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Dapopo's 3 weeks on the other side

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Sorry I haven't posted anything sooner, it has been quite a ride to say the least. I will try not to be too long winded but I hope this post will be able to help.  

The day of surgery i was a nervous reck. Got to the surgery center at 12ish, did lots of paperwork, then within 10 minutes I was taken back to start the show. Once I was settled with my pretty compression socks on, my gown on, & my iv started; the nurse brought my parents & friends back. After a few minutes for the "love ya's", I was being rolled back into the surgery room. 

First thing I noticed was that the room was freezing so they gave me extra blankets.  There were about 6 people there all workin hard to get things ready. I saw the Jackson Table (I think that's what it's called) & wondered how the heck they were gonna get me on there. The anesthesiologist was talking to me & telling me what all was goin on. There was a nurse putting, i think some kind of leads or monitoring things on both legs. While he was talking to me he said he was going to put a mask over my face for oxygen. Said to relax, breath deeply, not to worry that it was just oxygen. I remember him talkin to a couple people & without saying anything, I was under.

I remember someone calling me by my name saying that surgery was over & I did great.  After what seemed like a few minutes I opened my eyes & saw the nurse sitting there with me asking me to wake up.  I asked for her to raise my bed up a little then once I got my bearings a little my family was brought back. 

Right after waking up I was suprised because I was not in hardly any pain.  I was uncomfortable, but not as much pain as I expected. I mainly felt what I would describe as a tightness in my lower back, but the pain that I had been feeling before surgery was gone. 

My open TLIF procedure was done at an outpatient surgery center & that night I was being taken to a rehabilitation facility for a couple days. I thought I was going to be wheeled into an ambulance to be transported. NEGATIVE . . . after maybe an hour in recovery a recliner type chair was wheeled in by me.  The nurse helped me stand up & walk over to the chair. That's how I was transported - NOW is when the pain began. My "recliner" was wheeled into the back of Honda mini van. On my way there I think the driver hit every single pot hole & bump in the road.

Once I got into a bed i TRIED to get as comfortable as possible.  Very soon I realized that wouldn't be happening, I'd just have to deal with being uncomfortable. What the heck I'd just had major surgery in my spine.  :)

I stayed in the rehab place from Wednesday evening til early Saturday afternoon.

The Dr sent me home with the following meds: 
     Oxycontin 20mg take twice daily
     Flexeril     10mg take 3 times a day
     Percocet.   10mg/325mg 1-2 every 4 hours

Now that I'm home I've been hurting quite a bit. I can't seem to get comfortable unless I'm lying down on my 4inch memory foam mattress. The 1st week I took a lot of short walks around the house. Sometimes i would sit in my recliner but it's hard to get comfortable.

 Today is day 21from my Open L4-5 TLIF w/instramentation. I'm still hurting Quite a bit, that's expected.

 I'm just kinda wonder in what other people have encountered. How long should I stay on the pain meds? The only limitations the Dr gave me was not to lift more than 10-15lbs until the 5th month. He also has me walking as much as possible. No bending, twisting, squating ect.

I know everone recovers differently but maybe it would put my mind at ease a little if I heard about how some others are doing.

Thank You My Fellow Spineys!!


  • I understand that you are looking for reassurance, but try not to compare yourself to others. I really can't imagine going through what you did regarding being moved right after surgery. I was really out of it most of the three days I was in hospital...and I was glad to not have to be responsible for anything!

    I was sent home with the same meds as you and I took them for the first eight weeks! I had a different muscle relaxer and I stopped it right away because I felt like I was on LSD or something. Unlike many on the board, my surgeon believes in the power of meds to aid healing. I took them as he prescribed and as long as he thought I should...and around eight weeks I realized I was forgetting to take them, so decided I must not need them any longer, and I didn't.

    From my experiences, you are doing great! I planned my walks around my trips to the bathroom. I had my fusion in Jan when the roads were covered with snow and ice, so I just walked around my house for quite awhile. When I needed to use the bathroom, I would do that and then walk around the house until I was tired, which didn't take long at first!!

    Walking is very important as it helps get freshly oxygenated blood to the surgical area, which does not have many blood vessels running through. Also it is the very best exercise for stretching out the spinal nerves. This helps to prevent scar tissue from attaching to the nerves and is very important for this reason alone. So keep it up, even when you don't want to get out of bed.

    Distance is not important. Better to walk often than take one long walk!

    I think you should start feeling better soon. They are eager to get you out of the hospital before the pain sets in, I think!!

    Take good care,
  • And I'm trying to type after a dose of meds forgive me if I mispell :o) I too am suffering ALOT. My Dr. seems to be worried about the meds and is so insistent I return to work after exactly 3 months. I had instrumentation and all that, L4 and 5, can't remember it all right now. I didn't wake up for middle of the night meds and I almost didn't make it to the bathroom when I finally woke up. I was in an agony of pain and it is only just now easing up.

    Not wanting to complain but this was a cry like I'm having a nervous breakdown kind of morning. Once I miss a dose I have to be ready for this kind of pain. My meds are as follows: Percocet 5-325mg 1-2 every 4 hours, Neurontin 300 mg 1 cap 3 times daily, Dilaudid 2 mg every 4 hours or as neededed.

