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Tips for post op ease and comfort?

Started by Trish323 on 09/11/2012 2:43pm

This is my first post : ) I am scheduled for DLIF 3 level fusion of L 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 on October 23, 2012. I have not seen any kind of information on here about post surgery and things that will make life a little bit more comfortable once I am home.

One of my biggest concerns is my bed; it is a pillow top mattress and I am afraid it may be difficult to maneuver in after surgery. Has anyone rented a hospital bed post op? If so was it a good choice and how long did you need it?

Can you al please share any and all tips that you found helped you, or in hindsight wish you had thought of prior to getting home? I would like to be be as prepared as I possibly can and want to have everything in place before surgery.

I am a nervous wreck about the surgery and want to eliminate as many surprises as possible!

Thanks xo
Trish

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Welcome to the group Trish, sorry to hear you r now part of us spinal sufferers....My name is Rene ,my blog is posted under ( Im back, Its been one year since my last blog). I am an orthopedic nurse, glad to help in any way as are all the others you will meet on this site..You will find this support group helpful Pre n Post OP,,I did and im in the medical field. To answer your question, no special bed is necessary just extra pillows.I use the long body pillow, your deff. going to find comfort w any pillowow placed between your knees if your a side sleeper, or under your leggs if your a back sleeper.Im sure u have Pain management scheduled also. If you hav troubles with pain mngmnt , which is not uncommon, let me know I can help guide u through that.Im a smoker and YES SMOKING can infringe on your healing,but did I listen,,NO..so I did not get total pain releif from surgery, it ended up being labeled Failed Back Syndrome.Your only prep for when you come home would be to deffinatly take a daily stool softner, and increase your fluid intake to atleast 48oz daily, choose wisely,,nothing w caffeine then it defeats the purpose.Lots of rest,but dont stay stagnet to long that doesnt help w healing either.For the first few weeks b carefull w your movements . no stretching,pulling and lifting, they will go over everthing b4 u leave hospital. expect atleast 8mos of healing to see if surgery is succesful . good luck on your journey to getting better, nice to meet u,,RENE :)

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Hi Rene!
Thanks so much for your helpful info. I have been sitting/ laying around since I fell last October. Pain has gotten increasingly worse over the year. I have been through the usual; MRI ,electric nerve test, 2 epidural steroid injections that did nothing except help me to gain 12#s , PT, discogram. And now have arrived at deciding on surgery. After I have recovered from this surgery I will be having 2 or 3 level fusion in my neck.

I "fired" my pain management because of many issues with the offices inability to actually follow through with stupid stuff like faxing scripts and lab orders etc. Nothing but aggravation and lack of respect for my time each time they screwed something up. To be honest I also did not like how the pain medication aspect of it is handled. I felt like I was treated like some sort of drug addict for no reason at all. I am a less is more type of person with pills and didn't appreciate being made to feel like some sort of suspect.

Not sure if I need a pain management doctor. Won't my surgeon give me prescriptions I will need when I am discharged home? I feel like I shouldn't have to see another doctor and pay a co- pay just to get a prescription. If it turns out I will need one I will have to find someone new.

So sorry you have had to endure so much, Rene.

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Hi Trish, how r u feeelin? still anxious?I hav something to add that u will need. Try to get yourself those freezer back pads, they sell them in CVS and those kind of stores, if not amazon has them, they look like mats that go in freezer, i suggest that mat because of the size of the area ur going to need it for, youll find it to b your best friend when theres swelling, which u will hav in begining,Dont worry about the neck surgery that usually heals well,,its the lumbar that u hear all of us complaining of.Once they cut those nerve endings it causes scar tissue, causing the pain. pain is icreased due to inflammation on nerve endings, so when u do too much everything gets inflammed n it takes days, sometimes longer for it to go away.But u cant go by just us, ive heard of many successful post surgeries to lumbar. I hope we havnt scared you with all our horror stories,,ill b prayin for you, I would say by January u should know for sure if u will have further or ongoing discomfort, Im just one of the unlucky ones on the lumbar, so far my rods,fusion,screws n plate in my neck r doin fine n its only 5wks now,,my lumbar, now thats another story, next tues im goin 4 another epidural injection, I cant tolerate the pain anymore,, this week has been hell, and the meds dont touch the pain...Keep positive for October. TTY soon , RENE :) and fill ur scripts , even if u dont use them daily u will have something for those bad days.and deffinatly ask for an anti-inflamatory n muscle relaxant, u might only need them n not the narcs,,but post op you deff will need the narcs. I too dont like taking meds Im more of a naturalist, but when that pain hits,,,,,,,,I rather give birth 10 times in a row, dry w sand,,haha, than feel this pain

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Thanks for the LOL RENE! I will look for the mats. I am an absolute nut job thinking about what I am facing. I had 3 c-sections pre- morphine pump! By day 2 I never took pain pills. But I was a young chick back then. Now, different story... 57, overweight, outta shape and broken!

