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Update - Spinal Fusion - Week Long stay in ICU

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

WOW - this place has changed. It's been a while since I have logged onto Spine Health.

I just wanted to pass along an update to those of you that were so supportive during my surgery personal life.

As some of you may remember, I had spinal fusion earlier this year. The day after my surgery, I went into respiratory failure and spent almost a week in ICU in a medically induced coma.

Well, the bad news to come out of my surgery was that I spent a week in ICU and my wife cheated on me.

The GOOD news was that I was back to work one week after leaving the hospital, starting lifting weights 2 weeks after my spinal fusion, travelled to China for work 1 month after my surgery and I am in the process of starting a San Diego support group for individuals with Spinal Cord issues.

My message to all of you is that Spinal Fusion works!!! I can walk 10 miles straight without stopping, lift weights, play basketball and live life like I used to. My only limitation is high impact cardio.

I also wanted to thank the 10 of you that were so supportive after my surgery and my newly single life. This message board is awesome!!!

By the way, here are some pics over the past year of my life:







  • Hey pete and welcome to the new site.

    I remember you and your story well and am glad to hear that you have continued to do really well. Despite the medical problems (week in ICU) and personal problems you battled through and overcame it all and have had a truly successful fusion surgery outcome.

    Yes, there are several of us here, and now you too, who can testify that surgery, including fusion, can and does work.

    Keep up thew good work and take care... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Hey Pete,

    you did a one level fusion? I did 2 level fusion and stayed in ICU for 6 days. Get better and take it easy.
  • ICU - that would be so scary!

    So glad I've not had to deal with that one.

    THANKS so much for the success story!
  • I love the people in this community! Spine Health is hands down the most caring on-line community on the net.

    Hope that you are doing well Bruce!

    Take Care

  • Glad you are back! What a story!
    Whatcha doing in China?
  • Work - I go back to China a few times a year for work.

    Have you been there before?
  • Hi Pete. This is the first that I heard of you story and I am so sorry for all that you have been through. My husband went into respiratory failure and spent 3 months on a ventilator in ICU (also in medically induced coma). It was the single most horrible thing that I have ever been through. The good news was that they did not expect him to live and he did! He has lots of lung damage and moderate brain damage but he made it. Anyway, I really just wanted to post and say that I am so glad that all ended well for you. I have never been to China and not really sure that I would want to go. They seem to be very unsanitary over there. I am tired of all of the defective and bacterial laden things that we keep importing from them. But thats another story for another forum(-:
    BTW- you are a very nice looking man. I hope that you find a decent wife that will stick with you through thick and thin!
  • Hi there....

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    When I went into respiratory failure, I stopped breathing for 3 minutes before they were able to intibate (sp?) me. As a result, I had short term memory loss and slurred speach for a few months.

    The worst was when they called a Code Blue - the crash cart was missing the proper medication to sedate me.

    I wish you and your husband the best. It truly takes an saint to stick around with someone that has spent 3 months in ICU - that is very admirable of you :)

    On a personal note - I have decided to take a risk and I am currently in Portland meeting someone that I met on eHarmony.com - wish me luck :)

  • Hello Pete,
    I am so glad to hear you are doing so much better!!

    Please be careful on internet dating sites. Never know who you are going to come across.

    I enjoyed looking at your pictures, you can really tell how sick you were and then how healthy. That is awesome you are doing so well.

    I had my L5/S1 fusion surgery June 5, then surgery again on June 17 due to a staph infection. Doc had to go in and clean it out, put a drain in me and I spent a few days in the hospital. Now I am taking antibiotics still, and will be for a while. I still battle fevers, although they aren't everyday like before, they are on again off again.

    But someday I will be good, someday I will overcome like YOU! I have started to walk and swim, and my doc told me I could ride a bike.

