My DBS Surgery-My Next Step in the Parkinson's Disease Progression

On April 18, 2013, I underwent the first stage of DBS surgery under that skilled hands of Dr. Francisco Ponce, and his amazing team, including Joey Gregan and Bill of Medtronics. It truly was an amazing experience. I was awake the majority of the time and was able to interact with Dr. Ponce, Joey, Bill, and others. Dr. Ponce said that it went remarkably well, and that he "hit the bullseye!"

Funny experiences: After they completed the right side which was the first side to do, I had the urgency to go to the bathroom. I whispered to Joey," What if I have to pee?", and he said to Dr. Ponce that I had to pee, and Dr. Ponce directed them all to turn their heads giving me a privacy break while the nurse held a urinal bottle to me (which was awkward). I was bashful at first but finally decided it was time to go.  All went well and pretty soon they were  doing the left side!

At the end of the surgery one of the nurses who had made contact with the recovery team to make sure that there was a bed ready, found out that there were no beds available. So in her innocent attempt to hide it from me, she, just like she would do with her child, said "there aren't any b-e-d-s" spelling the word bed, and then realized that I could spell so she realized how funny that sounded. We laughed about that for awhile.

Sunday morning April 21, 2013: Recap of the last few days. Thursday morning I checked in to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital around 6:00. I was off medication per doctors instructions so walking was not good. A wheelchair quickly became my friend, but not a comfortable friend. Leisa was my driver and did a great job. Thank you Leisa for everything! You are an awesome wife!

Also there was my good friend Stew Martz, who also has PD. He has had one side of his brain DBS'd and sometime in the future will have the other. Stew is a great man, always positive. He makes me laugh. More good things to come as we get to know him better. Thanks Stew for being a great friend!

So,after checkin I am taken to pre-op, change into the fashionable hospital gown, and start the typical checkup stuff. Dr. Andrews, the anesthesiologist, comes in and we get to know him. He asks if I am Mormon, and after responding yes, he said, "I can tell". He is LDS (Mormon) too. I am grateful my Mormon light is shining that day. Finally Dr.Ponce comes in and we are about to go to the operating room. I meet the two nurses who will be attending to me, Jillian and Lisa. I am warned that there is going to be alot of people in the room because they are using a new scanning machine that allows them to take all the readings right there rather than having to take me from one room to another. I have prior opted to be awake during the surgery which apparently will help in the process.

I am wheeled into the room and sure enough there are many people there,including Joey Gregan and Bill Valls from Medtronics. 
It is great to see Joey, a good friend.

I was awake for most the procedure. The only time I wasn't was when they put the halo on my head and I don't  remember the scanner. I remember hearing a drill but I don't remember my head being drilled into. Dr. Ponce said later that I had really hard bone which he like. Another way of saying I have a hard head.

During the process there was alot of interaction, conversation, instructions. There seemed to be a big to do about the shower curtain, which was the plastic sheet between my skull and Dr. Ponce. I found out at the end of the surgery that it was being held up by a piece of PVC pipe! Of all things, PVC in an operating room where everything else is metal. Well, I did tell them that I was going to purchase them there first chrome plated shower rod!

The surgery went very well. I was able to respond to his requests fo me to do certain movements. I am glad I did it awake. I was there until about 11:30 or so and then was taken to recovery for awhile. While there, Wayne and Helen Smithson came to visit, as well as Tate Linford. Tate is my cousin and attends Grand Canyon University and plays LaCrosse. He is a great young man and a good friend. Thanks Tate for being there.

Also, Stew Martz, who had been there earlier, came back and visited awhile longer. He left and then came Mick Beaman, who had driven up from Tucson. He had been there awhile but had got some incorrect directions and had become very familiar with the hospital. Both Stew and Mick have PD and are very good friends of mine. 

Eventually I was taken to my room on the 6th floor. Room 634 D Pod. I shared the room with a man by the name of Merrill. He was also LDS. 

Leisa got me settled and made sure that all was well for quite some        time. Mick actually did not see me until I got to the room. Mick was so gracious and encouraged Leisa to take a break, go for a walk, relax, unwind, and let him sit with me for awhile. She did, and then Jacie, Kamrie,and Torie came to visit, bringing me ice cream. We had a fun visit. 


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