I am trying so hard to deal with my fears.

# 1. Anesthesia- first 2 c - sections ( not emergency ) the anesthesiologist paralyzed me but my mind remained wide awake for a while. I felt them cutting me! I remeber floating towards the ceiling and looking down on myself having surgery. I had anxiety for many years after that. This spine surgery will be the first having general anesthesia since then. Can u say petrified!

# 2. Developing a blood clot. After my third c- sec I had a DVT

# 3. Having bad pain and not having it be addressed. I had 2 epidurals and they only caused problems with my blood sugars and I put on weight. They never touched my pain.

I have been utilizing meditation and also a binaural program for anxiety to face these issues and dissolve my fears. Not there yet!

The meds I am prescribed pain are hydrocodone 5-500 1/2-1 tab q 12 hours for severe to moderate pain,
Tramadol don't remember the dose because it did nothing for me except make me feel a little loopy for about an hour so I don't take that. Then Cymbalta 60 mg

I will take 1 hydrocodone most days and a second one on the days that really suck. I spend most of my time laying on my side in bed and break it up sitting on my patio for a couple of hours. Going in my pool cause increased pain which really surprises me because I thought it would make me feel so much better. I live in Florida and am dreading having to wear a hard plastic brace.. I may go up to long Island and stay with my daughter for a while where it's cooler!!

That's enough for now and that is the negative stuff. My hope is to be 100% positive from surgery day and on!

Thanks again Rene for asking xo
# 4. Something going wrong causing worse problems than I have now.

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Hey Trish, why do u say a brace,,I have never seen or heard of anyone wearing a brace post op. I live on Long Island also,Im out east.Im glad I made u laugh,,its the best medicine.stay away from the Tramadol (ultram), its synthetic, the withdrawals r horrible n yes they do nothing, they r tech. not a narcotic. I use Percacet 7.5/325 2 tabs every 4-6 hrs,cymbalta 60mg,valium 10mg 3x daily, celebrex (co-pay is 328.00 ) and zanaflex 4mg 3x daily.u would think it would put down a horse but many a nights I only average 3-4 hrs sleep daily,pain from just laying wakes me up. Glad to hear your determined to stay possitive, that too helps w the healing. Hope your night goes Pain free..Rene

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Hi Rene,

Yes I have to wear a hard plastic brace of some sort. I have to go for a mold to be made... That ought to be a pretty sight! My NS ordered it and I will have to wear it at all times when out of bed for 3-6 mos post.

My daughter lives on the south shore; I grew up in Sayville and relocated here in Fl in 1985. Did you work at Stonybrook?

I know what you mean about the tramadol. It doesn't do anything at all for back pain. Why do you take Valium? Does it act as a muscle relaxer? You pay some pretty hefty prices for meds. Here I am complaining about a 35.00 copay for Cymbalta! I can't take NSAIDS so I'm not to sure what I can be given for inflammation.
I have some extras of the hydrocodone so if it gets real bad once I'm home I will take it more frequently.
No matter what I will not get anymore epidurals.
Sleeping is the most difficult aspect isn't it. I feel kinda like a newborn back on a 24 hr clock!

I'm happy to hear that the cervical surgery is easier. For some reason that one doesn't scare me as much.
I am concerned to about how little I do every day now. Do most people just veg out in pain before surgery like me?. I try to get a walk in each day but it's really killing me. My legs feel like they are going to cease up and I won't be able to take another step. Yesterday I made it a mile and today spent almost all day recovering. Yuk!
I spent the past few years studying photography and was just about ready to get my business up and running..then whamo. I miss it soon much but it's impossible for me. Equipment is so heavy. I photograph newborns and I shoot mostly sitting on the floor or bending and kneeling to position them.
I'm pretty much screwed with no income as I'm sure most folks in this situation. I have applied to SSD got one decline, filed first appeal and waiting to hear. Going to a ss lawyer if the decline again. I just try to look on the bright side and go through the list of things I am great foul for.. Like still having my home for one!

