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Surgery was a success! Says the wise NS..

Then we had to go back in and fix the dura leak. Been in the hospital since last Thursdays. Flat bed rest only since the headache started Friday.

Came to conclusion that the PM doc punctured my dura while doing the discogram.

Before going into the surgery details I just wanna say how vindicated I feel from this whole nightmare. Those of out there who are shipped off to pasture in PM for DDD pay attention there might be still hope. For those who remembered me from earlier post may recall the challenges I faced with my previous surgeons. One was a OS an the other was a NS. Between them dropping the ball with my paperwork. Insurance paperwork that is and the fact that docs are not hip on doing fusion surgeries on those who just present with DDD. Even when they have a discogram done to show where the pain is coming from.

But when I fired my last NS and asked my OS to refer me over to this big dawg I researched. Then the OS backed out at the last min too. I thought my life was over.

Skipping ahead a little leaving room for any questions my surgery lasted 8 hours. My NS did the procedure by himself. He reported to my family periodically with updates. And for your family to here first hand that I was I. Much worse shaped that what showed on films. And that he was really glad to have made the choice to operate. Going into this mess the original docs have me 60% chance to get rid of 70% of my pain. Whatever that means. But with my new hero NS who did the surgery I'm thinking my odds got a whole lot better. What did not show up on any of films was this real bad Stenosis throughout the levels. He said it was so impacted at the bottom he was surprised I was able to work at all. All the nerves across the L5-S1 were completely compressed and that he had to take a substantial amount of time getting those nerves decompressed.

Moving forward. I'm still here in the hospital and laying flat till tomorrow. Because of the dura that was punctured during testing. Tomorrow it will be on to 10% raises in bed throughout the day and hopefully walking to the bathroom. Since bed pans are not my style I have elected to wait until I can sit properly to go my business.

There has been talk of going to rehab for a bit. I'll do anything to get back to work and my life faster. We'll see.

While the road to getting here has not been easy and the doctors findings were astonishing I would go it all again if it meant I am truly on my way back to a pain free life.

So far I want my story to go into the Success box of stories. There are not many so I offer some of my success and hope to you others out there who are in the struggle to regain a pain free life again.

I'm leaving it there for now. Would like to here from you guys. Thanks again for all the encouragement along the way.


  • Sounds like you've been through the wringer and are coming out the other side pretty good but a bit worse for wear. (How's that for mixed metaphors)

    Anyway, great to hear your pain has been vindicated by finding that stenosis. Wow, an 8 hour long surgery. Man it must have been a wild mess in there. Hopefully it's going to keep getting better from here on.
  • Surgery is a tough ride. Gotta just hold on and tuck and roll, juke and move, and so on.

    Was thinking about your last there at the end, for me it was:

    L-2-S1 disc bulges
    Severe DDD on all four levels
    The discogram revealed where my pain was coming from. (Or so they said)
    L-5-S1 &. L-4-L3 regerstered at a 10 of pain
    The two above those were 5 on pain.
    They claimed to see no herniation onto any of the nerves
    I heard no words of stenosis either. ( Weird )

    My original two surgeons plan was to do a four level plif. Just doing all now and getting it over with was thought to be the best approach. But when the relationship between myself and their offices starting failing I did chop my nose off to spite my face. Should have never demanded them to hurry and fix their mistakes. To get me on the books and fix me or else I would find someone else. That stuff doesn't cut it. But I still have to argue that the customer should come first. Whether we call it patient care or however we label it we are the ones who are paying huge insurance bills every month and lots of co pays and so on. To be treated as all the customers are treated in the world.

    Sorry did not mean to push that button. Go to sleep angry man and forget about the mean old doctors who did not fix you. And remember the bad ass NS who did it for you in 8 hours. Who said he could not believe all the damage he saw once he was in there. Moving forward in discussions with others I would like to just add finding better imaging for diagnosis purposes.

    More to come.

    I feel so much better with this type of pain. Still in the hospital. Still have a long road to travel. But feel like the faulty wires were fixed and and addressed. This hardware thing I'm not too sure about. Having that much hardware in for any length of time concerns me. Only if it causes pain of course.

  • And then can't feel it. If all is well.

    Most people have it in with no worries for the rest of their life, but some get infected or become 'allergic' to it or they become pain generators. But not many folks.

