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Mom is 5 days post-op...we are stressed

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi. This is my first post, though I've read bits and pieces here the last few weeks.

My mom had L4-L5-S1 fused Friday (spondy). She went home Monday night. My sister, an occupational therapist, has taken a week off work to care for her but I went over Mon. night to do the "night shift" so my sister could get a decent night's sleep. It was a stressful night--mom's pain was a 10 at times. She has percocet (1-2 every 4 hours) and flexiril (3X daily). The percs were only lasting 2.5 hours or so. I just talked to my sister and she said last night was the same story. I've got the night shift again tonight and I'm stressed about it. Part of the problem is my mom is a nurse so she gets pretty bossy about when she can have her meds, even though she is so loopy from the drugs that she is often mistaken. Thank goodness my sister and I will stand up to her, but I'm worried about what will happen when my sister leaves and my dad becomes primary caregiver this weekend. (I've got 4 kids, otherwise I'd be over there more.) I don't think he realizes what he is in for in the middle of the night. And the sleepless nights will take a big toll on the caregiver too.

We have a call into the dr. to see if we can get something for her breakthrough pain. Apparently the nurse said, "Well, it is a painful surgery. Moving around will help a lot." Frankly, this makes me mad. I think my mom has a pretty high tolerance and I know she wouldn't throw around 10 as a pain level unless it was really true. And sure, she knew recovery would be painful but I don't think that means having a 10 for pain every 2.5 hours. Am I wrong here? I suppose I'm just venting, but I'd be curious to know if any of you were given more pain meds that what she has. Also if anyone has any tips for other things we could be doing, I'd welcome them. Overall I think she's doing well--moving a good deal, sitting, etc. and during the day the pain seems manageable, but the nights are bad.

Thanks for listening.


  • I hope you get something for your Mother's btp. today. She shouldn't have to go through so much pain. Maybe when she gets the pain under control she would be able to handle things on her own. I hope that you have a better night. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Unfortunately, fusion surgery is very, very painful for at least a couple of weeks. I, too, was given only percocet when I went home. I was able to get the doc to increase the percocet, but got no other pain meds. I know it is hard to see your mom in such pain! Just rest in knowing that it will get better in a few days. Hang in there!
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  • I can only relate it to the time my father had so much pain and made life miserable to everyone around him. It is hard to ignore it and you feel so badly. I hope she feel better soon!

    During my recent cervial spine operation I was in a room with a woman who moaned and whimpered and occasionally screamed all night, but when the nurses asked her pain level she said it was a 7! I have had pain level at a 9 before, or so I thought, and I didn't moan, I just knew if it got any worse, I would shoot my brains out. So people have differnent expressions for their pains as well as tolerances.

    I know you only wanted to vent but I have a few suggestions-if you don't care to hear them-don't read further.

    She needs to call her surgeon herself during an un-loopy time and explain as a nurse to him, what is happening to her at night. Maybe hearing from her or from the doctor will help her see her pain in a different light. Or maybe she needs a different kind of pain meds-or maybe she can sleep in a different position or move around more at night.

    You and your sister should talk to dad and be sure he gives only the amount of pills at the time he should because you don't want her to accidently overdose on pain meds.

    It's only been 5 days so have heart that it won't be long before she is feeling better-do the things that make her feel better-if night time is bad-make it day time all night long. Put on music, watch a movie, have her sit up. She's probably getting plenty of sleep during the day and have your father taker naps during the day when the wife does.

    Good luck and I hope it won't be long till your mother is feling like her old self again. She's lucky to have you girls and her kind husband!
  • I agree totally with Turtle and it is only 5 days which doesn't help you at all, really. Fusion surgery is very slow recovery and a major trauma for the body.

    I was still in hospital at 5 days so she is doing really well to be at home.

    Call the surgeon and see if you can increase the meds.
    Good luck.
  • All of you caregivers get the gold! =D> While you may feel helpless and useless, believe me, one day your mother is going to come out of this and most likely smother you with kisses for all of your hard work. Try to imagine childbirth pain around the clock with no baby to take your mind off your pain...I am a nurse too, and we tend to make pretty lousy patients. Anyway, "disclaimer" do whatever the doctor says. From one nurse to another: keep her on all meds around the clock for now even if she feels better. Inflammation and spasms tend to creep up unexpectedly and they really kick your fanny if you have no meds on board. So WAKE her up if she is asleep to give her meds (again ask the doc about all of this first as they know lots more than me). Ask the doc if there are any other pain relieving tactics you can do i.e. ice, moist or dry heat (though most surgeons will say NOT to use ice or heat after fusion so please ask them first!). Get rid of all noxious stimuli i.e. loud noise, bright lights, bad smells, hot or cold in the room and replace that with soothing music (if she likes that), aroma therapy, reading to her (again only if she says she likes it). Make sure she doesn't get a full bladder or bowel because that can make pain worse. If she is really anxious, ask the doc for something like Ativan that will help control anxiety. Anxiety increases pain! I agree with everyone else that positioning to sleep is important. Often people can't lay back completely after fusion. Are there any various ways to prop pillows to help? Is there any breakthrough pain meds she can take i.e. morphine, etc. Have her ask the surgeon herself, she is a nurse and knows how to describe her pain numerically and objectively in a way the docs can understand. Finally, pray, of course and I will do the same. Good luck and great job on your kind support of your mom. Please let me know how she is doing and update us on her condition over time okay? :-C
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  • so sorry your mom is hurting so badly. it was brutal for me as well. I wasn't even allowed to touch my prescription bottles. If you're not already, make sure you're writing in a notebook exactly what she's taking and at what hour. sometimes I just knew it was time for more meds and my husband would calmly explain and show me it wasn't time for more meds. I had percocet but something else as well which I can't even remember. plus muscle relaxers plus a sleep aid. hoping you all get better rest very soon.
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