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24yr old Boat Capt, Future L5 S1 fusion surgery......

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in New Member Introductions
My name is Jeff, I'm 24yrs old, licensed 100-ton master crewboat capt, i'm a Louisiana transplant living in mississippi now due to hurricane Katrina. On march 16 2008 my life was altered due to a negligent and inexperienced relief captain on the crewboat i was runnin offshore in the Gulf of mexico, i now have a ruptured L5-S1, I've had physical therapy, which only made me hurt worse, I've had a epidural shot that gave me absolutely 0% relief, and last monday I had a discogram that I'm still tryin to recover from, since I've had that I've been in constant pain, and I struggle just to get up three steps on my front porch to get into my house. Due to being hurt on the job, I've filed suit against my employed under federal act of the Jones Act. My neuro surgeon recommend a level one fusion with bone cages, i guess thats what they call them, he said he would cut me open from the stomach, after looking at pictures of the hardware, I have to admit that this is startin to scare the shit out of me, but I already know that I'll probably wont be able to go back offshore again, can't be runnin no boat in 6-12ft seas gettin tossed around after i have surgery, I've been told i will be well compensated at settlement. What do I need to know for whats really in store for me in the future once I get this surgery, and what is the recovery like, what % disability am I likely to recieve from this ? How long is the recovery time ? How long before i can start driving ? I'm single so should i move in with my parents so I can have someone watch me and take care of while i recover, I have both parents that are retired and financially stable. I'm at the point where surgery is in my near future and its really starting to scare me.... Any input is very much appreicated. Anyone on here is more than welcome to reply on here or send me a email. CaptJJ_01@yahoo.com


  • HI and Welcome to Spine Health. Sorry to hear that you are still having the residual effects of the discogram.

    Who is telling you that you won't be able to return to your job after having surgery? I have friends in the USMC who have had everything from a simple L5-S1 fusion, to having 12 inch titanium rods and all of these guys are running and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

    I hope it's just a simple misconception that someone passed on to you. In other words, you don't have to "give up" just because you have a fusion.

    The surgery should allow you to get your life back and the crazy part is, your back will more than likely wind up stronger than the other guys on your crew.

    I hope this doesn't sound harsh, it's not meant that way. I just want to get across that people DO have very successful lives after spine surgery.

  • What do I need to know for whats really in store for me in the future once I get this surgery, and what is the recovery like, what % disability am I likely to recieve from this ? How long is the recovery time ? How long before i can start driving ? I'm single so should i move in with my parents

    Sorry under these circumstances.
    You wont' know whats in store. No one does and neither do any drs. There is no label to stick on someone. What percentage rate did they give you?? I was given 60 percent and I took it of course. I would say it ended up being more then that.
    Recovery is long. Even if you start to feel better.
    Depends on how you handle things, also going by your Drs orders is huge. Not one recovery story is the same.
    Please check out our Back/Neck Surgery fourm. Read through those that gives you a idea of things that lie ahead.

    I had no disablitly from it. At 6 months I was dancing again. At a year well I had to have a revision surgery but I am few and far between on that. I had circulatory issues so not enough blood flow/oxygen was getting to the fusion.
    If it was not for that I would say I'd be back at the gym, working etc. That is a tuff question to. Some people run into issues during the recovery period. We have had people back to their life in 6 months. So again depends on the person.

    Driving is going to depend on the Dr lifting the rule to.
    Some say start off slow, then increase as time goes on, whatever you feel comfortable in doing. For the first month usually no.

    Yes either moving in with your parents etc may be a great idea.
    I mean I have hubby here but I took care of myself during the day.
    There is no bending, twisting or lifting. So I was unable to do any housework, still can't. All things are done at waist level. Some bending at the knees.
    Running a househould with kids I would say is out of the question. So that you do not screw up what the drs did. If I make sense on that one.

    Hang in there. People think surgery OMG!! Or see pictures etc. It was not as bad as I thought it would be last yr. Of course this year was even easier.
    Its a different type of pain. Uncomfortable YES thats a given. Learning to live a new life style YES.
    Not saying at all you cannot go back to what you were doing a year from now. So hold that one on the plate and don't jump to ahead of yourself on that one. But I know it is a very huge concern.

    Spinal surgery or any surgery for that fact is a poker game.
    You will not know the outcome till the game is over...

    Start reading through our Back/Neck Surgery fourm so it gives you a idea of the hurdles people have to jump while recovering. You will then see we are all different.
    Ask away on that fourm. People will relate better and it gets more hits (responses). So post awayyyyyy!!! B)

    Take care
    Terri O:) O:)
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  • To be honest with you i had a fusion l4-L5-S1 on november 2006. went back to work 3 moths later had surgery on 11/21/06 and 12/08/06 i started driving just to da walgreens to pick up meds i was so freaken positive about everything, i started walking rite away, around my kitchen table 3 min then 4 so on so on, than waliking on the treadmill, the power of positive which got me through!oh by the way i have rods and screws also!!
    But now i guess i f----- up went to a orthapedic instead of neorsur, after working about 9 or 10 moths i was placed in a lite duty position one min id be on the north side the next the south side i thought i was going crazy. the er room got tired of me sent me to a pain specialist anow i have more problems than before!! actually i did not do research no 2nd opinions just went with it cuz before the surge i could hardly get in the car ,,, now i am worse than before my accident was on 01/27/04 in 2 years before i saw every thearpist so i guess i had to do the surgery!you r young you can get through this if it the only alternative, have you tried all physical thearpy,,, have you exhausted all your options? hey i can never drive a bus again but i can probley do lite duty work, just waiting to do another surgery because i have to have reconstructive surge which really suxx to go through this all over agai!!
  • Please check out the surgery section of this site and you will find lots of folks that are recovering or have had this type of surgery. Remember that everyone is different so the experience that someone else has may not be the same for you. There is an excellent post on items that you may need post op and I would highly suggest taking a look. It is so much better to be prepared for any surgery. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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