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4 days until 2-level lumbar fusion w/micro discectomy at L4-L5 ...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Updating as it's been awhile since my last update. I have had another MRI and doc has decided to add L4-L5 fusion and microdiscectomy to scheduled (Sept. 10) L5-S1 fusion. Quite nervous at times and I try my best to stay distracted from what is to come. I have been very positive, but I have been a little more anxious than I was before because of the change in procedure. I have all confidence in my physician, and I do not doubt his observations or skill, but I have never had any major surgeries like this besides a wrist surgery I had a little over a week ago. I am feeling great otherwise and needed no pain relief whatsoever for the wrist, which was pleasantly surprising. There has been some discomfort from the incision because it's at the base of my thumb and is transverse, but I am quickly adapting to this. I don't know how to quell this fear about waking up from this upcoming back surgery and not knowing what's going on, being so messed up. I have never had general anesthesia, and I know it's so different from IV anesthesia or IV/local combos because it takes much longer to recover from. Can anyone explain the difference? I know everyone is so different, and I will only know after the fact what that feeling is. Most people don't remember much of the PACU (recovery room) but I am curious to know if anyone remembers this initial stage of recovery. I am spending this weekend making sure that I have everything in its place. Anyone had a microdiscectomy along with fusion?


  • Suzanne, I understand your fear completely. I too was terrified of waking up disoriented, or worse intubated, or some horror story. I know everyone is different, but I woke up calm in the PACU as the nurse was removing an oxygen mask from my face, telling me I was all finished. I was lucky because I have known her from 2nd grade and took care of her son myself in pediatrics many times. (I knew she was a nurse, but didn't know she worked in PACU). So a familiar face/voice I am sure helped. My pain was 8/10, but within minutes I was given a bolus of dilaudid on my PCA, then given a button to push every 5 minutes for more if needed. Pain decreased to 4/10. I was nauseaus right away also, but so quickly received zofran and reglan which took it away. I had a great PACU experience. It seemed so quick, then I was off to my room. They put me in my bed while I was asleep straight out of the OR, so didn't have to transfer off a gurney, which was a pleasant surprise. With general anesthesia you are put totally out, intubated with a tube into your trachea which is attached to a ventilator that breaths for you. They give you a combination of IV meds and sometimes a gas. I just remember my IV site burning twice while I was on a gurney alongside the spine surgery table in the OR. The anesthesiologist just snuck it on me, and the next thing I knew I woke up in PACU. In my job as a RN I have heard about patients waking up disoriented and combative, and they just promptly knock them out again with some versed or such, and let them wake up again, usually much calmer the second time.

    Regarding your procedure, I thought with fusion they would be removing all of the disc? The vertebrae need to grow together, so you wouldn't want disc material in the way hindering the fusion. I don't think it would be micro, unless you are having a minimally invasive procedure. I had a laminectomy, total discectomy, unilateral facitectomy(?), all as part of my fusion L4-5.

    Good luck, do what you can to prepare, but don't stress, everything will fall into place. Keep up those positive thoughts, and don't worry about PACU. It will all be fine. Take care, Sue
  • Pretty much Hi and welcome to the surgery club!!

    Sue is right. They are great. Hopefully you will not remember anything. I'v been in and out of the OR so many times I need my darn golden plaque!! ;)

    Most hospys have a pre=op waiting area. In there you will be given your IV. Fluids started. Everyone is usually rushing around getting things straight. Keeping you calm and laughing!!! That is a huge stress buster.

    In my hospital they wheel you in the OR first. Then start your meds going in your IV. Some well they start your first dose in the Pre op holding area. Everyone runs different.

    They are laughing in there to. Iv gotten introduced to them all laughing cracking jokes. It really does help to have a great OR team.

    They give you some O2 and you slowly drift off. Your not tubed till your totally out of it.
    Before you know it your either waking up in post op or in your room.
    I personally used to remember waking up after all my surgeries. Yes a little antsy. Like burning pain not severe pain. But BOOM they are fast in there. Your out like a light again.

    Last few surgeries for some reason I remember NOTHING AT ALL. 8}
    Mabye because I told them I have high anxiety and to have that IV valium waiting when they awake me :H Not sure.
    My mom and hubby said I rambled on that I was in pain all day. Do I still remember???? NOT 8} 8} I think they are just all crazy LOL :))(

    If they ask you if you want a PCA patient controlled pain pump SAY YES!! Its so much easier then waiting for the nurse to come in every 4 hrs with meds. Easier on the nurses to. As they are so busy.

    So relax take it easy. Make sure all your things are set up at home. Your going to want everything at waist level.
    Also bring your own pillow to the hospy with you.
    Makes for a more comfortable sleeping experience. (in my eyes) your not sweating on plastic.

    Lots of hugs!!
    THE QUEEN OF SURGERY hahahahahahha (Terri) ;)
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