Well I kind of had the same experience the others did, post-op care sucked.
My Dr. told me I would get a list of do's and don'ts when I left the hospital, which i didn't get, and I don't know what I can and can't do, so I am winging it. I only have a soft colar for sleeping, My Dr. said he used plates and screws, and I don't need a collar.
My surgery went well, and was successful, i am feeling better allready, and I know it will just keep getting better.
I came home on the 24th, and I never did get horse, just pain when swallowing, and that is getting better.I can say I am doing fine.
If anyone knows what I should and shouldn't be doing, I would appreciate it.
sounds like you are doing well, welcome home. you should call dr.s office on Monday to get their specific instructions.
take yours meds when you need them, many people have been told to avoid ibuprofen which inhibits bone growth, watch your neck and head positions - try to stay in neutral positions as much as possible. avoid lifting anything over the weight of a gallon of milk for the first month, by then you will probably see the doctor again. activity as tolerated. good luck.
My Dr. is pretty minimal on the instructions, too. When I left the hospital it was written to not do unnecessary lifting, reaching up, extreme neck positions (esp. forward and backward). That was it. I am not wearing a collar. I still have amazing mobility in my side to side motion. ( had C5-C7) done. I wouldnt even venture to try the up and down. (I am 18 days post op). I feel pretty good. I get very worn out quickly. I walk a mile a day on the treadmill, which helps alot.Yesterday, I went to the grocery store for the first time. It took twice and long as it would if I went alone because my husband was price checking everything. By the time I got to the middle of the store, I was like a zombie. I am looking forward to doing it alone.
I am glad to hear you are doing OK. And sorry to hear you also had sub standard care. I think the only reason I had such good care was that I didnt go to a hospita, per se....it was a spinal disorders center. These nurses were great. But I have been in the hospital many times and its always a nightmare.
The following are the basic instructions I think most docs give out. I did searches for acdf post op instructions. You may get several to come up. I had steri-strips but wrapped my neck in plastic wrap for the first few showers (I took one the day I came home). This worked great to keep bandage dry. These instructions do not cover if you have a collar. I wore an Aspen for 3 weeks 24/7. I did shower in a Philadelphia and eventually switched to a soft collar to shower in.
ACDF Discharge Instructions
Your neck incision is closed with a stitch under the skin. The stitches will dissolve in time and do not need to be removed. When the bandage is removed, you will notice suture knots at the ends of the incision. These will fall off within 4 weeks.
You have steri-strips over your incision. About ten days to two weeks after surgery the steri-strips will likely fall off, and your incision should be nicely healed. If the steristrips remain after this time, you may remove them.
The bandage should be removed 3 days after surgery. At this point the wound should be left open to air; however, the steri-strips should not be removed until 2 weeks.
You may shower and shave when the dressing is removed. Your wound is waterproof at this point and can get wet. In addition, you can wash the wound with soap and water. Be sure to pat the wound dry after showering. Do not use ointments or antibacterial salves on the incision.
Call the office if you have continued drainage from your incision. Someone will be available to give you advice about what to do. Change the dressing as necessary until the drainage stops.
Watch for any signs of infection (redness, foul odor, fever>100.5, chills). If you are concerned about the possibility of infection, call doctor office.
Hoarseness, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing may occur during the first 2 weeks. These are common symptoms after surgery. A soft or liquid diet is the best until you are able to easily swallow. Avoid meats and other foods which are hard to swallow until you are having no difficulty swallowing.
Eat regular healthy meals (lots of fruit, vegetables and lean cuts of meat). Your body needs the vitamins and minerals found in healthy foods in order to heal properly. Supplement your diet with multivitamins with iron and calcium. These help the bone graft become strong. A good source of calcium is two TUMS daily.
You will be sent home with pain medication (usually Vicodin or Norco[hydrocodone]). You should not need strong pain pills for more than a few weeks after surgery. If you need more pain medication, be sure to give the office 24 hours notice in advance to refill your prescription on weekdays. We do not refill prescriptions during evening hours or on weekends.
Some patients find that they have some difficulty with constipation after surgery. This is due to a combination of things. Most of this is due to the pain medication and iron supplements you may be taking. The medications, along with a decrease in activity, can lead to a great deal of discomfort from constipation. The best treatment is prevention. You should eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. If you are having difficulty, there are some stool softeners that can be bought without prescription (Surfak, Correctol, Doxidan, etc.) Use Metamucil on a
daily basis along with the stool softener. You may use nonprescription suppositories or enemas if necessary. Again, the best treatment is prevention.
Gradually return to your normal activities. Fatigue is common and expected. Let pain be your guide. Walking is encouraged. Start with a short distance and gradually increase to 1 to 2 miles daily. An early exercise program of gentle stretching, conditioning, and strengthening may be advised. Exercise to the point of discomfort but not beyond. Learn the proper way to stand, sit, sleep, and lift. Generally, maintain a neutral spine.
Be committed to working hard during the recovery process. Don't let minor setbacks discourage you. Concentrate on the progress you are making.
It is common to have twinges of pain in your arms or muscle cramps. These feelings should improve with time. If you have numbness or tingling, it usually is the last symptom to resolve (weeks or months later). As you become more active, you may notice some aching in your neck.
Do not use NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin; ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, naproxen, Aleve) for 3 to 6 months after surgery. NSAIDs prevent bone fusion. If you are unsure, ASK.
Do not smoke. Smoking delays healing by increasing the risk of complications (e.g., infection) and inhibits the bones' ability to fuse.
Do not drive for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery or until discussed with your surgeon.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Avoid bending your head forward or backward.
Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds, including children.
Housework and yardwork are not permitted until the first follow-up office visit. This includes gardening, mowing, vacuuming, ironing, and loading/ unloading the dishwasher,w asher, or dryer.
Sleep on your usual mattress - don't make any special arrangements for a bed. The first few nights will be difficult, but you will adapt.
Some people are more comfortable sleeping in a recliner for a few days.
You will be more comfortable in bed if you do not pile up a lot of pillows behind
your head. A small, folded towel may be more comfortable than a pillow.
I have one week behind me, and I am surprised at how well I am doing ( not great but well). My sister stayed with me for 3 days, since then I have been alone, but have gotten along good with that.
I am taking percocet and flexaril for the pain, my dr said this is last refil for the percocet, and I am okay with that.
My throat is nearly back to normal, just have trouble with pain in the right shoulder and back between shoulder blades, which I sure is pain from the fusion, but I am just so happy it is over. I feel much better allready, have most of my strength back in my legs and arms. My goal is to strengthen my back muscles, and keep them that way, maybe to avoid another ruptured disc. I have a fusion in l4/l5, and now this one in C6/7, that is enough. I am going to join the y, as soon as dr says I can exercise. I have gained 20 pounds from being inactive with this.
I can drive in one more week, and I can't wait, I get cabin fever really easy.
I have been trying to get outside and walk when I can, but I live in central ohio, and we are having snow.
I hope those that had surgery this week is getting along okay.