I tell this story every year, mostly for the new members, and also for me I guess.
In February, 2006, I had just started my school vacation week. Out of nowhere, I started having back pain. Within 24 hours, I was having the back pain, a raging fever, vomiting, and total body convulsions. I was home a week like this, even after seeing two different doctors who told me I had the flu. Eventually, I was taken to our local hospital by ambulance and admitted for Pneumonia. I don’t remember most of my stay in the local hospital because I was so sick. My wife and her family tell me I was so bad they were sure I was going to die. After 4 days, an infectious disease doctor took over my case, ordered a CT scan of my back, and it was discovered I had a large spinal infection in the L 2, L 3 region. I was sent off to Mass General Hospital in Boston and had emergency surgery. Because of my weakened condition and bowel and bladder issues, I was sent to a Rehab Hospital. I was sent home mid March and for 6 more weeks was on IV antibiotics and PT. I went back to work in May but was far from right. I was still in constant back pain and terribly weak. By August, my surgeons determined that my spine had become dangerously unstable but surgery would have to wait because of the spinal infection. I guess it lays dormant and surgery could have stirred it up again.
On April 2, 2007, I had my first spinal fusion surgery. My entire lumbar region was fused together with screws, plates, and rods along with some of my hip bone. Ten days later, surgery was done through my abdomen and another piece of my hip was fused into place. I was again sent off to the Rehab Hospital and got home the end of April.
It took me 13 months to begin to take control of my life again. I began walking, a few hundred yards at first, until I could walk 4, sometimes 5 miles a day, 5 days a week. I will always have some pain, mostly from nerve damage, but its a pain I can live with.
I write this, not to scare people but to give them hope. It takes time after a fusion for everything to settle down inside your back. The surgery itself will not cure your back problems. All it does is give you the ability to heal, the rest is up to you.
Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.