Since I've read so many of these, I guess its my duty to pass on my experience!
We arrived at the hospital at 0530 for an 0730 surgery. It was for a c5-c6 and c6-c7 fusion. Both me and my wife were very nervous. The paperwork was done quickly, and I was left in the room to freak till about 7am;) The surgical nurse, Dr and anesthesiologist made their Pre-scare appearance. I found out my graft would be a metal mesh as opposed to a cadaver bone. The anesthesiologist assured me she would absolutely know if I showed signs of waking up;) this was one if my major fears during, and my fear of not post
Once the formalities were complete, I had time to say, 'hey, did you already sneak something in there?' The anesthesiologist laughed and said yes, a little of the good stuff to help you relax...it worked, cuz I don't remember anything until someone was changing a collar on me. I had gone in at 0745 and was wheeled into post op around 1pm. I found out later that my bones were soft and they had difficulty with the screws. (hence a collar for three months) ... I can't remember the spacer material they used for the graft, but its supposed to be the same filter material used in fighter jets, which I find pretty cool;)
I barely remember recovery, and remember being taken to my room..I heard my wife talking before I got in there, so that made me feel good.
The pain was intense in the neck and shoulders but I had NO pins and needles in my fingers. That was so exciting!!! So The first day was mostly pain management and sleep, and waking up needing pain management. Day two (which I expected I would be going home) was pain intensive as well. I believe we tried soft breakfast and liquids, but it was like I didn'ty know how to swallow any more. We tried more liquids that day and same result, lots of choking. They had removed the iv and after a day of failures, the next night and morning I had extreme pain and fever. I was pretty scared something was wrong, though the incision looked rediculously good (more like a scratch).
After more drugs I was put back on an iv. Had xrays of my chest, and more pain meds, as well as meds to help things move along. It was still impossible to eat or drink. I am allergic to morphine, and had a severe histomine reaction to dilaudid (extreme itching). So they kept trying different meds. They tried fentanyl?? Fenta-something....as well as pills, which had to be broken up...anyone ever had Lortab smashed and mixed with applesauce? It wasn't pleasant for sure!
So day 4 came and I was able to eat a little and drink a little. That meant I could be taken off iv...by now my arm looked like a pin cushin. but since I hadn't been able to go number 1 the day earlier and they threatened catheter, I pretty much had to learn how to do that all over again...it surprised me how difficult it was!!! But number two was the problem, and since I didn't want to offer mineral rights to those who wanted them, I took every med offered to help that along. Once again I had to have xrays and ultrasouds to prove something had to be done...by the time the US was going for hockey gold, I was accepting Olympic gold for my production
By the evening of day four (feb 28) I was eating, and providing great evidence that all systems were processing and were a go!!! So day 5 came and after talking to the surgeon, phisio, and speach therapy, issued my Grabber and back washer, I was released about 7pm on march 1st!! The first evening home was great. The first night was horribly painful....but by 6pm today I have new pain meds that I hope will give me a good nights sleep....I have to wear a collar for three months and have fighter jet parts in me...how cool is that! Thank to all on this board, I'm sure I'm not out of the woods yet and will have more questions, but at least I know where to get the answers! You guys rock! (well..you guys metal;)