So in your case failed fusions, is that it.. Nothing but meds. No other options out there? What are you able to do in a day?
Hope you are able to get some sleep, I will be awake for a while.. Eyes are not remotely sleepy.

Trish

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Trish!

PLEASE wear the brace. I have just had my second fusion...After my first and failed fusion, the doctor didn't offer a brace. My new doctor is strictly about the brace.... USE it! I cannot believe the difference that it has made. It is a lot easier. The support is awesome. I wish you luck!

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hey Trish, how u feelin today? walkin a mile is a bit much, take it easy,,,what a small world your from sayville,,im not far im in Shirley ( wm floyd pkwy near the beach). So a brace mold ,huh,,save it for a souvenier,like the pregnancy molds,,haha.Hang it on your wall. lol You aint kiddin about what I spend monthly on meds, n my hubby has good insurance n we still exaust the prescription part by June causing me to pay out of pocket. Hubby takes 1 diabetic med, n my Daughter takes 1 heart med , so we average out of pocket about 700.00 month in meds thats not including all the co-pays for visits., and since Im out of work, (loosing 63,700.00) year it has been tough.My SSDI claim is still in progress, even though I wont receive financial help (they say hubby makes too much $) at least the meds and visits will b covered and we can get out of this mess, u lived here so u know how expensive it is to live on the island, the home taxes r killer now, Im up to 11,300.00 per year,,its crazy. I would love to move but we cant leave the family. We r very close w hubbys family, (old world Italians,,we still all 32 of us eat sunday dinner together,n thats just the immideate family on his side, I would have to convince the entire clan to move if it was an option. You asked if im stuck in house like you,,yes,, n its driving me nuts. I go from couch to chair to outside chair or stare out window,,whoopie.Just wanted to check in, have a good night. RENE :) I worked at southampton hosp. I did orthopedic step down,You would b my patient after receiving knee or hip replacements , I was the charge nurse for my unit,,,,I went through so many different painmngmt docs bcause we would buck heads on courses of treatment,I give them all a run for their money,lol. Most dont/didnt like the knoledge I had on medications,Thankfully pain mngmnt at stonybrook hosp. docs dont mind my input because its a teaching hosp. At times I think knowing too much is not good, I dont make a very good patient, nurses usually dont,,haha again. U want to hear a funny? 2day I went to see my surgeon, I took my 75yr old mother, while we where waiting she was reading a magazine article on oral sex n she asked me what that meant,,,well she let out a screach n all heads turned. too funny that generation or is it mom has her head in the sand? lol n one more thing,SLEEP whats that? if I get 3-4 hrs night im lucky

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Hi Trish,
I had a L5/S1 fusion and a L4/L5 disc replacement back in April. I could not have gotten out of my medium firmness bed with out this:http://www.riteaidonlinestore.com/Carex-Support-Rail-White-P566/dp/B002YM5NOU

I still use it. Yes, they taught me the proper way to log roll and use my arms BUT when I felt bad or still feel weak, this really helps.

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Thanks Dana ill check it out!

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I guess I was kicked off of the forum?? I could not post for a few weeks. Sure would have been nice to have been informed of what I did.

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Hi all,
I wore the brace too, along with that weird magnet thing that wrapped around the brace.
Rene gives good advice so there's not much to add.
Good luck Trish,
Janet
P.S. I used to go by upanddown but I too got booted for some unknown reason.

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Thanks Janet; what is the big magnet thing? Some sort of stimulator? How long did you wear the brace?

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Yes, the magnet was a bone growth simulator. I wore the brace for about three months all told. My balance was off after surgery and had to learn new ways of moving.
I still pull the brace out every once in a while when I'm hurting and the meds don't give relief.
I must say, if I'd known I could have rented a hospital bed I would have, and I would have put it in the front room as well!
Hope your surgery is a success,
Janet

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Hi Trish,, Ive been booted off too once,,,its quite funny...If u use capitals they consider it yelling,,what are we children? lol. yes I try music for relaxation,,but I rather have a percacet, lol again. Cleaning and cooking is my thing. Im married to A European Italian, so u can imagine what my dinner table consists of,,We actually just got done w/ Sunday dinner,the usaual 8 coarse meal that never ends. My daughters and their boyfriends,hubby n me, my parents and my brother,,thats a small group, so cooking keeps my mind off the pain for awhile, but now its time for some meds w/esspresso,than a muscle relaxer w/a cannoli. Hope ur havn a good day,Im tryin,,,Rene :)

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I like the cannoli idea! Haven't had a real cannoli from Ny in yrs!
Today I go to get mold made for my brace, tomorrow to give 1 unit of blood for surgery. Things are getting real.....

