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    Old 03-04-2006, 10:54 AM   #1
    flashfredt
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Im having c5-6,c6-7 acdf on 3/9 4 days from now, I live alone, how long will it be before I can come home and be alone 3-4 dayss maybe. Any other advice would help.

    Thanks Fred in Tennessee

     
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    Old 03-04-2006, 11:16 AM   #2
    flashfredt
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Also from Flash what kind of meds should I expect when I come home from the dble acdf next week, can you sleep ok or does it take a while, lots of questions here appreciate all responses, Is before surgery depression normal I heard about after but I got it now i think

    Thanks Fred in Tennessee

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #3
    BobM
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Fred:
    I think you asked it right - how long to go home, and then how long before you can be at home alone.

    It would be good to discuss this with your Dr since he knows the specific details of your condition & surgery. A couple of general thoughts:

    1) Do you have a way to return home from the hospital after the surgery? The sooner you check out after the surgery, the better it would be to not have to drive yourself. Perhaps a friend or neighbor who could help out, or a taxi service?

    2) Also, do you have a friend or neighbor who could check in with you in the days after you return home? Make sure you're doing OK, maybe help run some errands for food and so on?

    3) Anything you can do to prepare at home before would be good also - chores up to date, food on hand & ready for the microwave, things to do arranged so you can get to them, and so on.

    4) I've always gotten prescriptions for pain meds and things after the surgery, which means a trip to the pharmacy. Might help to ask your Dr for those so you can get them filled before your operation, so you're set up when you get home. Also, most of the pain meds I've had have restrictions or warnings about driving while 'under the influence'

    I went home after one night in the hospital, and I could get around at home OK for the basics. But it was pretty uncomfortable for the first 3 or 4 days to try to do very much, and 3 or 4 weeks to feel like I was getting back to normal. This might be an appropriate time to ask friends for some extra help, at least until you see how fast you recover.

    Good luck!
    Bob

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
    BobM
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Fred:
    Another response - I know what you mean about 'so many questions', and you are smart to ask as many as you can before.

    You will probably have a perscription for some kind of pain medication. Depending on how you respond, these can affect your ability to drive, may make you drowsy, and so on. Some people talk about the pain meds helping them to sleep - they affect me in the opposite direction. I can lay awake all night when taking them. I asked my Dr for a perscription for sleeping (Ambien, in my case) and it really helped for that first 7 to 10 days while the pain gets less and yu get used to maybe sleeping in a different position that you're used to.

    As for depression - I find this whole situation to be depressing, and I also experienced it before the surgery. This is another thing to talk with you Dr about, because a good mental attitude is a major factor in recovering from this. I tried an antidepressant med for a while, but found I did better talking about this with family, friends, and other people like on this forum. Be proactive about this - I found that depression can turn into a real problem, and you don't need more on top of your neck issues.

    More good luck!
    Bob

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 12:54 PM   #5
    flashfredt
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    Question Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Guys, Thanks for the quick response. Never had a clue something like this was out there, I think and hope it will help me through this. 4 days and counting have to do lab work monday and be at hospital 600am sharp on thursday. On hydro 10,s now every 4-6 hrs as needed and lexapro 10,s for
    feeling like crap. My sister and husband will take me and pick me up and insist I spaend the first night with them but plan to come home next day. So far Ive learned(from u guys) to stock up before hand so nothing except meds will have to be picked up. Anyone have any info on the voice thing ive heard all kinds of stuff about that from sore to losing voice altogether for a while. One more thing for now anyway, I have a 13 yr old son who wants to come over(i'm divorced) and help me that first weekend. would that be a plus or a burden, meaning will my mood be "better off left alone" or what. Thanks to all for being out there, I feel a lot better already. Worst comes to worst i will be able to use the keyboard huh?

    Thanks
    Keep you posted
    Fred in Tennessee or (Flash) :

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 02:29 PM   #6
    BobM
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hi Fred:
    I've had to have 2 ACDF operations. Both times I had a bit of a sore throat and a hoasre voice for a week or two. There's a couple of things that contribute to the sore throat - the tube they put in your windpipe to keep you breathing while under the anesthetic, and from having things in your neck retracted so they can get to the discs & spine. For most people this lasts a week or two at most, but some people report it going on for longer. Also, the nerves that let your voice work are in this area and there is a very small (but not zero) risk that those nerves can get damaged. The surgeons know the nerves are there and they work around them.

