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unpredictable nights

dehoyos13ddehoyos13 Posts: 290
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I envy the posts of those who say they sleep well 1 or 2 weeks post spine surgery. For me nights are unpredictable. 3 nights ago I woke up choking and coughing. the next night...slept like a baby for 6 hours (that's a record for me since Nov. 6), last night I was up until 1:30am and then awakened every 3 hours in pain.

So today...I will not stay in bed and take a morning nap to make up for lack of sleep. We're expecting 9-12 inchces of snow (which for us is kind of a lot). Of course, that means that I won't be going out until the snow, ice yada, yada yada clears up. Ever seen snow in NYC 3 days after a storm???? Not so pretty or white. ha ha.

Do any of you have tricks or tips for getting a better night sleep? I have a ortho pillow, I am on Vicoden 7.5/750 (which even after 6 weeks, my doctor insist that I take consistently to stay ahead of pain) and at night I take Valium 10mg. Until 3 days ago when I saw my dr I was using Tylenol PM at night but with so much Vicoden now...I'm concerned that it'd be too much for my system. Melatonin has not helped. It makes me sleepy but it doesn't keep me asleep.

My only happy thought today is that I'll be going to Walmart to buy my neices and nephews xmas gifts. I haven't been to Wally World in over 8 weeks! Its an hour from my home. My sister's driving since I'm band from driving for another 8 weeks!

I am frustrated by this inability to sleep. I think its time to cable in the bedroom I'm currently using, since I'll be here until I can sleep with my husband on our waterbed. I've searched the web....read about MRIs...researched my surgery a thousand times...I check this forumm time and time again and then there's facebook. I've read all my books. I didn't plan this far ahead. 14 weeks of no housework and no driving????? Nothing could have prepared me for this. When its done, I'll appreciate it and I love my doctor. but with 8 LONG weeks looming ahead, the thought of lack of sleep is not a joy to me.

Anyone else have these kind of issues? Muscle spasms some nights, bone pain other nights....just plain insomnia other. I'm surprised I'm not cranky (depends on who you ask, I guess -ha ha).

Have a great holiday. since the snow is coming, at least the kiddies will enjoy a white pre-Christmas. I'm happy for them. I only hope my daughter can get here from College.

Thanks in advance for posting. I'm keeping hope alive....though today...its a lagging hope. Tomorrow will be a better day, right?


  • I really appreciate those of you who are also up late at night (early in the morning really) and we write back and forth. This forum has saved my sanity many times in the last 6 weeks. Thanks everyone! What a great community of spineys you all are!
  • I am 4 weeks post lumbar fusion, and nights are very tough for me as well. Like you, sometimes its pain, sometimes it is muscle spasms. I'm still on Percocet and Flexeril.

    Maybe getting out today will help to tire you so you can sleep better.

    Be safe in all that snow you're getting.

  • <:P

    I'm planning on getting nice and tired but not overdo it. Last weekend I went to a JCPenney here in NYC...small store, tons of people. I was ready to KungFu Panda some of them. People in NY are nice but some are just too doggone nasty. Not fair when I can't do a thing about it. So today we're driving an hour away from the city in the hopes of being around nicer folks. Its a strange balance...getting nice and tired but not overdoing it. I haven't figured it out yet.

    Those puppied in your profile pic are adorable. Our dog ran away at the beginning of summer and my son is begging for a new dog. We had a pure-breed Sheba Inu (I think thats how you spell it). I don't miss dog hair though...imagine. Being unable to sweep and having dog hair all over the place! Yikes....

    what have you been trying in order to sleep? I don't have a recliner at this house, though we do at our other house in the Catskills. I'm going to see if my husband brings it down to the city for me so at least I can spend time in our living room. My living room couches are low to the ground and super comfy but you really sink in and then I can't get out! That's fun to watch... haha. I'm desperate. And pretty lonely. That's why I really enjoy these forums.

    thanks for the reply. Enjoy your holiday.....
  • I know you are frustrated. I have about 8 more weeks to go with all the limitations and hated back brace. I can drive, but it is so uncomfortable I only do it when I have to.

    Our cold weather only adds to the discomfort and boredom. I'm seriously thinking of getting my copy of "War and Peace" out of the bookcase after the holidays! I've read it once before, it is long, but I think one of the best books I have ever read. That should kill 2 weeks, ha!

