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6 days post TLIF

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Old 04-29-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Plano, TX, USA
Posts: 4
soniq911 HB User
6 days post TLIF

Well, I made it through the surgery with flying colors. The surgeon told me everything went well, and I don't remember anything about the surgery so I guess the anesthesiologist did well.

I arrived at 0530 for my scheduled 0730 surgery appointment. I was led back to a pre-op room where I stripped down and put on a gown, the anti-clot stockings, the cool anti-slip footies and all that other junk. The nurse came in to take my vitals, get me to sign some papers, and started my IV with LR. After a visit from a few other people...the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, and the internal medicine doctor, they started wheeling me away to the OR. They gave me the margarita mix before we left the room, and about 10 seconds down the hall I was out.

I woke up in horrible pain, my throat hurt, and I had a mask on with humidified O2 flowing through about 10LPM. I was still groggy and don't remember a lot, but they kept giving me ice chips, and eventually gave me a chloroseptic lozenge for my sore throat. The one thing I remember clearly was the foley being ripped out of me. I mean, I'm sure they didn't RIP it out, it just felt like it. After a few minutes of questions they wheeled me to my room.

My girlfriend was there waiting for me which made me feel good, but I was still in a ton of pain. They kept giving me dilaudid and fentinil, and then switched to morphine with no relief. I talked them into giving me a muscle relaxer which helped a little. I don't remember too much about the next few hours because I mostly slept, and my girlfriend had crawled up next to me and fallen asleep too since she had been up for close to 24 hours at that point (she works nights and worked the night before). I was able to talk to my surgeon at one point and complained about the pain, so they switched me to norco and valium which seemed to take the edge off. I was still told to take my percocet for any break through pain too.

Not more than 4 hours after I was in my room, the PT people were there telling me that we're going for a walk. It wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be, but it wasn't a breeze either. I was told she wants me up and walking around every few hours, which I was actually able to do. I don't remember much more about the rest of the day, I was sleeping on and off so much...and I think about 20 different people came in to take vitals, draw blood, change IV fluids, empty the surgical drain, give pain meds, etc.

I was released the next morning since I was ambulatory and was able to use the restroom without assistance. The nurse of course had to remove my IV and my surgical drain...which was almost as bad as when they pulled my catheter out. My girlfriend watched and she said it was in there about 6 inches. Ouch!

I was fortunate enough to work for an ambulance company and got a free ride home on a stretcher so I wouldn't have to try to get in and out of my Grand Prix and sit up for the ride home.

I've been taking my pills by the book, the girlfriend actually got me a pill organizer since my memory hasn't been great since the surgery and I was having trouble remembering what I took and when I took it.

All in all, I'm glad I got it done. He was able to only do it unilaterally, and I can't imagine what the pain would be like if he did it bi-laterally. I'm moving around ok, need a cane sometimes if I feel wobbly from the meds, still have a little difficulty getting in and out of bed, but for the most part I'm doing a lot better than I thought I would.

Sorry this is so long, just wanted to share my story. I have a lot more I could write, but I'm about to fall asleep...I've been sleeping about 18 hours a day because of the meds, and i've been up for about 3 hours now which is a long stretch for me.

Until next time...

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Old 04-29-2012, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: 6 days post TLIF

Glad you feel things went well and that you felt like writing an update. We will look forward to hearing more good news as you move forward with your healing.

For now, remember that walking and resting are your primary activities. It is important to take frequent, small walks so you stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills out post surgery. Nothing works as well as gentle walking for this purpose -- be sure it is on a level surface, even around your home will stretch out the nerves.

Remember not to sit for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than any other position -- so spend your time lying in bed, reclining with adequate pillow support for the spine, or up taking gentle walks.

Drink lots of water and other liquids. If you are taking strong pain medications, be sure to get lots of fiber so you do not get constipated. And be sure to get plenty of rest. Let people wait on you and baby you for awhile. Spinal fusion is an assault to your body and it will take quite awhile before you get your strength back.

The worst of it is behind you and now you will move forward with your recovery. Be patient. Keep a positive attitude and learn to listen to your body. There really is no way to rush the process along. People who try often end up with further just learn to take it one day at a time....

