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Failed Fusion?

Started by Sprinklergal66s... on 01/29/2017 9:09pm

I have been having back pain for years, I am 70 years old. I continued to work until this past December... in fact until the day before my surgery. I was at the point where I could only manage 3 or 4 hours a day and could not stand for more than 10 minutes or so. I thought the pain was pretty intense. I say I thought it was intense. Compared to where I am now, it was nothing. I awoke after my surgery to screaming pain that continued for 2-3 weeks. I was kept pretty sedated for several weeks after the surgery... thanks for that. I was .transferred to a nursing home after 5 days at the hospital. The nursing home was horrible. I was still being sedated heavily but was ignored when I had to use the bathroom or needed something. I was yelled at, I don't remember being fed or given help to get a drink. I could not sit up to get to a tray even. There were two staff for 60 patients. I finally called my husband to come and get me in the middle of the night. After leaving I found that this nursing home had only a one star rating. It was a true nightmare.
I am now 7 weeks after a triple fusion and a laminectomy. I am in terrible shape. I cannot walk without a walker, I have constant pain. My right leg is numb, my backside is numb, I have been deemed too weak for outpatient physical therapy. 7 weeks after surgery. There is no 1/4 mile walk for me, there is no return to work. At least, I am not in screaming pain any longer. I think that I would have been better off continuing with simple pain management. That is another story however. I went to pain management. They gave me three sessions with the injections but it didn't work for more than a day at a time, so at the fourth session I was accused of having marijuana in my drug test. Not only that, but the person accusing me was not the Dr. , but what I am going to call a "heavy". I simply was not guilty and felt very angry and upset. I left their office with no pain medication and didn't take any except neurotin until my surgery . I also suffered alone through 2 weeks of withdrawal. I was only taking 5 mg of Oxecodone, which is what I am taking now. I take it every 4 hours but I don't get much relief from it. My surgeon has not seen me since the surgury. I can only see the PA. They are treating me like I am a normal person recovering from this type of operation. The Dr. that helped me was my Cardiologist who was shocked to see my condition. He was very angry and ordered immediate home health for me. It has been my saving grace. I have a social worker, in home therapy, an O/T therapist, nurse and a person to help me with a shower twice a week. I would be languishing in my own dirt if it had not have been for him. The Spine people are there to make money. The pain management people are there to make money. They don't care. If you don't fit into their picture, too bad. I seriously believe that I may have died in that nursing home, if I hadn't left on my own, without a release. This is a horror story, I know. Find an honest, highly rated pain management Dr. before you have spinal fusion. Ask exactly how many fusions it is going to take... the more you have, the higher the risk. and finally stay away from assembly line surgery. When asked what happened during my surgery, the PA said, " We do so many surgeries here, I can't remember what happened to you." That should tell you what happened to me.. Assembly line, for profit only surgery. Think I'll try and find a lawyer.

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Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We are so sorry to hear about all you've been through. It sounds like your cardiologist is a wonderful physician, and we are thankful he got you the help you need.

It saddens us that your spine surgery experience was so negative-it shouldn't be that way. You mention having success with your home health professionals, but if you suspect you've had a failed fusion and are still experiencing severe back pain, we encourage you to have your previous surgery checked out. There are many qualified spine specialists, but we understand your concerns about even broaching your past surgery because it was such a traumatic experience. We simply don't want a potentially failed fusion to cause any further problems for you. You trust your cardiologist-perhaps he could recommend a spine professional who can evaluate the quality of your initial surgery, if you're still dealing with intense back pain.

If you want to read a bit more about proper patient care when spine surgeries aren't successful, we have a good article for you ( Treatment for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome ).

Thank you again for taking the time to share your story. We wish you the very best!

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