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july surgery

one week from tomorrow i got fitted for my brace on friday i will pick it up sometime this week. dr had me take x-rays on fri so i was busy for me. the closer i get the more scared i get i did have a surgery once 17 years ago my gall bladder that was more of an emergency situation. this is like long long long wait to think and ponder everything that can go wrong or if i should do the operation in the first place its really made me close to crazy then it was here in june ready to operate and bam an insurance snafu. i would say i'm so glad it's finally here but i'm afraid to jinx it


  • Remind me again what type of surgery you are having. I can understand the anxiety. I think all of us can. I found focusing on "preparations" helped me. I cleaned my house (as best I could with back issues...lol), made multiple fresh casserole/crockpot dishes that I froze, made lists for my husband, packed my hospital bag like 100 times, obsessed over where I put up clean clothes/dishes/etc so they'd be easier for me to reach later.... Do you live with family? How long are you expected to be in the hospital? What type of brace?
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • i am having disc fusion l4-l5, l5-s1 and yikes i have done almost none of that mind you my level of functionality is low my husband does help as best he can and as i mentioned in my newbie post i have 3 teen daughters they are self centered but they also help when they are asked to. what did you pack in your hospital bag? i will be in the hospital 2-3 days but the dr mentioned depending on how well i respond to the surgery i will either go home or i will go to a rehabilitation facility for like a week what do you know about that because i'd rather go home. my brace is a don joy lso brace w/abdominal and chairback support. i do feel clueless of the unknown if that makes sense
  • Don't try to sike yourself up one way or the other on the hospital stay. My experience... a little back ground... Obviously, some severe spinal issues, June 2012 I had to have two surgeries (everything that needed to be done couldn't be done in one surgery). I was told that surgeries would be on Mon and Wed and I could go home 5 days after Wed. My brother (family medicine physician) asked if I could go to a rehab facility afterwards and my surgeon said yes, but I had support, was young, etc that he didn't think that would be necessary.... but we would decide when I was being released. I basically scoffed saying no way would I willingly be staying in ANY hospital longer than absolutely required. Well... um... my body didn't cooperate the way we expected, so I ended up 10 days in ICU, 2 weeks in hospital, and 3 weeks in an inpatient rehab facility (they transferred me via ambulance, I'm certain I "gave my permission"...lol, but I also know my parents and brother were there and I'm sure they "assisted" with that permission).... and 7 weeks after my first surgery I went back to work. (Now I went back with 3 braces an.d a walker, but still went back) I think I was able to do that because of the time I spent in the inpatient rehab.

    There are of course pros and cons to those. The cons being cost (depending on your insurance), time away from family (I have two small kids so this was extremely tough for me) Travel (the hospital was an hour from our home and my husband came basically every day and although my parents came to stay with my husband the two weeks I was in the "real" hospital they had to leave so this was very stressful I'm sure on my husband to have work, two small kids, be the only parent, and try to see about me... but he survived! The pros... You are put on a schedule and so you can't "stay in bed/on the couch", they take pain seriously and keep you on scheduled pain meds (which is a plus because you will find during your initial recovery sleeping through dose time can really cause major problems getting your pain back under control), there is a doctor or a PA that comes to see you everyday, nurses are there to assist with wound care, you meet with a psychologist which is something I would have never done on my own, but was nice because the emotional part of recovery is tough. They teach you tons about how to deal with your new spine. I know I had to learn how to walk again due to the "spinal cord injury" that occurred, but not just that... they actually did very helpful things, like had my husband measure exactly how tall our mattress was from the floor and they had a bed they could raise to that specific height and we practiced getting in and out of it. They had my husband take pictures of our master bathroom and spoke with him specifically about things like shower mats, chair, etc. We practiced actual cooking, getting things from cabinets above and below with the use of the walker/grabber. They even took us on an "outing" to eat where the physical therapist and occupational therapist walked us through getting out of the car into the place, accessing the bathrooms, etc. At the time my daughter was 2 and weighed like 21lbs I think. They weighed her while she was visiting one evening and then they got a doll and stacked weights on the doll (it looked SO RIDICULOUS) and had me practice getting the doll on the bed, working to change a diaper, getting the doll on and off my lap (I was in a wheel chair for a few weeks), etc. Anyways, most people don't start true physical therapy for weeks after their surgery, but rehab you start immediately because they know how to work with patients right out of the hospital. I honestly can't say too many bad things about my 3 weeks in inpatient rehab. Honestly, I only have two complaints... #1 they only served "healthy" food to the adults, which I understand the concept, but whole wheat bread, etc can be hard on the stomach, especially when pain meds are also hard on the stomach, I lost a good bit of weight, but I did have two nurses that didn't agree with the policy basically stating that if weight gain wasn't an issue and a patient wasn't able to eat much, might as well feed them what they can eat so they can keep up strength... so they would sneak to the cafeteria and get some of their patients food...lol. #2 having to spend so much time away from home.

