Sunday, September 13, 2009


I have not kept up so here is a long one with pictures!

Lindsay has progressed rapidly. Except for a bout of withdrawal symptoms from the oxycodone (she went cold-turkey and reaped the whirlwind for about 4 days) everything has gone extremely well - at least as well as one could expect after having your leg cut off and put back on with 7 screws. She finished with the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion)machine in about a week and before we knew it, she was back at the university taking classes and working in the library in her wheelchair.

Notice the crutch quiver. She needed to be able to carry books, crutches, tea cup, thermos and lunch. The only thing that would not fit in her lap was the crutches so I made a cardboard tube with a cap on the end and strapped it to the back. Voila!
The next step was getting rid of the wheelchair. We went back to Tacoma to get a check-up and X-ray. Here tiz:

Notice the broken drill bit on the lower right side! Fourteen screws and a drill bit. There have been a spate of jokes. I won't go into that right now.

The doctor was happy with her progress and now she is even able to drive an automatic (yuck) but it's better than nothing.
Here is a side view:


Thursday, July 30, 2009

A note from Diane

Gratefully, after the unfortunate theft, a new laptop and a repaired connection to my ISP allows me to catch up with Lindsay's progress and the Lermo family team today!
Being there for Lindsay's surgery was a privilege for me, but it was such a relief to know that I was not needed this time! It is almost unfathomable to realize what has to take place to perform, undergo, and endure a PAO procedure, and that this one was 180 degrees different for Lindsay, especially in the initial 48 hours post-op, begins with the wisdom of my brother, Ron, for the way in which the unfolding of events of the first surgery were conveyed to Dr. Mayo, and the magic that took place with the hospital team at Tacoma General thereafter. I do, with great respect, commend Dr. Mayo, his staff, the anesthesiologist and his world-class spinal technique, and the entire team at the hospital for sincerely understanding the needs and for the respectful, careful and professional precision with which they cared for Lindsay and her family. To see the cumbersome machine of medicine run as smoothly as this experience was truly amazing.
Although I have seen a great deal in my years of nursing, it is still difficult to witness the process of someone having to be "broken" in order to be "made whole", especially when it involves family. Lindsay, you handle all of this with such grace! On the brighter side, it was a humbling privilege to see, first hand, the love of a family in action, those that were at the hospital, and those on the home front preparing for Lindsay's arrival as well. The days following the surgery in the hospital are intense, to say the least, but the intensity and dedication required of not only Lindsay, but the entire family, to successfully recover from a PAO procedure are just as astounding when it comes to the day to day process that can take up to a year to complete at home. You all have my admiration.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moving Vans

Today was a busy day and because of that I am writing this from home!
We all had a lot of work today. Lindsay worked with a physical therapist and managed to convince her that she (and we) were ready to hit the road. So we packed the moving vans (well, maybe not moving vans but it seemed like we had enough stuff to fill a couple) and were home by 1430.
Jamie, Gavin and Peyton had the house cleaned and orderly. The hospital bed and all the machinery were set-up and plugged in. PLUS, there were balloons and "Welcome Home AGAIN" signs. All we had to do was watch them unload the "moving vans" while we got Lindsay settled in.
Lindsay still has a couple months with a strict regimen designed to help her heal and recover. She can settle into a routine and gradually she will be back to some semblance of normal as she defines normal.
I will probably not be updating this as often but check back once in a while.
Thank you for your prayers. It means a lot to us. Those of you who don't pray - you probably did anyway without realizing - we thank you just as much.
A special thanks to the doctors, nurses, staff and all the amazing folks at Tacoma General. Thanks for putting up with spilled blueberries, spilled tea, spilled water, an accidental ice-water-bath, having to step over cots and chairs in a dark, over-capacity room and bleary-eyed, ever present, over-bearing, hovering family members sprawled all over. We love you but we hope we never see you again.
You probably hope the same.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pain Smack-down

Now that the epidural is out, the pain levels are up. I don't think she was prepared for it and it hit hard. It appeared that her pain levels were approaching or at crisis levels and she was feeling sick to her stomach so I mentioned to the nurse that she was not doing very well.

Within minutes they gave her something to dull the pain. Also, an occupational therapist, Pam, stopped to help with ways to ease the pain. Here is the cool part: Without me having to ask, they contacted the doctor and got an order for a one-time pain smack-down and increased the dosage of her other meds.

Lindsay is resting comfortably now and she has that typical angelic face. The tears and grimace are history... at least for now.

There is still a long road ahead but the hospital staff are all superb. That makes it easier for the rest of us, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009


This morning they removed the epidural and, as expected, she felt a bit dizzy at first. After about an hour she began to feel some pain but nothing severe. They started oral pain meds last night and she's a bit woozy. I think it is helping her transition away from the epidural.
Later, they rolled her away in her bed to do a routine ultrasound to check for blood clots. No clots were found and she returned in time for lunch.
Her eyes showed pain but it was a bit too soon for more meds. It was not long before she got it, though, and the pain is now subsiding. We will do our best to stay on top of it. We don't want it to get out of control.

Goodbye Old Friend

Yesterday evening the surgeon, Doctor Mayo, stopped by to see Lindsay. He seemed pleased as we are about the progress and recommended removal of all the tubes. That means, among other things, that the epidural is coming out.
Please pray that the pain will not spike as a result. It is a bit scary because that "World Class Epidural" that Doctor Bouterse so skillfully installed - the one that already seems like an old friend - is coming out.
So today will be busy with preparations, procedures, physical therapy, pokes, prods, pulls and all the other day-to-day hospital activities.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Three

Lindsay showed continued improvement yesterday. Today is no different. She was beginning to experience some pain but she rated it at about 2 on a scale of 1-10. This is a vast improvement from last year when the first 48 hours after surgery she rated the pain at a steady 8 or 9. She still has the epidural and a few other tubes sticking out of her but those will be removed over the course of the next few days and she will be freed to move about. Of course, she won't be dancing or rock climbing soon but that will come in due time.

Her recovery is progressing so well that I was able to confidently tell my sister, Diane, that we did not need her any more so she left to visit the folks. She is a retired RN and having her advocating for Lindsay in the hospital room 24-7 was a God-send - especially last year during the first PAO. Of course, we are all very grateful she was able to be there this time, too. We were very nervous about how events would unfold and it was comforting to know she was there for Lindsay and us. So... Thank you, thank you, thank you Diane. It does not sound very flattering to say that we don't need you but I know you understand and are happy to be unneeded in this case.

Unfortunately, Diane's car which was parked in the hospital parking lot was broken into the night before she left and her laptop along with about $500 worth of other things were taken. It was puzzling because she had it locked and the alarm was set. The crooks managed to break the lock and dis-arm the alarm. Her On-Star protection was useless. Even though it will be expensive to replace the things that were stolen and repair the damage, the most unfortunate thing is the fact that it will be impossible to replace the pictures of her grand-children that were on the hard disc.