Thanks to everyone for all of your kind thoughts and support over the past couple of days. BVZ had surgery on the herniation of his L5-S1 vertebrae on Monday and it was a success. The surgery took almost an hour longer than anticipated because the herniation was much older than they thought and was embedded in the inflamed tissue of his back. The best way I understand it is that when a disk herniates it leaks out gunk that is the consistency of caulking material. This is what has been pressing on his sciatic nerve and generally making all of our lives miserable. Usually, the surgeon can pull all the gunk out at the same time because it is still in basically one piece. But, in BVZ's case the gunk had kind of splintered out and the surgeon had to 'chip' away at it piece by piece to get it out. The surgeon suspected that the actual herniation happened many months, or even years, ago. Check out this post from back in May of 2008. I suspect this is when the herniation originally happened.
He was in recovery for about an hour and a half and got to have some ice chips. He made the mistake of telling a nurse that he felt a little nauseous because it had been so long since he had eaten* and she promptly took away his ice chips and gave him a shot of Fentanyl, a pretty strong narcotic that made him fall asleep immediately. When he woke up from that they took him to his room and I got to see him for the first time. He was extremely disoriented and VERY agitated and on the verge of a serious panic attack. He was stuck in an uncomfortable position on the bed and had on compression boots (standard for post-op to prevent blood clots) and an oxygen tube in his nose. Those things, plus the IV, made him extremely claustrophobic and he started trying to rip them all out. I tried to soothe and reassure him but all he could say was 'I just want a fucking mocha' over and over again (which in retrospect is quite hilarious. You know that when I use the f word, it's oh, a Monday, but when BVZ does you know he is in a bad, bad place). He snapped and cursed at a nurse, which is so uncharacteristic of him that I knew he was losing it. His blood pressure spiked WAY up, almost certainly a result of his state of mind, and so everyone was on high alert to calm him down quickly.
We got him shifted in position, the boots and nose tube removed and he normalized very quickly. It took about an hour for his blood pressure to become stable again, but eventually it did and so there wasn't any more cause for concern. I got permission to get him a mocha and all was right with the world again. He spent the night in the hospital and with the exception of an unfortunate incident involving a bedpan that I won't share because I don't want to get divorced, there were no further complications.
He got home about 1:00 pm yesterday and we've all been settling into the new routine where he can't do anything for two weeks except watch movies and take short walks. He can't pick up Norah for FOUR weeks, which you can imagine she is thrilled about. She keeps saying 'Up, please' and we keep explaining to her why he can't pick her up and she sighs and says, 'Daddy, owie. Back, back, back' and points to her back. It's pretty cute.
But the good news is that his pain is virtually completely gone and he slept through the night last night for the first time in a really long time. BVZ is already going a little stir crazy though, so it should be an interesting couple of weeks. Keep your fingers crossed.
(*All in all he went without food or water for about 18 hours. Which totally sucked. When I had Norah, I was forced to go without food for about 60 hours (48 hours of labor with pitocin and then 12 hours post surgery). And I had to have a baby. And then nurse her. Without any prompting from me, BVZ finally understood how much that suuuuuucked. I was very compassionate and told him it was all relative, even though I really wanted to say something else....)