Today it has been 11 days since my surgery, a 3 Level C4/5, C5/6, C6/7 Spinal Fusion with 4 inch Vertical incision on Right side ( 8 screws and one titanium plate). My spine surgeon is known to be meticulous and his specialty is fusion. I saw about 6 different surgeons before settling on this one and I guess I'm a little embarrassed to say, I thought I would have a 3 inch horizontal scar on the left side like most of them said they would do. I must have confused his method with other surgeons. I found out that it wasn't a 3 inch horizontal incision, just as I was waiting to go into surgery.
When I woke up from surgery at about 5:30pm, I felt as to be expected. I had a morphine pump, was started on a Medrol dose pack and I was sipping small amounts of water. I had chipped away at two water ices when at about 1:30am I started to vomit until about 4:30am when the anti-nausea drug they tried finally worked. I have had morphine before and never threw up. I can't tell which it was the anesthesia or the morphine that made me sick. Perhaps at my two week visit on Monday I can ask what they think. If anyone has an opinion I'd be curious to hear.
I stayed in the hospital two nights. Tuesday morning they took me for x-rays, they looked as perfect as a three level cervical fusion can be. On the way back to my room my transporter did not lock my litter and it rolled backwards across the hall to the wall where it slammed! I had my Miami J collar on, I was sitting upright and I tried to yell to him for help, but my voice is barely audible due to the surgery. Later I was lying quietly in my room and I felt what I thought was three small screw turns that would equal a quarter of a turn total on a circle shaped screw turning. It was a creepy feeling. They took a second set of x-rays and it looked fine except my right shoulder is tightening up. I don't think anyone could see a screw loosen that slightly on an x-ray anyway. This really upset me because my fear is of the hardware coming loose or breaking.
Currently for pain, I periodically take Dilauded 2 mg for incision pain and Flexeril 10 mg for muscle spasm. I still have on all 12 steri-strips even though I get a shower daily. My incision still causes me pain and I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if that is average or not? My high voice is slowly coming back, anyone have trouble loosing their voice?
Sleep is difficult. I bought a 6 inch high, by 30 inch wide, by 36 inch long custom soft latex foam wedge since in the end it would be cheaper than a buying or renting a recliner and still help me sleep on a little incline. I wake up with sharp pain on the back of my head from the plastic on my Miami J collar. I don't feel comfortable on my side as I feel it is an unnatural position for my spine with the collar on. I try to drink water all day, in small sips though because of the scar tissue it goes down the wrong pipe often. I still wake up completely parched and choking on the collar.
I try to walk a little more each day. My doctor wants me to walk a little every two hours. I walk mostly inside because of the 90 degree heat and having to wear a collar can make it impossible to go outside. Plus if I'm in pain the drugs make me fall asleep. I tried Tylenol but it didn't work at all for my incision pain.
The upside is the pain from those discs seems to be gone now! My left arm is still weak and I still get numbness in my mid back. My right shoulder stopped hurting after the surgery but has crept up on me again. I'm not sure what it is related to given everything that has happened.
I would love to hear anyone thoughts on their journey to healing as well. So far I'm looking at possibly 3 months in this hard collar during the summer!!!
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you!!!