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3 days post-op...need help STAT!!

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm on a ton of meds and it's still not touching the pain. They started me on decadron, a steroid, today. I've taken 2 doses so far.

I was in the bathroom and went to pull my pants up, and I felt this God awful pain on the right side of my back. I told my nurse about it, but she seemed to brush it off. She gave me another Dilaudid. Here I am, still in terrible pain. Any time I move the slightest bit, I feel that same horrific pain. It feels like I threw something out when I bent forward ever so slightly. Oh, and the kicker is that I can't stop peeing. I'm hoping I don't have a bladder infection to boot! The nurse brought me a walker because now I can't even get out of bed because of the pain. Isn't it supposed to be getting better by now? Instead it's getting worse. And I've only seen the doctor once since the surgery. The other days I've seen one of his PA's.

I told my hubby about this, and all he's concerned about is me coming home tomorrow, since he only has 2 days left to use at work. Nice to know what really matters to him.

Ugh, gotta go pee for the 3rd time!


  • Your issues aren't being met, and it seems the nurse is not listening. She might think you're exaggerating because other people might complain about something minor. You know yourself best, so if you're concerned, make yourself known. There's probably a patient advocate in the hospital if you don't get satisfaction from the nurse.

    Keep us updated on how you're doing.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Kim,

    Can your mom come to the hospital and help be your advocate? She can record what they are giving you, help get the doctor in to speak with you, explain that your pain is out still not manageable.

    If you are pee'ing a lot, it could be one of the meds or you are right that it could be a UTI from having a cath during the surgery.

    The pain will get better but the few days after surgery are rough (from what I heard) on fusions and when they touch the thoracic area.

    You do NOT let them release you if you are not comfortable. I'm sure you hubby is just saying that he's worried b/c he only has 2-days to take off work because he's really worried and saying it that way doesn't make him look like the 'scaredy-cat'.

    Make sure you get an advocate at the hospital even if it is a trusted friend.
  • Tell your doctor now about what you felt and the urination issue. In the medical field, people are taught to "rule in" before "ruling out" what might be the problem. Ask the doctor - not the nurse if your problem could be associated with cauda equina or not. Given your surgical site, I wouldn't think that would be the cause, but since you felt a pop, it's worth getting checked out.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I haven't had thoracic surgery, but I've had a lumbar TLIF and can say that it got worse before it got better. I had nerve pain hit with a vengeance for a couple of weeks and needed to use a walker when I didn't have that kind of pain before.

    You're really early out from surgery and should expect things to get worse before they get better. If they told you a 2-day hospital stay, then they underestimated. Even with a lumbar it's usually 4 days minimum and thoracic is a bit more difficult. And why the heck are you still on dilaudid if it doesn't work for you? Get your pain med changed! Like I said in my previous post to you, dilaudid did nothing for me, so I had them switch me over to morphine. That really helped. So push to get a different med that works. Pain meds are imperative during recovery, as long as it's the right one and works!

    I peed a lot after both my surgeries - it could be the intravenous solution, who knows. But if there's not pain while urinating, there's probably no infection. But have everything checked out while you're with the people who know the best. Don't wait until you get home to address these issues.

    Do whatever you have to do - call for your surgeon, call for a patient advocate, whatever. You've had major surgery and need to be sure you leave with all questions answered, not necessarily pain-free however.

    Take care and stay as long as you need. I know it's a rough recovery, but it gets better, really.

  • Thank you everyone. I'm definitely going to demand some answers today. They gave me a walker to use which helps me get around a little easier. I am not yet noticing a difference with the steroids. I've been continuing to take the muscle relaxant, because at the very least it helps me sleep, but I'll talk to the doc about changing to a different pain med. I've taken Dilaudid through the IV before and it always helped, but the pill does nothing except leave a bad taste in my mouth. I'm also walking around a lot, since I've been told that helps, but most of the time I'm in more pain afterwards. Yesterday I think I took about 6-8 walks around the unit. All in all the pain doesn't seem to be letting up. I'll be shocked if they let me go today. As for the peeing, I did my own research and discovered the steroid could be causing that. No burning when I pee, so I don't think it's a UTI.

    I definitely don't expect to be pain-free when I go home, but I'd at least like to be able to walk or roll in bed without crying in pain. I don't know, maybe even that is too much to expect
  • Keep hanging in there, Kim. But DON'T let them brush you off and disregard you, either. Get PO'ed with them if need be because it's YOUR pain. Let them know you mean business.

    Really hope you feel better soon!
  • Only 3 rd day out of such surgery i am suprised you are even walking as much as you are. When they disturb all the nerves in there i would think best thing would be barely move unless just going to the bathroom. I know it sucks to have to lay there but body might need some serious time to heal and the more active a person gets too soon the worse the pain will be where its harder to control.

    Having to pee i would not thing would be an issue. I would be more worried if i could not pee. I would only go home if i know i am laying at home the same way i can lay in the hospital and do very litle and pain is somewhat under control just the same as it is in the hospital . 3 days out is very early and i would not walk anywhere especialy if i am making the pain so bad where nothing controls it.

