August 28, 2009; I had a spinal fusion of L2-S1. Surgery was long and very bloody, but went well. Incision was 10+ inches in length, from just below my shoulder blades to about 1" in my crack.
Also, I received about 6 pints of whole blood and a bag of platelets, almost 3 pints of whole blood during surgery and another 3 pints the day after surgery.
After 6 days I was released from the hospital and went home. I followed instructions, walked every day, rested, and then walked more. I had to use a walker and spinal brace along with the associated raised toilet lid/potty chair. Dignity becomes a word used in the past tense.
I was home 9 days before I got a massive blood clot. The ER physician said it was the largest blood clot he had ever seen. Actually, the blood clot ran from my lower left calf, past the knee, though the groin, and continued up the central vein until it grew "through" an inferior vena cava filter, located between my kidneys and installed the week before surgery to "catch" any blood clot from becoming a pulmonary embolism. The blood clot also grew down my right leg as well.
This was serious. While I was in CV ICU, my wife was told it would be touch and go, no expectations offered.
My first vascular surgeon was unable to remove the blood clot due to it growing through the Greenfield Filter. Another surgeon, who had just performed this surgery once and that was the week before, was called in to perform the surgery.
During this time I was given another 5 pints of whole blood & 2 bags of platelets. Total, 11 pints whole blood and 3 bags of platelets.
Hooray! I have lived to tell the tale, but I spent the next several weeks, flat of my back, in the hospital. A total of 4 weeks with the last week in rehab, detoxing from the narcotics, learning how to walk along with all the little things like - bathing, toilet use, getting out of soft chairs, balance, and core strengthening exercises.
It's been 8 weeks from surgery and 3 weeks from coming home for the second time. I still have problems with my left leg quad muscle and the left foot being numb, which occurred during my first stay at home from surgery.
I'm in physical therapy now. The PT thinks one of my nerves has shortened causing the pain, but I have no problem with my right leg and foot. Even though PT is minimal and I have had spinal massages, the pain and numbness is a constant.
I fell tonight, missed the chair and landed hard on the floor. At least the fusion and hardware held. My backs seems okay. It's just this wooden leg feeling getting me down. Also, I deal with depression and moodiness daily, without the use of psychotropic medication. They say you can take on some of the character traits of those whose blood and bony bits come from, umh! Makes me wonder as I'm pretty much all male, but I am bound by crying spells!