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Posted in: Spondylolisthesis, and Surgery.

Shuffle the cards-surgery in 2 days

Started by Maggie1422 on 02/22/2011 4:04pm

Hi Maggie Here...I have been logging on to this site for 2 years now...after being diagnosed with
Spondylolisthesis w/pars fracture L5-S1... When I first became symptomatic I would have climbed onto
the table the next day but my surgeon (an ortho) suggested trying some conservative and non invasive
approaches which could control pain and increase the quality of life. (back then I couldn't even walk through a grocery story)... Speed up 2 yrs and here I am: maxed out on epidurals (they just don't last) and I've had several 2nd opinions that all indicated that the gold standard for fixing this specific congenital condition on a 55 yr old was fusion surgery. So here I am..poised to begin that journey in two days...I had a rather involved surgery 10 yrs back with a long recovery. However I knew what the results were right away...All I needed to do then was heal. But this is different! There are no absolute guarantees with this at all. not really. So my anxiety level is running rather high right now! I just wish there was a guarantee like I had before but I do think I have this half figured out:
The short version: This is the hand I was dealt..and like a good game of cards, it is a test of will, positive thinking, remaining committed to yourself that you are going to stay in the game, stay the course...and then ofcourse there's LUCK. So I'm playing my hand. Anyone want to send a little extra luck my way..
I'll take it!! If you are reading this post - I would imagine you too, are looking into surgery or have had it.
And if so.. I wish you all the best as well. I will try to post my progress and experiences hopefully to
share, as others have; the good, the bad, and hopefully, not the too ugly details. (I've already read some practical advise on preparing your home coming - ie: commode chairs, walker, and a supply of stool
soften (seriously)...So read on...collect information...check with your DR!!...and good luck all!

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I wish you luck and a speedy recovery.

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Maggie:

Unfortunately, surgery won't help my problem. But you sound like you have a good, positive attitude. Just remember to have patience, and heal slowly. Take care and good luck!

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Hi Maggie,
I read your post,and it sounds like my situation exactly.I will be having fusion surgery on l5-S1 on March 25th,i am 50 years old,never had surgery except for a tubal ligation and i was very active prior to this injury.So tired living in pain,and to top it off i also have it in my cervical spine.I am pretty nervous,and i keep trying to talk myself out of it,but i won't,i trust and believe i WILL be better.It is important that you trust your doctor,and if you do,leave it at that and go forward.I also very heavily rely on my faith in God and prayer,and i will be saying some prayers for you Maggie,i know you will be better off and glad you did it.So it looks like you are first before me,so please keep me posted on how it all went.
Take Care,many blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Well, a weak ago today at exactly 12:45 I was wheeled into the OR. I was already pretty drowsy by then
because I honestly don't remember a thing....til hours later when I woke up in recovery. As soon as I was
able to speak I asked for more pain med which they immediately did. I also remember an or nurse stopping
by to say everything went really well. Lights out til they moved me to my room. I am not going to surgar coat anything...the pain was worse than my hysterectomy. I had the option of a shot of morphine every
2 hrs or 2 Lortab every four. At first I chose the morphine... the initial kick knocked the pain right down but
it lasted only an hour (i did not have a morphine pump)...the second hour I spent in agony waiting for it to be
time for the next shot. That was awful and I personally wouldn't reccomend it but every one is different. The
nurses explained that some people absorb the lortab into their bodies slower. The effects, though they're
slower in taking effect, they last longer. After two rounds of morphine I switched to 2 Lorab 10 every 4 - 6
hours. (POWER OF PERSUASION) When they took me to my room I realized the catheter was removed.
Ok, but how was I going to go? Well, around 6:30pm I asked and a nurse came in with a bedpan. The
excruiating pain it took to get on it produced nothing (how does one lie down and relieve themselves?).
I tried getting on that thing twice, both times with no success. At 7pm they did an ultra sound and said my
bladder was indeed full and came back with a catherization kit! "no other options?" I asked. and one nurse
said "sure we can bring a porta-chair along your bed if you will get up. I looked at the kit and said bring it.
Five minutes later I was able to relieve my bladder sitting bedside commode. I never knew I had that type
of strength...but believe me the (folley kit) was a big motivator! It had only been 4 hrs since surgery and I
was sitting on a bedside commode..(even the nurse was surprised). That's all I can telll you about the first night, except the pain was as intense or worse than my hysterectomy and I think it could have been controlled better (something I willl address with my doctor)....Gotta Go - but That is day 1 anyone has
any questions or anything please don't hesitate. I'll post more later.