    Discogram only quantifies disc pain, whereas stenosis is where bone and ligament growth / thickening makes the channels the nerves / spinal cord lives in smaller. Sometimes people have multiple issues that top surgeons pick up on.

    They got you doing PT in bed yet?
  • Because of the dura tear I have been on a very restrictive regiment. Orginal surgery was last Thursday. He saw what he described as to puncture holes in the dura. He sutured them up and went on. He asked next morning about it wanting to know when my last injection was. To answer, it was done back in June. But could it been the PM who did my discogram a couple of months ago. Because my symptoms doubled after this test. Pain I. Legs and butt. Increased back pain. I was a miserable wreck. Anyway he said yeah that made sense too and chalked it up to that. But then came Friday night when my head started hunting real bad. And by Saturday morning he said either there was a new tear he did not see or the pre joys two were still leaking. That we needed to do this Monday and get it fixed. Which turned out to be a life saver because by Monday I was dying or wished I was. So moving right along this lying in bed flat only is a mess. The only exercise I get is switching sides every two hours. Move legs as much as I can I a flat position and breathe into the self breather deal to keep you from developing crud in your lungs. Tomorrow when all goes well I will be raised 10 degrees every hour until I am upright. From there it has to be the goal to get up and walk to the bathroom. Woo-Hoo. To the bathroom my friend. The highlight of my week.

  • poor Shawn, you have been throught the wringer lately. I am so glad that your surgery is behind you and that you can move forward now with recovery:)

  • Recap: Nov. 29 / 4 level plif
    Dec. 2 / back in to fix dura tear

    Dec. 10 X-Ray
    Surgeon looked at x-ray and it is clear as day that the hardware at the bottom S1 came apart.
    Dec. 12 / was decided to go back in and fix the hardware.

    1st surgery/ Nov 29. / 8 hour surgery
    2nd surgery Dec 2. / dura tear repair. / 1-1/2 hour surgery
    3rd surgery Dec. 12/ Hardware Revision / 5 hour surgery

    Surgeon is unclear on how or what cause the hardware to fail. Heard he added additional screws and rods. Waiting to see new x-rays.

    Lots of pain and because I've been in PM for last 3 years it has been challenging to combat my pain levels. Or at least this is my theory as to why I am still in so much pain.

    Super happy that I fought so hard to stay at the hospital I chose. Patient care and the facilities excellence has meant the difference in being able to better cope with all the challenges.

    Cannot quite remember what the no, no's are. Shouldn't be a challenge if the comments are positive, but will hold for now on naming them specifically. But you can bet everything that I will be this hospitals biggest ADVOCATE. Along with my surgeon. As well as all of my nurses and the entire staff here.

    Anyway back to topic. I am still in a terrible amount of pain. Really concerned as out damaging the hardware again. I have no restrictions and as soon as I have some help I will be working to get out of this bed and get my legs back under me.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 12/12/2012 - 12:36 AM
    You have had a very rough ride so far. I haven't heard of hardware failing in just 2 weeks before. What were you doing?!! LOL!

    We are not allowed to mention hospitals or doctor's names on here. It sounds like you are really pleased with yours. If anyone wants to know, you can always private message the information to them.

    I really hope that your pain will get under control soon and that you will be able to get up and walking. You are going to have to stop all that dancing and partying with the nurses though!

    Do they get you to do leg exercises while in bed to stop them becoming weak, ready for when you do get up?
    Take care and be careful!
  • I have/had only DDD (no instability) at L5-S1 (bulges above that but not pain generators) but 2 Neuros and 1 Ortho refused to do fusion, even though MRI's showed I had no disc left there. My PM Dr. said I needed a fusion- no other fix! Finally found an Ortho willing to do it. I had the surgery Dec. 3, and he said I had tons of arthritis and bone spurs, and absolutely no disc left at the front. He did ALIF and hardware in the back. I was in tons of pain afterwards in the hospital, and unlike you, had crappy care by nurses (I swear half of them were in training- what a confusing mess). I am still in a lot of pain but my leg pain is GONE! And I know, like you, that this surgical pain will pass.

