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Weaning off Pain Medicine Post Surgery

HeatherEliseHHeatherElise Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Recovering from Surgery
July 8th I had a VERY successful 6 level fusion of T6-T11. T9 was replaced with a titanium cage because it had been so crushed (and continued to crush) giving me terrible kyphosis. The doc managed about a 98% straightening of my spine, which was far more than I hoped.

I'm struggling a lot with recovery. I was pretty naive, despite having been through this before (the fusion was the result of a car accident 3 years ago). I have a 2 year old daughter at home and had 4 weeks worth of people to come help take care of us. My mom is coming back for another week now because I'm still terrified of being home alone with my daughter. But thats off topic.

My questions are about weaning off the narcotics. I was sent home from the hospital with valium and oxycodone. I started with 2 oxys every 4-6 hours. I weaned that down to one oxy and one tylenol every 5-6 hours. A few days ago (around the 3-3.5 week mark) I switched to hydrocodone. If you've ever been trapped alone in a house with a 2 year old for multiple days you understand my rush to get off of this medicine. I'm calling my doc's nurse on Monday, but she's been vague when asked about stuff like this when asked before so I was curious how you guys did it. Post car accident i managed all my pain with tylenol because I was pregnant (it sucked). Would the best next steps be to alternate hydro/tylenol with 1000mg tylenol doses throughout the day to see how I handle it? Also were you guys 100% off EVERYTHING before you started driving? I know I'm going to need the hydro overnight for a little bit longer.

Thanks for any advice!


  • One thing you need to watch is the amount of tylenol your taking in a day. I forget if it is 3000 or 4000, you can't go over, so be very cautious with it. As far as being off all medicines before driving there are alot of members including myself still using opiates and driving, now of course that is a personal choice for anyone. I do alter my meds around the things I need to do in a day, that involve driving. I do feel for you being down and injured with a two year old, and glad your getting some help.
  • One thing to keep in mind, the pain meds do stay in your system for a while and it is possible to be charged with DUI/OVI.... you dont have to be drunk... DUI is driving under the influence (not just booze) and OVI is Operating a Vehicle Impaired.... neither means you have to be staggering or totally out of it....just be careful.
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