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After Surgery, Now What??

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Sometimes I believe this is the hardest part of the surgery process. We knew what was expected prior to surgery, we pretty much know what is going to happen, but do we know whats going to happen

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • OK, so in I went for a PLIF L5S1. My first memory was awake in the ICU and realizing that the surgery had taken 12 hours. I also realized that I was in SUCH pain. Oh my, I've never felt anything like that before. My little sister, who is a flight nurse/RN was there holding my hand and trying to get me to calm down, but if I could have moved, I'd a run away. Holy Crap that was bad. Fortunatly, I don't remember much of that.

    The next day in the hospital room was still pretty rough. Pain, oh my damn! But I was on the PCA/pain button thingy which helped a ton. No appetite for food.

    Next day, I began to feel a little better, and funny, each day after that, I got a good bit better. By about day 8, I was eating, walking and felt really pretty good and was sent home. By this time, I'm off any sort of pain medicine. Just was taking the antibiotics they prescribed.

    Now it's about 20 days or so post op. I wear my TLSO brace when I'm up for any lenth of time. I'm usually up a little in the morning and then about 4 hours in the evening. Mostly, I sleep. 18 hours a day isn't unusual now. Partly, because if I'm in bed, I don't have to have that damn brace on and partly, healing makes me tired. I eat well and walk some each day. Usually about 1/4 mile, nice and slow. I don't feel like I need to go slow, though. My biggest worry is to not overdo things. Yea, my back feels like there's a set of pliers sewn into it, but it's not that bad..other than that, I feel like an ass kicker. I just have to realize that bone needs to grow and I have to give it time. I really do feel good though. Legs have quit hurting (sciatica) and I just feel like I could jump on my bike and ride for hours.

    I do have a good family support mechanism that helps me with whatever I need. I couldn't imagine those first few days of pure hell without my people there to give me ice chips and just to reassure me that I was going to be OK.

    Ciao for now
  • I pretty much did it all on my own. My husband was in Iraq. My extended family were all in state because of a holiday, but they were staying about -80 miles from the hospital.

    It was me and my laptop! I posted here several times from the hospital.

    Anyway, I was kind of off in lala land when I wasn't throwing up and so when the NS said he felt he needed to open me back up and 'explore' as my hematocrit was falling and my right leg was going numb, I just calmly said 'ok'. I always seem to be just unlucky enough to be in that percentage that end up with complications.

    It was 9 days in the hospital. All but one day on a liquid diet. I never did tolerate any of the pain meds- it was a choice of pain or nausea. I prefer pain.

    After the hospital I think the most surprising thing was the LENGTH of recovery time. I was truly shocked to not be back to work at 3 months. I am glad I wasn't rushed back to work - when I did finally make it back it was a rough couple of months there - the extra time was good for me I think.

    The other big thing that no-one ever really mentions is the time it takes to get back to being yourself. I am a very creative person -usually. It took me almost a full year to get any kind of energy back, any kind of creative spark at all. And I still struggle. I think I'd still be out of it and not creating a stitch if I had needed medication longer. Between anesthesia and pain meds - yikes, I think a year is dang lucky.
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