Home from the Hospital after Open TLIF (miserable first few days)
This is my first post and I wanted to get some of your experiences to compare to my own. I'm five days post-op from an L5-S1 open TLIF. I have two incisions, one about six inches long for the bone graft and one about eight inches for the spine surgery. This was my first spine surgery and I'm a 33 yo male. I herniated the disc lifting weights two years ago and have tried two rounds of physical therapy and a few rounds of epidural steroid injections with no relief. Finally settled on surgery after the pain meds quit helping,
My pain has been horrible so far, but things have been settling down the past few days. I spent three nights in the hospital. I woke up in recovery in tremendous pain. I was trembling with tears streaming down my face. I was in recovery for over two hours because it took them so long to get my pain at a tolerable level. After I got to my room, they put me on a PCA pump with 0.2mg of dilaudid every 10 mins. They started me with 5mg of oxycodone orally every four hours, but that quickly went to 20mgs of oxy along with flexiril alternating every two hours with 1mg IV dilaudid. The pain was still barely tolerable. After 48 hours they removed the PCA pump and within four or five hours the pain started to elevate tremendously until I was shaking, sweating and gripping the rails of the bed with tears running down my face. It took two calls to the doctor and two injections in 3 hours to get it back to a tolerable level. After that I was still on the oxycodone and flexiril, but they changed the dilaudid from 1mg IV to 4mgs intramuscular. By the morning of the fourth day things were starting to settle down a little and now at home five days post op I can’t believe how much better things are. A few days ago I thought I would be in tremendous pain for weeks, but it's a miracle what a difference a few days make.
Prior to the surgery I expressed my concern of having a difficult time controlling my pain because I had been on pain meds for so long (10mg lortab four times daily for two years) to everyone I talked to from the doctor and anesthesiologist to the nurses at the hospital for my pre-op testing, but they all said I would be fine and I would be perfectly comfortable. I know they were giving me tons of medicine and the nurses at the hospital were wonderful, but I never felt like I was "perfectly comfortable" until the third night. It has been a brutal experience so far, but I'm moving much more with less pain and starting to not need my walker anymore. Tomorrow I'm hoping to go walking outside for as long as I can (I know I should have been already). The doctor wants me walking two miles a day by the time I see him in five weeks. I hope the back and leg pain I have been suffering with for two years will soon be better and the whole experience will have been worth it.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with the community and see if anyone has had similar experiences.