So, my surgeon had an ENT surgeon perform the anterior approach on 12/15/16 to make extra sure that we had no swallowing or throat/voice issues. Then,
my primary surgeon completed the 2 level disc replacement. There was a good chance he would have to do a fusion if he had to remove too much bone and if
he thought that the disc would not be able to "jack up" the area for nerve compression relief. He also removed a lot of bone shards in the spine and nerve root. Luckily, we were able to avoid the fusion.
I woke up in recovery after the 4 hour surgery. I was on dilaudid and had a button to push for that medicine. I was also given pain medication via IV prior to the surgery ending along with
Lyrica for the pain. I'm not going to lie, the 1st night was rough. However, my throat was fine. My neck and shoulders and back were hurting pretty bad.
There was a BIG miscommunication with the night time charge nurse who thought I asked to be taken OFF the
pain pump. Uh, no. I'm a few hours out of surgery. I was not even talking so how she thought that I have zero idea. My wife was pleading with them to put me back on but the charge nurse was very, very mean and the on call doctor didn;t care and ordered me off with no comment except not to call him back. Nice. He was in a "bad mood" according to the nice nurse. After 2 hours of NO PAIN CONTROL I was given a morphine shot and a valium shot. Once my actual surgical team arrived a few hours later to check on me, the situation was resolved and I was given proper pain control. In fact, as I was actually able to move due to not being in massive pain, I actually got up and managed to sit in a chair. I was able to walk steadily and the PT recommended my release. I was highly motivated to get out of there as quickly as humanly possible. My doctor expedited it and apparently had a word with a few folks because everyone was MUCH nicer, very, very apologetic and eager to help. I was released an hour later and sent home with a prescription and pain control program. My doctor called me twice to check on me. He even called on the weekend on his day off. Honestly, I mostly slept. I had some nerve pain on my left shoulder and arm but that's much better now. I just took two pain pills today and take Aleve every 12 hours. Unlike with Fusion, we don't want bone to grow with this surgery and so that helps to prevent that. I tire very easily but am able to walk and sit for long periods (this was impossible prior to surgery). I wore a soft collar for the first 4 days inside and if I go out of the house for something, I wear it. I do not drive. I can take baths and I got help shampooing my hair. You can't raise your hands over your head for a while. I forgot that and got a searing pain in my back after doing it. My muscles are very tight. All in all, I am getting stronger everyday. I am a terrible patient, I want to do more but can't and am generally not too fun to be around. I hate depending on people, but thank heavens I have help. My wound was checked yesterday and looks good. I change the dressing after it gets wet or every two days. My official in person follow up with the doctor is on the 28th.
I started feeling much, much stronger today. Yesterday, I was exhausted after walking for a few minutes. It's crazy how fast I seem to be getting better. A few days ago I was convinced I would never be better and had made a terrible decision. That was pain and exhaustion messing with my head. I am actually very fortunate. I was terrified after surgery. If I could do anything different, it would be to make certain that the charge nurse and ALL the nurses had my specific surgeon's cell number and his assistant surgeon's cell number. He said that he would have been happy to do that and woudl have spoken to me. At the other hospital where he works, they all know him. The two hospitals are literally connected by an office tower , but this new hospital has a few issues to work out. I was not his only patient with issues that night. Believe me when I tell you how incredibly angry he was at how we were treated. It's a new hospital with new staff and clearly not everything is worked out. It looks like a five star hotel-no joke. That does not matter at all if you cannot get the people on duty to call your doctor.
Good luck to everyone recovering. I'm praying for peace, faith and a pain free life or life with less pain. Hang in there! Have someone stay with you overnight if you can. They have beds or fold out cots if you ask. It made me feel less afraid.