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Home From ACDF Surgery -

ray78640rray78640 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all - I hope the holidays were good to you all.
I spent the better part of Christmas in hospital.
My ACDF has been done - it was on 12/23 at 8:00 am.
I apologize for not updating until now - it's been kind of tough. For those that are awaiting to have an ACDF done and for those who are recovering from an ACDF, I know that my input is important because I relied soooo much on everyone else sharing here - so here is what I can share for now:

PRE OP - anxiety, big time! I am overweight so this was a huge concern for me. The breathing, swallowing, the 'lump' in the throat... it all had me very inquisitive and anxious.
On the last day prior to surgery I decided to turn in off, just like a light swith. "OFF"
That was the smartest thing I did Pre Op.

Pre Op Preparations - I did not know if I would be able to ttalk so we made a small chart I could point to with items
like; thirst - pain - itch - scared - "I love You" - Thank
You - Lights - Noise - Help!!!
Also - I made sure my wife had all of my passwords and usernames in order to access anything from banks to utilities to my HR dept at work - access to all of my life and health stuff from my work website.

- The Operation - It was done at a hospital that does only spine and orthopedic surgeries.
I spoke with surgeon and anesthesia doc and was reassured.
I was rolled into the OR....and 5 minutes later I woke up.
Well it seemed like only 5 minutes.
When I awoke I noticed immediately the relief in my pain.
I was on a morphine drip and wearing a soft collar and spent about 1.5 hours in recovery (also had a cathedar).
The first day was very blurry - my family documented it on video for me. I was in lot's of pain - throat hurt really, really bad. I was not allowed to move at all for entire day.
Strict liquid diet that day with all the popsicles I could handle :)

First couple of days - I was rather comfortable and felt like this was going to be much easier than what I thought.

It has not been easy - it has been pretty tough. The Morphine made it so much easier.

Since being home - I have not been able to sleep at all with the exception of an hour here and there. I still can't lay in bed - I am sleeping sitting up and move between 2 different recliners and 2 different sofas. The sleep deprivation is really taking a toll.
It seems to be a combination of things - like being afraid that my head will roll right off of my shoulders - breathing issues - the collar, etc.

SNEEZING - This hurts like hell. No 2 ways about it.

SWALLOWING - very difficult at first with an occasional choking feeling. I keep a bottle of water with me at ALL TIMES. It it gets a little better everyday but it is still very tricky. Be smart on what you eat and chew your food as much as possible. It takes a lot longer to eat right now.
The LUMP IN THE THROAT is still there and is very sensitive.
The slightest touch to wound area (neck brace, shirts, bandage) really seems to agitate it.

PAIN - My arm pain is soooo much better - still have some pain and all numbness is still there.

New Pain - Obviously from surgery - at base of neck and from shoulder to shoulder, very 'sore'.

Hard Stuff - changing the dressing - this hurts like crazy for some reason. My skin is very red and chapped from sticky part of dressing.
Showering is still a challenge and I still can't 'reach' like I used to. Dressing-pull over shirts are the most diificult and getting shoes on as well.

I get up and walk just fine and do a little more everyday.

My first follow up is this coming Thursday 01/07.

I'm sure that I've forgotten some stuff and I will add as I remember.
I will answer any and all questions.

Thank you all for being here.


  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Glad to see you are home and you've done relatively well so far. Just be sure to listen to your body, when it says rest - then rest, etc. Take Care!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Wow....thanks for this post. I had my ACDF almost 2 months ago but I was unaware that recovery would be like this. I researched the procedure itself but that's it.

    Posts like yours help people know what to be ready for. Everyone is different but basically surgery is surgery and recovery is a heck of a ride!!!!!!

    Keep us posted on how you're doing!
  • Definitely keep updating - it's amazing how many things you forget later and I know its very helpful to those who are headed in for surgery. You reminded me of how hard it was to put on shoes and get dressed! I still ge ta charly horse each morning that I try to kneel and tie a shoe - better to have slip-ons!
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