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Old 04-23-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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Question When awaking from surgery

Hi guys. After spinal fusion and awaking from the surgery should I expect to be in total pain or all dopey from meds?
Also, what is the regular amount of time that we are not allowed to drive?


Thanks... my questions help ease the anxiety of the unknown.

CH

 
Old 04-23-2006, 04:10 PM   #2
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Re: When awaking from surgery

Hi there,
When I woke up I was so dopey from the meds that I honestly didn't feel any pain. It was a little bit painfull to role over but the nurses are there to help you do that. Also, keep in mind that if you are in pain at all ask for more drugs, you will get them but really, the nurses are good at keeping you comfortable.
As far as driving goes I think it really varies for everyone. I, myself still don't like to drive, however I had had more complications than originally anticipated. I can drive but because of some nerve problems I choose not too. I think a safe bet may be about 6 weeks or so?! That's something your doctor will tell you when you have your follow up after your surgery.
Did you get a date for your surgery yet? If so when is it? I'll be thinking of you. I hope you have been able to relax a little bit and not worry so much. I know it's tough but it will be over before you know it and you'll be ont he road to recovery and feeling soooo much better. Take care and let me know how you are doing.
Kristy.

 
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Old 04-23-2006, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: When awaking from surgery

I was amazed at how alert my daughter was when I saw her back in her room after her surgery, but that wasn't until about two hours after. I'm not sure how she was in recovery since we weren't with her. They kept her pain tolerable with the meds they were giving her. She did sleep a lot the first few days.

We have teased her for months that she was hallucinating post op when we saw her and she insists she wasn't. For a while the hospital had me in a panic, they couldn't find her and my friend and I were in a very uncontrolled panic. Just as I was paging her dr they found her. She was to go on the pediatric floor, but they ended up taking her to the adult ortho floor. She has insisted that the nurse who helped find where she belonged had me for a teacher and graduated with her brother (my son). We all have laughed and told her oh sure. Well to our surprise we found out a few months ago that there is a girl on the ortho floor who helped her that I had as a student. So we now tell her we know there was no hallucinations. lol

Driving - my daughter's dr wouldn't let her go as a passenger in a car until he saw her at two weeks post op. He had also told her that she could drive when she off of narcotics. Well that was at ten days post op and she had no desire to drive then. She felt like driving at about seven weeks post op, but I think most people drive sooner. She had mom to cart her around. cas

 
Old 04-23-2006, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: When awaking from surgery

My neighbor got spinal fusion 3 months ago in lumbar spine... I saw him one day and asked him when he was going for operation and he replied "I had the operation last week!" I was amazed that he was walking around and I didnt even notice he had just had operation a week earlier... pretty amazed.. He was driving around very soon afterwards, but not far... Today, he is out in yard doing stuff, and if you didnt know it, you would never know he had a back operation.. His doctor told him to start walking more and push it a bit. He feels pain in morning when getting out of bed initially, and then feels good as he loosens up.. It will take a year for full recovery though, based on dr... As far as pain, if you feel any discomfort at hospital, just press the "nurse" alert button and ask for some meds and they will make you feel good.

Our prayers are with you,

M

 
Old 04-23-2006, 05:55 PM   #5
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Re: When awaking from surgery

When I woke up, I was pretty dopey. They had told me I would be in ICU, so when I woke up first I felt my back to make sure they had done the surgery, then I asked the nurse if I could see my mom, she said I could see her once I was in my own room. I was confused until she told me I was in recovery and wouldnt be going to ICU. I didnt feel any pain really until I got moved to my room. Then instead of lifting me, the guys told me to "scooch" over to the next bed...I got half way an started to cry. My back was SO heavy, and they weren't helping at all. They still made me move the rest of the way by myself, it was horrible. (Make sure you ask them to lift you...) But then I asked the nurse for some more pain meds, she gave me a shot of dilaudid, and i fell asleep. When I woke up I had the PCU hooked up, and could push the button when I needed it. I also had a lidocaine pump going into my incision (one catheter at the top and one at the bottome of the incision).

I wasn't allowed to drive until 3 months post-op but I had spinal fusion at T10-L1. Hope everything goes well. Don't worry about the pain...ask for the meds and they will give them to you! Good luck!

Ash

 
Old 04-23-2006, 10:45 PM   #6
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Re: When awaking from surgery

Hi Cancerhead,

I will just paste in my post from when I had my cervical disk fusion about a year ago.... the pain didn't start till later that day when I started to come around a bit.

The nurses had orders to only dispense so much medication every three hours. Well, it would only last for about 1.5 hours. Then it was white knuckle time. Watching the second hand on the clock to make it hurry up.... for an hour and a half.

The good news is that it all went away...
mh

******
For about 10-12 hours following my cervical disk fusions (ACDF), I had INTENSE nerve pains. They seemed to be the same nerve that was affected/pinched/abraided before the procedure.

This pain was worse than the initial herniation.
It was pain that took your breath away. A notch higher and I would have been openly weeping.

It was like the nerve that was pinched and muted, was now wide open and really ****** off! It was like it was waking back up. The next day it subsided and has not been a problem since.

