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Scared of going under

OK so maybe a month ago I contacted LSI to see if I qualified. I did the free MRI review and found out I have four conditions on L5. They said I was a prime candidate and I was happy not to be refused. So on June 23 I make my way to Florida for surgery. Here's the problem. I've never had surgery and the realization has hit me. I'm 25 and ......since I have had kids... Have gotten that scared as hell feeling like my world is changing. Its on my mind all day and I think I'm freaking myself out. If anyone got any good tips or help I'm all ears. If you were wondering I've been diagnosed with bulging/herniated disc stenosis fimonary spine and degenerative disc disease. Also what should I do in the time to come to better prepare myself for this journey?


  • Is totally normal. No matter how many surgeries you have, you are always going to be at least a little nervous. And at some point you will sign a contract that says there is a chance you can die from the surgery. That's a possibility in any surgery. You can ask what the odds are, I'm sure they are pretty low.

    The best thing you can do ahead of time is lose weight if you are overweight. Your increase for complications goes up if you are overweight. Do what you can in terms as excerise.

    Be sure & let your dr & especially the anestiologist know how anxious you are. They will give you something to help you relax before putting you under that will take some of the angst away. I don't know if hospitals use masks to put people under, but they will either put a mask over your face or something in your IV, & tell you to count backwards from 100. You'll get to about 98, & the next thing you know, you'll be waking up in the recovery room. You'll be groggy, & it might take a couple of minutes to get your bearings & remember where you are. Some people get nauseus from anesthesia, but most dr give you something in the IV to help with that before you even wake up. If you feel nauseaus, let the nurse know & they will you more medicine if needed.

    I can't speak to what your pain will be like, because I've never had back surgery, but it's pretty much a given you are going to wake up with some pain after any surgery. You will be getting IV pain meds, but let the nurses know if you are having a lot of pain. You will be in recovery maybe 1 - 2 hours, depending on how you are doing. Your vitals will be monitored very closely, blood pressure, oxygen level, temperature, etc, as well as how alert you are & your pain level. Ask ahead of time if your spouse is allowed to see you in recovery; my experience has been that's not allowed, but every hospital is different.

    One your stable, you'll be moved to your room. I'll leave it to someone who's had back surgery to continue from here.

    Except for one thing: when the nurses come & try to get you up to walk, do it, no matter how lousy you feel. Walking is essential to preventing blood clots, which is always a possibility after any surgery. Also, they will give you this breathing thing that you need to practice breathing into. This too, is important in preventing blood clots. I can't express the importance of this enough; I had 12 bloodclots in my lungs, & I'm lucky I'm here to tell the story.

    Try not to get too freaked out by the whole thing; the drs legally have to tell you their is a possibility a patient can die during surgery, but if the dr thought you were high risk for this, he wouldn't do it.

    Good luck, I'm sure all will go well :)
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 04/14/2014 - 9:07 PM
    You'd be wise to do due diligence research on that place before you go.

    Try to arm yourself with knowledge. This is key. That way, the fear of the unknown is reduced. knowledge about the spine, the discs, the nerves, the body, the surgical propositions, the non-surgical treatments, recovery, life after surgery.

    Still, it's natural and healthy to be freaked out. It's a big deal! For instance, before my first back surgery, I just about canceled at the last second. It was the pre-op and I was freaked out. I kid you not; I was going to crawl (I was unable to walk at the time) out of the place on my hands and knees in a hospital gown!

    Finally at one point, I gave in and said "Screw it. Let's just get this over with. I've done my homework on this guy and on the procedure, if it works, it works. If it doesn't, I gave it a shot." I let go and placed my faith and trust in the surgeon and the technique.

    Well, as it turns out, everything went ok and although there have been a few minor issues, I am doing good.

    But again, try to research as much as you can. Read articles, watch youtube videos of the procedure, ask other previous back surgery patients, interview back surgeons, compile a list of questions in a notepad, keep a diary of the answers. Don't be pressured into surgery and be a little suspicious of people that promise you results or make it seem like it's no big deal or are very eager to get your $$$ or want to get you in so they can get your $$$ and get you out.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    When they told me to start counting backwards i think i got to 99 and was out. Lol. After 8 spine surgeries Im used to it and believe it or not the last few have not been nervous a bit. I didnt need a sedative to calm me down for surgery, i needed the sedative from my fathers driving me to the hospital. Good lord that man has no business driving anymore. Horrible thing to say but i couldnt wait to be put under, no pain then. As Paul said do your research so you have better knowledge of what to expect. Before, during and after. Good luck
  • Just had spinal fusion on Sat & I was exactly the same, in fact I was in such a state crying & shaking they had to calm me down before I went I

    Honestly if I'd known how gentle and un-traumatic it was I'd never have gotten so stressed. This is a big deal for us, but a routine occurance for them - have faith & let them do their jobs... Good luck!
    Mini- TILF L5-S1 April 12th 2014
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