Hello all - I thought I would post an update to my surgery. First a refresher...
Went in Monday 6/22/09 to Duke Univ. Hospital for a L5/S1 fusion. The n-surg did two 2.5 inch cuts in my back and did a minimally invasive fusion. He cut off 1 facet and ground it up to use as an autograft. It was put in a cage and put in where the L5/S1 disc had been. He then secured it with rods and screws. They used glue, no stitches.
The first few days were HELL! It would have been a lot better if I had some nurses to help in the hospital but I got no help and no pain relief (see other posts for details on how that got screwed up).
I spent just 1 night in the hospital and welcomed coming home so that I could get my pain under control and get some help.
Once home, I went to see my primary care doctor to get a good routine for pain meds. I am on Oxycontin 30 mg, twice per day for long term pain control. I have Percocet (10 mg) for breakthrough pain and Tramadol as well. Yesterday, I made it through with just the Oxycontin and tramodal without needing any extra Percocets.
I also had arm pain (near my bicep) - a big red splotch, very sore when I moved my arm, and kind of hard. I went to the doctor who sent me to the hospital for a sonogram. They found superficial blood clot and inflamed vein. I was given antibiotics for infection, told to take 600 mg. of Motrin 3X per day (even though normally I would not be allowed to because of the fusion), and told to put heat on it. It is somewhat better today.
The one week mark came with a definite improvement in overall pain. My incisions look great and I am moving more easily. My back is sore but overall - I feel so much improved. I still can't tell if the surgery was successful at reducing my pre-surgery pain for severe Degenerative Disc Disease or not.
I am walking every day. Yesterday was my first walk of any significant length, I went about 1/2 + mile. Today, I am going to the gym and trying the treadmill so that I can see how much I can tolerate. My legs are sore but I have a massage chair at home that will massage my legs and that has been very helpful to get the blood flowing better through my legs.
It did take me 7 days before I had my first BM post surgery and it was very difficult. I feel like I didn't have any muscle strength in that area. I am still a far way away from being back to normal in that area but I am happy that at least I started feeling the need to go again!
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them!