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ALIF L4/5 - 7 days post op - doing real good so far

trishdownunderttrishdownunder Posts: 971
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone

I'm feeling much better than I thought I would and hope my recovery keeps going like this. Here's a little diary of my "unremarkable" surgery :

I went into the hospital on Sunday and was lucky to be able to get a private room. My surgeon's preference with ALIF is to do a bowel prep. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and thankfully I was able to have some clear fluids for dinner. Because of my age and because of an "innocent" heart murmer, they did an ECG.

Due to a misunderstanding, I didn't see the surgeon until a few minutes before the op and because the consent form wasn't signed, I couldn't have a pre-med. Thought it would be scary going into theatre wide awake, but we got the consent signed, and once the needle was put in my forearm and with a bit of charm from the surgeon and anaesthetist to distract me, I was out like a light. I remember feeling quite restless in recovery, but no pain. The next 24 hours were pretty much a blur and the nurses were a bit worried about my blood pressure being so low.

It was Fentanyl in the pain pump.

The next morning, the physio came round and got me started on bed exercises and then it was off to x-ray for a CT scan and normal x-ray. I sure was ready for a long sleep after that.

Experienced quite a bit of nausea (normal for me after surgery) but the nurses kept it under control.

The physio got me out of bed and added a couple more exercises and a nurse assisted me to the shower - oh what heaven to feel the warm water going over me. I'd had contact pre-op with a friend who had a nasty virus, and that afternoon I developed a severe migraine and cough and had to sleep in a darkened room and take extra meds.

The head started feeling a bit better and I was a bit of a mess when the physio came round but didn't want to cancel our session and managed to "stumble" around the ward.

The pain pump was taken out along with the catheter, but I still had to keep the stockings and flow-tron on. I quite enjoyed the massage from the flow-tron. Also, each night the nurse gave me a Warfarin injection in the tummy to thin the blood.

At long last I was able to have some "real" food on the light diet menu and that was toast and vegemite.

My blood pressure was up to my "normal" range and yay I could go home!! Final visit with the physio.

The nurses, doctors and domestic staff at the hospital went out of their way to see that I was extremely well cared for - this was the best hospital care I've ever received. I gave them a big box of chocolates and card, which I think went down well.

I felt so nauseated on the way home (like waves of sea sickness) but it was so good to see my two Labradors, Tiger and Molly, and most of my roses are in full bloom - so pretty and the perfume just exquisite. It was a wonderful welcome, but bed was where I wanted to be. It's so good to be able to sleep on my back again and I'm sure I've woken myself up with my loud snoring LOL

Molly came into season a few days ago, but we're coping well. Tiger has been snuggling up to me lots and puts her head on my shoulder and goes to sleep. They know things are different and they're both ever so gentle. Feeding them is working out ok and I'm using the grabber as much as I can. The temptation is always there to bend down and pick up things but I'm being very disciplined and feeling happy about it. My friend, Sharon, is an angel, and is popping in each day to change the dogs' water, mop the floor, etc. She even put a small telly in my bedroom. I feel very blessed to have her as my special friend. My family are away at the moment but I'm sure they'll come and see me again this week.

The surgeon said that the discs either side of L4/5 weren't much good but he needed to take care of my immediate pain. Whether this means further surgery, I don't know, so it's a wait and see situation.

I didn't lose any blood, and I feel as healthy now as I was pre-op.

I don't have any pain in my back at all. I only get a big ache if I've been sitting too long. This might sound a bit silly, but it feels more like I've had a hysterectomy rather than a fusion. There's no numbness in my legs and only a small amount of nerve pain which the Gabapentin should help with. For a few months pre-op I had pain in my right leg but wasn't sure if it was related, but that's gone now, so it must have been coming from L4/5.

I'm now nearly half an inch taller thanks to the cage - I could do with that because I've shrunk so much.

I'm looking forward to going out for a walk in the street, but it doesn't feel like the right time yet.

I'll be seeing the surgeon in about a month and will post again as my recovery progresses.

There's a few of us having surgery about this time and I hope everything is going well for them. Thank you for all the encouragement and prayers over the last few months - it has helped heaps.


XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
ALIF L4/5 2009
Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008


  • Trish - sounds like you had an "uneventful" surgery and that you are doing very well. It is great to hear that you have little pain. Be careful not to let that fool you into overdoing it. It can be very tempting. Take your time and take care of yourself. Hope your recovery continues to be smooth.

    Could your headache have been from spinal fluid leak?
  • Glad that everything turned out well for you. You write very well and it's easy to read. Glad that your fur friends are being understanding and not causing any problems for you. Rest up and heal well. I look forward to reading about how your visit with the NS goes next month.

  • Trish, Im glad your surgery was uneventful. Continure to rest, and walk. I'm glad your doggies are able to understand your new limits. :) Pets are smarter then we realize. I hope up continue to heal with minimum pain, keep us posted.
    God Bless and Keep you,
  • What a great post Trish! Glad to hear things went so well and your hospital care was so good. Sounds like everything is on track for a smooth recovery.

    I'm glad your roses chose to bloom for you on your return. Don't these small things mean so much, after such a big surgery? Enjoy your pets and your roses, take it easy and let it all come together. Post again when you are up to it.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I hope each day finds you feeling better! Please keep us updated.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hi Jan

    I never gave it a thought about the headache possibly being from a spinal fluid leak, but it certainly came on suddenly and strong and lasted just over a day and the painkillers didn't touch it.

    I shall be very careful - thanks Jan :)))

    Jan Martin said:
    Trish - sounds like you had an "uneventful" surgery and that you are doing very well. It is great to hear that you have little pain. Be careful not to let that fool you into overdoing it. It can be very tempting. Take your time and take care of yourself. Hope your recovery continues to be smooth.

    Could your headache have been from spinal fluid leak?

    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thank you C, Shirley, Jen and SpineAZ. I've had another good day and I'm enjoying being out of all that unrelenting pain - the tummy and low grade back ache is easy to cope with, with help from the pills and bed rest, but I think somehow that once I start walking down the street, I'm going to have some "normal" pain.

    Jen, I even thought about cutting back the roses once the flowers have died, and then realized that's a "no no", but I shall ask my lawn mowing contractor, who's also a gardener, if he'll do it. Would hate to miss out on the next blooms and I'm not spending my money on anything else. It's amazing how many things are "no no's" during the recovery period and reminders and help are always appreciated !!

    I was tempted to stay on line to read the posts, but I think I'd better go back to bed. :night night


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Its all the no no's that make you feel either like a naughty two year old (My husband always catches me just as I am about to bend or over reach, NO NO!!) or a 100 year old woman who spends her days sitting in her chair stairing off into space!!! I can't wait to have some of these restrictions lifted.
    Good luck everyone,
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