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Jeff Hughes – Spine Surgery

Physician – Dr. Jeffrey Carlson
Hi, my name is Jefferson (Jeff) Hughes and the following is my testimonial regarding the lower-back surgery performed by Dr. Carlson of the Orthopedic & Spine Center (OSC) of Newport News, Virginia, on 11 June 2012.

I come from a Military family (father retired from the (USAF), served in the USAF and retired with Disability (DAV) after having severe trauma to both knees; and have been a Peninsula resident for the past 40 years.

Currently, I’m a Civil Service employee with the Department of Navy, with 34+ years, and in the final process of “Retirement”, slated for this December of 2012.
From my military upbringing and service to the Government, I’m from the “Old-School, suck it up and keep on going, no-pain-no gain” philosophy. That worked pretty good except as I got older and my body started to tell me more, that aches and pains are not “normal”.

Having been diagnosed and treated for Congestive Heart Failure, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, weight gain (50 pounds over AMA level), during the past year, Depression, Upset/Sour Stomach and “NO” energy, due to the pain that I have experienced over the past 5 years. With the pain (back, arms and legs), I woke up in the mornings- tired, went to work-tired, sat around and tried to perform my duties, and then came home, cooked, fed the dog, took care of my ailing wife, and then go to bed and start the same thing, over and over.

Everything came to a head around the 8th of May 2012, while I was at work; I couldn’t get out of my office chair. I called my Family Physician to see if I could see him that day to find out what was going on. My Supervisor helped get me on my feet , and then to my vehicle, (seemed to be able to drive OK), and upon arrival to my doctor’s office, I was in so much pain that I lost most of the feeling in my right leg. Doctor took a look at me, thinking it could be a reaction to my Cholesterol drug, took me off it and gave me a prescription for pain, a steroid-drug (anti-inflammatory), and referred me to see Doctor Snyder from OSC to check out my lower back.

Upon seeing Doctor Snyder and having (state-of-the-art, in-house) x-rays and MRIs (in the course of 1 week), it was determined that I had a herniated Lumbar Disc that was putting pressure on the Sciatic nerve to my right leg.

Course of action was to “rest”, continue the pain management and to see Doctor Sureja from the OSC-family (OSC is a very close knit line of professional personnel with one goal – to help the patient) to have a lower-spinal Epidural injection to see if that would relieve the pressure on the nerve.

I went back to Dr. Snyder in three weeks after injection and I was still having pain and tingling in my right leg. I was referred to Dr. Carlson to see what other options I had. I had only two (2), try the injection again or surgery. Dr. Carlson explained the procedure and risks and then left it up to me. I told him, I was tired of hurting all the time; that the injection in my opinion, didn’t work, so I gave him the go-ahead for surgery. Doctor Carlson was very informative, as well as his staff, that made the next step (surgery) easy and not stressful. I think my family and friends were more under stress because the nature of my up-coming surgery.

OSC staff was very helpful on scheduling pre-OP appointments, necessary post-OP equipment (walker, Bone Stimulator, in-house nurse visits and PT). On arrival at the hospital on the day of surgery, I met with Dr. Carlson and his team, talked a little bit about what was going to happen and Doctor Carlson told me everything will be fine. Doctor Carlson removed the lamina around my spine, that was putting pressure on the Sciatic nerve leading to my right leg, repaired the herniated disc and then inserted the spinal “fusion” fixation of pins and screws.

Woke up in the recovery room and Doctor Carlson said everything went fine. He asked how I felt, to wiggle my toes and if I had any pain. I felt GREAT, no pain, a little swelling the lower back, but overall GREAT. Afterwards, was moved to my room and the next morning, PT had me up and walking. No stopping since, could sit up, put on my back brace, got out of bed, and with the aid of my walker (only needed it for 3 days) off I went- walking with NO pain. Was discharged from the hospital two (2) days after surgery, went home, had Home-care (nurse daily visits and PT), kept myself mobile and was walking over 1-mile five (5) days after surgery.

Had follow-up with Doctor Carlson ten (10) days after surgery, where the staples were removed, x-rays taken (to make sure everything was in proper position) and where he answered all my questions. I informed Doctor Carlson that after years of no energy, tired all of the time, pain and general depression, I felt GREAT, almost like a 20 year old. Blood-pressure readings are back to normal, I no longer have stomach problems, can actually go up and down stairs with no shortness of breath and the biggest of all – NO PAIN.

Knowing that I have months of wearing of the Back Brace and Bone-Stimulator, if this is all the minor aches and pains I get, bring it on- I’m ready to take back my life and get on with it.

From the bottom of my “Heart” – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Doctor Carlson and all of the OSC Team. Retirement is looking GOOD now.

Jefferson H. Hughes

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