    I'm supposed to take the Dilaudid for break through pain but I have to take it with the other pills or I don't get pain relief. I'm not looking for it to go away I just want to get a little chunk taken out of it! The problem is that I am very resistent to narcotic pain relievers. I found this out after having shoulder surgery. With that eventually I just had to tough it out, nothing helped. Wow what a ride that was! But the pain was nothing compared to this.

    As far as limitations, I am only to follow the BLT rule for now. No bending, lifting or twisting. But you know how that is you suddenly find yourself doing it in spite of your pain. You feel better and walk more or whatever and pay for it the next day! One day at a time right? I can't even worry about work right now you know? They are laying off right now and I will probably not have a job when this is over. But if I worry about that too much right now I won't get through it. At least that is how I feel!

    I swear coming here every day is helping me tremendously. And as soon as I saw your post I knew I wanted to answer, even if my post is full of med induced informatin lol. Now that my meds are kicking in finally I am feeling lots better. Making Thanksgiving decorations, little things that make me happy. I watch movies and read some but mostly need to just keep my mind busy with crochet or some such thing.

    As for comfort, I have so many pillows and a back rest for my bed. I had purchased a sleep number bed just for this, but honestly I don't think I'll feel the benefits of it until I am healed. I have special pillows for under my legs, I have a commode I only used for 2 nights. I have a wheeled walker with a pull down seat. I have my 23 year old Daughter here and her boyfriend who attend to my every need. I am SO blessed to have so much and I thank God every day but I still suffer terribly and sometimes only crying takes the pain (along with my meds of course ). I feel bad, Joe came in and I'm sitting here just crying away in so much pain and there is nothing he can do but put more pillows behind me.

    I have ice packs and that helps also when I remember to ask for one. How much do you walk now? I try to walk into the kitchen at least 3 times a day. Slowly but surely we'll get it right?

    I'm curious too about what people are taking for meds and if anyone has been able to cut back yet. I have read a few posts where people are med free one month after their surgeries but I think they are exceptions. And blessed they are!

    Okay enough rambling and I apologize. I went from massive pain to relief while typing this but of course now I am woozy. I'll be looking for more responses to this. Thanks for starting this thread!
  • Hi,

    Sounds like you're coming along, Gwennie is right, dosen't matter how far you walk, just keep moving as well as you can and taking rests whenever necessary. My doc was very good w/ the pain RX's I went home with. Like Gwennie's doc, he feels pain relief is crucial to recovery. I went home w/ flexaril 5 mg 3x/day, ultram 50 mg 1-2 tablets every 4 hours, fentanyl patch 25 mcg changed every 3rd day, percocet 10/325 every 6 hours, valium 10 mg 1-2 tablets every 8 hours as needed. He told me that if this mix didn't work to let him know ASAP. It was also recommended I ice the area as needed, no more than 15-20 mins at a time, or to try moist heat (heating pad) if the ice didn't work. I was able to DC the RX meds about 2 weeks out, think this is in part that my TLIF was minimally invasive, so less trauma to surgical site. IMHO, there is no measurement on how long someone should use pain meds, like our recoveries, it's individual to each person.

    Hope this helps, keep us posted.
  • This site is a God send! It helps me sooo much, I just keep reading post after post. I've learned with all my free time there are quite a few "scary" posts but I'm still able to find "good" throughout all the bad. If you ask me, I think I'm right on track for where I should be. With what I've been through just getting to this point, what else could go wrong . . . RIGHT???

    The only thing I'm 100% sure of is that I'm bored out of my skull. Thank goodness for "Farmville" because I have one heck of a computer farm kicking. :)

    FannyMae, stay tuff . . . I've had days like that, more than I can count. My friend who I have been staying with is a basketball coach. So when I get board with the "house walking" I head up to school & walk during practice. Just have to be VERY careful of the basketballs. Pretty much all I've been taking medication wise is the Percocet, 2 every 4-5 hours. When I start hurting too much, I know it's time to start taking it easy. Time for a little "lay down time"!

    Speaking of "lay down time", hopefully tonight I'll be able to get some sleep. Keep waking up every 3 1/2-4 hours like clock work. I do a little farming I try to get a little more sleep. I'm just going to keep chugging along.

    Once again thank you all for the posts!!!
  • Ah, I can remember being where you all are right now. This spine surgery stuff is NOT easy. Do take your pain meds. Stay on top of them, and keep the pain low. Once you get really painful, it's hard to beat it back down. As far as how long you take them, I took mine for a long time. I was on the Fentanyl patch (replaced every three days) with oxycodone for break through pain. It worked really well, but at first I also had to add Lyrica because I had crazy wild nerve pain in my legs. They gave me valium for muscle relaxation, but even with only a quarter of a 5 mg tablet, they knocked me on my keister. I just couldn't take them. Flexeril gives me bad headaches. I still (I'll be a year out of surgery in three weeks) take oxycodone when the pain gets bad. Fortunately, this may only be once or twice a week. Usually after I've climbed up on the roof to fix a leak or raked the leaves in the back yard. Well -- you do what you have to do.

    Take care, keep moving, be gentle to yourselves and take your meds.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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