    Your scar is so small, mine starts at the base of my back on my spine, and goes halfway up my back. It wasn't that large to begin with, but with the second surgery he had to really get in there and clean it up. So I got a big scar. My husband told me to get a tattoo of a zipper on it. Haha, I don't have any tattoos and I don't think I want my first one of a zipper. lol.

    That is neat that you get to travel to China for your job. I don't like to fly (my first call ever as an EMT was a plane crash all 68 people died and it was just bad! Halloween night 1994) so that wouldn't be a good job for me. But it sounds cool!

    Take care and good luck with your date. Remember, be careful!!!!!

  • Hi Pete:

    I too am sorry for what you have gone through. It seems you are doing well after your surgery. I am also curious about that "small" scar. I had a TLIF L2/3 fusion with a much bigger incision/scar. What procedure did you have? One week after my fusion surgery I had to go in for an emergency colon repair surgery, so I also have a big scar in the front.

    I live fairly close to you in Murrieta, I lived in San Diego about two years ago and my son lives there now. What area do you live in? Where did you have your surgery? I had mine at Palomar Hospital.

    I wish you the best in your recovery and in you personal life.

  • the business about the crashcart. it is downright scary to see what actually goes on in these hospitals. God help you if you are in a coma or not able to look out for yourself and you do not have somebody there at all times watching the drs and nurses backs! I will not lie it has been very difficult. The first year after the ICU thing he was like a child. That has been 9 years ago and he has come a long way but still has confusion, short term memory loss and severe depression. But when I took my vows I took them very seriously. Better or worse, sickness and health. That is a good part of what is wrong with the world today, no values at all. Good luck with your meeting! Please just make sure that she is a keeper and really would stand by you through thick and thin before you get too serious! Please keep us posted on how it goes.
    BTW- My husbands blood oxygen was below 40 for atleast 24 hours before he was intubated.
  • Hi Veronica,

    Crazy story about the plane crash! WOW.
    Incidents like that will definitely leave a huge impact you your outlook for flying.

    I am glad to hear that you are doing better.
    I had a L5/S1 TLIF Spianl Fusion surgery and Laminectomy.
    My surgeon used a cutting edge new procedure (minimally invasive).
    My surgery was at UCSD and the nuerosurgeon is regarded as an pioneer in the field of Nuero Surery - so, I guess I got lucky with my surgeon / recovery time and size of scar :)

    So - the date went well. She is an amazing person and I could see my self going on many more dates with here. I was stoked that her picture really looked like her and and did not seem to be psycho :)

    Chat with you soon.
    Have a great week.

  • Hello,

    I can totally relate to your husband. My oxygen level was below 50% for four hours and I stoppd breathing for a few minutes.

    I had short term memory loss and slurred speech. It did cause some depression. The experience of being intubated while you are awake was and is still hard to deal with.

    As for dating - My wall is huge right now. It will definitely take a keeper to bring down my wall again. Hopefully she is out there.

    Please pass on my best to your husband.
  • Hey there Ellen,

    How are you?
    You are right - it is a small scar. I had a L5/S1 Fusion with a laminectomy. My nuero-surgeon used a cutting edge procedure on that dramtaically reduced the incision size and recovery time.

    I had my surgery at UCSD in Hillcrest.

    If you're ever in the downtown area - drop me a line :)

  • So glad to hear that your date went well! I always wondered if the people on those sites use their real info and pics. Maybe this will be your soul mate! I always thought that it is a good idea to match personalties, likes and dislikes up. I will keep my fingers crossed for you, Pete.
  • It's true, you can meet someone on the internet and be happy. I met my husband online in a chatroom of all places 7 years ago and in August were celebrating our third anniversary. Dont give up on finding your soulmate, she'd out there and when it happens be prepared for that wall to come crashing down.

    Take Care,
    Christina :)
  • No, I have not been there. I work in the plastics industry - so we send a lot of material over there. And of course a lot state side manufacturers have moved their production there. :(

    Are you going to go back for the Olympics? :D
  • Small world - I am in the Rapid Prototyping / Injection Molding industry.

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