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Need Support

raindeerrraindeer Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello -

I'm hoping to find some emotional support from this group, as I can't seem to find answers anywhere else. I've phoned my NS, who did my L4-5 micro-discectomy four weeks ago, but he hasn't returned my call in five days. I call the office and leave a message every day, and once even used the "physician's line" to get to a real person! They were pissed, but so am I. Are all neurosurgeons this uncaring about their patients, post-op? He was very nice and understanding BEFORE my surgery. Now he won't do me the courtesy of returning my calls to answer my questions!

I have a blood clotting disorder that requires me to be on lifetime Coumadin. It causes everything I do, medically, to be more complicated. I'm worried now, since I'm regaining the leg pain that I had for three years before the surgery, that fluid may be building up that should be drained. I had another surgery a few years ago where I had a recurring seroma that needed to be drained every week. Well, the Dr. finally got tired of my coming in every week, I guess, 'cuz he came in the last day and told me I was just getting a fat pocket there, and he didn't drain it. To this day, I have a little pocket of congealed serum under my skin that, indeed, looks like fat! I've had Dr.'s since then ask me about my "seroma" because they've seen it on the MRIs! Now I'm scared that if I let this NS drop me through the cracks of post-op callousness, I'll develop problems like before and my nerves will suffer for it. I'm willing, even, to go off my Coumadin for a few weeks (dangerous for me) after they drain any possible fluid. I should have done that last time, so the seroma would stop refilling.

Is the old pain coming back just a normal symptom of healing? I've read so many stories about people fearing their surgery has failed, like me. Is it normal for a NS to let a patient wait days and days for a return call? I really want an MRI, to calm me or get me the help I need, since I'm not your average patient.

Any and all help would be MOST appreciated!

Lost and Alone


  • Welcome to Spine-Health - you're no longer lost and alone, we're here for you.

    I'm ticked at your doctor. My surgeon is an ortho, and he's been my best ally since everything started in 2008. He even still handles my medications due to more problems above my cervical fusion.

    I just don't know what to tell you. How do you get a doctor to care? How do you get them to keep up with you during recovery (you're still in recovery at four weeks)? It so makes me mad because these stories are all too common.

    I wonder if you can find a different doctor that can take over that will follow you through now and forward until you're deemed clear of fluid and recovered from your micro-d. I'm not sure if there are docs out there that are willing to pick up when one leaves off, but it might be worth a couple of phone calls.

    That's about all I can say, but know that I'm thinking of you and am hoping others will come and tell their stories and help you not only know you're not alone, but with some action you can take.

    Take care,
  • call to get an appointment to see him? Has he been out of town? I know that my NS is only in the office two afternoons a week.

    I would want to see him if I thought I was having a problem.

    Good luck,

  • I'm so sorry you are going through this! I know at one point I wanted to change doctors, but my insurance company wouldn't allow it, so I was stuck with a jerk.

    What kind of insurance do you have? Will they let you change docs? Do you have a primary care doc that can help?
  • I can honestly say I had a similar experience with two surgeons; their PA's usually cover their post-op calls. Once I called my suurgeon for a post-op pain flare - got a call back 9 days later from the PA. My second go round I told my surgeon up front I wanted my pain doc to manage me post-op- they were actually happy with that.
  • Cathie - thank you for your support! I appreciate it.
  • SG - I know that one day I called, the nurse said he had surgery all that day, but was due to be off shortly. She intimated he might call me then. That was three days ago. I will try to get in to see him, if anyone would ever call me back! Thanks for the advice.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i do hope you are able to get hold of a doctor who can help you! maybe it is time to try another one for now!! please make yourself at home and have a good look around the different forums... jump in anywhere you feel comfortable.. good luck to you! Jenny :)
  • Thanks to everyone who was supportive of me! My NS finally called me yesterday, six days after my first call to him! He says he called me back that first day, but didn't leave a message. Jeez! Anyway, I'm having an MRI tomorrow, with and without contrast. He said its very unlikely that I'm bleeding or developing a seroma near my nerves, since its so long after my surgery (4 wks). My hematologist agreed. So its probably just inflammation causing my returned leg pain. I hope its just part of the healing process.

    Does anyone know if I'll be allowed to start driving again and doing my usual activities at the 6 week mark, like my NS planned, if I do have inflammation in there? I hope he says its just part of the process, and lets me start PT, etc., despite the inflammation. I will hate like heck to have to wait longer to get my life back!

    I will report back here, in case it might help someone else in my situation.
    Thanks again, everyone!
  • MRI today looks for all the world like I've re-herniated L4/5. I'll see what NS says tomorrow.
  • Anyone know if inflammation/fluid build up after a micro-discectomy looks just like a herniation on MRI films? I'm waiting for the MRI report to get to my NS, and then for him to call me. Could take weeks, with his track record! I looked at the films myself, and the "before" MRI looks just like the one from yesterday! There's no cloudiness or weird look to the area around L4/5 . . . just a definite protrusion of the disc, and its pressing into and bowing the spinal cord, like before. Does that mean I've re-herniated? And if so, can't I just get on with PT now to strengthen my core? I am so upset about relapse that more surgery is out of the question right now. But I do want to do what ever's going to help my spine. So it seems like PT would be indicated. Any thoughts?
    Extremely Disappointed
  • I don't have any answers for you but was wondering something.

    If you have a copy of the images, do you not also have a copy of the actual radiology report? (Or do they do it differently where you are?)

    Hoping that you have answers and a resolution to this quickly.
  • When I walked out of the MRI place, I had the films with me. Looked at them in the truck and compared them to MRI films from three months ago. The new ones are worse. The tech said the digital films would be looked at by a radiologist and his report would be faxed to my NS - not to me. I overnited the films to my NS and he got the report yesterday, the day after my MRI. I hope to speak to the NS today. He called yesterday, but again, didn't leave a message, and called me when his office was closed so I couldn't return his call.

    I'm pretty sure I've reherniated L4/5. Any thoughts on what will happen next? I'm in more pain now than before the surgery. But I'm so discouraged, I feel like going out and riding my horses . . . what harm could it do? I'm already back to square one. I just wanna get back on Prednisone or chew my Vicodin for the rest of my life . . . this is ridiculous.
  • Sorry to hear about your problems and hope you hear something soon. If you are in the US, I know that the HIPPA laws have stopped alot of medical places from leaving messages. When I am waiting for a call from the doctor or from anyone with whom I need to speak - I forward calls from my home phone to my cell phone so that I won't miss it. Just a suggestion for you.
  • I've had the worst luck: the Dr. called my cell JUST as I was dialing someone else, so he got my voice mail, instead of me. But he didn't leave a message, so I didn't realize he had called. When I heard his message on my home phone, just moments later, his office was closed.

    He called me early this morning, thank god. I've re-herniated L4/5, but he says if I go back to bed rest for a week, it may repair itself. I'm determined not to sit at all this week - just stand and lie down. I heard from a chiropractor that that's the easiest way to heal an unhappy disc. So that's what I'm determined to do. Am typing this message on my knees. Then its back on the couch. Ugh! But I'm happy the NS said he wants to avoid cutting me again, if poss.
  • I am glad that you were finally able to connect! Good luck and keep us posted!
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