    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • CHAP STICK... I'LL SAY IT TWICE... CHAP STICK....lol. Comfortable underwear, deodorant (a good kind and plenty of it because lots of the pain meds will cause sweating), Face wipes, LOTION, I found my skin gets very dry in the hospital (not sure if it is the air or the meds or both), some of those disposable tooth brush things that you don't need water with (I like to brush often, I actually hate these things as I don't feel like they do a great job, but any job is better than no job when you are only able to stand up long enough to brush once a day etc.), finger nail file, I know friends gave me some water-less shampoo. I know my mom helped me use it a few times (she says) but I don't remember it so not sure if I can recommend it or not but I know I packed it.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • these are all helpful things to know i have already started using some of your ides to start a list thanks! i saw the other list on the website but it was so long i didn't know how to weed it down. i guess i am prepared for what ever the doctor tells me to do the hospital is 15 min away and my husband will do all he can although he does work full time. what is it like immediately after the operation i mean how much help do you need in and out of bed and to the bathroom the first few days?first few weeks? just wondering?
  • I've had 5 spinal surgeries from one end of the spectrum to another for the most part. Each one is different.... my body has reacted differently each time and I am a relatively healthy person, and each hospital/nurse staff/ and individual nurses are different. My crystal ball would predict for you the following...lol... maybe this will help with a "what to expect" realizing there is no way to know exactly what will happen.

    Arrival: Arriving to the hospital is of course more paper work, possible more blood work, you'll get an IV, meet with the anesthesiologist (again if you have already met him/her). The anesthesiologist will give you medicine in your IV. This is generally 1 of 2 meds. Both "relax you". One after they give it, you won't remember anything else until you wake up. One you remember a little more, but you are very relaxed. So I tell people, once you arrive at the hospital, half the battle is over.

    Waking up: Well, I've had 10 surgeries, the ones that were only a few hours long I do remember waking up from, the others I really don't... my memory doesn't pick up there... You'll be in recovery, possibly with the same nurses you had prior to the surgery. I have always found them very nice and I've had many. They work at getting your pain under control and my understanding is that have a little more leeway of what meds they can give you then the nurses will once you are in your room so its important to let them know what your pain level is. *usually* you will be labeled a "Fall Risk"...and not allowed out of bed until the next morning and *usually* they will send two physical therapists to your room to help you get up the first time. Again, depending on the "in depth-ness?" of your surgery, you might be allowed to walk then, or you might just stand and pivot and sit in the chair for a little bit and then back to bed. Eventually once you are able to stand up walk a few steps they'll pull out the catheter and a nurse and your husband will help you to and from the bathroom for the first few times and then eventually just your husband... you'll probably go home needing the help of your husband to help you get up and around, and you'll need that a couple more days. With that said, you will need someone at home with you I'd say for at least the first 2 days at all times. Don't worry if it has to be a friend.... you'll probably be able to use the RR completely on your own, but will probably just need someone there to assist you in getting around.

    **did I mention silky PJs... be sure to have some of those to help you slide around better in bed and on the couch.**

    A couple more things... (It's nap time so I have chat time... can you tell?)
    I know my husband usually request the day before I come home if he can have my prescriptions so he can get them before I arrive at home. The doctors have always been willing to do that because if we get them when we leave, then we have to stop at the pharmacy on the way home (and we live in a suburb), or he has to leave me at home alone. And, because I do live an hour from home I know the nurses have always sort of figured out how to tier my pain meds so I would take them right before leaving.

    I'm fused at your levels, but had over all different surgeries, so maybe someone on here that has had your same procedure can shed a little more light.

    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • bird said:
    these are all helpful things to know....
    Hi bird. One of the things I really recommend you pack is earplugs! Honest. I was only supposed to be in the hospital for 4 days, but ended up being there for 7. Things can be so busy and bustling in the hospital that it can be very hard to get any rest or sleep at times, so earplugs come in really really handy. It sounds like your surgery will be very similar to mine. Don't be surprised to see a physiotherapist come and bug you the first or second day after to get you up and moving. They tend to be annoying that way LOL But as much as it was NOT fun at first, it does help to get some motion going again, and it will also help your guts/plumbing working properly again. As far as pain goes, I was hooked up to a self controlled pain administering pump that helped keep me mostly comfortable - just don't be stingy with hitting the button. I had more problems with the nausea and feeling loopy, but my nurses were great keeping that under control. Don't be afraid of letting the nursing staff know how you are feeling or what you need, that's what they are there for.

    All the best..... Cameron
    48 year old freight handler. Bilateral foraminotomy, decompression of nerve roots and reduction of spondylolisthesis at L4-5 with open PILF and autogenous bone graft from left hip - June 13, 2013
  • AllMetal - I think you covered it pretty well. Know what you mean about the chap stick! I was even using it for my nose! Morphine made my nose itch like crazy and the lubrication from the chap stick helped a lot.

    I would get some undies that are at least a size bigger than you usually wear especially if they are going in through the front. When I had my ALIF my stomach was so swollen I couldn't get mine on and my husband had to go out and buy a larger size for me!

    I would also take a grabber/reacher in. Very helpful if you drop anything and no-one is there to pick it up!

    Make sure you have loose comfortable clothes and some easy to slip on shoes to wear home. Your favourite jeans are probably not going to be the best option here!

    If I think of anything more I will let you know!
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