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aimless is home from the hospital!

aimlessaaimless Posts: 372
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I went in for surgery (ALIF L5-S1) at noon last Wednesday the 21st, the procedure was scheduled to begin at 2:30. They called my name from the lobby and I went up to the surgery waiting area, put on the gown, hooked me up to a heart rate monitor (my initial heart rate was around 148!!!!). So then others started coming in, and their anesthesiologists and doctors came to see them, and I was still alone, so I had a nurse check and turns out my vascular surgeon was still in another OR and running 1 hour late. Fine...

...then my spine surgeon calls me (on the land line in the pre-op) and says it will be at least 5pm before we can start the procedure, and why don't we wait and do it next week? So I told him, I have family coming to take care of me, I am mentally ready, my body is physically ready (bowels and bladder being completely empty)... but he's the doctor so ultimately its up to him, not me. His assistant was going to look at schedules and call me back.

Finally around 4pm one of the OR nurses shows up and tells me she will be with me for the procedure, so I asked ARE we still on?? and apparently so. I think they may have found a different vascular surgeon. So they knocked me out and I woke up around 9pm with ALOT of abdominal pain, some post anesthesia nausea, but they controlled the pain well, I don't think my darling significant other (SO) even made it home until 1am (and if they had a cot or rolly bed, I would have had him stay, crazy as it seems it was so comforting).

The first two days were tough, I drifted in and out of slumber, food tasted gross, I threw up / dry heaved a bit. Gas pains were exacerbated by the abdominal incision. By day three, much better, and they let me go home! I still have some gas pains and I think the abdominal pain will just need to run its course.

The good news - my surgeon did tell my SO that he believed he got all of the disc matter in the back behind the spine, and he was able to restore the height of original disc space.

Although I am still on Topamax and Neurontin, I no longer have nerve pain in my leg. I suppose there is a chance they are masking it but I had alot of BT nerve pain, so I remain quite optimistic. I'm looking forward to tapering off both (I'm o a full dose of Topamax, only 300mg Neurontin, so the former will be the challenge and slow taper.) Low back pain, not a clue, I suspect its gone but really, I don't know. I'll have a better idea in 6 weeks.

Anyhow, sorry for the long post, maybe this will help another ALIF candidate (just watch out for any surgery requiring TWO surgeons!!!)


  • I am so glad you stood up for yourself and told the surgeon what you did. If they haven't had surgery themselves they have no idea what it is to prepare for it. How sad.
    Now you need patience for healing. That is what your job is until fusion happens. I just saw all the surgeries you had and I totally can relate. Look at my info.
    Again welcome home.
  • :H I'm so glad you made it out of surgery okay, and relieved that you even had it like scheduled. It would be a huge letdown to be bumped off. I think it's a great sign that the nerve pain is pretty much gone. I hope they gave you meds to keep you comfortable throughout your recovery because it can get a bit rough sometimes. Keep us posted and take good care of yourself >:D<
  • just getting through the recovery room and hospital stay is enough for a gold medal...you'll really appreciate being home in your own bed...take care and rest up
  • Hi
    I just got home saturday from having a plif with hardware and I am hurting something awful!! my hospital stay was terrible at first when I came out of surgery they had attached all my leads wrong and then the pc pump wasnt working it was one thing after another so the next morning my doctor put me on oral meds...

    the worst part is the dr. didnt send me home with a walker or cane or anything but he sent me home with the 3 month brace... I hurt myself 9 months ago and before surgery I had alot of sciatic nerve pain that went from my hip to my toe on the left sida and alot of back spasams..

    getting up and down and sleeping are a huge challange if anyone has advice about weather or not I should have a walker? and when i went home i realized they didnt send me hom with new bandages... so to say the least thing havnt been easy.

    my SO and children have been great helpers!

