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My sister Debbe's had TLIF yesterday Much pain and nausea

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, my sister's TLIF with autograph went well yesterday as per surgeon after her seven and a half hour surgery. She is in a lot of pain and having muscle spasms.
As we feared she is having problems with pain meds causing nausea. She was on a Dilaudid IV pump post-op until this afternoon when her blood pressure was low so they took her off of the IV. Now she can have it oral or IM injection. We thought IM injection would be better than oral due to her nausea, but still nauseous, so they increased the Zofran tonight at 10:00pm. When I left her she was falling asleep because she had gotten a muscle relaxer at 9:00pm and Dilaudid IM injection at 10:00pm with the Zofran. This is the first time she's relaxed since surgery. She was having a lot of muscle spasms in her back and buttocks, and her legs would shake like if she was having a seizure but only her legs. Is this normal?
Her drains are going to be removed tomorrow.
She is also very concerned about having a bowl movement because she can't reach to wipe herself since she has to wear a brace anytime she is out of bed and can't bend. Any suggestions?
Anyway I hope this makes sence, I am very tiered and need sleep.
If any one has any suggestions it is much appreciated.
Thank you,


  • Hi Marina, tell Debbie to hang in there and I am thinking about her. It is tough for sure, but does get better. I had zofran and reglan for nausea and it worked well. My legs shaked some too. Sometimes it happens right after surgery and I think it is related to anesthesia, but more likely it is spasms and just being weak and depleted. Mine shook mostly when I tried to move, but not if I relaxed. You get some rest and send Debbie some hugs for me. >:D< >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Marina said:

    She is also very concerned about having a bowl movement because she can't reach to wipe herself since she has to wear a brace anytime she is out of bed and can't bend. Any suggestions?
    Sorry your sister is having trouble with the meds. It is very important that she has a medication schedule that she can tolorate when she leaves the hospital. She wont be pain free, but within reason.

    As for spasms, yep, for me that was pretty normal. I would tense up and shake pretty often, especially when I tried to move anything. For me it went away, after a few days in the hospital then it was just pain, rather than pain shaking and resistance.

    As for the potty issue, my first 4 weeks home was the worst, I have a bit of extra weight, so that didnt help me. I had the hard brace and had difficulty with personal hygiene tasks. There are tools you can buy to extend your reach, they look like bent salad tongs, you wrap the toilet paper around them and are then able to wipe. I can tell you that I am an Occupational Therapist, and have rarely recommended them to people! For a fusion they may help some people, but in my experience I wouldnt bother. I found it was best to clean what you could, thru the legs while squating (bending you knees slightly, holding on to something of course no bending/twisting the back), then lay down on the bed and do a real good job with baby wipes. I just kept some small grocery bags handy for the garbage.

    Your sister is lucky to have you! I wish her a speedy recovery.


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  • I am glad your sister is through her surgery but sorry she is having such a hard time. It will get better.

    I had lots of muscle spasms right after surgery - but they got better within a few days. Muscle relaxers - Valium actually worked best for me - helped a lot. Actually more than the pain meds.

    As for wiping. I really worried about that but found I could manage (with some difficulty the first 2 weeks). Wipes worked better than TP however. I also found it easier not to wear the brace on the toilet - it was easier to reach to wipe with out all the extra plastic of the turtle shell in the way. Maybe that was "cheating" but...

    Get some rest. You are a good sister!

  • I was going to ask the toilet question at some point but you beat me to it. I'm not going to have a brace so it might be a little easier for me, but I'm sure it will be an adventure. 8}
  • I had the same surgery and most of my hospital stay was a blur to me. I had a PCA with morphine but the pain was so intense. I remember the drain hurting me and I could only lay on my side. It had to be taken out because I started leaking spinal fluid and developed a headache. I didn't have any nausea thank goodness. I stayed 5 days in ICU.
    I know your sister will be okay. It's going to be a very long recovery and it's normal to have pain flare ups. Always keep the doctor informed though. Your sister will need a grabber, raised toiletseat, walker, and cane at home. Someone will have to be with her for around 2 weeks. On the discharge notes they will explain when she can shower and how to care for the incision, along with other info.
    I wish you all the best
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  • to be with Debbie so much and to care to even ask these things.
    So firstly big hugs to you!!!!!! >:D< >:D< >:D<

    I was given Lyrica for the first few days post op - my surgeon said he diea it for all his patients to avoid the muscle spasms. SO maybe you can ask about that. It helps to settle the nerves that cause the spasms.

    I didn't have a brace so the potty thing was not so bad for me. The nurses helped the first few times but then I was OK.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Your sister is so very fortunate that you could be there for her! I know my sister would have done the same, but she couldn't get off from work. Wishes for the best for both of you.
  • Marina:

    I don't know how close you are to your Sister, but you may have to help her with her "personal" needs. I had my Husband after surgery and there is no way I can thank him enough for all he did for me those first few weeks after my surgery.

  • As Ellen said, sometimes a bit of outside help is needed. Before my fusion, I warned my husband that he may need to help with wiping. He then requested that I buy a box of latex gloves. I am happy to report, that we did not need to use them.

    Best wishes to both of you!

  • Hey Sparky,

    Your going down a similar path as mine (Nov 10th) . I did not need the brace either. Just be real careful and move slow as you shift from your side to back, to edge of bed etc. Your don't want to stress up the next level disc.
    See my post...it will give you some great insight.


    Ask your doc about opening all the nerve paths, testing each and every nerve, and cleaning up. Mine elected to do a lamendectomy at the same time. What a rush of good sensory input feeling my legs again....wow.

    DONT SKIMP, Go to in patient rehab for at least 5-7 days directly from the hospital.

    As for the toliet...the colace caused a rocking, rolling, shaking blow out twice in the first week. I broke such a sweat- shaking. Ask for Nexum to settle your stomach.

    Best of Luck.

    PS: Guard your Catheter with your life!. My PT trainee snagged onto mine. :O

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