that metal in me would attract lightning. I, on the other hand, was trying to figure out how to magnetize the thing to attract bra fasteners.
- Through the throat? Only Linda Lovelace and I know for sure. Yes, that’s the way this surgery is done. Through the damn throat.
- Were you in an accident? No, it was a fight. You should see the other guy.
- Did they give you good drugs? Well, the fentanyl didn’t do a damn thing for pre-surgery sedation, even though they gave me 2.5 times the standard dosage. So, instead of fentanyl for post-op pain control, I got a patient-administered morphine pump. Anytime the hospital got on my nerves, I hit that damn button, giving me a good, warm feeling.
- How long til you can take off that neck brace? Until the other guy’s private investigator stops following me around. See, I’m suing his ass. I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. The neck brace has been on for 10 weeks. It’s part of me now. Why would I ever want to take it off?
- What did the doctor say? With reference to my degenerated discs, he said, “I just called to tell you what a degenerate you are…” He’s a comedian on the side. Meanwhile, the neurosurgeon says little or nothing. Aside from the M.D. degree, he’s also got a J.D., so he plays his cards close to the vest, lest he say anything I can hold him to in a court of law.
- Were the nurses hot? This is Orlando Regional Medical Center you’re talking about here. Draw your own conclusions. Heat, I suppose, is a relative term. The ones who catheterized me had cold hands.
- Dude, how could you do this right at the start of football season? It was a calculated ploy to rationalize the purchase of my 50″ 1080p plasma HDTV. After all, I can’t travel to games for a while and I deserve some comfort, so I took pity on my poor ass, using the neck as an excuse. Now, I can watch O.J. being arrested over, and over, and over…
- Bone grafts? Which bone did they come from? The bone grafts essentially take the place of the removed discs. While sometimes the grafts come from a patient’s own hip bones, in this case they came from the bone bank. Thus, I have bone material from folks who have gone to the great beyond (they wash it first), and I thank them sincerely for their contribution.
- Well, the neck brace makes that a bit of a contortional challenge, but we improvise, we adapt, we overcome.
- You better ask her about that one. That’s what she said.
- Oh, yes yes yes!!! Oh, God, yes! Uh huh.
- Blue pills.
But seriously, though, the Turkey is hoping for a favorable determination regarding the need for continued use of the neck brace sometime in the next week or so. In spite of what I facetiously stated above, I genuinely look forward to the time when I can shed my omnipresent plastic and foam rubber companion. It’s hot, it’s bulky, and it sucks. It limits my driving to very short, necessary trips during light traffic periods.
In the meanwhile, I’m speed-walking between 3.25 and 4.7 miles per day on a concrete path around my community. When I finally dump the brace, I intend to celebrate with a 10 or 12 mile hike in one of my favorite natural areas here in Central Florida, as I much prefer bushwhacking to walking in circles. I seriously miss that aspect of my life.
Now, back to the business of beating Michigan. I’ve got Joe Paterno on the other line, on hold…