Three weeks ago today, I had a bilateral laminectomy/discectomy for a double herniation at L5-S1. I did well for the first few days, but then my pain started increasing and on the 5th day post-op, while I was laying in bed, I noticed that the whole back of my t-shirt was soaking wet. I called the on-call doc and was told to come in to the ER right away. They were worried about a spinal fluid leak.
I went in and they ended up keeping me for a day and did a CT scan and an MRI on me which showed a large fluid accumulation in my back. (luckily it wasn't spinal fluid) They re-opened a portion of my incision and stuck a needle in to drain out the fluid and then put in some external stitches to close the area. I also had a white blood count of almost 16, (normal is 3-10) so apparently, I was in the beginning stages of an infection too. They put me on levaquin for 5 days to take care of that.
After I got home, I was still having some terrible pain issues. They had me on lortab 7.5 every 6 hours. I called my doc and he told me that he usually puts patients on the percocets, which is a level higher than the lortab, but since I'm allergic to the percocets, I couldn't take those. He ended up putting me on MScontin 15mg every 8 hours and that finally got my pain under control. I also still take the lortab for breakthrough pain.
Anyway, I am doing better, and have started going on short walks every day. But I'm still having quite a bit of pain and when I try to skip my pain medicine to see where I'm at, it's obvious that I'm not ready to come off of it yet.
I don't know where I'm "supposed" to be at this point in my recovery so my question is, how long does it normally take to begin to feel really good again? Approximately when does the pain actually stop or get to a point where you no longer need pain medicine? I feel like, at three weeks post-op, I should be farther along than I am. Maybe my setback prolonged the healing process? I did get my external stitches out and all the steri-strips are off, but there is still some swelling at the incision site.
I just don't know what to expect and hope that some of you can give me some answers as to how long it takes to get over this type of surgery.