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L5S1LL5S1 Posts: 51
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi, I am now almost 4 weeks since surgery. I know that my surgeon and surgery was great. But I am really suffering.

My stay in the hospital was for 7 days. Then I went to my parents for about a week and then I went home. I'm still recuperating and the surgery is accurately known for its hard recovery!

The surgery itself brought many surprises:

* The surgeon didn't just fuse L5-S1 level. He fused L4-L5 and L5-S1 because L4-L5 was very loose and it had pars fractures (so I ended up with 6 screws instead of 4 screws).

* I woke with the most awful muscle pain on my chest and thighs (the thigh pain is still intense) due to the Jackson operating table that they need to use for this type of surgery.

* I got a terrible allergic reaction to the anesthesia and to the topical glue used to cover the incision so my whole torso (front and back) and misc body parts became full of welts and turned into an angry scarlet color, partly from the scratching as well. It took 5 days of scratching and complaining for the residents/doc to call a dermotologist to look at it and give me a strong cream to knock down the swelling and itchiness.

* I had a temp of 101.3 one day so they wanted me to take a chest xray, do a blood culture and urine culture - but no one could get my blood then. About 6 people came and each one pricked a minimum of 2 times. The next morning my hand, arm and inside of the elbow on both arms were practically all black and blue!!!

Since I've been released, I've been back to do the doc in agony because the hospital released me on less meds than the hospital was giving me. The doc took xrays, did a liver profile (since I was still itching), and increased my meds back to the hospital schedule.

I started to feel better with the pain for the past few weeks when some urinary issues started up. I took an MRI and it shows that it's probably not related to the surgery, but only time will tell. Meanwhile it's been just one long nightmare. But with patience hopefully it will all work out and I'll live to tell the story to my grandchildren!

Meanwhile my kids want to know why I'm so cranky and I'm not 'all better' yet.

How's all by you?


  • Yesterday was my 4 week post op- I had my 3rd fusion on 1/25/11... And even after all of my prior multi level fusions I was not prepared this time for the recovery... First of all, it does get better... It is just a very very slow process... One thing I have realized with spine fusions and recovery, is that I will not just wake up one morning feeling recovered... When I compare to other surgeries and or illness, when you just have one of those days that you feel BETTER... It is a process and a very gradual better... I have had to think back to how I felt week one post op and week two, and so on... And then think about how I feel today- and the difference is huge... Yes, I still feel like crap, but nowhere near as rotten as I did last week, or the week before...
    The recovery also takes a big emotional toll on us as well...and I know how hard it is some days...
    I have been really surprised by what a mess I have been this time... I am almost 10 years older than I was last fusion, and I also have a lot of scar tissue and other damage and issues that are worse now...
    Just know that you are not alone, and you will improve, albeit slowly. I do not think we can ever fully prepare or realize the magnitude of spinal fusions and the aftermath that is the recovery process... Try to be patient, and not alarmed... I have to remind myself hourly at times... Look for small progress, and focus on that! Hang in there.
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