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can i scream now????

pinknwhtrosesppinknwhtroses Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
On 10/14 I am going in to have a 2 level fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1. I have been reading this board for months, and doing other research to prepare for the surgery. Well, my live-in boyfriend has it in his mind that I will be up and around in a few weeks after the surgery and that I am being overly dramatic when I try to tell him other wise. Since the doctor said that he didn't want me to just lay there and do nothing, now my boyfriend thinks that I will be walking and moving around like "normal" what ever the hell that is.. I am so aggravated with him and his closed mind approach to this surgery. He says that he isn't going to let me lay in bed when I get home from the hospital. I have no intention of just rolling over and dying after the surgery but for God sakes let me heal a bit. This isn't exactly the easiest thing to recover from, I have been dealing with severe pain for 5 years and my body isn't very strong. I feel like a 37 yo woman in a 85 yo body.
As of late we fight about this daily, I am getting sick of it. I asked him to come here and read about the surgery and recovery, but he keeps saying that everyone is different. I know that, but for God sakes I know that I'm not going to be dancing a jig 3 weeks out of surgery. What can I say to him for him to come back to reality and see that this isn't as simple as removing a splinter???? To me this is major surgery and I want to be prepared for it. Thanks Nikki



  • I am sorry that your boyfriend has it in his head that you will be normal after a couple weeks. I think you need to have him go with to your pre op appointment and you can then ask the Dr the questions he needs to hear. How long you can sit, walk, before you can drive, bathe, and then he should get the idea. If he cant go, maybe ask for literature of the surgery, and what restrictions you will be under. I think that having him go with you, will give him a good idea. That and after surgery, he will be able to see at the hospital that you are not capable of doing for yourself. When the nurses have to help you turn and everything, he should get it. It is a major operation, with a long reocvery. Good Luck, and keep us posted. Love, Robin
  • If you can please have your boyfriend come with you to your Dr. before the surgery to hear about your recovery. You might even want to mention to the Dr. beforehand about your BF's ideas on your recovery, so the Dr. can really drive the point home.

    At the hospital too, you can ask ask a nice nurse or 2 to give him a few pointers on how you will be. Hopefully these suggestions will open his eyes.

    Sorry you don't have much support from him right now. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
  • Hi Robin thanks for your reply, he will be going to pre op with me next week, we already talked to the surgeon 3 times, I swear he is in denial. I am hoping seeing me in the hospital after surgery clears his head of these ridiculous notions.
  • Nikki--

    I agree with the other posters, if you bring him with you to pre-op and when he is with you in the hospital, he will (hopefully) understand that you will need help, a lot of help, after surgery. I had ALIF 2 1/2 weeks ago. Yes, I can drive now and I can do a few things on my own, but I am in no way "back to normal". Healing uses up a lot of energy. My outing today was to go to lunch with a fellow ALIF patient and that was exhausting. This week is the worst for me since surgery. The dull ache is setting in - I assume this is from the hardware and will eventually go away.

    Nikki, is there anyone else who can check on you once you get home from the hospital? I'm so sorry that you are in this frustrating position. You will definitely need help and if you can't get it from your boyfriend, I hope there is someone else who can help you out a little. Seriously, you will be very sore, very tired and your energy will be zapped. Your focus should be on healing at your own pace and not what someone else thinks that pace should be.

    So sorry you don't have the support you need. I hope the pre-op appointment opens his eyes up a bit.

  • Sorry to hear what you are going through..Just like the others said have your boyfriend talk to your Dr at the next appointment. I'm recovering from my fusion. I'm going on 8 weeks and I'm still in pain. Please tell your boyfriend to listen. My husband was home with me for the first 3 weeks couldn't do anything, needed help showering,getting dress ect I was totally dependent. I just started to drive meaning short distances and fatigue is always there...

    My Dr said it this way and it might help your boyfriend....This operation is one step from open heart surgery meaning this is a MAJOR operation, painful and slow process. I was told anywhere from 8-12 months for recovery..

