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360 Lumbar Fusion Experience

Hi everyone!

I figured I would pop in briefly and let people know about my experience last week! I'm 32 y/o, female and on November 20th I had a 360 (anterior/posterior) lumbar fusion L4 - S1.

I was brought in Friday morning at 8:30 and prepped, given an IV, etc. I was finally wheeled in around 10 am and knocked out. By the time I woke up it was around 7:30pm and I was in the recovery area: about an hour later I was brought up to my room on the orthopedic floor.

That first night was alright: I didn't have a morphine pump but I was given medication every 4 or so hours (although no one woke me up due to hospital procedure). Saturday was extremely painful. I'm known, in general, for a strong pain tolerance but seriously, this was a little prickly. At one point it felt like the meds weren't helping at all. The last thing I remember was speaking to my mom in the evening.

Unfortunately my case was a little different... I ended up waking up Monday night. Apparently a combination of undiagnosed sleep apnea and the nurses actually ODing me on both Oxycodone and Oxycontin put me into respiratory failure and they were unable to wake me up. (I'm still unsure why this happened.. ) I required a breathing tube and was given Narcan in the ICU in time to avoid brain damage.

Once I was stable I was brought back to the orthopedic floor. By this point I think I was so shaken up by the previous situation I wasn't focusing on the pain.. by Wednesday I was able to walk and sit in a chair for a few hours so I was finally discharged home.

Since then progress has been going pretty well. I still require help with cleaning (bathroom wise) but with the help of a cane and walker, I've been standing on my own. Sleeping is easier: I find sleeping on my left side is the most comfortable.

As for the incisions.. they're pretty huge and not what I expected. The front incision is vertical and according to my mom, much bigger than a c-section. The back incision is also fairly large and also vertical. The back bled a bit on the first night I was home but since then, has just been leaking clear fluid here and there (no smell).

A few random things..

I was given a foley catheter during surgery and it stayed in until Monday when I was moved back to my room. For the first week I was basically peeing non stop.

I wasn't allowed to eat solid of any kind until Tuesday morning.

Part of my inner thigh and parts of my right leg are very numb: I can tell I'm slowly getting a little bit of feeling back.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to sit up for more than a couple minutes (I live in a two floor home and upstairs, we don't have chairs so I'd have to sit on the edge of the bed).

I have both a back brace and a bone growth stimulator.

Thursday morning I was throwing up a bit but I have a feeling that had more to do with the trauma involved with the emergency breathing tube.

Overall if it weren't for the respiratory issues it's not THAT bad. The pain was pretty rough at first but it appears to be lessoning up each day.

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