Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another Day at the Laser Spine Institute (LSI)

Connie at the enterance to the Laser Spine Institute
Connie had her first appointment of the day this morning at 10:30 AM. We arrived at the clinic early and both of us had the complimentary breakfast provided for patients and families. We then went into an appointment with a surgeon (not the one who will actually do the procedure) and a physician assistant. The surgeon and the PA discussed the problems with Connie lower back and the options that were available at LSI. The less aggressive procedure was to remove the pressure from the nerves between Connie's L4 and L5 by trimming some of the bone and smoothing out any spurs and pits. The more aggressive procedure would be to fuse the L4 and L5 bones. We went through all of the pros and cons with each of the options. If Connie did the less aggressive procedure now, the more aggressive (fusion) would still be available down the road. The results from the last 11 years at LSI have shown a 70-80% success rate with the less aggressive procedure in relieving back pain. So, after much thought and discussion Connie decided to have the less aggressive procedure with the surgery occurring tomorrow morning. If Connie had decided to go ahead with the disk fusion, we would have had to reschedule the procedure later in the year along with her having to go through a lot of hoops with the insurance company. There was also a shadow on her MRI that the radiologist thought might be a cyst in her kidney. So Connie had to go to a local imaging center to have her kidney scanned.

After a quick lunch at LSI (yes they also provide lunch as well as breakfast for their patients and families), we met with Dr. Flood who is one of the founders of LSI and will be Connie's surgeon. We again discussed Connie's lower back and the two options available. After this discussion with Dr. Flood, Connie did not change her mind and she will go with the less aggressive procedure.

Raymond James Stadium - Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We went through all of the "money" issues with Serena Tamayo who is a Spine Care Coordinator at LSI and she started the process to get Connie on the schedule for tomorrow. We also had to get three prescriptions filled at a local pharmacy for her post-op recovery. After a drive through Tampa to get the the radiology center for Connie's kidney scan, we then travelled on to the pharmacy where we were picked up the prescriptions . Everything turned out OK with the kidney scan. If there had been a cyst (the MRI was several weeks old), it has now disappeared. During our travels between the radiology center and the pharmacy, we drove past the New York Yankees spring training facility and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football stadium. As the afternoon spring training game at George Steinbrenner Field was just ending, we got caught in an afternoon traffic jam.

It was a long day for Connie with a lot of information thrown at her. We are hopeful she made the right decision and the procedure tomorrow will be successful in getting rid of her back pain. We walked over to the Bahama Breeze restaurant and ate dinner. While at dinner, LSI called and told Connie that she needs to be there at 7:45 AM in the morning for her procedure. Please continue to keep Connie in your thoughts and prayers.