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Going To The Hospital, and after...

Mindymork62MMindymork62 Posts: 206
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm going into the hospital on June 29th for a 3 level fusion on L3, L4, and L5. Can anyone direct me to a web page that discusses what happens while you're in the hospital from the day you are admitted to the day you go home? I haven't been "in" a hospital since 1976, as far as spending the night. Actually I was told I may be there for anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. I would like to know what to expect before hand, like when they put me to sleep, pain after surgery, etc..I've been at a steady level 5 pain for 6 months, and on bad days it gets to a 10+. I have allot of support for when I come home, and my hubby just bought me a rocker recliner with a footstool, for when I'm ready to sit in living room. I'm normally a very independent person, always doing for everyone else, so I know some changes are coming in that as well. :)


  • it really depends on you, your doc and the particular hospital. I would definitely read the list of things that is posted on this forum. I would also add two things, a spinner for getting in and out of the car(it's easier than a garbage bag) and a set of stainless tongs with silicone on the ends for each bathroom along with the adult wipes it's the easiest way to clean your nether regions without any bending or twisting. then just pop in the boiling water daily to disinfect.

    the hospital- my advice is have your hb plan on staying with you the first 24 hours. I found i needed an advocate for the most painful part, the first night. Everything seemed to be soooo long or difficult when staffing is low at night.

    You MUST follow everything you are told by your doc. They really do mean it and its amazing the ways it affects your life. Do get good easy slip on sneakers for walking and walking and walking.

    good luck
  • As flash said, it can vary from patient to patient and hospital to hospital. However, I've pasted a link from this site that talks about surgery from day one in the hospital to the third month out. This link will take you to the first of six pages, each telling you about the next step.


    Of course this is general, and your stay will probably not be exactly like this article, but it should give you a good idea of what to expect.

    Also, be sure to look at the post-op must haves at the top of the surgery section to see what things you might want to purchase for your recovery. You won't need everything on the list, but some things are imperative, such as a grabber or two, toilet riser, a walker and a cane, satin sheets or satin pajamas to help getting out of bed, and pillows, pillows, pillows.

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  • When I had my surgeries it went something like this.

    - Got there 3 hrs before scheduled surgery and went to waiting area
    - About 2 hrs before they called me in.
    - Changed into gown and then they let my husband come in to the cubicle.
    - They take blood pressure and temp
    - Then they started the IV in my hand - I think they also gave me a little xanax or something in that IV because I remember feeling a little out of body
    -Then you wait
    - THe surgeon stops by at some point and asks you what area he is working on. This is a law in some states to prevent mistakes of operating on the wrong part. ex left arm instead of right if they can they mark the spot with marker
    - The anesthesiologist will come in to ask his questions. He checks to make sure your mouth is clear. And asks about past anes. reactions. If you get nausous let him know because they can give you stuff to counteract it.
    - About an hour before your surgery (remember if you aren't first this can be when the OR is ready) YOu get taken to the OR. Anyone with you is directed to a waiting room.
    - The get you settled on a table and the anesthesiologist will hook up his IV. THe tech who is doing the monitoring will come in and start putting leads on you. I remember this part being about a half hour that I was awake.
    - THen its night-night
    - Depending on how busy the post-op area is you will wake up either in the OR or in post-op. Either way you won't be alone.
    - Post op for this surgery should mean you have either a nurse just for you or you may share them with one other person. As soon as you are stabilized they will send you to a room.

    From here is all depends on you. If you have no issues you may be in a regular room. If there are other things going on you might be in higher care area.

    Again depending on how you are doing a physical therapist should be in to see you the next day or so. They want you walking as soon as possible.

    Hope this helps. I would suggest having your husband available to stay with you or visit frequently while you are there. While most hospitals are staffed by professionals there are always exceptions and these days sometimes short-staffing. It's always good to have an advocate onhand.

    Have you read the list of things you need yet? Not everything applies and you might want to wait on some until you see how you are doing. A good surgical supply store is important. Also check with the hospital and your insurance to see what they will provide. That stuff they will arrange while you are in the hospital but they can tell you what would be covered beforehand. I would call the insurance company now because they may have contracts with certain companies who would deliver what you need and pay for it.

