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Need advice big time, having surgery (PLIF) next week..

JakotsuJJakotsu Posts: 212
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey there, first time poster here. I found this forum via google.

I hurt my back a year ago, took prednisone, got better. About 3 months ago it started back, severe right leg sciatica, throbbing lower back pain (more towards the right side). Over the past 3 months I had 3 steroid epidurals, a prednisone dose pack prior to that, and was taking darvocet/ibuprophen for pain. None have worked.

I had a MRI done a few weeks ago, it showed spinal stenosis w/ disc protrusions, multiple disc buldges, (Don't have the report there was a lot more but this is what I recall).

My pain doc who was doing the injections sent me to a spinal surgeon. He told me I have a real problem and surgery is really the only option unless I wanted to continue with conservative treatments (Summarized).

I am scheduled to have a PLIF L2-L5 done next week.

Over the past few days since this was scheduled my back has gotten worse, I made the mistake of bathing my dog and he jarred me around trying to escape, like an idiot I tried to put him back in the tub. I wanted to bathe him as I feel useless, I am on FMLA from work and all I do is lay around now.

The only way I am comfortable now is laying in bed with a pillow underneath my knees. Otherwise I can walk about 10 feet before I have the most unbelievable severe pain in my right leg, lower back, and right hip. It literally brings me to tears and I feel like I am going to fall.

I have to go to the hospital for pre-admission, then to my primary for medical clearance, then to my spine surgeons PA for my H+P. I can not drive, not even sit in my car without the pain getting unbarable. I am taking lortab 7.5's (even doubled up what the doctor said) and it does not touch this pain, but does provide relief when I lay down).

I had to cancel pre admision yesterday due to this. I called the spine surgeon and only get the office staff who basically tell me I have to get this done. I asked if it was possible to get admited a day early to have everything done at once, they told me no.

Anyone have a suggestion? I have to try again tomorrow morning for pre admission, a friend is taking me and she has a licoln town car, I hope I can find a position in the seat.

I don't like to consider myself a baby but thats how I feel at this point. The pain is truely unbarable, it literally sends me in a crying rage and I havnt even let it peak yet to my knowledge!

I am 25 years old, male, and a nurse by profession. (I never deal with spine issues and sparingly anything surgical, I'm a medical nurse).

I am sorry for such a long post but it is literally depressing to me. I know most of you have gone through far worse, any advice appreciated. I also have a ton of questions about what to expect after surgery but thats another post.



  • By no means are you being a baby ;) This is major surgery for major pain and I'm sorry this happened to you. You should be pleased to know that we have a few fine nurses in this community who have gone through this.
    I had a 2 level fusion too (see below) and I know how rough it can be. It is crucial you get down to preadmission or else they won't do it. They also have to draw blood. I know about the hell of driving/riding a car with this type of pain. I had my surgery 8 months ago and I still have that problem, and the only way I'm comfortable is lying down with an ice pack. In my case the 2 back surgeries I had didn't give me relief and I have chronic back pain and sciatica.
    Well, I hope you have a successful surgery and speedy recovery. Please keep us posted on how it goes, and we'll be with you all the way :H
  • It actually brings tears to my eyes just thinking of the ride over tomorrow. Just hoping I can do it.
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  • How did your pre admission go? I hoe you were able to get there and that the bad pain has settled a bit now.
    I hope all goes well with your surgery.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Hi, welcome to SH. This is a great site for information and support. Do look at the post-op must haves list at the top of this surgery forum. It lists all sorts of ideas for being prepared for surgery. You are having a very big surgery for sure. I only had one level and was off work for 15 weeks. I am a nurse too. I work mother/baby. I can't imagine ever working a medical floor with my back. Perhaps you should look into a new specialty that is easier on your back. I know that is far off with your recovery ahead of you still. I wish you success. Remember it is a long haul recovery for sure. Make sure you follow all your doctors instructions to a T. No bending, lifting, twisting! Take your meds, and take it easy. Walking is the best exercise for Spineys. Best wishes, Cali-Sue
  • Hopefully things are better for you? I also hope that you made it without horrible pain! I'm a nurse as well, and can empathize with pain and not being able to do med-surg work. I had to go to a Dr's office. I'm a little concerned about your fusion being to L5, but not including S1. I would be worried about all that "stiffness" so to speak with the strength of titanium sitting on one lone little vertebra. I guess I'm a little sensitive b/c my listhesis is at that level. Have they commented on why they didn't plan to go that far? It is a tough surgery, but it will hopefully relieve your pain. Best of luck!
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  • I hope you got to the hospital and did all the necessary blood work. I can totally relate to your pain. I have the same exact problem. shooting pain down the leg which won't let me sit or stand. But I walk around through the pain because my chiropractor said that laying in bed all day does not help sciatica. It easy for them to say. I hope you will get some relief soon. When it has to do with the back there are no easy fast solutions. That's what I learned because my pain is back and forth for the past 8 years. You have to be positive and if you go for surgery I hope everything goes well for you and you get some relief soon. You deserve it. Good luck
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