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ALIF (L4-L5-S1) & Decompression - I feel great!!!

AKpatient0AKpatient0 Posts: 30
edited 02/03/2016 - 1:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
ALIF (L4-L5-S1) & Decompression

Day 1: 2 Feb 16

0600 - Showtime

0800 - Scheduled Surgery Time

0915 - Wheeled to the OR
-Delayed ~60 minutes as some of the instruments weren't processed, so they had to take care of that.

0955 - I'm told this is when the surgery started. The last thing I remember was them saying they were starting the anesthesia.

1330 - I'm told this is when the surgery ended and I was wheeled to the PACU

1415 - I think this is when I woke up in the PACU. I felt great! The leg pain and back pain is mostly gone. I haven't felt this good in over 5 years! I have a PCA for the surgical pain, which is the greatest machine ever. The nurses in the PACU were wonderful too.

1500 - My room is ready. The orthopedic floor at [EDIT] was recently renovated and everyone gets a private room! I have great view of the Chugach Mountains, but the best view was my beautiful bride of 19+ years sitting there waiting on me. Again, the nurses are great up here too. Vitals every 15 mins for the first hour, then every 30 mins for hours after that. IV antibiotics to prevent infection.

Most of the pain seems to be surgery-related. I'm still feeling some pain down my buttocks then going down my leg, but it's interment and I'm guessing it may be from a nerve that may irritated during surgery.

Moving around in bed, even a little to make adjustments or to allow the nurses to listen to my lungs from the back - that was actually excruciating. Also, I have a spirometer for breathing exercises, compression devices from my feet to the top of my legs and I have to move my feet around as much as possible.

Started out on a clear liquid diet. I was told that as soon as I passed gas I could move off that diet. Who knew farting could be so important?!

2125 - I reached the next milestone and was rewarded with ice cream and a Coke!

I'm told tomorrow that I'll will get to try getting up and walking. With two assistants, some sort of strap and a walker.

I'll try to put together another update tomorrow. I'm in good spirits and stoked about felling better - it's great!!!


  • You made it through the surgery part, now it's on to recovery. Yippee! Just please try not to get too disappointed on the "one step back" days, ok?
    Just think about this--if you would have tried to pay for a soda and icecream with a fart anywhere else, you may have been arrested...
    Heal well, fellow "spiney"!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Kimmy72 said:
    You made it through the surgery part, now it's on to recovery. Yippee! Just please try not to get too disappointed on the "one step back" days, ok?
    Just think about this--if you would have tried to pay for a soda and icecream with a fart anywhere else, you may have been arrested...
    Heal well, fellow "spiney"!
    Kimmy, that's a great way to explain how for ID get trying to make a purchase with a fart!!!

    Day 2: 3 Feb 16

    0015 - 0110: slept
    0115: More Percocet, then the nurse asked if I wanted to try to walk, and then I learned how to log roll (that parts sucks).

    Waking felt great! Painful abdominal area & a little pain in hip area, which I think was from lying down so much. Again, it felt so good to walk that I asked the nurse when I started if I could walk further, but she recommended that I don't. So, I ended up walking maybe 150 - 175 feet or so. In the end, she was right. Just walking her recommended distance had me hurting pretty good in the area of the incision and in the L4-S1 area where the medical car mechanic did his work.

    0145 - 0215: another short nap

    0530: I got the nurse to let me walk me again. And this time, I took the longer route....TWICE! Although, she only wanted me to go once. I'm pretty well medicated, but the only pain I'm feeling is the surgical pain. Back & legs feel brand new!

    0745: I just spoke with the Ortho PA who assisted the Surgeon. He said that if I pass physical therapy today and go from using the PCA to only using oral pain meds then I should be able to go home THIS AFTERNOON!!!!

    0815: the surgeon came in and spoke with me and aside everything went well. The vascular surgeon was able to get me opened up and get thru the approach without many issues, then the spine surgeon was able to do his thing without issue as well. All told, from open to close it was 3.5 hours to do both levels. Hopefully, I'll be going home today or tomorrow at the latest.

    0900: Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy came in and covered the log roll, getting dressed, bathing, walking, and getting up/down stairs. The even gave me an extra long grabber (I'm 6'3"), an extra long shoe horn, a tool for socks, and a shower scrubber. I was able to walk just fine without a walker for 15-20 minutes including traversing a flight of stairs both up & down. I also had the nurses disconnect the PCA so I'm forced to use only oral meds. Things are looking up for going home today.

    1115: More oral pain meds. They're working, but not as well as the PCA. The nurse took the catheter out, that was painful, but a step in the right direction. I got out of bed on my own for first time (remember PCA disconnected and oral pain meds working just not as fast or as well), to use the bathroom on my own (#1 only). Getting in and out of bed was the toughest and hurt more than before...like a 9/10, but the pain subsided in like 15-20 minutes so all-in-all it wasn't that bad.

    1520: Transported to radiology for two last pics of my lower back. Getting in and out of bed still hurts, but riding down in the wheelchair was the worst!

    1830: Discharged

    Now I'm trying to figure out how to do this at home...

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 732
    edited 02/03/2016 - 11:37 PM
    Way to go..!!!

    First time I've ever heard of farting for a free ice cream.

    How old are you... and what got you into the medical car mechanics hands in the first place?

    Just curious to hear your story pre surgery.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • When the pain pump came out. ..but other than that holee molee, man! Out already...guess your darling wife posted bond for the fart? Lol!
    I spent 4 days in the hospital. ..might've been the access method (anterior vs posterior).
    I don't know if you'll experience the same thing, but about a week or so after I had surgery, my sciatic nerve pain decided to start singing The Phantom of the Opera--and decided to run that on a loop for a bit. Darn good thing my husband keeps his axe in the back shed, because my left leg may not be here had the axe been closer....WOW! There have been other posters on here who've dealt with the same issue, so apparently it's a normal part of recovery. If anything doesn't feel right, though, give the doc a call. MUCH better to be safe than SORRY!
    You've got a great mindset, and you're not going to be without help at home. You'll do well AS LONG AS YOU DON'T PUSH IT. I learned that the hard way. I'm a "go-er/do-er" type, so being laid up is difficult for me, and I DO get the sense from your posts that you are also not fond of being idle. It's SO much harder to try to catch up with your pain than it is to slow down and prevent it from flaring up in the first place.
    Another member shared a valuable caveat: you only get ONE chance to have this heal correctly. I'm sure you're also like me (and the other members in here) in that you don't want to go through another surgery if you don't have to!
    Take care, and I wish you success in your recovery!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • hvills said:
    Way to go..!!!

    First time I've ever heard of farting for a free ice cream.

    How old are you... and what got you into the medical car mechanics hands in the first place?

    Just curious to hear your story pre surgery.

    I'm a 38 year old male on active duty in the Air Force. From Oct 09 - Jan 10, I went thru Pre=Deployment, Combat Skills Skill Training with the US Army is Beatififul Fort Polk, LA. While in that training, they beat us up pretty good physically, including HUMVEE and MRAP rollover training. In those simulators, you're wearing full bogey armor (extra 50+ lbs) and a weapon or two ann then flip you over a coupe times to reach you what to do and how to get out. It's kind of worse-case scenario training. That is when I starting hurting, but I had the doc I ws with just give me some steroid injections to help me deal with the pain He continued down so for me throughout our 6+ months in Kabul. It's been about 6 years, but in that time, I've tried (and failed) just about every non-surgical treatment option there was. One the last 1.5 years, the pain got some bad that I was referred to a neurosurgeon and then I got a second opinion to the ortho-spine folks. That's the Cliff's Notes version as I remember it while narc'd up at home....
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