    proceedures(L5 S1 with hardware on 1/22/09 and bone graft from hip)

    meds- percocet 325 mgs,flexaril 100 mgs,vitamin D,Calcium,daily vitamins,lyrica,wellbutrin,ambien cr.
  • I had a PLIF with instrments and went home with nothing, but got a walker and cane. I still at 7 weeks use the walker with my long walks and cane when out of house like to store etc. I also had a friend in med supply business. I have had a hospital bed for 1 1/2 years due to inability before surgery to lay flat. Anyway. I had a small rail on the side I get out of be on, I needed something to help get up and out of bed and it has been wonderful. Also a thing that has arms and fixes to the toilet, and a riser if your toilet isnt high, is also something that is almost nessasary. I dont have a brace, but know these things have made it much easier. Also a grabber and a sock helper tto put on socks. Hope this helps. I know this is a long list, but I use all these things every day and makes life easier. :)
  • Melissa,
    You were right on the money when it comes to two doctors performing your surgery. I was scheduled to have a 360 fusion done in two separate operations, the first on a Monday, the second on Wednesday. The Monday surgery, through the back, was tougher than doctor expected and I lost a lot of blood. So, they postponed the Wednesday surgery but because the main surgeon on this second surgery, through the front, was booked, I had to wait 11 days for it. I had to remain in the hospital for a total of 14 days instead of the 7 originally thought.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Great to hear you are both out of surgery and though difficult all went well.

    Robin I too am proud of you for sticking up for yourself. Gosh you dont want to go through the pre op stuff again.

    Bree. I had a 3 level fusion and had the walker taken from me after a week. (no cane either). At the time I was really not happy but looking back it was the best thing. I think I wanted it more mentally then physically and the Dr knew better.
    If I went to the mall to walk i would take the cane but not to use only to fend off the rugrats that tend to run past you. When they got too close I'd put the cane out so they didn't run into me. :))(

    Blessings Sara
  • on being home and doing so well Melissa!!!!! Sorry that you had to go through the wait and worry in the beginning but I am happy that it seems to be going so well now. Follow your doctor's orders and no over doing it...listen to your body and take it easy when you need to. Please keep us posted as you can to how you are doing. If there is anything that I can help you with then please just let me know....take care....Miki
  • I'm glad you got your surgery the same day. It sure puts off having family and job on hold while you're looking forward to surgery to correct the pain and numbness after all that time. I wish you a complete and speedy recovery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • So glad you're doing so well. Be good to yourself. Listen to your body. It will tell you whe you;ve done enough. And let yourelf sleep. You'll want to. Congrats. Susan
  • Ironically, I thought to myself last Wednesday that the only thing worse than surgery was having it cancelled! I am relieved to have it over and start the healing process, and relieved the hospital stay was relatively short.

    The nurses and phys therapists were all really good. My doctor's nurse did come to see me in the hospital, but he never did. The nurses said that was not unusual in a teaching hospital, anyone else hear of this?

    I've read so many threads on the topic and now I can relate - movin' the bowels is my greatest challenge! The oxycodone I'm on now is causing some icky side effects (severe chills, light-headed, nausea even with food) and even with peri-colace, nothing... having my incision there doesn't help with the movement either. :<
  • I came home with a walker, dr ordered it in hospital, it was a god send, You really need one, ask him to write a prescription and get it thru insurance, you also need a riser for toilet so you dont have so far to go down, it really helped me alot, you can get riser thru any chain drugstore. Unfortunately I have been on walker for 13 months, something happened during surgery and I cant stand up straight, having another surgery in February to hopefully correct it
    Hope you recover well and dont over do it will say a prayer for you

  • I slept so much in the hospital, the food was of course unappetizing but because of the nausea I found I could eat in bed propped up and do okay. I'd cut up my meals and try to eat, and more than once I fell asleep with a sandwich in my hand, or food in my mouth, it was crazy! I was lucky not to choke but I was pretty upright with my head supported. And now sleeping alot at home too. Feels weird to do so but I'm listening to my body.

