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Old 11-23-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland
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mlou58 HB User
Upcoming surgery/new poster

Hi all. I just found this site about an hour ago and feel that this is exactly where I need to be. I have already found a lot of important info and gained wise insight from several people. I am scheduled for L2 thru S1 fusion on Dec 1. He may stop at L4/L5 but wont know until he is in there. I have been struggling for years and underwent a laminectomy in May 2008 that made things worse than ever. I now have a new surgeon that I trust implicitly. He actually listens and explains everything! I have arthritic spinal stenosis that has cause herniated discs at all levels. I also have mild scoliosis that has never caused any problems until the laminectomy, apparently because it destablized the spine. Anyway, as you all probably know back pain really sucks. My lower back and both legs are affected. I have started working only 5 or 6 hours a day, and barely make it through that. I am on duragesic patches (which really slow down my brain) and percocet. I cant wait to get off all these drugs. My presurgical appointment with my surgeon was on Thursday and after he explained everything I think I had a two day anxiety attack. I am scared to death. I have had both of my hips replaced (2004, 2005) also due to arthritis, but I dont think I have ever been this scared. This is my spine! I am sure that many of you can relate.
I am sorry to go on and on but I really needed a place like this to vent. My husband is very supportive but simply cant relate to what I am going through. I would love to hear from anyone, but if you have had multi level fusions I would especially appreciate your experience and thoughts.
Thanks so much, Mlou

 
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:17 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 215
Devon07 HB User
Re: Upcoming surgery/new poster

Hello and welcome....your in a really good place but its a little slow on weekends....you and I have the surgery date in common....Im having a two level 360 and I am extremely nervous....my problem is alot like yours....my wife isnt worried because I havent fully explained all of it to her....she knows what to expect and I have not worried in front of her or my son....I want them to not have the worry I have now...Im the "Rock" in this family...so this is where I go....I try to help and get help....you no doubt will get to meet a few of the pros in here ...people are nice and really understand. I wish you the best and try and not worry about things....it will get better.

Devon

 
Old 11-23-2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 9
JelloShotzGirl HB User
Re: Upcoming surgery/new poster

Hi mlou58 ***
These are excellent boards to read and learn from . I had 2 disks replaced Oct 17th and was scared as hell to have the surgery , but I had been in pain so long that I didn't really have a choice anymore , I am sooooo sick of depending on pills , and right now the pains still intense , even after a month . ( I am on fentanyl patch & pecocets )
I am trying to be patient , but at times I am in tears from all this crap .
When you see your surgeon , ask him if there are any patients of his that have had your surgery that you might be able to call for information .
{{{{{{ hugggzzzz }}}}}}

TC ***

 
Old 11-23-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,303
BlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB User
Re: Upcoming surgery/new poster

Hi Mlou, and welcome to the back board!

Well, you’ve made the big step of deciding to move ahead with this surgery. Now it’s time to prepare. The more you prepare ahead of time, the easier and more comfortable your recovery will be. Be sure to read the thread at the top called “Post Surgery Tips.” It’s got lots of very helpful suggestions that will make a big difference for you.

Out of all the suggestions people gave me, the best one was to get a grabber tool. My grabber was worth what I paid for it the first day home from the hospital. Do spend the money to get a good one. Mine was $30 at my local pharmacy. I tried one called “The Gopher,” too, because it was a third of the price, but in my opinion it wasn’t worth a nickel. (Others on here have tried it and liked it fine, so this is just my opinion.) It was really flimsy. I ended up returning it and got a good one instead.

Also, get yourself a little notebook to keep track of your meds. You’ll be groggy and in pain, so it will be easy to lose track of what you took and when. Write down everything you take! You’ll need to stay on top of your pain by taking your meds exactly as ordered. Don’t try to wean off them too quickly. You’ll heal better if your pain is under control. I kept a running list of questions for my doctor in the same little notebook, as well as notes to myself so I wouldn’t forget things in my fog during those first weeks.

