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New to Site -- T12-L4 Fusion + XLIF L2-3 L3-4 done 11/21/14

On 11/21/14 had my 4th back surgery, a T12-L4 Lumbar Fusion + XLIF L2-3 and L3-4. Previous surgeries included 2 laminectomies and a L4-S1 Lumbar Fusion done 7 years ago, with great success (no pain for 5 years). I figured I knew what I was in for this time, but the pain seems greater and I can see the recovery is going to be slower. I'm 62 now, so my age probably contributes to a harder recovery, and the surgery was so much more extensive than before. I have a brace I am supposed to wear when I am out of bed, but it presses on the incisions and causes even more pain. I am spending almost all my time lying down now anyway, as sitting hurts a lot.<!--break--!>Today I switched from Percocet to Dilaudid 4mg, since I was taking too much Tylenol in the Percocet. I've taken 2 Dilaudid in 8 hours, and I'm pretty miserable. My rheumatologist switched me to the Dilaudid, since my orthopedic surgeon and nurse are out until the end of next week. The rheumatologist treats me for Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and Reynaud's Phenomena, all of which can exaserpate pain and inflammation, and I have long-term, chronic depression, which also influences pain!<!--break--!>
I am supposed to get home therapy, but apparently it wasn't set up before I left the hospital (on Thanksgiving Day), so I am trying to follow up to see if there are orders in my file, since I could really use the lead and guidance of a physical therapist right now. I had this after my prior fusion, and it was a great help. So my big issue right now is pain, along with dealing with the brace. I assume the brace will be better when the swelling goes down. Also -- does anyone have any ideas for avoiding twisting when wiping? I think I am staying as straight as humanly possible, but I know I am twisting. I have short arms . . . <!--break--!>
This is a wonderful site, and I have already learned a lot and had my mind set at ease about some things. My heart goes out to those whose stories I have read, and I know that I am lucky, although it's hard to see that sometimes. Thank you to everyone who is a part of this.<!--break--!>



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