Commissioner Recovering After Spinal Surgery

BALTIMORE — A complication from her original injury caused County Commissioner Louise Gulyas to be transported by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center (UMDST) over the weekend for surgery, which has been completed and the outlook is positive, according to her son.
“Folks, for what my mom has been through she really looked good,” Thom Gulyas wrote in an update Wednesday morning. “Yes, she was exhausted and on some heavy meds, but that aside, she was in good spirits.”
There was hope the commissioner was out of the woods last week after doctors found and stabilized the broken C2 vertebra that she sustained in a fall in her Ocean City condo. However, Thom Gulyas reported that the fracture had expanded last week and was causing her extreme discomfort.
After a CT scan revealed that Louise Gulyas suffered from an Odontoid Type III fracture of C2, the decision was made to fly her by helicopter to UMDST for surgery, which called for the placement of a few small screws and connecting rods around the spine.
“This is the result when you hear the term ‘neck fusion,’” Thom Gulyas said. “The only drawback to this surgery is somewhat limited mobility of her head, which may or may not happen … depending on the outcome of her surgery.”
Whether there will be any reduction in range of motion due to the surgery wasn’t known as of Wednesday. But Thom Gulyas was able to meet with his mother post-surgery and reported she is doing well and that her spirits have remained high throughout the nearly two-week ordeal. Much like last week, Thom Gulyas attributed a lot of the commissioner’s optimism to the support that has come pouring out of the community from friends, family and constituents.
“The warm thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers that you all are sending and sharing are amazing,” Thom Gulyas said.
Even in some of the most stressful moments, such as when his mother was airlifted to UMDST, Thom Gulyas said that she was as friendly as ever, joking with her “handsome pilots” and asking for a “once around” flight over Ocean City before heading to Baltimore.
During the next week, Louise Gulyas is expected to go through physical therapy. Gulyas has been Ocean City’s representative on the Worcester County Commission since 1998.