Re: 2nd day post op PLIF
Hi Andrea ~
You've made it through the worst of it, and now begin the journey to eventually feeling better. Unfortunately recovery is a long haul and you will need to develop patience along the way, as it does not always continue on a straight path. Don't be discouraged if you sometimes find yourself going two steps forward and one back. This is perfectly normal, if frustrating.
Be sure to use your walker as needed. The last thing you want to do is have your legs go weak on you and collapse, or take a fall.
Be sure to drink lots of fluids and don't let yourself get constipated, a frequent problem after surgery and when on pain meds.
I found after my first fusion that I didn't sleep more than three or four hours at a time. So I didn't worry about it. I let myself be on a 24 hour schedule. When looking at it that way, I was getting plenty of rest. It just wasn't in 8 hour blocks! I had my surgery in January and remember watching a lot of the Australian Open Tennis tournament live, as I was always awake around 3 am. Of course this schedule isn't a possibility if there are kids that need caring for.
For now, it is important to take your medications on time, as prescribed by your surgeon. Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. Also remember to walk. It is better at this point to take a number of short walks --length and duration are not important. The purpose of walking in the first six weeks is to stretch out the spinal nerves. During this time, scar tissue will be forming. Walking helps to prevent the scar tissue from attaching to a nerve as it is filling in and forming....I would plan my walks to coincide with my trips to the bathroom. I could just walk inside (again, Jan. in the frozen northland), so I would use the bathroom and then walk around the first floor of my house for five or ten minutes at the beginning....then back to bed to nap, or to recline and read or watch TV, etc.
Did your surgeon tell you to limit the amount of time you spend sitting? Many will say limit sitting to 15-20 minutes at a time. Sitting puts 30% more stress on the discs than either standing or lying down. Particularly after fusion, it is important to not sit for long.
Let's see...I'm sure there are tons more things to say, but, I think it will be easier if you just bring your questions to the board as they arise. It is hard to know which tips you might be interested in.
Good luck! Try to maintain a positive attitude and get plenty of rest. Allow yourself to be waited on, and learn to listen to your body. And post with any questions or comments! There are lots of folks on here who have had fusions, and who will be happy to add their words of wisdom!