Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

14 days post op L5/S1

B52BB52 Posts: 247
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Afternoon everyone! Just a brief recap, on the 10th I had a PLIF L5S1. Surgery was 12 hrs long and I required 6 units of whole blood and 4 of platelets. When I woke up in ICU, I don't think I have ever felt so bad. I tried to have myself prepared for this surgery, but I don' think there's a way one can actually be prepared for just how bad the pain was. Holy Crap! I stayed in the hosp for 8 days after a day and a half ICU. I was hooked up to a dilaudid pain pump for days and it made hallucinate like a bitch. Not only did I see stuff on the walls for days, but I heard music that wasn't there either.

On day 8, the NS took the stitches out and pronounced me good enough to go home. So here I am. Pain isn't really an issue. I have good meds, but I don't hurt bad enough to mess with them. The worst part is the boredom. I am supposed to spend the majority of my hours on the bed. I can be up a couple hours in the am and in the pm with my TLSO brace on. I feel so worthless just laying there on the bed. I just can't imagine lying in bed for another month or so, but I guess I'll have to!

All in all, pain not too bad, but my preparation wasn't enough.


  • Glad you made it home. That was quite a surgery. Do you know why it took so long? Obviously there were complications since you needed so much blood.

    Hopefully you've been through the worst part and now your biggest problem will be boredom. Your job for now is to walk and rest, then walk a little more....

  • Glad to hear you are home. Surgery can be pretty rough. Its kind of like pregnancy/parenthood: you can read everything and have all of the "stuff", but until it actually happens it is a total shock.

    Stop right now with that "useless" feeling. You have had a very major trauma to your body. As Gwennie said, now your job is to rest and walk, rest, walk.... One day at a time.

    I am 6 days out from a 2 level ALIF and it can be difficult. I find with my brace I cannot yet get comfortable in any position except standing and moving around. The rest of the time I am lying down so I can be out of that contraption. With each few days it will get better. Take care, Lisa
  • You've been through a huge surgery and you had complications so it's going to take time for your body to settle down. Yeah I understand the boredom because I'm only 5 weeks out and thankfully I had no complications. Have you got a TV in the bedroom or can someone set one up for you? A friend set me up with a small older TV and it was a lifesaver during that first month.

    Like Gwennie and Lisa have said - walk, rest and walk a little more. Walking small amounts during the day and night also helped keep me sane. Now I can do half an hour at a time down the street.

    Did the physio give you core stability exercises to do in the hospital? I find they help and I do them every day as well as a few gentle exercises which are my home program. If you weren't given any exercises, then do check with your surgeon to see if they're appropriate for you.

    I'm sure you prepared as well as you could, but we're all individuals and we heal at different rates. Keep to as good a diet as you can with sufficient protein and a multi-vitamin.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Yea, I guess there was a minor hitch in the surgery (why it took 12 hours and a transfusion). Surgery went OK and as they were closing and calling my wife on the phone to tell her it went well, they noticed some "swelling". There was uncontrolled bleeding, so they had to go back in and do some cauterizing, sewing and apply some blood stop substance. I don't really know what all, but it was long and hurt like a humdinger!

    Funny now though, I don't really have near the pain I'd expected. I mean, yea, I feel like there are a pair of pliers in my back, but I suspect that's par for the course. Getting up and moving about doesn't hurt at all. I have to be careful not to over-do things.

    Yea, I do have a small TV in my 'recovery' room and it helps a bit, but I'm bored to death! I really just want to get on my motorcycle and ride. Ha! Yea, I know that ain't going to happen for a little while. Honestly, I feel blessed by mighty angels to not be in as much post-op pain as many have been.

    My Dr. recommends that I be up and in my brace for an hour or so in the morning and afternoon and the rest of the time be in bed. He nor his assistant really mentioned much about walking. I feel like if I don't walk some, I'll get weak. Any two cent's worth appreciated!
  • Hi B52. I just read about your operation and whoa, you have been through the wringer. What a bright spirit you have to have been through so much. The fact that you can come over to my thread and congratulate me when yours was so bad speaks volumes. You have lifted my spirits up today!