    Thank you for continuing to post...you are my new hero!
  • horselady21hhorselady21 Posts: 174
    edited 12/12/2012 - 2:41 AM
    My surgeon told me that there was always a chance that he could tear the dura during surgery, and if that happened (it didn't happen to me), I would have to lie flat in bed for 3 days. You said yours happened months ago?? How could you have walked around all that time with a torn dura? It sounds to me like it would have had to happen during your surgery. It happens..no doubt to the best of them.
    Just curious...
    Also, I wish I had seen your earlier posts...my surgery was the day before yours..we could have been buddies! Keep posting on your progress..I'll be watching!
  • Strange the hardware came apart.

    As Jelly implied, one gets weak pretty quickly in bed. Spent almost all Feb this year in a hospital bed. Had a long way to go get back the lost muscle tone. But you'll be running up and down that hospital corridor very soon. Now don't go and arrange another operation for tomorrow, OK? Enough's enough. ;)
  • Hey guys... Doing some walking and working some from bed. Looking forward to a nap in a few minutes. I wanted to respond to a couple of comments I just read.

    Dura Tear: your right in questioning the why and how's in my opinion. First just a quick recap as to what I remember the surgeon saying.( he asked me if I had had a steroid injection here recently) I answered with no the last one I had was back in June. But that I did have a discogram in the last month or two. His asking was because he said while in there working he saw two puncture holes in the dura. And that he sutured them up on the spot. When I came out of surgery I had no headache u til a day later. But man was it a doozy. Evidently this is a signs of a dura tear. Which in turn made me spend 6 days flat in bed. To keep from rambling much more I came to the conclusion that between the two puncture holes and the surgery exposure is what happened with me. To be honest I'm unsure if there are clear affects that happen when there is a tear. And whether or not you have the same symptoms for each instance or if surgery plays a role. I plan to do some reading on this area and see what else I can learn.

    Horselady21: regarding your comments about your care for the nurses you had. Just wanted to say this: I had a couple who really gave me a hard time. How I dealt with the challenges made all the diff. I had plenty of great nurses and sweet talked them into making sure I was on there roster for their shift. And to be completely honest what those challenges revolved around was: Pain Management: my theory on how we attacked my pain differed from that nurse. In my opinion if the doc ordered or ok'd certain drugs during certain times then if I was in pain then I for sure asked for them. I got the impression from one nurse that I should not take advantage of everything that was available to stay on top of my pain. Anyway that's another story. Definitely be your own advocate. Or run a combination of communication tactics with family members to try and keep the ship running before asking for a different nurse. In my opinion having good nurses and techs are way too important during the course of hospital stay to not speak up if you are not being treated right.

    Thanks Jellyhall: on keeping me straight regarding the rules for this forum. Never know how things can be interpreted no matter how well you try and present it.

    Dave Fusion: hardware coming apart is a weird deal to me as well. While unfortunate, was glad it was caught here and now and was addressed now. I took some pics and eager to show you guys. Clear as day as to where the hardware came apart.

    Thanks you guys! I really appreciate the back and fourth about the issues I'm facing.

    Talk to you soon.
  • And good to hear that your up and about and doing your PT in bed.

    Yeah, nurses can be a challenge. It's good you have worked out a strategy to get the good ones rostered onto your room.

    I had the same issues with nurses assumptions of how I should manage pain in first op. I had a good heart to heart with the surgeon prior to surgery on pain management strategy. He made sure I was written up so I had wide discretion. But I hardly had to use much of it at all. Was quite funny with nurses saying, "are sure you wouldn't like more.....(medicines).... You are allowed to have (xyz)". "No thank you, I am doing fine" hehe. What a difference. I think I used only 1 opiate from one new packet. I hope the hospital pharmacy put it to good use when I was discharged.
  • I couldn't get NEAR the pain meds I needed! Is it because I am a woman, and they figure, hey she can go through childbirth, motherhood, etc, so she can SURELY take this pain!? I got better meds when I had my discectomy 3 yrs ago! They did keep trying to get my blood pressure up...maybe they felt if they gave me too much of the wrong one, I'd be done for?!
    Sleeping is the worst for me- in fact, I just got off the phone with the nurse to get a sleeping pill and more Percocets.

    Bigshawn- You were smart to have family to go to bat for you. I was wondering about the hardware, too...pretty hard to break titanium. Would love to see pics of that! My brother has a broken screw in his neck from a fusion, and he decided to leave it that way!

    It sounds like you are doing well...keep writing so we know how you are progressing! And we'll do the same!
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