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Post-Surgery --Feel abandoned by surgeon

PrettyPeacockPPrettyPeacock Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi,
This is my first post. I have been reading these forums for over a year now & they have helped me learn so much. So, thanks a ton!!!

I had a spinal fusion (L4-L5) 6 weeks ago & I have no idea if it was a success. I am 40 and in great health, except a little overweight. I went with this surgeon because I thought he was relatively patient with the many questions I had before the surgery. After the surgery he seems to simply not care. I was in the hospital for 5 days and he would come in and just stand there. I had to address him, he would answer a question if I had it but never to any degree or detail. I have no idea if the amount of pain I am in is normal. I am in as much & sometimes much more pain than I was before the surgery.
I have moderate nerve pain in my left leg, which I know is normal but the past few days I have had this ridiculous pain in my back that literally feels like a piece of metal or bone is trying to push its way out of my back. It is the sharpest meanest pain I have ever felt. I can adjust my position and it immediately stops but I am terrified of it starting again. It is intermittint over the past few days.
I called my doctor yesterday morning & left a msg with the receptionist that I don't know if this is normal and I needed to talk to the nurse. Keep in mind, I have not called or bugged them once since my surgery. Just had the basic 2 week checkup that they rescheduled twice and where he spent an entire 6 minutes with me because he had an emergency surgery come up and couldn't spare anymore time than that. Anyhow, the nurse finally called back today at 6pm and didn't address my pain at all, just said that my next appt is for april 12 and there isn't any time the Dr. can fit me in before that. I told her about the pain and she said, "Well, I wouldn't know anything about that. You'll have to talk to him in a couple weeks" She then asked if I was still taking pain pills. I said, are you kidding me??? Yeah, I am still taking pills, I don't have any pain relief. I can't use the computer for more than a few minutes at a time so I can't go back to work yet.

I don't know what to do. I guess I can call my pain specialist who seems to care & has known me now for 3 yrs. Has anyone else experienced this type of pain? And what do you do when you feel like a victim of a surgeons version of Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am?

Also, quick question as well... since the surgery since I can't bend over I squat to pick things up and my knees are on fire every day. I rub them with a ben-gay type cream and take muscle relaxers but they are in so much pain. I haven't seem anyone else talk about this and didn't know if it was normal too?

Thanks so much!
Bre
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Comments

  • My advice is to contact your pain management doctor. Maybe as doctor to doctor he get more help from your surgeon for you.
  • The surgeon is done now. Any appts. are token visits to make certain everything is still in place. Discuss pain at your own risk as you may get a response that goes something like, "you can't be in real pain. I fixed you." I am certain they take a course on lines that drive patients crazy. They also don't tell you that the final step before closing is to drop in a grenade for good measure. After eight surgeries performed by arrogant prima donnas, for the most part, I guess I have a bit of an attitude. After the last one, my pain doc and the surgeon got into a heated debate over my post op infection. The surgeon maintained that it was impossible for me to have gotten an infection after one of HIS surgeries and not to bother coming in for my post of appt. as he was dropping me from his case load. That's right. I never got a post op appt. after a three level repair.
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  • Wow, pain1010, that blows my mind. I just don't understand how these surgeons can do these drive-by surgeries then act like they never have to give a crap. I had a previous surgery with our towns 'top' neurologist and when I went back to tell him it didn't work as I had zero pain relief. I had an X-Stop put in and he told me that was impossible as the surgery went perfectly. I guess I was hoping that after choosing this surgeon he would care. I guess I am wrong.

    I have an appt with my GP this afternoon for the knee pain & to see if there is anything he can do about my back and a call into my pain specialist for the back pain. I am just sick about all this. I feel that I still have healing to do but this amount of pain just doesn't seem at all normal.

    The depression on top of everything is just the icing on the crap cake.
  • I hate to say that what you are going through happens a lot more than most people understand. Many surgeon's have huge ego's. They only want to deal with success stories. Once they realize that they did not fix you, they tend to avoid patients that have complications after surgery. Most of them outright refuse to take phone calls. You're smart to go to your pain Dr. and Primary Care. They can get more of a response from him than you can. Most of them will refuse to prescribe pain medication six weeks after surgery I hope you get a much better response from your Dr.'s and get the help you need. When it first happened to me, I felt very hurt. I put all of my faith and trust in him. It was my Primary Care Dr. who explained this to me. I hope you let us know how it goes.