I got a set of satin sheets (well, a cheap imitation) for my bed and some slippery pj’s. It was SO much less painful to be able to slide to turn instead of fighting the friction of cotton. This really was one of the best things I did for myself! I did end up taking off the satin top sheet and put the cotton one back on. The satin one slid out from being tucked in too easily, and it was way too hard for me to re-tuck it myself.

For the same reason, put a plastic garbage bag in your car for the ride home from the hospital. You can slide on the seat and it will be much easier. Also, put a ziplock bag in the car in case you feel nauseous on the way home. If you need to throw up, you can just zip in the mess and no one will have to clean anything up.

Check with your insurance company to see what equipment they’ll provide. A toilet riser is very helpful. My insurance company provided a portable bedside commode, which can be place right over a regular toilet. You just take out the bucket. No one has to clean anything out, but you have a higher seat and arm rests to help you get up and down. Flushable wet wipes are also very handy. You’ll be weak and it may be hard to reach, so you’ll feel a bit cleaner if you use those. The hospital or insurance company may give you other little goodies, too, like dressing tools and stuff. I found my grabber much easier to use than the dressing tool, but try it and see what works for you.

If you have a front incision, keep a small, firm throw pillow handy all the time. You can also use a folded up blanket or towel. Place it directly over your front incision. (Well, over your clothes, of course). When you need to turn, cough, sneeze, or laugh, press down on the pillow to “splint” the incision. It really helps to lessen the pain!

You can expect to be mostly lying down for the first weeks, maybe even 2-3 months, depending on your particular case. Most of our healing takes place during sleep, so you really need to get enough rest. (That’s one reason why little kids heal so fast and old people heal much more slowly.) You need to walk, though, to get a good fusion going. Walking increases blood flow to the spine, which is essential for bone growth. Getting up and down from bed will be hard at first, so take advantage of already being up anytime you need to use the bathroom and walk, walk, walk. Even if you just do laps around your bedroom, walk for as long as you can tolerate. At first, that might only be 10 minutes. That’s fine! Then lie back down and rest.

You're sure to have questions as you get closer to your date, and lots of questions afterward. I hope you and Devon will both be posting so those of us who have already been through it can try to help you from our own experiences. It's a long, hard recovery, but for me, it was worth every second! Time to join a movies-by-mail club, and don't forget to put new batteries in your remote controls!

Keep as busy as you can this last week before your surgery. It will not only make the time pass more quickly, it will help you to not be dwelling on it too much.

Hang in there!
Emily

 
Old 11-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 215
Devon07 HB User
Re: Upcoming surgery/new poster

BlueAtlas.....I think Ive read every post you ever put on here...lol I am following everything you have ever said with the exception of the $30 grabber....We had one already and it was a cheapie.....thank you so much for all your help....you are a sweetheart and if there was a dozen roses over in the smiley bin I sure would make the purchase....thank you and Im going to go worry now. lol

I will get back to you all ....as a matter a fack I may take my lap top to the hospital...... I may not even use it but just in case...I might get bored....my sister told me I would be entertained at trying to spend all day to get in and out of bed...lol

Thanks again to ALL of you who offer so much help for the stressed out injured backs around here.

Devon

 
Old 11-24-2008, 06:36 AM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,303
BlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB User
Re: Upcoming surgery/new poster

Aw, thanks! That was sweet to say!

If your hospital has wifi, that would be awesome! We've had a few people here who did that and posted to us from their hospital bed after surgery! I didn't take mine to the hospital, but once I got home, I spent many hours a day with my laptop on top of a pillow on my stomach, mostly on this site!

I took books and music to the hospital. Didn't touch any of it. I barely even watched TV. I had a reaction to the anesthesia and my already-low blood pressure dipped so much that I wasn't allowed to get up for the first 5 days. They kept me in ICU as I kept almost passing out. Now don't go worrying about that! I'm a skinny thing and have always had low blood pressure. I've never heard of that happening to anyone else here. I just like to keep my doctor on his toes! Even after I was stable, I just wanted to sleep. Gimmee some pain killers, shut my door, and I'll be fine! If you're a typical always-on-the-run American, take advantage of your forced break and enjoy the rest!

Emily

Last edited by Administrator; 03-17-2014 at 05:53 PM.

 
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