    With the sore throat can come some difficulty in swallowing, which if it happens also typically gets better in a week or two. Maybe lay in a supply of some softer foods that you like just in case.

    It sounds like you have some support for getting to the hospital, and for when you get home. I think it's handy to not be alone after this kind of operation, but people are different and it depends on personalities. Maybe a middle of the road approach would be to have someone stop and spend some time (if not actually be there all the time) - would give you something to look forward to, and if you needed help with something you'd know it was coming. Or maybe have family on 'stand by' for the first few days just in case you need some company or help. Just a thought.

    I get a lot of comfort from this forum. I'm lucky to have family and they watch over me, but I've concluded that people who have actually been through this have a unique perspective that comes from the experience.

    Big thing is, don't sit by yourself and worry, either before or after. There's a lot of us have been through this and people seem willing to share their experiences with others to help them through.

    Good luck
    Bob

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 04:50 PM   #7
    JackieH
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Hi there, Fred!

    Welcome to this nice family of pain-in-the-neckers! They're great. Try to log on as much as you feel comfortable to do so while you are healing so we know how you are, K?

    I'm 4 weeks post op from the same exact thing you're having. Same levels & all!
    (I'm assuming you're also getting the titanium plate to hold it all in?) Hopefully you won't need a collar. So I don't hurt my arms too much typing, may I suggest that you click on my name (JackieH) to read my previous posts. Then you'll know my history & my recent experience & there should be plenty of interest to you reg. the surgery etc...
    In the meantime, I will say, yes, have your son there. Mine is 14 & he was very helpful in those 1st weeks.

    BobM is great & gave you great advice. A big dif. between him & me is that he had donor bone & mine was hip bone...also he's had 2 singles done & I had a dbl. which is harder initially but I bet Bob wishes he'd done them both at once.

    So if they're taking the bone from your hip, I can be your sounding board on that.
    I suggest you buy a "grabber" (long tool w/grabber at the end) to pick things up you drop the 1st few weeks. (Not good to bend over for your hip OR your neck.)
    LET PEOPLE HELP YOU! The pain can suck but try to look on the bright side....you don't have to work or try to look pretty (yes I know you're a guy,) & you get to read & watch all the TV & movies you can stand! People dote on you & feel bad for you & bring you stuff. Try to enjoy it. Sometimes it makes you sad & you feel sorry for yourself. Only allow the tiniest amount of that, Fred.
    I try to think of those who are way worse off than me & then I don't feel so bad. I so look up to Joni Earreckson Tada. She's a quadraplegic & writes & paints with her teeth & sings. Awesome lady. Other's have cancer.
    What we have is no picnic but someone else always has it worse.
    God is my rock to lean on & I never get too down cuz I know He promises me a new body with no more pain & no more tears when I leave this temporary one. Keeping an eternal perspective is my hope & my joy inspite of it all. I suggest respectful suggest prayer, Fred.

    Keep lots of water & liquids to wash the food down while you're eating cuz food gets stuck a bit while your insides there are swollen. I made sure to have a drink handy whenever I ate anything for the first 2+ weeks.

    Fred, you are going to be just fine. Don't worry at all. Worrying never changes a thing so why bother. It's not so aweful. It's been a slow recovery for me but I look back at each week how far I've come.

    I'll pray for you.

    Your newest invisible friend,
    Jackie

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 06:12 PM   #8
    BobM
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Fred:
    Jackie makes a very important point about whether you use donor bone (like I did), or if they take bone from you own hip (like she had). Since I had the donor bone the issue with the hip didn't occur to me.

    If they use your own hip bone, I ca't' imagine how you would deal with things at home by yourself - ask Jackie about this, she has very recent experience! Everyone I've talked to that had the hip incision has said how hard it is to get around, especially in the first few days and weeks. Has your Dr said what he is planning to use - a 'must ask' question if he has not.

    I've actually had 3 levels done - 2 the 1st time, and 1 the 2nd time. There was a lot more pain with the 2 levels than with the 1 level, and I was well into the 2nd week before I felt like beginning to do stuff, and that was with no hip incision. Like Jackie says, you can't have too much help or support right after.

    I am so much better off, even with 2 surgeries, than I was with the pain before the operations. Better days are ahead for you!

