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My luxurious hospital stay over the weekend

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'll preface this by saying I'm sorry for starting a new thread, but it's nearly 1 am, I am exhausted, and I don't feel like searching through several pages to find my last thread.

Anyway, as many of you may or may not know, I went to see my PCP on thursday because my incision wasn't feeling/looking right. He cultured it and said he felt it was infected, so he started me on Clindamycin. Friday comes around and I felt fine, except for my back pain. I went to work from 6pm to midnight and still felt great. Came home, ate dinner, and watched some TV. I had a little diarrhea, but I figured it was from the antibiotic, since I had been on it for a little over 24 hours. I went to bed at 3am and woke up abruptly at 4:15am feeling like I was going to vomit and have diarrhea. I dry heaved but mainly had diarrhea. I got up and suddenly felt numbness and tingling throughout my arms and legs. I managed to make it back to bed and decided I'd try to sleep it off. Well, I suddenly started shaking uncontrollably and had chills. I knew something wasn't right. I woke DH up and he handed me his phone. I was going to call 911 but decided to call my doctor first. The NS on call basically blew me off, so I called my PCP and they said to go directly over to the ER.

I get to the ER and I was in bad shape. I couldn't walk, I was still shaking, and I felt terrible. They triaged me right away and brought me back. I was running a fever, my heart rate was very high, and I was in a lot of pain. They did the usual blood work and my white blood cell count was high. They did blood cultures but initially they were concerned about a pulmonary embolism, due to my heart rate being high and the fever. They did a CT scan and ruled that out, so then they were worried about infection. They contacted my NS at UPenn and basically told him they were concerned I was septic. He wanted me transferred to UPenn. They were going to airlift me, but they ended up sending me by ambulance. I was brought to the neuro-surgical ICU at first, and I was greeted by a lot of nurses and doctors. They hooked me up to the monitors, drew blood, put IV's in, etc. It was pretty overwhelming.

After a few hours they determined my condition wasn't as critical as the ER at my local hospital made it sound, so they transferred me to the thoracic surgery unit, which is basically a step-down unit. I was still on the monitors and they were watching me pretty closely. They drew lots of blood and kept looking at the incision, but in the end, they felt there was no infection. I even called my PCP's office yesterday morning, and the girl called me back and said it was negative and that no bacteria grew. Phew!

While I was there they addressed the left-sided pain a little bit. The doctor looked over my films and feels T7-8 is acting up, but he's hoping it'll resolve on it's own. He wants me to try another ESI. I had a terrible experience with the other ones I had done, but I'm in so much pain I'm willing to do anything. They fitted me for a back brace for comfort, but the brace doesn't help at all. I've worn it all day today, and I've still been in massive pain. They also started me on Neurontin 300 mg three times per day, so I'm praying that between the Neurontin and the ESI, I will start to experience some relief. The doctor said lets give it a couple of months and see what happens. If I'm still in this much pain, we'll talk about surgery again. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen! I'm just in so much pain, I need SOME kind of relief and FAST!

So, I called my PM doc's office and the soonest they can get me in is the 30th. I broke down crying as soon as I got off the phone with them. I called my NS office and spoke with his NP. I cried to her and she said they can call and see if they can get me in sooner. If not, she said they'll help me find someone else who can get me in sooner.

I think that's about it. Sorry this is so long. It's been a crazy couple of days. I was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and crazy me decided to still go to work last night. It was only a 5-hour shift, and we really need the money. That 5-hour shift is about $200 for us, and we could use as much as we can get right now. So, I dug deep and found an inner strength I didn't even know I had, and I made it through. It was actually a really fun night at work anyway.


  • Sorry Kim.

    That realy stinks- you must have been scared half to death. I hope you start getting some better relief soon.

    Gentle Hugs >:D<
  • Kim, what a weekend! I'm sorry you had to go through all of that, very scary.

    Glad that everything worked out okay, and nothing serious was found. Now to get your pain under control.

    I hope that you are able to get in to your PM sooner and that the ESI brings you some relief. Hopefully you will get adjusted to your brace, took me awhile to get used to mine.

    You are in my thoughts.

    >: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
  • Karen - did you find that the brace didn't seem to help in the beginning? This brace isn't really very much of a brace. It does have slight back support, but it has these two padded straps that go around your shoulders. You wear it almost like a backpack, and it's supposed to help keep your shoulders back so that you are in proper alignment. I wore it all day yesterday and had just as much pain as I would have had, had I not worn it at all. I'm wondering if I need to give it more time, perhaps? Or if it's just not supportive enough. They said there really isn't a brace specifically for the thoracic area.

    As for the PM doc, the NP called today and said she spoke with my NS, and he wants me to wait until my appt with him next week before I schedule anything. Ugh! Well, it's only 6 more days until my appt. I just wish it would get here already! But even then, it's not like anything is going to be done. I still have to wait for an appt for a PM doc and then wait for an appt to have the ESI done. All of this waiting, when I'm in excrutiating pain, makes me want to claw my eyes out.

    Thankfully today is an okay day so far, but I've been able to sit, for the most part. It's really when I'm on my feet that the pain kicks in. Fingers crossed that I can stay off my feet as much as possible and it remains a low-pain day.

  • I think it wasn't that it didn't help in the begining, it was just a different feeling for my back to get used to, and felt a bit awkward at first. Mine though was lumbar so quite different from yours. It is a corset type brace with velcro to tighten it and has metal bars in the back on either side of my spine.

