After seeing my husband for the first time again at 3:30am, the next thing I remember was me being wheeled to the operating room. Again.
Signing consent forms. Again.
Talking to the anesthesiologist. Again. He was even the same one from last night!
It had been less than 15 hours since I last encountered the operating table, but I had to get this contraption called a “halo brace” on me as soon as possible. My neurosurgeon opted to use a halo brace to prevent my neck and head from moving, keeping my neck in the correct position. This would allow my injured spinal column and ligaments to properly heal. I would wear it for three to four months, the time frame required for everything to heal. It is the most rigid neck brace out there, as far as I know – it does not allow my neck from moving forward and bending backward as well as my head from turning. Staying in bed may cause many pressure sores, blood clots, and other health problems. The halo brace would let me get out of bed and start moving sooner after my injury. Never mind that it weighed five to seven pounds, came down to my waist, and needed to be physically screwed into my skull.
YES. Screwed into my skull… in four different places, in fact! The image below is pretty good at illustrating this, unfortunately it becomes very blurry when I enlarge it myself since it’s only a sample image from somewhere. Enlarge it here.
Now, since I was pretty out of it from the trauma, drugs, etc., I didn’t really have a crystal clear idea what was going on. All I remember was seeing my neurosurgeon again, his assistants shaving the back of my head and applying a two-piece jacket on me, the power drill starting, and then falling asleep from the anesthetic.
I awoke with my new BFF for the next three months.
Trauma services gave me and my family a manual to help deal with living with the halo brace. It had sections on eating, bathing, sleeping, and other daily activities.
This guy doesn’t even make this exciting.