    I don't want to scare you but, if this would help your boyfriend to understand..you really need a good support system right now..Do you have family to help you out?


    spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
    Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
    Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
    Meningitis x5 in 1999-2001
    Brain shunt 2000"
    Brain shunt removed 20001"
    ALIF/PLIF fusio
  • I would also make sure you have someone with you for the first week or so at home. If he isnt there, you need to have someone. You will be unable to turn yourself in bed, and have trouble just getting up. Make sure someone is with you,,mom, friend, someone. Take care..Love, Robin
  • Perhaps your boyfriend is scared? Perhaps he thinks if he doesn't acknowledge that this is a serious, major surgery, it won't be?

    But it will be and he needs to acknowledge this and give you the support you need.

    Good luck!

  • You will be "up and around" after a two level fusion. Only it will just be to make your way to the bathroom, take a little walk and go right back to bed. You will be walking several times each day at the beginning, but it will tire you out and you will need to rest afterward.

    You will have restrictions when you leave the hospital that will last for at least many weeks. Your sitting will be limited to about 15 minutes at a time. You will not be able to drive for many weeks, especially depending on your level of pain meds. I did not drive for the first eight weeks, and at that point, had no desire to go anywhere! By the time I showered, dressed, fixed hair, etc. I was ready for a nap.

    What your boyfriend needs to understand is that spine surgery is unlike any other kind of surgery. When you have something like an appendectomy, the surgeon removes the appendix. After the body heals from the surgical procedure, the patient is pretty much back to normal. With spine surgery, the patient has multiple levels of healing beyond the initial healing from the surgical site.

    Also, in no way does it pay to try to rush the healing and recovery process. Sure you could be up and around, forcing yourself to the limit...but to what purpose? You have one crack at having your spine fuse correctly -- why would you want to go through all this and then risk doing something that might wreck the surgery? :?

    After you have your surgery, you will discover that the majority of people do not have a clue what back pain, surgery and recovery is all about....I think it is because the patient looks OK to the outside world. Plus everyone knows someone who had "terrible back pain" and they took tylenol for a couple days and are now "fine." The implication is "what the heck is wrong with you?? What is taking so long??"

    I imagine when your boyfriend sees you when you come out of recovery, with tubes coming out of your body, a catheter, perhaps a drain, etc. the reality of the situation will sink in very quickly.

    I am sorry you do not have the support you need now...but try to block out his comments. Do not engage in argument over this. You need to be getting yourself mentally prepared for surgery and not be distracted by all this negative emotion.

    Wishing you all the best--
    xx Gwennie
  • Thank you everyone for your comments and support. I am thinking about letting him read this thread and maybe that will help him understand that I need him to understand that this is serious. But I will have my mom here when I get home from the hospital to help me, unfortunately it will only be for a week. Plus the dr said that he will have either a visiting nurse or home health aid come visit daily as long as my insurance will cover it.
  • I only had a one level, and I feel strongly that there is a minimum of 3 months of limitations of no bending, lifting, or twisting including housework, exercise (other than PT as directed), sports; and up to a year to heal and be back to your normal self assuming everything goes well If he pushes you to do things to early you might not fuse, and pseudoarthroses is living h*ll I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy!
  • If your boyfriend reads this thread I am sure he will understand better what is about to happen. I have had a two level PLIF last December and I am still in pain, I had my hardware out a month ago. It is supposed to make me better. I had help the first week home, was in hospital for 5 days. After the first week home, I could get around somewhat by myself. I had things set up for me, so that I had it readily available. I waited to shower till hubby got home. I couldnt do it alone, I couldnt dress myself for the frist two months. So, he can understand, that he is very important part of your recovery. He will see how painful this is, and not want you to do anything to compromise you not getting healed. It will take lots of paitence. I am sure he loves you and will want to make sure that you have the best results. Good Luck, sweetie...Love, Robin
  • Sorry he can't realistic about your recovery. I am 3 weeks out and still I can't dance a jig- ha- oh how I wished I could! Maybe once it happens he will soon then realize. Family and friend support is SO important- You can't bend, lift or twist- have him try that out for about a minute.......you will need rest rest rest- you will feel as if a mack truck has ran you over, backed up and then peeled out on you! Don't wanna scare you but he needs to know that this a BIG deal that this is a MAJOR surgery. Yes you need to get up and walk as much as possible- I even had to use a walker the first week or so. Don't let him push you into doing any activity you aren't ready to do- you will do more harm to yourself - making the recovery more difficult! I am prayin for ya sista-
    Be good to yourself~
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