    If you are still in the hospital why would you have pants on? Idea of having the gound is to not have to even dress while going through recovery. I mean sure i sliped in to some lose shorts just to have my ass covered lol. But not pants.

    Rest as much as you can and do very litle and maybe you can get the pain under control hopefully. . Good luck. Hope you get releif soon. And yes i would not go home unless i see i can have it under control when i get home cause dont want to end up coming back right after leaving through er end of the building. Out 1 door and back in the other door 2 days later,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Ps. If they already got you on dilaudid i thought that was stronger then morphine cause its purified morphine. Dilaudid works best for me also as long as its injected in iv and dont work the same in pill form. If someone cant have morphine cause of elergy next step up would be fentynal. I think the combo if dilaudid and valium is always what saved me in er. Best wishes
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Just checking in on you to see how you are doing today. I am two days ahead of you in recovery (July 5th 2 level discectomy/decompression.)It's not easy, I am still really struggling as well, but am hopeful that it will get better. I am now at day 5, and am using a cane, only walking short distances to bathroom and such. Still on all my pre op pain meds (morphine,percs, lyrica) and a muscle relaxer.As hard as it is, I do notice a difference from day 3 to day 5, so hang in there. I know that the pain, and long days make it seem that it is never going to get better, but we are both still so early out.

    I know that I talk to people on the phone, and they expect me to say how much better I feel, but really, it does take time.

    Hang in there, we are all thinking of you!

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Saw the PA today and he's insisting the pain is muscular in nature. Could very well be, but when I felt that pain in the bathroom it felt very similar to when I first injured my back, minus the popping noise/sensation. It was like an electric shock from my spine and over to the right. Since then, every time I move, I get that same feeling. As long as I'm laying still and flat, I'm okay. The PA said they would readjust my meds. If by tomorrow I'm still not doing somewhat better, they'll call in the PM doc. So he stopped the dilaudid, since it wasn't helping, and he put me on tylenol with codeine, along with the flexeril and valium, and we're continuing the steroids. They are going to work on getting me a walker for home, as well. Later on he came back and said he spoke with the doctor, and he wants me up and walking. I nearly flipped my lid. I explained to him that I HAVE been walking. I walked about 6 or 7 times yesterday and already 3 today, not to mention all of the bathroom trips. The nurses can all vouch for me, too. He said at this point the only thing holding up the discharge is the pain, otherwise I'd be cleared to go. Good to know!

    So, that's about it. I've been here 4 days and I miss my babies!
  • Kim,

    It really could be muscular because of all the muscle the surgeon cuts through in accessing the spine from posterior side, it could just well be "pissed", having been "disturbed" as it was. I know I hurt like "you-know-what" when I had my first fusion from that side.

    Just try to keep walking as you have been, it's gonna get better, hang in there! :-)

    Support Hugs!
  • Do you think I should ask about testing such as an MRI or x-ray, just to be on the safe side? My mom and hubby are pressuring me to ask the doctor about it tomorrow. But I don't want to make a big deal over nothing. The pain is very bad tonight. I've been getting tylenol 3, steroids, valium, and flexeril around the clock...i can't believe none of it is helping. They are also going to have PT come back and re-evaluate me for a walker at home. The walker makes it a little easier to get around.
  • Kim,

    Doctors aren't keen on patients dictating what tests or diagnostics they should complete. What might better fight your cause, or address your issues? Give him a log of what is going on with your pain issues, to include how they affect your daily activities.

    Let your doctor then decide *what* you need. Now if no MRI discussions come up, a casual question is not out of the norm. To come in and say "I want and MRI, or think "I need an MRI" puts the doctor on the defensive...IMO.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Going from dilaudid to Tylenol 3 is a freaking joke! That's like going from a Lincoln Cadillac to a Yugo.

    If the pain is still bad, ask to see if hydrocodone or percocet has been approved. They must be told in no uncertain terms that you are still in pain. If they don't react, go to the House Manager. If that doesn't work, rattle the cage of the hospital administrator. The higher you go, the more attention you will receive. That being said, try not to be angry with the nurses. They can only follow the orders left by the physician.

    Once again this is a perfect example of the doctors and staff not knowing what the patient is really going through because their text book cant feel pain.

    I hope you start feeling better soon!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Yeah, I thought it was odd that they downgraded me to tylenol 3. They refused to give Dilaudid through the IV, because they thought I was going home the next day. Well, that was 2 days ago and the pain is just getting worse and worse. I just got washed up a bit, and it was absolutely excruciating. I could barely get back in bed, the pain was so bad.

    I definitely won't insist on any tests, I'll just causally mention it if he doesn't say anything about it. I'm so worried that they are going to tell me there is nothing else they can do for me and send me home still in massive pain. The PA seemed a bit puzzled that none of the meds are helping, and I worry they don't believe me. I just want to be taken seriously. If they send me home, I'm positive I'll end up in the ER back home.
  • Kim...make sure you speak to your doctor and let him know that if they send you home, you are SURE you will end up in the ER.

