Hi, Will try to keep this brief but wanted to update my situation..maybe some tips to help others going thru this kind of surgery and some things I would have done differently prior to surgery. I'm 5 days post-op C5-C7 ACDF. Surg. was 2-21, 2:30 pm. Was coming down with cold/cough two days prior to surg, had to be evaluated by anesthesiologist to clear surgery, had to wait for him, so was NPO very long time. I was dreading surg. with cough symptoms I was having, didn't think they would go ahead but he said my lungs were clear so onward, strangely cold symptoms seemed to go away with surgery so no cough to make me even more miserable thank goodness, was on IV antibiotics so that probably helped. Worst pain after surgery was the neck and upper shoulder muscles, neuro said now that those muscles and tendons are in correct position they will be sore while they adjust, he was happy with success of surgery. Wish I had talked to him prior about the IV pain meds he would have me on, I've had surgery before and IV Morphine makes me nauseous and that was what I got so I was reluctant to use my pump and should have had more med, we switched later in evening to add oral narcotics so did better, but the nausea could have also been from the general anesthesia so make sure you have order for IV nausea medication, most docs order automatically, that helped me...long night with no sleep but got home next day. If at all possible have a family member or friend stay with you in hospital room, nurses are just not available for help with comfort, pillow adjustment, reaching fluids and things on your bedside table etc. and you just can't move around very well or turn your head...Pillows propped under my arms to elevate shoulders and no pillow under my head in the neuro ward helped my comfort and was the angle they wanted my neck to be at. Head of bed was elevated. I'm still sleeping on the living room recliner at home and will for probably at least another week, can't get a good angle on the couch even with pillow propping for my neck, I'm wearing a soft collar and take a break from it off and on. (neuro said I could) Another thing I wish I had done differently was eaten lighter for two days or so prior to surgery, had a hard time getting peristalsis going again and ended up in local ER on Friday with lots of misery (belly pain got so bad I was worried about impaction or twisted bowel)even tho I did things right by taking laxatives when I got home and tried enemas and mag citrate finally but had no success. I was just too dehydrated, it was the perfect storm. ER put two liters of fluid in and we got things going again. I had been sipping fluids when I got home but because of sore throat from surgery probably just didn't get enough fluids after I got home..If I had it to do over again I would probably do a day of clear liquids before the NPO started before surgery just to make things easier and less solid foods in my system, I would have had less bowel issues. And I should have had prune and grape juice on hand when I got home. It is still very painful to swallow, had Cepecol lozenges in hospital and anesthetic sore throat lozenges at home, they are a must, and I'm still doing clear/full liquids because of swallowing pain so those facing this surgery you need to have lots of soups and jello/puddings on hand just in case you have lots of pain with swallowing, hot soups feel good and I'm doing protein shakes. Also make sure you have bendable straws at home. Bedside nursing seems to be non-existent these days in the hospital so I made myself do my own deep breathing, cough, and spirometer treatments, had to ask for a spirometer...nurse didn't have time to get me up to walk so I walked a bit to the bathroom at least to get my strength going, I was lucky to have my husband there to help me. I've been walking around my house and today will venture outside and walk down the driveway a bit. I've only had a couple of episodes of slight numbness/tingling in my left fingers but no other of the symptoms I was having prior to surgery so I'm hopeful my neck is all fixed, will start physical therapy in six weeks. I'm currently still taking my pain narcotics and will start to taper when my throat and swallowing pain eases up, everyone is different I've noticed in the forums with pain levels after this surgery so whatever gets you by.Every day gets a little easier.
Sorry to go on...Again, this site has been so helpful to me so if any of my experience can help anyone I'll be happy. Best wishes to all of you facing this kind of surgery,