Had a follow-up appointment with my Neurosurgeon yesterday.
He ripped the bandage off, looked at the incision, and essentially said "looks great, see you in 6 weeks." . . . I then went through my written list of questions.
I don't have to wear the foam neck brace anymore. I can move my neck in the full range. I was getting tired of the Frankenstein pose. Yes I do have a permanent o-ring shaped artificial disc. It is not absorbable like some. The center is where the bone graft is and will eventually be solid bone from one vertebrae to the other (C6-C7). The front is held together with a titanium plate and screws. The titanium does not preclude having an MRI in the future. I can go back to work with restrictions. I'm not to lift over 35 lbs, and not to do repetitive or extended duties which cause discomfort. He did remove the bone spurs. He also enlarged the foramen on both the trouble side, left, and the right side, so the pain Im having on the right is simply what he's calling "reffered pain". I can get renewals or any other pain med prescription I'd like, just call. He feels the amount of pain I'm having is normal.
I still have a fair amount of pain. In the neck, shoulders, and on the right in the shoulder blade and outer arm areas. It's the worst when I wake up and begin moving, after a night of the pain meds wearing off. I take vicodin or percocet, prilosec in the morning, sleeping pills at night sometimes, and sometimes the muscle-relaxant also.
I've taken off the foam coller and the bandage. Also the steri-strips have come off. There's still a lump under the incision area, about the size of a small baby-carrot. The bruising is beginning to diminish. I've started to get about and do things again. I've been shoveling snow (slowly) yesterday and today for the fun and excercise.
In 6 weeks I have another appointment and will get an x-ray at that time. I have next week off from work still and am enjoying all the time off. Today I have to pay bills and balance the accounts and see where we stand again (I've been ignoring that detail the last 3 or 4 weeks).