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Hi Trish, glad I made u laugh, its the best medicine. Im routin for u on the 23rd, how long did doc say to expect to b in hospital..As soon as ur home n up to letting us know how things went,,please keep us informed. Will your daughter from sayville B comin down to help? Make sure when u leave hosp. U have ur scripts filled. U didnt say if u have a spose to help w ur recovery,,U need to eat..( thats the italian comin out in me) lol..words of advice,,,,Stay well hydrated,,and I highly recomend Murilax ( stool softner), the store brand works well, If u get all bound up it will cause alot of pressure on spine and u dont need that,( now its my nursing comin out). Dont B afraid to move around after surgery,, the more U lay stagnent the worse it will B. No lifting or STRETCHING,,,thats a no no...If I think of anything else,,Ill let U know...hope ur day is going well,,,Rene :)

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Thanks Rene. I had one unit of blood taken yesterday for surgery, another next week. I have been trying so hard to deal with my high anxiety. I guess I will just have to endure it. My husband is planning on taking 2 weeks off to help me. I am hoping I get a private room in the hosp so he can stay with me that first night. I am lucky to have 3 of my sisters and Mom who all live close by to help me. My anxiety is from fear of the unknown. I hope I am not being foolish to believe surgery is going to eliviate my pain. My surgeon ( neuro ) explained to me surgery was to stabilize my spine and if the pain was eliviated that was a bonus.

I will say we are lucky to have our families for support. Have a good day!!

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Mornin Trish, Did U find a pain manegemnt doc yet? The surgeon will script u meds upon discharge, but after that they tell u to find pain manegemnt. Ur last comment about the surgery and what surgeon said about the pain,,yes thats true,,the surgeries fix the structural part but it only inflicts more pain bcause once they cut those nerves n muscles thats what brings us to all screaming out in pain n that we cant endure it anymore,..Dont u worry, once u get home Ill send u that NY Cannoli.About ur anxiety,,have u tried psycho therapy, they usually push u to it after surgery bcause they know the pain we R going to have to endur,,Thats where I get my valium, italso acts as a muscle relaxer. The first visit w/ pain management they give u everything under the sun to help, then by ur next visit they take everything away and tell u to suck it up n go seek psycho therapy to deal w/pain,n yet they caused it...12 days to go,,hang in there,,How did the body mold go?Hearing hubby will B home w/U is very thoughtful of him,,I think U have a keeper,its nice to hear.After yesterdays cooking marathon I did 4 my daughter,,Boy am I payin for it 2day, plus its freezing out,we R having the typical fall weather 55degrees,,I wish I was in the sun by U. have a good day, Rene :)

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Thanks Rene xo I bet you are a hurting puppy after all that cooking!!! Sounds DELISH ! My anxiety is still high, but this morning it turned to anger as I had to begin the process of finding a new PM DOC. I will be okay because I have pain meds and my surgeon will prescribe after surgery. If the new doc accepts me I can get an appt in late November.

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Why didn't my entire reply post?... It was cut off??

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Hey Trish,,,ANGER u got that right, my problem is when I get that way I cant turn it off. Thats when all the pots and pans come out and I cook and cook and cook and cook.....The poor chicken gets slaughtered sometimes......xoxo Rene :) and dont think I wont send those cannolis if u want, just tell me when n where..If you every need a private chat my email is mahh67@aol.com,,I chose that name cause my daughters are forever yellin for me, MAHHHHHH (get it) lol

