radio host Jay Marvin talked in detail about a serious illness that's kept him off the airwaves since early March. At that time, Mary Marvin, Jay's wife, said doctors had ordered him "to act like he's training to do the 24 hours at Daytona" in order to prepare his body for surgery to address a massive infection that had attacked his spine, threatening paralysis.
At last, the time for this procedure is almost here. On Monday, August 10, Marvin will undergo an operation at a spinal center in Galloway, New Jersey, overseen by neurosurgeon Jim Lowe, a family friend, and a team of doctors. And as Mary describes it, their task is expected to be a long and laborious one.
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"They'll be starting at seven in the morning, and it's going to take at least ten hours," she says. "They're going into his right side, and they'll harvest a rib, deflate his lung, then go in and scrape out the T7 to T8 area, where the vertebrae have crumbled and they've smashed into the spinal column, blocking it 60 percent." Once that's done, physicians will transplant the rib into the area where the vertebrae are damaged, to shore up and support the spine. "They'll also put in some sort of mesh cage," she continues, "and address the infection. They know there's going to be some active infection, because the area is filled with rotting bone and tissue. Then, once that's done, they have to put a tube in for all the blood drainage and inflate the lung and close him up before flipping him onto his back and putting in rods, plates and screws to fuse that area."
At first, the Marvins were hoping the operations would take place in early July, but Mary says Lowe and company "had to wait a month to make sure the infection didn't start up again, and it hasn't" -- a good sign, obviously. Nonetheless, Jay will undergo another serious round of antibiotics following the surgery: "He's going to be in intensive care five-to-seven days, and then they'll move him into the rehab portion of the hospital. He'll be there three-to-four weeks, depending on how long it takes before we can fly him back. After that, there'll probably be another two months of aggressive antibiotics and at least three months in a brace as he goes through therapy."
Even if everything goes as planned, Jay has a long road ahead of him before he can consider returning to the studio. Still, Mary says he's as positive as he can be under the circumstances. "I think he's anxious about the surgery, but his spirits are pretty good," she notes. "He's had a long time to think about everything, and he's eager to get started."
Likewise, Mary adds, "He's very grateful to everybody for all the cards and the good wishes he's gotten. They've helped keep his spirits up as much as anything."