My name is Suzanne and I am scheduled for the PLIF on May 8th. I fractured my neck in 1998, and waited way too long to get the fusion done. As an EMT (retired) I can only say that when a patient got better, we didn't see them anymore. The ones we saw, who needed "routine transports" were the failed ones. I finally had it done in 2004.
I am no longer an EMT, but I am a dog trainer (a former career I easily jumped back into.) But facts are, at times it is more physically challenging and demanding than being an EMT was. (With my hyper-activity, I could never work a desk job. Co-workers would line up to shoot me!)
But now I am facing this surgery, and ironically, I am less scared of the surgery than the pain medication afterwards. As my member ID says, I am coming up on 7 years clean. I had tried non-narcotic medications (Torodol and a few others) but they didn't do much of anything.
I have done several epidurals with very good responses, until recently, when they became less and less effective.
But the thing is, being a recovering addict, with my primary addiction being pain medications, I am scared to death... because even though on the one hand I know that 'using' is a choice; what terrifys me is that it is one thing to take half or a quarter of a pain pill when needed, as I have done over the past year... and I am not dumb enough to be a martyr, but I also have experience, unfortunately first hand, with having to take it for any prolonged peroid of time. Because I know that it goes from taking it as prescribed, to the addiction taking over.For me, it was long before I even realized what was happening. But pain pills (in my opoinion) are sometimes more insidious than other drugs... because there is no reason or scenario where a doctor would prescribe "1 hit of crack every four lours. As needed." And I know there comes a point when it goes from my body needing it, to the addiction convincing me I need it. And then I become really dislexic... you know, one pill every four hoursa becomes 4 pills every one hour.
I have come so far, and become such a different person since I got clean, but I know where I went back then... and I really do not want a repeat performance.
Don't get me wrong... I know there is a difference between being powerless and being helpless.. and I am not helpless. And in asking for help is what keeps me clean. So anyone with any feedback... I would be grteful.
Oh, I will add one more thing. Some insult to injury. My neck has been hurting for awhile, but I just chaked it up to typical arthritis after a cervical spine fusion. Last week I found out that my fusion in my neck is breaking down, in the sense that I have a herniated disk above, one below, and I have some cord qand nerve root compression... so I need a second surgery in the not too distant future.