    Also really afraid I will screw up on the BLT / no reaching, no knees above hips rules, the twisting one is harder than I thought it might be as well.
  • i'm surprised they let you have solid food. that's interesting. i was stuck with "broth" that looked and smelled like sewer water, and apple juice for 4 days. lol.

    anyway, happy to hear that you're home & things went well. good luck with the recovery (:
  • Yes my hospital does not seem to follow that at all -they give you a menu and tell you to pick out your meals. Its still all gross. The apple juice was good, as were the saltines and popsicles! Maybe they held back due to the type of surgery you had? Or not... my roommate was eating turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy within a couple of hours of waking up from her spine surgery!
  • Hi, WELL I CAME HOME ON SATURDAY JANUARY 18, AND I DID NOT EITHER GET A WALKER OR A CANE, OH I ASKED PT SAID I DIDNOT NEED IT ,,I ALSO GOT A BRACE that i have to wear for three months i literly sleep in it,

    i also had burning nerve pain, i had a revision from my first surgery L-4 L-5 S-i and they also went two levels higher, talk about pain Doc said recovery time will be about 9 months this pain really sux...
    I hope all goes well with you , take-care
  • It's always stressful to prepare for surgery and when there's the chance it will be canceled makes it even more stressful! I'm glad they were able to go ahead and do it. When I had my second surgery in October for the spinal infection, I was scheduled as an "add-in" so I was basically last on the list. My surgery was supposed to be about 3:00pm, but I wasn't taken back until almost 8:00pm! I told my doc, "I hope you're not too tired to do this!" He assured me he wasn't and they took me in.

    I never had any nausea...thank goodness. And in fact, I was craving some tomato soup and crackers around midnight after my surgery, which my nurse got for me. It was the best soup I'd ever tasted!

    My biggest issue in the hospital was that I had a different doctor taking care of me (also a teaching hospital) and he ordered pain meds that were LESS than what I had been taking before surgery. I was SO mad! At one point, I was in tears because I was hurting so bad, so I actually took some of my own pain medicine that I had with me in my bag and told the nurse what I had taken and why. They adjusted my pain meds after that and everything was fine. I told him, "You can't give me less pain medicine than what I was taking, because I just had surgery and am hurting worse now." That's the problem you run in to when you have several different doctors trying to run the show.

    Anyway, I'm so happy for you that you are finally beginning to feel human again. It's only uphill from here!
  • Interesting - they sent a pharmacist (?) to my room to discuss meds and we discussed and determined together what I would take for pain relief. So I had a say in it from the beginning (my issue is forgetting to take meds, but thats another story!)

    Anyone else get to collaborate on post-op pain med choices?
  • I had a nurse cut down on my pain meds without doctor's orders. She said she thought I needed to cut back so I wasn't on much to go home. This was the day after my fusion. My surgeon was livid and needless to say I got what I needed. But it took me a while to figure out what was happening. She just wouldn't come to the room for hours after we called always with an excuse as to the delay until I think it slipped out of her mouth. Incredible.
  • Aimless, after my fusion when they switched me to oral meds the PA ordered tylenol with codeine. I was so mad, that is what I was taking pre-op and the NS had told me the day before that he would be prescribing Norco 10 mg, 2 tabs every 3 hours. They also told me I would keep the PCA for 24 hours once on oral meds, then tried to d/c it at the same time as starting meds. I refused the tylenol with codeine, and they called a different PA and got it ordered correctly, and left my PCA for 24 more hours. These errors happen when there are too many hands in the pot. I had only one NS, but he works with several PA's who don't seem to communicate with each other. It all turned out okay, but who every heard of Tylenol #3 after spine fusion. I thought the Norco was even stingy, my NS does hand out percs or valium either. Oh well. Glad you are on the other side with us and things will be looking up from here. Take care, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I guess I am one of the lucky ones, I didn't have any issues like that but I could see where it could happen. It was tough enough having a parade come through at 5:30am every day, checking vitals, taking blood, handing out meds, changing the dressing, phys therapy, occupational therapy, by then its time to eat and start all over again. :)

    I am relieved to be on the other side, and hyper conscious of the BLT (mostly twisting, I keep thinking I am twisting...)
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