    I just wanted to say I am so glad you aren't in horrid pain and I do understand your point about being way bored. I was going to suggest getting a writing tablet. Some days I just sat and doodled pictures to keep myself occupied. Is there any way someone could hook a video game up for you to play? I know you miss your motorcycle but that will come in time. You have to get your back strong so you can ride!

    I can't say to walk if your dr hasn't told you to. I go straight by what my dr tells me and mind him completely. I hope your one month check up turns out for the good and surprises you. If you can, eat lots of fruits and good things and my main concern is always to drink lots of good liquids. You hang in there. You're an inspiration and didn't even know it!
  • Hey, thanx for the thought about doodling about on the notepad. And I too am going pretty much by what the dr says. Heck, we paid 'em enough money, we might as well listen to them eh? Oh, and trust me, I'm WELL aware how lucky I am not to be in pain every minute. Some of the stories I've read on here..Lordy, I don't know how people can bear it. I've always thought, and still do, that I'm the luckiest cat on the planet (for many reasons), but the fact that I'm pretty much pain free is a blessing straight from God. If all I have to gripe about is being bored, than I can deal with that with a smile on.

    I hope you're feeling well today, too. I wish you and all yours a happy Thanksgiving day and may you have much for which to give thanks.

  • WOW!

    I am surprised that they don't want you up and getting oxygen to your healing parts. Must have been one humdinger of an op!

    I had complications and a repeat of the surgery 2 days after the first one and YES... I guess I was only up 1x a day until my hospital release day on day 9.

    After that my doc did let me decide what I could do - as long as I didn't bend, lift or twist that is!
  • The same operation in two days? Gack! What a drag. Yea, I'm a little surprised that I'm not encouraged to get a little more exercise. I think I might need to talk to the dr's assistant (who I usually get on the phone) and make sure I understood them right. Especially after reading your comment and a few others like it, it makes me think I may have either misunderstood something or the doc is really conservative about me.

    Hey, thanks for sharing your experiences on here. I feel for you, what with having so many surgeries. Part of my job is being a medic where I work, so I always get to see what happens to people on the front end of an accident. It's sometimes easy to say "well, so and so survived this accident." True enough, but as is plain to see in your case, surviving is just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much pain and healing one must do post-incident. Thanks for helping me to remember that. I wish you the best on continued recovery.
  • Hey back B :)

    Yeh, it kind of sucks - accidents that is. It's funny, but after the accident I didn't think I was hurt, I didn't even go to the hospital. It wasn't until I didn't ever begin to feel better that we started to find the broken stuff. I not only walked, but did PT on a broken ankle for 4 months!

    I was thinking about your restrictions after I posted and I realized that if you added up all my 'up and around' time those first few weeks - it really wasn't more than 2-3 hours a day. I wasn't flat in bed, but I wasn't up and walking a lot either.

    Oh - and as for the boredom - I had a hard time focusing enough to read so I vegged on tv (avoid the shows that make you laugh uncontrollably - ouch!) got online with my laptop (came in here and read obsessively) and when I felt up to it, I invited family and friends over for talk, movies and food.

    Visits really exhausted me so it was good in that I would end up sleeping the whole rest of the day away!
  • The boredom can be terrible. Can you watch a couple of movies or something? Are you clear enough (off pain meds) to handle something like crossword puzzles or some Sudoku? Once I got off enough of the pain meds, that's how I kept myself entertained when I wasn't up walking. I hope that helps!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Morning Linda, and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this finds you doing well today. Yea, boredom is going to be a problem. I'm not on any pain med's, so my mind is clear as can be expected. I couldn't ever figure out a sodoku puzzle even before all this, so I guess perhaps crosswords will be better for my feeble brain! I'll make it...guess we don't really have a choice, do we?
  • Wow i thought my surgery was a long one.I am glad you are feeling better that is a good thing.It is hard for people when they are used to being so active
    before.This is what i am having a hard time dealing with.
    They want me to rest well than i want to try and sleep all day.Was also told not to walk much at all to baby it..I am bored out of mind and than i have
    little break downs of crying.I have never cryed so
    much in my life..

    Just think when you are all better you will look back and realize it was all worth it...

