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Post op ACDF, Pain management and swelling/swallowing issues

Good morning!
A little about my history, Buldging disc from C-2 thru T 7 also 3 broad based bulges in lumbar, cervical Spinal stenosis,cervical and lumbar DDD, Cervical Radicopathy, SURGERY: 2011 ACDF c5-6 & recent ACDF 4-5 for cervical instability which didnt respond to over a year of non surgical tx.
my recent acdf c4-5 and revision of hardware 5-6 surgery was last week 3/24/15.
First off I have been in pain management for a couple years when new onset of severe neck pain got worse in 2013. Pre op I was taking Percocet 10mg q 6 hrs and oxyicotin 20 mg q 12 hrs.
Post op Surgeon said to my family "surgery went well" nothing more, no details of findings but I was the 5th case of the day, surely he was tired. Well I woke in recovery in pain, then taken to room and STAYED IN PAIN AND IN TEARS ENTIRE HOSPITAL STAY. 6 pm I arrived in my room and all downhill after. I had a nurse who never wanted to give me pain meds. At 7 pm shift change, I was given a IM injection of dilautid then one Percocet couple hours later. From that point on if I asked for pain meds he would say "oh u dont need pain meds u need muscle relaxer. This continued everytime I was in pain. I received 2 doses of Percocet 10mg and 2 IM injections of Dilautid (each arm) after absolutely no sleep bc I was in horrible pain and it would take 3 calls to get anyone to respond to call bell.
At 7am the PA with my neurosurgeon came in to round. I told her to send me home bc if I am going to suffer in terrible pain, I want to be in my bed. Told her how alll night the nurse chose his judgment and refused to treat my pain, my husband confirmed that to her. Idk why it would hurt him to give me iv pain meds ordered. The Percocet I have been on for about 9 months so it had no effect post op. She agreed to discharge me bc I was very upset and I told her that nurse was back tonight and there was no way I would allow him to torture me again. At discharge nurse came in with paperwork and said idk why but ur doctor did not leave pain med prescription. Her suggestion was to contact my pain management md bc thats the only reason she could think of why I didn't have a different med for post op. My husband called my orthopedic pain med doctor when we arrived home but he was out of office due to family emergency and again all this week.
Husband then called neurosurgeon office and Informed them my doctor who has been prescribing pain meds pre op was unavailable and I got appt for Friday 4/3. She called I prednisone and said I was experiencing nerve pain. After 6 days of the prednisone taper no improvement.
So yesterday I call neurosurgeon office when they opened, around 830am. PA called me back around 430 and told her my neck & throat pain had gotten worse not better plus I have so much swelling I am back to jello bc I couldn't get meds down. She informed me she was calling in Strong steroid decadron and better muscle relaxer Valium. Husband went to get medicine and it was decadron and something called Soma.
I called my family doc and tried the best I could to explain what had been going on since discharge. He asked me to come in at 530 he would see me at end of day. My vitals were not normal. bp 170/104 heart rate 120's but no fever. (I do not have hypertension issues) he immediately knew when he saw my face I am dehydrated and since neurosurgeon PA called in decadron, he gave me script for liquid cough med with hopes it would sooth my very swollen throat but told me I had to push fluids of I would end up in hospital.
I have no clue how to get fluids in when they wont go down. Why is my swelling much worse and by now why isnt pain calming down???
I WISH I HAD JUST LIVED WITH THE ONGOING NECK PAIN. As it seems to me, pain management patients are all labeled DRUGGIE even with diagnostic tests that prove reason for severe pain. Not like I chose this route.
IDK what to other than lay at home and cry.
Suggestions anyone???


  • lilahwlilahw NY Posts: 19
    edited 03/31/2015 - 6:29 AM
    Awful.... That's awful.
    I had a similar hospital experience and a hard time dealing with the pain meds afterwards. I was on lyrica and trying to just use ibuprofen before my 3 level acdf and didn't handle the narcotics very well.
    I was throwing up while sitting in my bed in my hard collar right after surgery, by myself because the nurses took over an hour to respond to the bell. How are you supposed to stay ahead of the pain, if they don't come in?? I couldn't get out of there fast enough and even though they suggested I stay one more day, I just wanted to go home. The most intolerant, inept nursing staff I've ever had.... Ugh.
    my throat, 4 months later is still effected. I had a lump or what my surgeon referred to, as a "shelf" in my throat where things get stuck.
    not sure if you have a small frame, but they told me smaller people don't tolerate the manipulation to the throat as well and I am still hoarse.
    I was on hydrocodone for the first 3 weeks and then stopped and have just been powering through with lyrica and Tylenol. Can't take ibuprofen anymore because of the fusion and Tylenol doesn't help at all. I'm going to see a new, totally independent neurologist tomorrow that will hopefully get a handle on things, because my surgical team really botched my aftercare.
    I refused pain medication the entire time I was injured and the minute I started having issues with the meds, I was treated like I had a drug addiction. I think the regulations are so strict now, that surgeons don't want to take responsibility for medication long term. 3 weeks after my surgery the head nurse from his office said "I shouldn't be in pain"....
    Huh????? They reconstructed my spine and my discs and ligament had calcified.... And reversed the deformed lordosis.... No pain??? Unbelievable!! We are at the mercy of these people. I am taking my health and long term care into my own hands and am taking a whole body approach. Neurologist for meds and long term health effects or new ones, Physical therapy to keep my body functioning, nutrition to help get the vital nutrients I need for recovery and massage/deep tissue therapy for the pain and muscle spasticity.
    From now on, I will only use my surgeon as just that... A surgeon. To fix the broken parts. But not for any type of ongoing care or medication or testing. I'm glad he did the surgery, but that's all he was good for in my situation.
    Maybe you should find a doctor willing to take over your care. Or one willing to correlate with your surgeon and pain management Dr... ??
    I'm sorry you are dealing with that. It is really unfortunate and disheartening.
    I found a salt gargle a few times a day and drinking herbal tea with raw honey, was the only thing that helped my throat. That and time. I ate a lot of soup and yogurt and applesauce for the first month. And made smoothies and protein shakes to try and give myself nutrition even though I was super nauseous. I still have no appetite, but the smoothies are cold and soothing...
    I hope you feel better. You aren't alone. Some of us are stuck in this medical system too. It's really unbelievable.... I feel for you. Take care :)
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