I had lumbar revision surgery done on level l3-l4. I was operated on 1/20/10 at a NYC hospital. I had broken hardware and no fusion at this level. 1 screw was broken and another one was lose. I have had 2 previous surgeries on this level. One in 99 for a laminectomy and the other in 2006 for a fusion.
I will mention a couple of things that were done at my pre-admit testing that I have not read about before. 1st they swabbed my nose, on both sides, and did a culture checking for the staph infection bug. I was clean. They also gave me 2 bags of surgical wipes to be used the night before and the morning of the surgery. After taking a shower the night before I had to used a total of 6 wipes and cleanse my entire body. I had to do this again the morning of the surgery. I also was given a script for an ointment that had to be put into both sides of my nose for 7 days prior to the surgery. This hospital is serious about preventing infections. It was a PIA to do all this but it is nothing compared to a staph infection. I also went into the city to give 2 units of blood.
We stayed in the city the night before the surgery. I had a BLT wrap for dinner which I thought fit pretty well since I wasn’t going to be doing any more BLT. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM and by 7 I had met with all the DR’s that needed to speak with me. I was wheeled into the OR around 7:10. All my other surgery’s I had IV’s started prior to getting in the OR. Not this time. Everything was done in the OR. There were a lot of people doing things to make this all happen. The anesthesiologist put in 2 arterial lines into my left wrist. He numbed the areas first but it still smarted some. Shortly after his said he was putting me to sleep and out I went.
I was in surgery for 8+ hours. They had to open my back up to get the broken hardware out. I was then temp put back together and rolled over so a vascular surgeon could open me up from the front. I had met with the vascular surgeon prior to this surgery and had everything explained to me. He ended up finding some adhesions/lesions that he wasn’t expecting on some other organs and also corrected these problems. The Dr. put in a cage between the l3,l4 level and used a bone matrix along with a long assed screw and washer to keep it in place. I was then sown up and rolled onto my stomach so they could put in new screws and rods into my back. The Dr also relieved a nerve in the l4,l5 area.
I spent the next day in ICU and a step down unit. I was extremely bloated from all the fluids they kept running into me. I was having a bad time with getting enough oxygen into my system and had to have oxygen on during this time. I ended up having to sit up somewhat in the bed to not feel like I was short of breath. PT came and got me out of bed and sat me in a chair for about 5 minutes at the most. I really wasn’t feeling good at this point. I think they may have put pain medicine in via my IV because I didn’t have a pump at this point. I was finally moved to spinal room and out my widow you could see the Empire State Building. I was having issues with pain at this point even though I was on a pump. I had to keep hitting the pump button every 4 minutes. Ever think how many times that is in 24 hours? It is a bunch. I don’t believe they had me on a basal rate with the pain pump as I was still having some issues catching my breath. I had all the usual stuff such as the stockings and the inflate-a-legs. Hate them both. On the 3rd day I was still having breathing problems. It was decided that I was to have an ultrasound and a CT scan to look for problems. Long story short was that I had fluid in my lungs. I was worse then the Pillsbury dough boy as far as being blown up from the liquids. They gave me something to get rid of some of the fluids and also stopped giving me more. 24 hours later I was much better.
All the Dr’s and nurses that came into my room put on fresh gloves and used hand sanitizer. PT came and got me started on walking. At this point I wanted out of the hospital and made a concentrated effort to force myself to walk and get out of bed. The cath came out along with the back drain and I was give stuff to get my system moving again. I was also switched over to pain meds by mouth which I got every 4 hours. I was discharged on the morning of the 6th day. I was given a back brace that is like the one you see people at Home Depot wear only it had hard plates in it to protect the back. I had 1.5 hours in a car to get home, which was no picnic. I had PT come to my house for 4 weeks and then at my 6 week follow up I was given a script for regular PT.
ALL the pain spots that I had prior to surgery seem to be gone. I still have a lot of weakness from the assault my body took. I am working on getting my strength back.