I had an ADR done at L4,L5 on May 14th of this year and I am not very satisfied with my post-op care from my surgeon and his PA and nurse.
I had a 36 hour stay in the hospital. When my surgeon came in to check on me to release me, he had me stand up out of bed and he pulled the back of gown open to remove the bandage from my back and check my incision but my surgery was performed through my stomach! I guess this should have been my first clue. At my 3 week check up, he told me "most people" that have had this same surgery are back at work at 3 weeks. I could hardly walk at this point and wasn't drving, in fact I wasn't released to drive until 6 weeks post-op. So how was I supposed to get back to work if I couldn't drive myself the 55 miles to work?
My next appt. at 5 weeks, the PA told me that the Dr. wouldn't send me back to work for a while due to the fact that I was still in so much pain. PA wanted me to get another steroid injection (the first 2 didn't work and I had flu like body aches from them) then Doc says no steroid injection, he wanted me to get a CT Myelogram which made me sick for 4 days with a severe headache and vomiting, until I finally went back to the hospital and got a blood patch.
At my 6 week appt., the Dr. sent me back to work even though I told him that I was still in quite a bit of pain and that the nerve pain that I was experiencing in my right leg had returned and was worse than before surgery. Doc has put me on Neurontin starting out at 200 mg a day and to increase by 100 mg a week to a max of 1800. When I ran out and needed a refill, I called his office and explained to the nurse that she needed to write the prescription so that I could increase weekly like the Dr. said and have enough for a month as my insurance won't cover a refill before 30 days are up. Nurse tells me no that I only need to take 600 mg a day and writes the scrip for 60 300 mg pills. Okay, so how am I supposed to increase weekly like the Dr. says?
My Dr. wants me off of Vicodin but the anti-inflammatory meds he has prescribed are too hard on my stomach. I try not to take any Vicodin throughout the day until evening when I can't take the pain any longer. The Dr. reviewed my CT Myelogram, xray, and MRI and says that the artificial disc is in place, nothing is wrong, see you in 4 months. So now my next appointment isn't until November.
What am I supposed to do in the meantime? I can't take the anti-inflammatory meds that he prescribed, I take the Vicodin sparingly, but will run out eventually. My Dr. is convinced that nothing is wrong, the disc is in place so I shouldn't have any pain but I do. Its all I can do to make through the day at work. I can't bend forward very well at all (I have gotten mixed info on bending as well all from the Dr. himself...work on bending, no bending, let me see you bend, etc.). When I do bend forward a little, it feels as though the disc is pushing from the inside of my body out. In fact sometimes, my lower back feels sore to the touch like the area is bruised and it hurts to lay on it. Then I get the sharp stabbing pain in my back to the right and left of my spine along with the nerve pain that is about to drive me crazy. Most days, I feel worse than I did before surgery. I wonder why I even had this surgery. Should I be further along at this point in recovery than I am? I feel like my Dr. thinks that my recovery is done but I don't. Is this as good as it gets? I also feel that Dr. thinks all is fine either because he was so sure that an ADR was the right way to go, or he thinks that I am a drug seeker which is so far from the truth. At this point I take 1 maybe 2 Vicodin a day only after I get home from work and a Soma when the muscle spasms kick in. I'm also upset with the fact that I get mixed info from the Doctor's office, Dr., PA, and nurse all tell me something different even though they are all looking at the same chart.
So should I make an appointment with this surgeon or go to my primary care Dr. and request a referal to another Ortho, or a referral to a Pain Management Specialist? I am so tired of being in pain and being told that nothing is wrong. It is my body and I know this can't be right, this can't be as good as it gets.
Sorry this is so long but I had to vent, as well as get it out there so I can get some much needed advice.