Spinal Surgery Relieves Pain and Anxiety

Imagine aching pains in your shoulder and arm. Now imagine that same arm goes numb 20 to 30 times a day.

That’s what Patricia Meyer of Gladstone, Michigan dealt with for nearly a year. And while pain and numbness is problem enough for anyone, it was particularly trying for Meyer, a self-employed hairdresser.

“I cut back on work when I could, or I would work and then lay in bed with heat and anti-inflammatory drugs—anything I could do to get comfortable,” Meyer remembers. “I wasn’t doing housework or outside things; I was just saving myself for work.”

Meyer’s doctor suspected a torn rotator cuff and referred her to physical therapy, but the therapist believed more serious neck issues were at play. An MRI revealed degeneration, bulging, and spurs at the C6-7 disc, meaning Meyer needed advanced care from a neurosurgeon.

After researching her options, Meyer chose Dr. Mark Gardon at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. Dr. Gardon, who specializes in minimally invasive spinal procedures, accessed the disc through an incision at the front of Meyer’s neck, fusing it with a tissue graft and titanium screws.

Meyer spent just one night in the hospital and has been pain free ever since. “From the moment I came out of surgery, I’ve never had that pain again,” she says.

Anxiety-Free Care
But for Meyer, the story isn’t just about her medical outcomes. She’s had 10 surgeries in her lifetime and says her stay at Aurora BayCare was like no experience she’s had before.

Meyer, who suffers from anxiety, says everything about Aurora BayCare seemed designed to put her at ease, from the hospital’s fifth floor hotel, to the quiet pre-op area, to the ability for her son to stay with her right until surgery.

“Usually in the other hospitals, it’s like a cattle call,” she says. “All the beds are in a row, and you overhear the conversations between other patients and doctors.” Even the anesthesia she said, was faster. “I’ve been in other hospitals where they’re clanking tools and prepping while you’re lying there waiting.”

Meyer was also impressed with the forethought that went into assisting patient families. Her son was given a color-coded card with her patient number, so he could check her status at monitors throughout the hospital—meaning he was free to leave the waiting room without missing an update. 

Meyer stayed just one night, but left with additional compliments for both her nursing team and the hospital meal service, despite claiming to be a picky eater!

“It was just an awesome experience. I’ve been in other hospitals, and never felt so comfortable as I did there,” she says.