Hi Everyone! Monday marks 30 days since my ACDF 4 level. First, let me say how appreciative I am of all the support I received from so many of you here before my surgery. The five hour surgery went well. My surgeon explained that he was pleased with the procedure. I needed a three day hospital stay as the drainage of fluids from the wound took longer than expected. Removing both the catheter and draining tube were less than fun. Thankfully the dilaudid pump was handy. I had a sore throat for a week but my voice hasn't changed.
Once home I adjusted to sleeping with the Aspen collar. I am using a tempurpedic pillow. My suture was removed two weeks ago with my first x-rays taken. Very cool to see the cadaver bone and plate and screws. I'm about half way through weaning from the collar, though I always sleep with it. I'm hoping to start driving in a couple of weeks.
I now understand and appreciate even more the advice I received here. The best advice was to understand that there is no way for anyone to anticipate how one might recover. There are just too many variables that make a guarantee impossible. I'm a physically active 60 year old. Never have smoked and don't drink alcohol. Yet building up my physical stamina and appetite have been my biggest challenges. I also wish I would have weaned myself from the pain meds sooner. The withdrawals were ugly.
The second most important piece of advice I received here was to trust your doc and follow his/her directions to the letter. I'm hoping I'll be able to head back to work in a couple of weeks. I'm fortunate to have some great ST disability insurance though I also need to be patient when I get antsy. I promise a report again soon. Thanks to all and good luck to those facing their own challenges.
steve in chicago