Thanks for posting with your good news.

Old 05-07-2012, 08:57 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Plano, TX, USA
Posts: 4
soniq911 HB User
Re: 6 days post TLIF

Well, I'm now almost exactly 14 days post-op and compared to when I came out of recovery at this time two weeks ago, I'm feeling great!

There aren't usually a lot of positive things on this board, it's people coming here with failed surgeries, more pain, etc, which is why I wanted to come back and tell my story.

I took it easy for the first week...real easy, did almost nothing, was waited on hand and foot, and aside from using the bathroom and walking around the house, I mostly just laid around.

The 2nd week, I started feeling a bit better every day, and was able to do more. 9 days post-op, I felt up to making a short trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and though I hurt a little more when I got home, it felt good to be able to do that. 11 days post-op, I made the drive into work to say hi to everyone and fill out some more paperwork so I could exhaust my PTO and collect whatever money I had left in there. The drive was about 20 minutes, and I started hurting toward the end of the drive, but once I was up and moving around again I felt fine.

I've cut back on how many pills I'm taking as well. I was doing 3x Valium, 4-6x Norco, and 2-3x Percocet daily to manage the pain, and I've at least cut that in half since. I still have flare-ups, but for the most part I'm feeling that the pain is subsiding and with any luck soon I'll be able to ease off them all together.

I've been walking a mile every day, and just started doing light tasks around the house. Nothing major, nothing that would interfere with my BLT restrictions, just enough to make me feel like I'm useful since I've felt like a part of the couch for the last two weeks.

I still have my good days, and my bad days. Some days I wake up in pain, others I wake up with virtually none. I've found I can control my pain by lying on my back with pillows under my legs, which most of the time can take the pain level from a 6 to a 2 within 30 minutes.

I use cryotherapy a few times a day, and just started using heat therapy a few days ago, alternating the two. They both give relief, which is always a good thing. I had a bone growth stimulator delivered a few days post-op that I wear for 2 hours a day. It's more of a nuisance than anything, it makes laying or sitting very uncomfortable, but if it's going to help speed the fusion up, I'm all for it.

My wound has completely healed, the surgical glue all came off, and it looks a ton better than it did the day after the surgery. I have no more local pain from the incision site, never had a problem with it draining, and no problems with infection.

My pain seems to be localized to the muscle group they went through to get to my spine, and I have some radiating pain to the right side, opposite to where they went in to get the disc, which I'm hoping is temporary.

I'm still very careful on how I get up and down from sitting or laying, but I'm now able to sit upright for periods up to an hour with a bunch of pillows behind me, and I'm walking fairly normally. I still walk with more caution than I used to, but I move a lot quicker than I did when I first came home.

For all of you that are going to have the TLIF procedure, there is hope. Before my surgery, reading all the posts on here (I literally read every one of them) I was a bit nervous about how my recovery would go, but not everyone has a bad story, there is always hope for a quick recovery.

I'll be back in a week or two with more. My post-op appointment and x-ray is on May 17th, hopefully the doctor will give me some good news

Old 05-09-2012, 10:13 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Arlington, tx USA
Posts: 1
Techgurl1988 HB User
Re: 6 days post TLIF

Glad to here you are doing so well. Can you tell me if you had a open TLIF or a MIS(minimally invasive surgery) TLIF?

From what you are able to do so quickly after surgery, it sounds like yours was minimally invasive. I was scheduled for a MIS TLIF May 7 but it was postponed due to abnormal EKG so now I have to get a stress test to rule anything out there!

Last edited by Techgurl1988; 05-09-2012 at 11:34 AM.

Old 05-09-2012, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: 6 days post TLIF

Delighted to hear you are doing so well. Pain in the groin or in the upper part of the thigh is normal after TLIF and usually goes away fairly quickly. It is caused by the surgeon having to bisect the psoas muscle to get to the spine.

Please don't push too hard too early -- it is easy to overdo when you start to feel better after months or years of being able to do little without pain.

I will look forward to your future posts reporting your progress! Good luck.

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