    Dehoyos, how are you doing dealing with your 8 year old? Mine is giving me plenty of space and rest I need, but my 5 year old just keeps asking for me to play with her on the floor. I feel so bad telling her its too uncomfortable. Thank goodness my girls got a Wii for their combined b-day, and a hand-me-down nintendo DS.

    Doing the early school "thing" is a bit rough, especially when it was 8 degrees yesterday!!! I know you live in a cold area too (NY?, I'm north NJ).I also have problems sleeping. I've tried advil pm, but it just gives me horrific nightmares. Getting comfortable can be tough, but it does get better with time.

    I'm going to keep trying to put a positive spin on things. Hardly driving? Look at all the gas money I am saving! Don't know how successful I will be, but lets all try to focus on the positives, this way when one of us is down, another can help pick them up. Wow, I just sounded like such a cheesy cornball!

    Oh well, have a good day all.
  • I sleep in my bed, with a 2" memory foam top that was suggested on this forum. That helps somewhat. I have a difficult time sleeping on my sides right now, so I get stuck on my back, and wake up with severe muscle spasms. You are lucky to have Valium, which is the best muscle relaxant ever! Sometimes I take warm showers before going to bed. I also take a prescription sleep med called Ambien CR. I just started that last week, but honestly it doesn't help much. I'm sleeping about 3 hours at a time. I try to arrange my meds so that I don't take them all at the same time; since they are so potent; though I need them both right now. I'm trying to cut back some on the meds, but just ever so slightly. I saw my Dr. on Thursday, and ask him if I could begin pool therapu. Starting that on Monday. Talked with the physical therapist on Thursday, so that we are on the same page as far as what our goals should be. I want to take it very slowly.

    Oh, the puppies are great. They are 13 months now, and I have a good routine with them. They are trained enough to get on the sofa, so that I can put their leash on without bending down. I cant bath them, so that has been a hassle and expense to take them to a groomer. They shed terribly, but I can't worry to much over it right now.

    Enjoy your day, and I'm prayer for sleep for you tonight :-)

  • I know it will come to us in Toronto eventually but hope you can get your shopping done before the storm that's coming to NY and Philly. I hope you can soon start sleeping better Dehoyos. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I think the hardest thing to do about the lack of sleep is try not to worry - in my case, when I worry I stay up even longer!

    How about relaxation tapes, mental self-hypnosis, background sound machines?
  • I had to sleep sitting straightup in a chair for nearly 6 months after I had spine surgery this year. I could not even sleep in a recliner, I slept in a oversized couch chair and propped my feet on a ottomon.

    For the first 3 months sleep was sparatic, a few hours here and there throughout the day.

    It got better with time and I sleep normally now for the most part.

    Have you spoken to your doctor about a sleeping pill to go with the valium? I took restoril (tenazepam) to help me when I went without good sleep for a week.
  • Thank you all for your responses. I'm going to try to get my recliner from our house in the Catskill mountains over New Year's weekend. At least then I can sit in the living room. I have a memory foam on this bed but I'm accustomed to sleeping on a waterbed for 23 years so this is hmmmm...different. It is frustrating though.

    I do listen to relaxing music on the nights when I'm not reading. It helps. I mean, it doesn't put me to sleep but at least I'm not agitated.

    The storm has not hit NYC yet so I got my shopping down. I'm gonna write another topic on the stupid accident today. It was freezing up there...like 12 degrees!!! brrrrrrrrrr....

    Lisa...I can imagine how you're feeling with your kids. My son is 15. The older two are 22 and 20 and both live elsewhere....the 20 year old is in college. Wii is the greatest thing ever!!!! My son at home is 15 and he's ADHD. Oh my word, when his meds wear off, he has about an hour's worth of rebound energy and needs to be supervised. He's doing better, improving in school but we've been challenged.

    Well, I'm on 2 Vicoden ES right now...dumb accident that I'll start a topic on.

    Thanks all. And keep the advice coming. I'm willing to try just about anything...won't sell my soul to the devil or anything. ha ha...anything within reason.