Anyone ever heard of this before?
*****

 
Old 04-24-2006, 05:10 AM   #7
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Re: When awaking from surgery

Hello,
I had L4-s1 fused 9 weeks ago and when I woke up I was in pain. I had a crampy dull ache in recovery. Iwoke with the tube in and pointed to my back. They gave me something. I never got total pain relief. Maybe kept at a 4 level.
Sheri

 
Old 04-24-2006, 05:59 AM   #8
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Re: When awaking from surgery

Hi CH
I woke up in recovery in extreme pain. But it was almost a relief because the pain was coming from the incision site not my leg. The nerve pain in my leg had been so bad before surgery that I told my doc to cut my leg off if that was the only way to get relief. Anyway, like I said my incision site and lower back were in extreme pain. But my problem was that I wasn't responding to the Dilaudid. So to me it felt as if I had no pain meds. They finally gave me something to make me sleep. But when I woke up I was still in extreme pain. It was so weird. I couldn't convience them that the Dilaudid wasn't working. I was in tears for three days until I went home and took Percocet which did the trick. It's strange how our bodies respond to different meds. My point is that as long as you have a pain med. that works for you, you should be good to go. Like everyone else has said, don't hesitate to ask for the meds. Every experience is going to be a little different. Try to be positive!!
__________________
DD
Dec 05 - Discectomy L3/L4
Jan 06 - TLIF Fusion L3/L4
May 08 - Ruptured C5/C6
Jun 08 - Fibromyalgia
Oct 08 - Artificial Disc C5/C6
July 09 - Ruptured L4/L5
July 09 - Spinal Stenosis

 
Old 04-25-2006, 12:46 AM   #9
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visions HB User
Re: When awaking from surgery

scb,

I had a similar experience. With my double fusion, anterior and posterior, I woke up in zero pain except for the incision pain if I moved around. They had me on a morphine pump for two days, but I never used it.

Then 6 months later I went back in for a refusion, one level didn't fuse and my doctor told me it would be a much more painful surgery because this time it would all be done from the back. With the first fusion surgery, I only had four tiny holes cut in my back to put in the hardware and those incisions never caused any pain at all, but the 6 inch incision in the back was off the wall painful, much more painful than and abdominal incision.

I came woke up from surgery on a morphine pump but I had enormous pain, if I did anything but blink it hurt. I was hitting that button every 5 mins and had zero pain relief. Finally, later the next day, my surgeon figured out that morphine doesn't work on me and they changed me to a Dilaudid pump and I had great relief right away.

I don't know about you, but I have made sure everyone in my family knows morphine doesn't work on me and it is written in my purse. God forbid I ever end up in the emergency room, unable to talk but in pain, and they are giving me morphine, which is the number one pain med they give in the ER. You might want to do the same regarding the Dilaudid.

Isn't it really weird how pain meds in the same family can work so differently, one narcotic not working at all and another that does?

 
Old 04-25-2006, 12:51 AM   #10
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Re: When awaking from surgery

cancerhead,

After my fusion surgeries, I was not allowed to drive, and only supposed to ride in a car to go to doctor appts, until after my 6 week check up. This is a very important time when you are just beginning the fusion process which takes months, you don't want to do anything to mess that up.

 
Old 04-26-2006, 09:36 AM   #11
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Re: When awaking from surgery

visions,
It's good to know that other have had similar experiences with pains meds. The nurses and on-call doctor were treating me like I was crazy. It seems they would be the first to know that not everyone responds the same. What was strange was that if the gave me the Dilaudid in injection form it seemed to help. At least it knocked me out for a couple of hours then I would wake up crying. They tried alternating between the injections and the pill form of the Dilaudid. The pills didn't do anything!! So I would have to lay there in extreme pain and crying for the next few hours until they could give my the next injection. (they didn't want to overdose me) That went on for two days before I could convince them it wasn't working. I thought I would pull my hair out.

Thanks for the idea about putting that information in my purse!! Like you I couldn't imagine being in pain and not being able to talk.
__________________
DD
Dec 05 - Discectomy L3/L4
Jan 06 - TLIF Fusion L3/L4
May 08 - Ruptured C5/C6
Jun 08 - Fibromyalgia
Oct 08 - Artificial Disc C5/C6
July 09 - Ruptured L4/L5
July 09 - Spinal Stenosis

 
Old 04-27-2006, 05:52 PM   #12
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JBravo223 HB User
Re: When awaking from surgery

I can chime in here...

I had my surgery on 4/11/06 which is about two weeks ago. When I woke up I was in pain. I was scared and regreted doing the surgery. I guess in my mind I was able to deal with the pain prior to the fusion but the new surgical pain was very new to me. The entire time I was in the hospital I questioned my judgement to have the surgery. I can't lie... getting up to try and walk after the surgery hurt like hell, it was also scary. but two weeks later my outlook is so much more positive. I am battling a stomach virus right now but I can say that getting up to walk doesn't hurt anymore. I actually feel good after walking a bit and I feel that tightness in my back. I feel like I am getting stronger... good luck with your surgery, and remember, the pain from the surgery will get better

-> JUST MAKE SURE YOU INSIST ON GETTING PAIN MEDS EVERY FOUR HOURS....

 
Old 04-27-2006, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: When awaking from surgery

My daughter's pain was really controlled after her surgery. Between the morphine pump and lortab she was comfortable. The only problem was the morphine caused severe itching and lortab caused nausea. She had more problems with nausea than pain. cas

 
Old 04-29-2006, 09:33 PM   #14
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cancerhead HB User
Re: When awaking from surgery

Thanks guys for all the helpful replies & advice. This info will help prepare me for the worst off situations when waking up from surgery. I appriciate it very much. this board has been such a help.


kindest regards,
CH

 
Old 02-23-2008, 09:13 PM   #15
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cancerhead HB User
Re: When awaking from surgery

I guess waking up after surgery wasnt so bad after all. I was too, doped up with meds. My hubby saw me 10 mins after surgery was over and after I waas slowly waking up ... he said i looked like angelina jolie with swollen lips. LOL.

It was difficult to roll over, but it took 3 days for me to be able to rollover and get out of bed by myself. I was stoked that the out come wasnt as bad as I feared it to be.

 
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