Fight of the Syrinx

Second Times a Charm.

Endurance (noun) – The Power to withstand pain or hardship; the ability or strength to continue despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.

Now my first experience with anesthesia was.’t all that bad. I woke up, was a little goofy, then was fine. This time around was a whole different story… When I opened my eyes I immediately felt a searing pain in and on the left side of my head. I moved a hand to my head and noticed my face was sticky. Turning my head every so slightly to try and figure out what was happening. It was blood, and not just a little blood it was everywhere! The combination of the horrible pain and the sight of blood made me start to hyperventilate.

The surgeons PA came to side and saw that I was not doing ok… Then I woke up again, this time with less pain and the blood had been washed from my face. My gown and sheets had also been changed. Michael was holding my hand on the left and my mom was crying on the right.

Critical Care Round 2

I was still pretty groggy when they took me to my new room in the critical care unit. When I was finally awake enough to talk in full sentences I called for the nurse.  I had to know why the left side of my head was hurting so much.  The answer to this question was that when they put the immobilizer on my head for surgery, it had accidentally pierced three superficial arteries. Hense all the blood. The reason I was so sore was because they had to staple the three stops to get the bleeding to stop.

The good news was that I moved my left leg after surgery. I have no memory of this, it was just what I was told. So naturally I looked down at my legs and thought MOVE! But as before the right leg moved a bit and the left leg just laid there like a limp noodle.

Unexpected Complication

Resting heart rate at 34 BPM.

The day after my surgery I started to feel woozy, the room would start to spin and get dark. Michael called in the nurse, he sat me up and I immediately passed out. After waking up the nurse tried to get me to sit up again and yep I passed out again. It was noted that my heart rate was low, and by low I mean between 27-40 beats per minute. A normal persons heart rate is usually 65-90 BPM. This new low heart rate was thanks to swelling in my spinal cord. Just another lovely side affect.

It wasn’t all bad though, the perks of having a low heart rate is that you feel sedated without the drugs. I really remember feeling very warm, sleepy, and content. At one point I looked over at Michael and told him that I was ok with dying. Not because I actually wanted to die I was just so calm and happy with the slow heart rate. As you can imagine this little statement did not go over well with Michael.

2 and a half days after my second surgery, physical therapy came in to work with and to help me stand. So for the first time in almost 2 weeks I stood up! They promptly passed out😂 . But the good news was that I did get my heart rate all the way up to 42! After this I started passing out more frequently which they thought was associated with the swelling in my spinal cord. But to be safe they ordered a 10 min stand test.

Slightly Embarrassed

For all of you who have had the pleasure of a hospital stay , you know how amazing the gowns are.You also know that if you are stuck in the hospital for any length of time your modesty goes out the window.

Back to my 10 minute stand test… I am with my favorite CCU nurse who happens to be male, who’s wife I work with BTW. And my favorite CNA who also happens to be male. I know both of these men not only from this stay but we have worked together in the hospital on occasion. They are positioned on either side of me. They have a hold of me by both arms and my gait belt, which is a thick belt used to steady those with ambulatory issues. About 5 minutes into this 10 minute test I look down and realize that my gown is completely tucked in-between my legs, leaving my back side completely exposed! I was horrified at first, standing with these two men half naked. But then I realized just how ridiculous it all was, I couldn’t walk I should be focusing on that. Instead I’m freaked about my two nurses seeing my butt. I laughed it off and did my best not to pass out while being held up.

Back to Neuro

The first time I got to cuddle the kids!

Late that night I am moved back to the Neuro unit. My days were pretty boring. Physical and Occupational therapy would come to work with me everyday, but I never walked it was a lot of in bed therapy. When I finally lost my heart monitor and my extra tubes Jasper and Evey came to see me. Up to this point they had been stoo scared to spend any length of time with me. So it was a pretty amazing afternoon when I had both kids climb in the hospital bed with me.

After 15 days in the hospital I took my first steps! It took me 15 minutes to walk 10 feet to the bathroom. I used a walker and had a lot of assistance from both the physical and occupational therapists. I also got to take my first shower in 15 days, it felt amazing. When I got in I cried from the shear joy of the moment! I was beyond exhausted when I was done, I couldn’t walk the 10 feet back to my bed.

As I laid in my bed amazed at how exhausted a shower could make a person, the rehab doctor came in. He informed me that I was going to move to rehab the next day and start relearning how to walk! They were much more optimistic this time. With the help of my mom and Michael I packed up all my belonging which included so many flowers from my wonderful family and friends. Then I waited to start the next leg (hehe) of my journey.


After in bed therapy.
All my goodies are packed!


  • Debbie

    Wow,, I am so proud of you for so many reasons. You lived thru this ordeal with grace and beauty. You continue to fight to be the best you can be. Your an amazing mother, women , daughter, friend and the best daughter in law ever. I am so proud of you and ever so thankful that you would share so intimately all of your thoughts and experiences. I love you so much for sooo many many reasons😘😘 So happy I am blessed to have you in my family😘😘

  • ChronicallyHappy

    Thank you! I don’t always feel like I have any of these good qualities. But it means a lot that you think so. I love you too!

  • Cindi Fleming

    Hi Ciera. I’m a friend of Debbie’s and just wanted to say how strong and determined you truly are. I too experienced something similar as to symptoms. I wasn’t sure you got my previous post. I know how hard it is but your so strong! Reading your blog is such an inspiration!

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