    Lorraine :S
  • I hate to say that what you are going through happens a lot more than most people understand. Many surgeon's have huge ego's. They only want to deal with success stories. Once they realize that they did not fix you, they tend to avoid patients that have complications after surgery. Most of them outright refuse to take phone calls. You're smart to go to your pain Dr. and Primary Care. They can get more of a response from him than you can. Most of them will refuse to prescribe pain medication six weeks after surgery I hope you get a much better response from your Dr.'s and get the help you need. When it first happened to me, I felt very hurt. I put all of my faith and trust in him. It was my Primary Care Dr. who explained this to me. I hope you let us know how it goes.

    Lorraine :S
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  • I know the NHS in the UK gets alot of bad press, but I can only ever praise their care of me.

    I've been seen by the same surgeon for the past 2 years. He did the PLIF (with another surgeon in attendance) in 2010 and the revision operation last December.

    I am on his waiting list for a S.I. joint injection for continuing pain issues and understand that the pain I have now in my back will probably remain for always. There's no point having more surgery to reduce scar tissue damage when all it will do is create more! I don't ever want to have more surgery again!

    I cannot believe some of the treatment people are receiving from their surgeons. And to NOT have a post-op appointment after fusion surgeon is awful. I don't know how they get away with this - isn't it laid down in their own protocols and policies what treatment you can expect to receive?

    For all the bad things people say about the NHS (and I am sure they are correct in many establishments) for me personally, the worst thing is having to wait so long to see a specialist, but there again the NHS is free, so I think it's acceptable and if I couldn't wait that time I always have the option of paying privately for a much quicker appointment. After any fusion surgery it is their policy to keep the patient 'on review' for 2 years after that.

    They have questionnaires for patients to complete at different stages of their recovery (from before the fusion until the end of 2 years) so they can monitor their own progress and effectiveness.

    The NHS have looked after me very well for the past 7 years and I have no complaints whatsoever (apart from ongoing chronic pain issues!). The level of care I have received has always been excellent and my surgeon is very caring and helpful. I have always had 100 per cent faith in my surgeon.

    I think everyone should be entitled to find a surgeon you can trust who will give you the level of expertise you need to try and resolve your continuing pain issues, as well as a good aftercare service that gives you reassurance that they will be there for you afterwards should you need it.
    SUE
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Not following up surgery with a post-op appointment sounds like malpractice to me. I think a surgeon has a responsibility to keep an eye on their patients for at least a year post op.

    SueD, I agree with you to a certain extent, but I think there are some NHS surgeons out there who are not so caring and interested in how their patients do. I think that you have a good surgeon and should hang on to him.

    It is very difficult before surgery to know the difference (unless you know other patients that have used them). After surgery is when we realise how interested they are in the outcome of the surgeries that they perform.

    I had it explained to me that a surgeon is looking at the patient as a problem that they can either fix or not fix. Once they have tried to sort out the problem, if it is not effective or worse still, causes other problems, then unless they can see a way to do another surgery that will sort it out, they don't really want to know.

    There are surgeons out there though who are willing to try to help those patients that have had a failed surgery and try to give the patient relief. I think they tend to be either the really skilled surgeons that like a challenge, really compassionate people who want to help, or both.

    Don't give up Bre. You are still early on in your recovery and there is plenty of time to heal and get back to your life. If you do end up needing to see someone else, try to find a really skilled and compassionate surgeon. >:D<

    If you do, let us all know.
  • Each doctor is different. I was a workers comp case where he had to track me for up to a year after surgery and then had to issue me a PPD. He did refer me to a Physiatrist for pain management six months after surgery. That doctor was a joke. I found my own PM who is wonderful!

    I would follow up with your PM. Perhaps he/she will order more films to look at your spine. If he/she see's something, maybe they can talk directly to your surgeon.

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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