    I find that it does give me more stability, but also worry that wearing it too much is making my back rely on it and not my own muscles. Does your back feel any more secure with it on? Too bad that they have not designed a good brace for the thoracic spine, one that would give you good support and stability, you would think they would have by now.

    Hope that the next 6 days go by quickly and you keep the pain low. I too go back to see my NS next week and am anxious to see what he has to say.

    >: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
  • So, I'm a little annoyed. I spoke with the NP at my NS office yesterday, and I was in tears because the PM doc can't get me in until the 30th, and I'm in so much pain. Today actually wasn't too bad of a day, because I haven't been on my feet much. The kids have been fairly well behaved, and my 10-year old DS took it upon himself to make lunch for the 3 of them today. Sweet!

    Anyway, I begged the NP to call my PM doc's office and try to talk them into squeezing me in sooner. She said they would work on that today. Well, she called me this morning and said that my NS wants me to wait to have the epidural injection until he sees me next Tuesday. But I don't understand why I can't at least make an appt to see the PM doc, that way it's less time I have to wait to have the epidural injection. My NS is the one that said he'd recommend trying an epidural injection again, so I figured I'd get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. The thought of having to wait a month, while I'm suffering in excrutiating pain on a daily basis, makes me want to gouge my eyes out! Seriously!

    So anyway, I'm keeping the appt I set with the PM doc on the 30th, that way I don't lose that appt and end up having to wait another two weeks to get in to see him. And then I'm sure it'll at least be another week or two after that until I can get the epidural injection. And in the meantime, the pain is so bad (most days) that I sometimes pray that God would just end it for me. And no, I'm not thinking of harming myself, but that's how bad it gets. I seriously regret having had the surgery. Maybe the pain will eventually get better and I'll think differently, but at this point in time, I wish I didn't go through with it.
  • I am so sorry to hear of all the problems you are having. Hopefully, your trip to ER will have been documented and the doctors will take you more seriously now. Mind you, it doesn't sound like they are rushing to help you! :S

    I suggest that you take it real easy while you wait for your next appointment. Your body is screaming at you, so give it a chance to calm down and relax.

    I know it is really hard when you have a young family and need to get on with things, but it really won't be worth it if the outcome is that your surgery is upset and you have to start recovery again.

    Please look after yourself. You are worth it! >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Kim,
    I can certainly feel your pain and what you went through. I had a spinal infection and had the following symptoms- high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, high white blood cell count, chills,intense pain in the lower back and body convulsions. My legs became so weak I was unable to walk. Do any of these symptoms look familiar to you?

    What's different about our cases is that my spinal infection (L2-L3 area)came before I had surgery. It was the result of a bone chip lodged on my spinal column. After having emergency surgery, I had to wear a turtle shell type brace for 9 months waiting to have a spinal fusion.

    I should point out that my condition was misdiagnosed by several doctors and I was in the hospital 5 days before someone ordered an MRI and saw the infection. I was as close to death as I would ever care to be. I hope your recovery goes well.


    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    the right thing by keeping your appointment for the 30th. You never can tell if something will open up sooner.

    Having another ESI may also help. You really never know those results until after its done and waiting the time period.

    In the meantime, is there anything that gives you some temporary pain relief (besides medications)?

    Ice ? Heat ? Recliner chair ? Music/Aroma therapy ?
    just about anything that can turn your brain cells away for dealing with the pain to something more soothing?

    Regarding your appointment on the 30th. Some offices tell their patients to call near the end of a business day to see if there were any cancellations so that they could fit you in.

    Years ago when I was trying to see my neurosurgeon, I was calling about every other day to see if there were cancellations. I know that one of the admin workers tried and kept looking for me. But, years later, I found out that another admin person in that same office, would just take my phone call and purposely not do anything with it. She got annoyed I was calling that often. The way I see it, thats their job.

    But, you never can tell how someone is going handle your requests.

    Meantime, try finding something that will help get your mind off of you pain and discomfort.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My recliner is definitely my lifesaver at times. When I'm laying down on the couch or recliner, the pain is pretty minimal. The more I'm on my feet, the worse/more intense the pain gets. I haven't tried ice or a heating pad, but perhaps I'll try.

    My BFF has a gift certificate for a free 30-minute massage. She offered it to me, but do you think having a massage will hurt anything? I'll ask my surgeon on Tuesday what he thinks. Just curious.
  • Check with your surgeon first. Most likely it shouldn't make things worse, but you have to tell the massage therapist to go easy on you. My first massage after my surgery was around a month post-op and it did nothing for me, but that's not to say that you can't benefit from it.

    Try heat and ice and see which one works best for you. Sometimes heat works for me and sometimes ice. Everyone responds differently, so listen to your body.

    Good luck with your appointment on Tuesday!!! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Do you think a TENS unit might be beneficial? I'm absolutely, positively sure it's nerve pain, because it's a burning pain in my mid back that wraps around my ribcage to the front. When I was going to physical therapy, they used to do the TENS unit and it did provide me some relief, but it didn't last long. By the time I got home and my kids were all over me again, it wasn't long before the pain started.

    Also, I'm going to ask my doctor about starting PT again. I did 3 months of it last time, and it didn't do much. But maybe this time it will? Who knows! But I definitely want to try everything before we talk about the "S" word again. Last time I only did an ESI and a facet block, and neither worked. This time I'm going to do all 3 ESI's, since I know you can have up to three per year. I figure maybe the second or third might work. I'll do whatever it takes.
  • Reading all of the stories lately makes me NOT want surgery. :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop:
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