  • i dont sleep but few hours at a time..
    i have had problems sleeping since before and after back fusion..
    i wish i never took sleepin pills..my surgeon gave me restroil was really helpful for awhile..
    last yr my pulmonary doc switched me to ambien
    my body and brain so use to sleepin meds have more trouble than ever..
    my new rheumo doc tryin few things and weening my body off it..
    so my only advice is dont take sleeping pills...
    i am the same one nite i can sleep 5 hrs.. thats only about 2x wk..
    i am not so good to be around without sleep..
    i get worse towards late afternoon and eveing if i could i would swim at nite..
    i feel you insominia
    it is pure hell sometimes not sleeping..
    take care
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • can wind you up a bit so sleep can be elusive, especially when you're still battling the pain. The valium you have should help. They gave me some, but I couldn't even take a 1/4 tablet without being asleep for hours and hours. I do have benign heart palpitations, so I have a script for Xanax to deal with that. When sleep has been too hard to achieve for too many nights, I take a half pill and knock myself out.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • You know I'm always up late... so I should probably follow my own advice that I'm about to give you :D

    You said Melatonin doesn't work but have you tried Valerian Root? It smells AWFUL but my husband swears by it. To be honest I haven't been able to try it because I can't get over the smell. Flexeril helps me sleep. If I take a pill I'm guaranteed to sleep for about 10 hours. I just refilled my prescription so I may start using them again.

    I agree with Linda, some pain meds will wind you up. The Percocets get my heart racing and fill my head with thoughts before they calm me down. I get REALLY talkative on them, but I don't mind. I just try not to take them too close to bedtime.

    Other ideas would be sleepy time tea, listening to soothing music, listening to old-time radio shows. Don't lay in bed trying to sleep for more than a half hour. If you aren't asleep by then, get up, walk around, read a book. Then try again. I think the computer is a stimulant so don't go on before bedtime.

    I really should listen to some of that huh? ;)

  • Thanks all! I do seem more talkative and silly on Vicoden. That might be a nice change to some of my friends who say I don't talk much on the phone.

    I don't want to try sleep meds by rx. I've heard many crazy stories. my husband took Ambien for about 6 months and then couldn't sleep after that for about 2 weeks. I'm already there...ha ha.

    NoseOT....YEAH...we should both take your advice, but it gets boring doesn't it? I mean, one or two night you can do all that stuff...be mellow, read a book, stay off the internet. But night after night...the walls of this room are creeping in on me! You're funny. I didn't think to hear from you this weekend. No idea why.

    well...I slept like a charm last night. If you read my accident post, then I'll say this. I took 2 Vicoden and an hour later the valium. I was about to call the dr's service but fell asleep. Someone must've turned off my light becuase I woke up at 8am with the light off.

    Thanks for all the posts. I'll try to adjust myself to many of the ideas I've received. But really....NoseOT...if we both took your advice...when would we chat????? =))
  • Have you two tried the chat room? I personally can't use it, I'm just too slow, by the time I've followed a comment and replied I'm already behind. Should have taken typing class instead of art class! But, there are many nice people on chat and you could talk "real time". Just a suggestion since you two are up late.

    Dehoyos, how are you feeling this morning? Glad your meds helped you rest.

    How is everyone coping with this blasted snow and freezing cold? I'll refrain from curses and moaning about cabin fever......
  • Art class? My son loves art....he's ADHD and yet art, which requires concentration...he aced! English is another story....

    I gotta figure out the chat room thing. I've never been in a chat room. I'm 41 and never been in a chat room!

    Send me some art. I love artwork and don't have the slightest bit of creativity that I can find. At least not artisticly.

    My doc returned my call. He's concerned that because my hand is tingling and my back is hurting that I might have ruptured something. He called ahead to the ER to expect me and I'm to see him during the week at the office.

    I'll post later!

    I so appreciate you all. Funny thing is we could probably pass each other in the street and not know it! LOL....life is good anyway.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    After all my surgeries I've needed a few nights on ambien (the lowest dosage) to kind of jolt my system back into a normal sleep pattern. For the first few weeks my hubby sleeps in the guest room so I can be up and watching TV or wandering around the house whenever I need to. During that time I sleep when I can and don't care about the schedule. Then when I am out of the first few weeks I have to kind of reset my clock.

    If you choose to use anything like ambien they key is not using it often. I have been off work since May due to my neck/back and I've used the ambien maybe 6 times in all these months (still on the same 30 count bottle I got in January). Usually use it after 4-5 nights of horrid sleep when I feel myself really totally drained.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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