Neck hernia treatment

Age 47

Here’s my story about my experiences at Bergman Clinics in Naarden.

My history: I’d been suffering pain in my neck for 5 years. After seeing a neurologist at my local hospital in The Hague in 2010, I was told that I had a hernia at the C5/C6 cervical segment. However, my then neurologist refused to operate on me due to the risks involved. The pain management unit and/or medication were the only things I had at my disposal to relieve the pain over the last 5 years.

Current situation: On 3 December 2014 I suffered intense pain in my shoulders, neck and arm. It was so bad that I could no longer function normally. I saw my GP for a referral to a neurologist and made an appointment with my local hospital in The Hague. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to see me until 9 January 2015, and I didn’t think I’d be able to stand the pain for that long. So I performed a neck hernia search on Google and ended up at Bergman Clinics in Naarden, where I was able to make an appointment with a neurologist, Liesbeth ten Have, before the 2014 Christmas break.

After some talking and an examination, she referred me to have an MRI scan, which confirmed that I had a hernia at C5/C6. (The advantage of being at Bergman Clinics was that I was able to undergo the MRI scan on the same day, rather than having to make a separate appointment at my local hospital.) After obtaining the test results, the neurologist referred me to the pain management unit for a nerve-blocking injection. According to my health insurer, a visit to the pain management unit, where I was treated by Jack Poell, was the first thing to do if there was no acute indication for a surgical procedure. I had a lovely conversation with Jack Poell, who really did his best to make me feel at ease with regard to the upcoming injection, which he administered himself. In short, it was the perfect support leading up to the procedure.

I had my intake interview in the morning and the procedure in the afternoon. I loved being able to have both on the same day. The injection was pretty hard to bear; it’s just an unpleasant procedure. However, the way the assistant supported me and the level of support I received from the nursing staff after the injection made it quite bearable. Two weeks later, we came to the conclusion that the injection hadn’t been as effective as it should have been, and the pain in my shoulder and arm returned. I spoke to J. Poell on the phone, who indicated that I should see the neurologist again. I was able to talk to her on the phone, which was very nice, as it stopped me from having to drive a long way to see her.

The neurologist indicated that I should go and see the surgeon, after all, to undergo surgery. A week later I was able to see Dr Marc Schröder for an intake interview. After a nice and relaxed chat, Dr Schröder told me he wanted to perform surgery on me. After discussing all the pros and cons, I didn’t doubt for one moment that I was going to have the procedure, both because I wanted to get rid of the pain after all those years and because of Dr Schröder’s calm, self-confident and fully convinced demeanour. I told him as much. His assistant, Michelle, then discussed all aspects of the operation with me. She, too, provided nice and relaxed support. Afterwards I was immediately taken to see an anaesthetist for an intake interview.

My operation was scheduled for the next week. Tuesday, 10 March 2015 was to be my day, my own personal D-Day. I was asked to report to Bergman Clinics in Naarden at 7.15am. They told me I was going to be their first patient that day, hence the early hour. After the nurses had taken me to my guestroom, everything happened really quickly. I was on the operating table within 45 minutes of arriving at the clinic. Dr Marc Schröder came to shake my hand and told me everything would be OK. The anaesthetist, Lucas Brozek, administered the injection that knocked me out. I saw the guy for less than 2 minutes altogether. I came to in the recovery room, where I was surrounded by nurses. After a while, I noticed that my right arm wasn’t hurting quite as much. I was back in my guestroom by 11.30am. Around 8pm in the evening, Dr Schröder came to see me and asked me how I was doing. The physiotherapist came to see me, as well, and gave me a few tips and tricks for a speedy recovery once I’d be home again.

The only thing that didn’t work well at the clinic was sleeping. I hardly slept during my stay, as I was admitted to the clinic on the same day as a patient whose entire family came to visit and sat in the corridor talking loudly in a language I didn’t understand, from the afternoon till well into the evening. This was rather disturbing and annoying so soon after my surgery.

Generally speaking, though, I’m really satisfied with the treatment I received at Bergman Clinics. My operation went well, and apart from some wound pain and sore muscles, my arm is now pain-free. So as far as I’m concerned, the operation was a success. Dr Marc Schröder is a nice surgeon who doesn’t just cut you up, but supports you on your way to the operation and makes you feel at ease. Thank you, Dr Schröder, for the way you looked after me, and for a perfect operation. I’m also extremely happy with the nursing I received after the operation. I actually had a good time on the afternoon and evening following my operation. So, a big thank-you to the ladies of the day, evening and night shifts, who never lost sight of the human aspect of their job and kept talking to me. (Even when I dropped a glass of apple juice on my bed, which had to be made again – thanks for doing so, Esmee!) At 9am on the next day I was allowed to go home to continue recovering there. After 5 years of misery, I’m now on my way to resuming a pain-free existence. Thank you, Bergman Clinics!

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