    You are doing so much with walking and try to 'work' through the pain. Something is not right.

    Are you getting any sleep? Are you able to eat?
    I'm glad you were able to wash up...I would have thought despite the pain, that might make you feel a bit better.

    Can you Mom come and help be your voice? I know your hubby is working and helping with the kids.

  • Yeah, it hasn't been easy trying to keep moving, but I want them to see that I'm doing everything in my power to comply with my course of treatment.

    I have been eating well. The steroids make me super hungry, so eating hasn't been an issue. Last night I slept pretty well, thankfully. They come in to take my vitals every 4 hours, but I was able to fall back to sleep each time. The nurse last night was good about giving me pain meds around the clock. It didn't really help with the pain, but it made me tired enough to sleep. I'm hoping tonight goes much the same.

    As far as my mom coming up, she is watching the kids while hubby is working, so she won't be able to make it. This hospital is an hour and a half from my home, so getting here just isn't easy for family and friends.
  • HI,Having had a multitude of surgeries,and being 8 wks post op of a anterior and posterior cervical fusion C5-C7, I understand your pain. Luckily, with pain meds given around the clock, I was still in pain, but it was tolerable. YOu certainly need to be set with meds before discharge... Also, at 1 week post op I was in the ER for impacted intestines. Be very careful with all the pain meds..they can cause severe constipation... Eat healthy, and add lots of fruits/vege's to counter act the meds effect. This surgery will hurt for awhile, but should be at a tolerable level, decreasing with time. Best of luck advocating for what you need! Keep us informed...
  • Right now the pain is anything but tolerable. speaking of bowel movements, I can't remember the last time I went. It's been almost a week. They are giving me colace twice a day. I'm passing gas but nothing else. Eating lots of fruit and veggies
  • I would also make it a standard practice right now to drink a glass of metamucil before each meal.

    It took three months for my system to get back to normal after surgery. Also, when I was in the hospital, they would not discharge me until I did have a bowel movement. That was partially due to me having an ALIF where they moved all my stuff around. They wanted to make sure everything was working okay regarding digestion afterwards.

    Unfortunately, recovery isn't much to look forward to in the short term. However, you will get stronger as time progresses.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hey whats wrong with yugo. You making fun of my car? With the racing stripes my yugo is the fastest car in the world. Lol.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Finally saw the surgeon today. He sent me for a STAT ct scan to rule out a blood clot or anything else that could be making the pain worse. He thinks, though, that I'll need some rehab before going home. I'll keep you posted with the results.
  • Best wishes Kim hope they get you goin soon..

  • Went for ct scan and it came back normal. The surgeon suggested rehab, but his NP is saying it's not necessary. They are switching me to oxycodone for pain. NP says I can go home today, yet here I am still in terrible pain. Do I let them just discharge me still being in a lot of pain? I'm afraid I'll go home and end up back in the ER. At the same time, I would like to get the heck outta here. What do you think? I suppose it's worth a shot, and if the pain gets too bad, I can always go to the ER closer to home.
  • Kim...I assume NP is nurse practitioner. If so, ignore the NP and listen to surgeon. If he thinks you need rehab, stay. You do NOT want to make the mistake of going home before you are prepared on your own.

    It will put stress on you, your children, your husband, your mom and only make recovery slower. Take the extra time to go to rehab.
  • I hope you are feeling much better and echo the need for someone to be YOUR advocate - my husband literally moved into the room with me after the second time they let my IV run dry and when he had to tell the surgeon I had a fever because the nurses didn't!
  • Good Morning Kim,

    How are you feeling today? Are you scheduled for rehab yet? I hope this morning finds you in less pain than yesterday.

  • Kim,
    Hope today finds you feeling better, or at the very least, having a plan on your care.. Rehab? Home?
    How are things going?
  • Well, I ended up going home. The surgeon felt I was fine to go home and said he only mentioned rehab in case I wasn't feeling ready to be discharged. I decided I wanted to go home. Thankfully I have a lot of support which helps. They sent me with oxy ir, Valium, flexeril, and tapering steroids. I'm still hurting but the pain is much more tolerable. I've been keeping on top of my meds and it seems to be helping. The only issue is how groggy they make me. I've been sleeping all day. Ugh! But just from yesterday to today I feel a pretty good difference. Oh, and my new job has been postponed until 8/8, which gives me more time to focus on recovery. So, that's my update. So glad to be home. I have my walker which helps me get around.
  • Kim...so glad you are seeing improvement.
    Don't get upset about sleeping. Remember, your body is healing while you are sleeping so it's a good thing.

    I slept a ton after my microdiscectomies at the L5-S1 level. I suspect the Thoracic will demand even more recovery and therefore more sleep. Embrace it and know that it's a part of getting to that end-result of feeling better.

    Glad to hear that your start date on the new job is delayed b/c that will surely take some pressure off you from a worry aspect.

    I'm sure the kids are really happy to have you home.
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