FIrst I want to say a huge thank you to this entire community because leading up to my surgery and afterwords, these posts have been a tremendous resource! Sorry if this is a long post, just want to give some background.
I had an L5-S1 Microdiscectomy one week ago today to eliminate pain in my right leg / numbness in my toes. I first herniated my back in 2009 when I was 20. Didn't do anything in particular, it just happened after a car ride. Back then I saw a couple of neurosurgeons but decided against surgery because I was able to rehab and manage with Chiro and Physical Therapy. I still had some moderate pain and trouble from time to time, but I was able to mange with muscle relaxers and over the counter meds. Last August I had another acute episode but this time Physical Therapy didn't help. I saw 3 Neurosurgeons, and they discovered the disc was herniated, but I was also showing signs of degeneration. They didn't think Microdiscectomy would help, and they didn't want to even talk fusion. So I tried oral rounds of steroids, physical therapy, epidurals (which were of no help at all). I was unsatisfied but semi-managed until this August when I had another acute episode that was bad. I was in a ton of pain, couldn't stand straight, and could barely walk. I went back to my Neurosurgeon from 2009 (who is now 3 hours away from me), because he's who my Primary Care Physician recommended. He said it would be reasonable to try Microdiscectomy. He said it had a good chance of fixing my sciatica, but it wouldn't help my general back pain.
He did the surgery 1 week ago at about 6:30 at night. He wanted me to go home afterwords, but I was in tremendous pain when they tried to move me in recovery. All of my muscles locked and my teeth started chattering I was in so much pain, they had to give me a lot of morphine just to get me to relax back into the bed and they decided to admit me for the night. That night was ROUGH. I was in a ton of pain when they would try to sit me up or get me to stand, so they had to keep giving me Morphine throughout the night, as well as phinergan and zofran for nausea. They finally got me up and walking that morning but I had to use a walker (with wheels on the front). I saw the surgeon briefly where he seemed to be annoyed with me and dismissed the idea of me needing the walker, telling me I should really be up and at it by now. They sent me on my merry way, and I went to the hotel which I had booked for the entire week.
I started trying to walk the first couple of days in the hotel hallway, but struggled because of bad muscle spasms. They would almost cause me to fall, so I called and they gave me permission to use the walker to keep me from falling. I got in the habit of trying to walk every couple of hours, then got to almost every hour. Making it further down the hallway each time. I had to stay on my percocet religiously taking 2 every 6 hours, if I didn't I got pain down my right leg. It kind of feels like it did before surgery, but not quite the same. We also noticed when I stand, I'm not completely straight, My upper body is leaned to the left somewhat, also like before surgery. It gets better the more I walk and loosen up throughout the day, but I'm wondering if that's at all normal? I asked my doctor's nurse about it last friday, they said it can happen but to call yesterday to see if he wanted to see me if it was worse. It was semi-better yesterday (only standing slightly to the left) and I waited and waited for him to decide whether or not to see me and I finally told them I couldn't wait any longer and I would have to see him at post op. I came back home 3 hours away (which he knew I was doing ahead of time).
He gave me minimal instructions. Just walk, but not an uncomfortable amount. He won't start me in physical therapy for 4-6 weeks. I know I'm not supposed to sit much (I've been saving that for my meals). I can walk, even without the walker now (spasms have calmed down some), but I can't walk like a normal person. My right leg drags some, and I can't take large steps without briging on pain. So basically I walk once an hour (about every 3 hours at night when I try to get some sleep), and the rest of the time I'm in bed watching tv, etc. I run out of pain meds today, which kind of scares me. I called and asked if he would give me a refill so I could transition off of them easier, but I don't know if he will. I basically got the feeling he thought I should be out of pain the day after surgery. I still have my Muscle Relaxer and my NSAID I can take. I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude, which is hard because I almost feel like a failure at this. I know alot of people are fine by day 2 or 3. My dad was off the narcotics his second day. I feel like my neuro's office is of basically no help. I appreciate any advice for my mental or physical situation. Is it normal to stand off center at all? I know the muscles can be swollen and my pain could be the nerve irritated. Should I be able to walk no problem? Normal strides? I'm sorry, I know part of this is rambling. I just have alot of worry / questions and I have been offered basically no support / instructions after the surgery.