    Best of luck
    Bob

     
    Old 03-04-2006, 07:25 PM   #9
    solardust
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    HI, I had level c6-7 fused w/donar bone and plate w/screws,I am MOM to 5 kids,with the last one still home with us,she's 16,and was a god send,your gonna want to take it very easy the first few weeks your home,stock up on the bathroom stuff,buy smaller containers of milk,I did'nt have any big trouble with my throat,but did drink ensures the first week or so,I also pretty much camped out on my recliner,I know alot of people do,had everything at hand,dont be going up and down stairs,have someone do the laundry for you,I had to wear a hard collar for 4 months,so that made my sight abit limited,so have someone keep the floor clear so ya dont end up tripping,opening the simplest things are hard to do,so you'll need some help in that area,the main thing is Baby yourself! honestly,take it very easy,healing will go alot better,and no one wants to end up in that surgery again,haveing repairs done because of a slip up. This is a time to get your photo albums up to date,or puzzles ot plain just resting.I sleeped on my recliner cuz I had a lower back surgery 2 months prior to the neck,and threre never was a comfey spot with that neck brace,remember NO reaching over your head for anything and NO lifting anything heavier then your house slipper,hope I was of some help, Take care and please dont be afraid to ask questions,cuz God knows I had enough of them! Diana

     
    Old 03-06-2006, 03:11 PM   #10
    JackieH
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    PS...
    I know you're not home checking the boards right now cuz you're out buying all the stuff we told you to get. hehe.

    But I wanted to say, if you have the metal plating, you will likely not wake up with a collar on. Ask your surgeon. Hopefully you won't need a collar. It helps to keep your neck muscles working if they leave your free of it.
    Either way you will want to be very very careful with your neck.
    My doc said to avoid even being in a car for 3 months incase of having to slam on the brakes or an accident. Not to worry you.
    Bob wasn't as restricted. I just share this info. to help you understand that healing must be your priority from surgery on until you are certain the bones are fully fused.

    Now, get back to work stocking your toilet paper & TV dinners!

    Jackie

     
    Old 03-06-2006, 08:19 PM   #11
    BobM
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    A comment on Jackie's PS -

    I didn't have many restrictions after my 1st ACDF (C5/6/7), other than no overhead work and don't lift anything more than 75 pounds.

    Four months post-op, I started jogging again.

    Eight months post-op, I started working out again.

    Twelve months post-op, I was back in surgery for a 2nd ACDF (C4/5).

    Recent MRI shows the disc between C7/T1 doesn't look all that good.

    After the second operation, I have been EXTREMELY cautious about my activities. It's impossible to say for certain whether or not I contributed to the 2nd operation by doing too much, too soon. But I don't have that many levels left in my neck to risk another one, so I'm taking it slow and easy this time around! Seems like you can't be too careful, give yourself plenty of time to heal.
    Bob

     
    Old 03-17-2006, 11:41 AM   #12
    flashfredt
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    Jackie. thanks so much for that It was really good to know that theres somebody like you out there, Guess what I did not have surgery. I went in 5 days prior for the pre op stuff and of all things the EKG was different from the EKG from 4 yrs ago from a prior surgery. So the NS said I needed a Cardiologist relelease prior to surgery. Well guess whos on Workers Comp and now I dont know what to do. They are probably laughing at the Ins Comp. PLEASE anyone have any knowledge on this area. Im Begging

    Fred in Tennessee

     
    Old 03-19-2006, 02:47 AM   #13
    JackieH
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    Re: Acdf Recovery Advice Anyone?

    I'm so sorry, Fred. I was worried about my EKG pre-surgical. I have a heart murmer plus, you're always a little pumped up hoping they don't find anything wrong so your heart may beat faster or funny.

    My dad was recently due to have heart surgery at UCLA & it was twice cancelled the day of as they kept finding a small blood clot. (They take them off all blood thinners a week prior is why.)
    He ended up loosing 40 lbs waiting for the next attempt & all his heart problems disappeared as a result. No surgery needed after all. Thank the Lord.

    I really am sorry for the frustration you must feel and hope this will be resolved soon, Fred. Also that your heart is OK.
    Please remember all our advice & well wishes & keep us informed, K?

    One day soon this will all be hind-sight.

    Blessings to you,
    Jackie

     
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