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Old 04-23-2007, 07:35 AM   #1
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Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

Wow, I am not feeling comfortable with the comments by people who are in more pain after their surgery. My dad has had back pain for years, complained to doctors who never tested and my dad never insisted. Well, now his is completely immobile, wears a diaper, cannot feed himself, and is 'hoisted' in and out of bed. He is in a living center where he was to get rehab for his extreme weakness. First thought was the cholesterol lowering drugs. PCP took him off as three doctors said the same thing. The neurologist said it right out loud in front of me, my sister, mother, and dad - "it rots your muscles!"

I had to write a letter to the PCP because he had not seen my dad in two days and the weekend was coming. I brought it to his office and told the desk 'he needs to get this by this afternoon.' That night the neurologist (Dr. O) came by to see my dad and talked to me. Test results over a week ago still not told to us - finally he told me that it was a tightening of the spine and that it was the lower three disks, talked of fusion, and taking part of my dad's hip? They need to do further tests to determine exactly what surgery would consist of, but first they have to get my dad's consent to surgery (he said 'yup' but I think he's going to change his mind), then they have to check him to make sure he could handle surgery.

The alternative is steriod shots in the area. The neurologist said it helps 1 in 10 patients. I just am afraid that we may risk his life with surgery and that he'll be in more pain after. He has no strength to do his therapy now. How is he going to handle it after?
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Last edited by sawbuck44; 04-23-2007 at 07:36 AM.

 
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:02 AM   #2
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Re: Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

If your father is in a rehab center for extreme weakness, I would not consider fusion surgery at this time. Spinal fusion is a huge surgery and takes a long time to recover from. You don't want him going into it with a big strike already against him if he's that weak. Does he have other health issues? I'm a little concerned about his consent to major surgery just being "yup." Does he have the capacity to understand what he's consenting to?

Many people who have fusion surgery have complete recoveries and move on with their lives. Most of the people here are either 1) not fusion patients but are dealing with other back problems, 2) are pre-op or post-op and are still recovering, or 3) are among that small percentage of people who don't fuse or who have continued to have problems even after surgery. The success stories are out busy living their lives and may pop in only occasionally to give us a good positive post. I would not let the sad stories here dissuade me from the surgery. They are not representative. But the people here are certainly well able to give lots of help, hope, and encouragement. They're a great bunch!

If your father regains his strength, fusion surgery might be just what he needs. But he needs to be in somewhat good health if he's going to undergo such a major procedure. The doctors may disagree with me, but I think that's just common sense. Just my opinion...

I wish you all the best,
Emily

 
Old 04-23-2007, 08:10 AM   #3
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Re: Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

My dad is very coherent and the doctor said they would not go forward with the surgery if they didn't think he could survive it. He has to be tested by the pulmonary doctors this week, as well as either an MRI or CT Scan with dye to determine the exact surgery needed. I don't know how he'd regain any strength before surgery because they are saying that's why he has none due to this condition. It will be a telling week and I'll keep you posted. We certainly have concerns on his immobility and the fact that he can't even feed himself.
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

Sawbuck!

Welcome to the board! I have to agree with Emily. However what has me concerned is his inability to take care of himself - feeding? It sounds like there is more going on.
Take care and please keep us posted and feel free to ask any questions.

Last edited by ms_west; 04-23-2007 at 09:23 AM.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 10:11 AM   #5
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Re: Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

Hi, thanks for the welcome. I actually started a thread on the lung board, then came here when we heard he was to have possibly back surgery. I am so down today. Like you said, there are a lot more issues going on and the main thing that concerns me is the three doctors change of tone about the cholesterol lowering drugs being the problem. Maybe since they now have the stenosis diagnosis they see that most of his problems can stem from it.

My dad also has high blood pressure, diabetes (his sugar was 484 when they initially brought him into emergency on April 4), had a stroke about 10 months ago and never really recovered from that as far as strength, and he has a 79% blocked carotid artery that they said he was too weak to do anything about - that was 10 months ago! He is much more incapacitated now, I just don't see how he can have back surgery.

When he had his stroke we had to pry it out of him after a week had passed. His lip started drooping and he was very uncoordinated. It was Father's day when we said 'dad, did you have a stroke?' He said 'i think so.' But he never complained of anything new going on and we hadn't really seen him in action until that day. We took him to emergency where he got some treatment. they set up at home physical therapy and other than when someone came, he did not do it even though he insisted to us that he did.

Thanks for being there. I'll let you know what happens this week.
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If you open the door even a little bit - the devil will fling it open. Keep it closed with prayer.

Last edited by sawbuck44; 04-23-2007 at 10:14 AM.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 10:19 AM   #6
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Re: Lower Lumbar Stenosis Surgery for 76 yo with COPD

Wow!! I am so sorry. This must be so difficult seeing your father like this. It sounds like it might be stroke related. I wonder if he has had a second stroke and it was undetected? He definitely does not sound like a candidate for back surgery at this time. I guess time will only tell once his doctor is finished running tests.

I will keep you and him in my prayers.

 
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