    Happy Thanksgiving and hope you find something to occupy your time.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Let me start by saying I'm getting used to my new netbook so I just typed this note to you and lost it so I'm re-typing it :-)

    Your surgery experience sounds similar in some ways to my fusion in 93. It was to be L5-S1. But they could not get screws into L5 on one side so it turned out to be L4-S1 and 12 hours. Since I went in thinking it would be a few hours when I was in recovery I asked what time it was and they said it was 11. I said "that was fast" and they said "11 PM". Wow. So I know what it's like to wake up after an extended spinal surgery. I actually didn't know I was in a private room for 3 days I was so out of it. Back in 93 most hospitals didn't do private rooms as a common acommodation. Luckily these days that's the trend.

    As you mentioned I recall the first few days of recovery in the hospital being brutal. I was in for 10 days. But by the time I got home pain was not as much of a concern.

    I have lax ligaments and tendons so now 17 years later I may be having a re-fusion extending it to L3 and putting in all new hardware. Don't let that scare you. It's not due to any disc problems but that my joints tend to move a lot so 17 yrs later the L3 vertebrae has now moved forward and needs to be reeled back in. The only thing getting me through that is knowing the first few days will be tough but after that I can expect a reasonable amount of pain as I recover.

    For me, boredom will hopefully be helped by this new netbook. My other computer is a desktop and I knew I would not be able to be disconnected from the net for possibly most of my recovery! Also, word search books seem to help me get through boredom. I don't really have to think too much to do the puzzles and can stop and start whenever I'd like but it gives me an activity.

    Good luck in your recovery!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Of course check with your surgeon, but walking is the most important thing you can do for your recovery. There aren't very many blood vessels that run through this area, so it is important to maximize what is there. Walking provides freshing oxygenated blood to the surgical site. But, more importantly, it is the one activity that stretches the spinal nerves. It will not prevent scar tissue but it will help to keep it from forming around a nerve and becoming attached.

    It is not important to go far or fast. It is better to take a little walk several or many times each day than taking one longer walk. The point of the walking is not for aerobic exercise! After my fusion, I would time my walks to my trips to the bathroom. I could only walk the length of my house before I would need to sit down and rest for a moment. Then I would walk back.

    Your surgeon is correct in that you are better off lying down or walking. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the spine, so it is to be limited, especially in the beginning of recovery.

    Sounds like things are coming along as well as can be expected at this early point.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  • Hiya AZ, I'm envious of your new netbook! I've been thinking about getting one. We have a laptop, but it's a big old giant thing and kinda hurts to have it sitting on my ribs as I type. Thanks for going to the trouble to type your msg twice. It gripes me if I get something written out and then off it goes into magnetic particle heaven.

    I wish the best for you if you need to have another fusion. Land sakes, I'm not sure if I could go through that again for a while.

  • Yea, we're about on the same page about walking. My first day home, I made it around the house. Next day I got to the mailbox and today I made it almost half way down my drive. It's a pretty good ways (house in the country) and paved. It's smooth so I don't worry about tripping hazards and I don't have to worry with cars zipping along and running me over.

    Not a lot of walking, and nothing that makes me hurt or goes against what the Dr wanted. Nothing that I used to consider 'real' walking, but maybe it's the new real!

    I do have to spend a goodly amount of time flat-backin' but I suppose that's just par for this course eh?

    I hope you all had a huge Thanksgiving luau at your place. Our dinner was small, but the thanks were huge!

    Good night

  • Thanksgiving was great here too - thanks for the wishes. I too have so much for which to be thankful. Can you imagine getting the horrible injuries we have all had, not having insurance, and not even being able to try and get some relief? Anyway, it's good to hear that you are home and up and walking. Baby steps, baby steps -- I keep thinking of that movie with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus -- I think it was called "what about Bob?"

    I went to my family's house for Thanksgiving today. I was in a lot of pain this morning, but instead of a pain pill, I put on my TENS unit. This afternoon before dinner, I had a glass of champagne and spent a lot of time catching up on news with family. Between the glass of champagne, conversation, and the TENS unit, I actually felt pretty good for awhile. Unfortunately, sitting too long eventually raised the pain, so I cut off my wine supply and drank water. Once I got home and felt very clear-headed again, I took my pain med. Starting to feel a bit better now. I'm going to do my stretches before bed and tomorrow I'm going to take a long slow stroll, just to get myself moving.

    All the best!
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
Sign In or Register to comment.