    Right now you should be concentrating on getting yourself and your home ready. Store meals if you can. Arrange to have the house cleaned right before you go in - either with help from family or hire someone - it's worth the piece of mind to know this is taken care of. Rearrange your kitchen and bathroom so what you would need is right in front of you. Toothbrush, toothpaste, skin cleanser, cups, plates (paper are lighter and you thrown them out), and most important meds. Pick out the clothes you are going to live in for the first two weeks and put them where anyone can get to them. Remember you will be swollen at first so thing big and comfy.

    I would make a list of all the areas you want to get ready and then check them off. I was very distracted before my surgeries and lots didn't get done. I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions ask.

  • Mindy,
    Along with Cath111's suggestion, there are some other good articles here:

    there is a large list at the bottom.

    This one might be helpful before your surgery:
  • Kris, my stay went almost exactly as you've posted and you have some great suggestions.

    Also, before surgery (the day before) I really kept busy by getting my hair cut, getting groceries, purchasing new underwear (a spiney pre-op MUST - it's a spiney rule), paying bills, etc.

    The list I posted the link for and that Kris mentions is a good one.

    You might want to have an alternative ready to the chair you're planning on sitting in post-op. It can be very difficult to sit reclined after lumbar surgery. I used my recliner, but had to put a few pillows behind me to keep me sitting forward in the chair. Others prefer to set up a wedge pillow in bed or on the couch or a bed put in the living room to keep you elevated slightly and the pressure off you lower back.

    Anyway, don't hesitate to ask any questions on the forums along the way. Many of us have been where you are now and understand how difficult the wait for surgery can be. And don't be afraid to ask your surgeon for something to help calm your nerves in the week leading up to surgery, something like valium or xanax. My surgeon didn't hesitate to give me xanax because I was so nervous.

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  • These are really good suggestions, and some I wouldn't have thought about, such as a walker or cane. I have problems now with walking because of my hips and leg. The hospital I will have the surgery in, is a Surgical hospital, and every room is private, with a couch if someone wants to stay with you. Also the ratio of nurses is one nurse to 4 patients, and an aide for each patient. My daughter had her back surgery at the same hospital last August. I will continue to look at suggestions. Thanks. I'm 59 years young and getting a "little" nervous.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    After my surgery the PT did an assessment to see if I'd need a walker or cane at home. If I did they'd get one prescribed for me and give it to me before I left. I did have a walker at home and we later found out it was too low, but I was walking on the surgical floor without a walker the night before I left.

    My stay was to be 3-5 days and ended up at a week. The more active you can get (complying with PT, moving around, getting up to go to the bathroom when you are allowed, etc) the faster you'll be released in most cases. I had some stomach issues that prevented me from doing PT for 2 days thus my stay was extended a bit (also in part due to trouble getting me enough oral pain meds that took an extra day as well).

    Most hospitals these days are private rooms and with back surgery there are certain protocols they follow but they totally customize your care.

    My friend's mom was so afraid of the pain she refused to get up for the PT sessions. (They are not fun, but I knew I had to do it.) Well she refused so on day 5 they had the social worker come in to talk to her about transfer to a rehabilitation center. She was appalled. But they explained that after she was medically stable they can not keep her and would have to send her to a rehabilitation center (which was part nursing home). That night she called PT at the hospital and asked them to come every 5 hours if it would allow her 2 more days in the hospital and then a discharge home.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Here is another item I need some advice on. I have been on Lortab 10/500. I take about 4 or 5 per day. I have been on this since my injury of a broken vertebra 6 months ago. Should I start weaning myself down on these? It's going to be hard, because the pain gets so bad sometimes, that I have to take a pain pill and wait 30 minutes just to move. All my pain is in my mid-back both sides down to my buttocks and down right leg. My Neurosurgeon knows what I take, and he is fully aware of the continuing problem with my T12 vertebra. That was a work comp injury and the work comp Dr. said he cannot do anything more. I know I need good pain control for after surgery.
  • You need medical advice about whether to reduce your pain medication.
    It is sometimes suggested to reduce what you are taking to aid pain control after surgery, but it needs to be monitored by your doctor.
  • Now might be a good time to begin to talk to your surgeon about seeing a pain management doctor. They are so helpful in figuring individual needs for pain relief.

    Everyone responds so individually to pain and medications. You will really want to communicate with your doctors in the hospital how you are feeling.

    When they switch you to oral pain meds from the pain pump, be sure to tell them if it is not working. Don't let them send you home if your pain isn't managed to the point where you can walk to the bathroom and around your hospital room.

    Wishing you the very best!
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