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Hi Rene , I read your other post about what you are going through with PM. I thought Florida was bad!
I was hoping my Pcp would handle my pain meds but they won't do it. Florida was one of the worst states where docs were " pill mills" so even when you need narcotics for valid pain you can't really get it. The most I have been prescribed is hydrocodone 5-500 and tramadol for breakthrough pain. I can't take the tramadol because it gives me a horrible headache. When I see my surgeon next week the topic of pain management is going to be discussed..big time! If I am suffering in pain longer than what they think I should be, I'm not going to suffer on principle! I want as much pain under control as possible so that I can focus on healing. I believe docs are pushing us pain patients to becoming people who panic about not getting the meds we need. 7 years ago I had surgery on my shoulder. I told the surgeon flat out that I am a less is more type of person when it came to pain meds, and I probably wouldn't need what he was prescribing for me. Well he got in my face and said if you do not agree to take everything I prescribe you for pain after this surgery, I Will not do your surgery!?? End result was he told me this surgery was extremely painful, and to recover I needed to not be in pain. I did exactly as he said and took the pain meds he prescribed and I can say I was in a huge fog for weeks on those meds but I healed perfectly and had full range of motion within 6 weeks. I also do not remember much of that time after surgery LOL! I thanked him for making me follow his orders.
So now here I am in bad pain and I am prescribed 1/2 to 1 tab every 12 hours for 5-500 hydrocodone. AND nobody wants to increase that! So I put up with it and it has worn me down. I spend most of my time lying in bed on my side counting the weeks till surgery. I will try to see if I can schedule the new PM doc for end of November. They have to first review medical record from other PM before they will even schedule me. I'm going to make sure my surgeon knows until that time he is going to be the one managing my pain! My point in all of this is to say look what has happened to our care in the past 7 years. Wish my orthopedic doc did spine surgery! Hoping you are settled down now and resting. I know we must fight for what we need and I believe the louder we all yell and scream and make a scene somehow we will be heard instead of being looked down upon as street crawling druggies! Pain makes us mean! And I intend to let anyone and everyone know what I need! Xo

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Trish, Ive even contemplated printing out all these blogs and presenting them to PM,,thats my next step if I dont get the rest of my needed meds,maybe then they will understand what we R feeling and that we R not just seeking......Rene :)

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Trish,
I just re read your post... One thing that we found very useful, was the pad thingy that the hospital kept under me. The nursing staff used it to assist with log rolling me while in the hospital. I kind of "borrowed" when I came home. You will find it to be so hard to roll when you get worn out. It helped my husband tremendously when I came home this time. My first surgery, we just used a sheet, didn't work so great.

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Rene, I believe they know but they ( PM ) are afraid of being investigated for prescribing to many narcotics. The system is broken... Kinda like closing the barn doors after the horse gets out!

Dana: I'll have to see if I can borrow one too! ; )

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Hi Girls,, dana ur wording is too cute, its called a chuck, and yes the work good to boost the patient up towards the head of bed or roll u to one side,,keep borowing,u def. paid for them,make sure u bleach it well b4 u use it on ur bed, sometimes if a patient was to big for diapers they r mainly used to absorb EVERYTHING, pee n poop. I think I gave u TMI,lol...and Trish u better break out the dynamite to just bust ur way in the building...Thats exactly why they dont prescribe now ,, its too much paper work for them to have to account for the patients history as to why they r prescribing,,every 6 mos docs receive print outs from the state of all there narcotic scripts,then they have to send back to the state patients history to substantiate the reasons, so it basically comes down to lazyness.And most of all they dont make $ on scripts but they do on injections and pumps and stimulators,so now they found an easy way out to not prescribe and make bigger money on the other options. sad but true.. Rene :)

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Hello everyone..I was just reading your posts and was wondering about a few things....I am scheduled for surgery on Monday 7:30 am....Diskectomy...laminectomy and fusion on L3-4....I was wondering how hard is it going to be to get out of bed....and how long before I can take a shower...I feel so much better after a shower...I am becoming a nervous wreck too.....and today was my last day at work..I am a hairdresser and also the store manager..I was also wondering if anyone knew how long do you think I will be out of work..especially that I stand all day....I'm hoping a miracle happens....And also..I do smoke but not a heavy smoker...and tonite is officially my last day of smoking....( I hope..)....I am getting alot of info on here....I was soo happy i found this page....It is interesting to hear everyone's struggles....It makes me feel like I am not alone....No one understands what a person is going through unless your'e living it...And also...Trish..I loved that letter you posted and I am going to print one out for my sister in law and myself....

Thanks to all for all the help and advice...! And prayers for everyone.!

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Trish,,please read my heating pad blog,,Rene

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Good Luck to you Lorine! Prayers all goes as expected.
I smoke also and am reading a book called
" easy way" that I downloaded for free on the Internet . In the middle of it now and he tells you to smoke until the end of the book.. So I have been reading it very slowly! It makes lots of sense and no trickery is involved.
You will get all the info you need at the hosp.
Please come back here after surgery and let us all be a support to each other!
Xo

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