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Maggie:

Just wanted to say that it sounds like you're ahead of the game! I would have chosen the commode over the Foley Kit, too. Hope you continue to get better every day.

Pam

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Hi Maggie Here... My last post I discussed the hours just out of post-op. I guess one thing I can advise
anyone is to ask your dr ahead of time whether you will be catherized post-op. I was not...and there fore
I had my dilemma. But it did get me up (which is what they want you to do without seeming sadistic).
My only other advise would be to discuss pain mgt with your dr ahead of time. My Dr. did say he used
morphine, however, it was "I" who assumed it would be a morphine pump, and it was not. I was given
the option of a 4 cc shot of morphine or 2 lortab. (everyone's body responds to pain and pain meds
differently. After the 1st half hour the morphine wore off and I was in agony for 1 1/2 hrs til I could get a
couple lortab. I eventually just switched over to just lortab as it managed the pain better than morphine.
My ride home (1/2 hr ride) which I was dreading, turned out to be manageable. My husband bought a
big body pillow and laid it down on the passengers seat which was fully reclined. With the strategic placement of some other pillows I was as comfortbable enough along the twisting and winding roads
home.
I have been home for five days now. (if my math's correct).. I've only made the stairs once to
shower. Other than that I've been sponge bathing in our half bath on the first floor. My instructions are.
no twisting, bending, over extending, ect.. but I can walk as much as my body will allow. I've been doing
laps through the first floor, slow and steady. There is pain at the incission site and some radiating pain but
a 1/2 to one lortab keeps it in check so far. I take my short walks through out the day and evening to help
from getting too stiff. It really does help. (I'll be wearing a path through our living & dining room)...
I must add that my husband has been by my side through out this whole thing and I could not want for
more support and encouragement. Also, we live in a neighborhood that is better than living near some
family members. These great folks have deluged us with meals, cakes, etc. They are the best!. One is an occupational therapist and spent the whole day with me at the hospital so my husband could go home and get some well deserved sleep. I've been very blessed through this so far. I know I have a long, long, road ahead of me yet. some of it will be mine to walk alone. *I know one concern is weight gain, which I will discuss with my Dr. next week, 1st post op visit...til then please feel free to ask any questions at all...
Maggie Here - Take Care.

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I'm due for surgery the 22nd of march. Your post are most helpful. I too was a nurse, and 10 yrs older than you. I am fretting about what to expect, and your posts are very informative. I appreciate them. I have been a very active person until now and find that I have to have this surgery. I've put it off as long as possible. 80% stenosis.
I just want to return to what I have been able to do. I too have a ride home from the hospital,but it's more hrs than yours. The pillow suggestion will help. It is a long and winding road home.
Thank you for taking the time out of your recovery to describe it for those of us who have to travel a similiar road. Looking forward to hearing positive results from you.

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Hi Maggie,
Praise God for supportive husbands,i have one too and i know i will need it as i go in for surgery March 25th.Sounds like you are doing great,keep up the good work......prayers coming your way !
Nurse Nancy in pain

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Hi Nurse & Jhn...Friday was my first post-op appt... I saw the Surgeon's PA and OR Asst. (a great guy).
We went over the surgery, what was done, my pain mgt, etc. Right now I actually have more pain at the site where they harvested bone for the graft, which is typical. The surgical site is very soar but doesn't generate so much thrombing pain that, with some manuevering (it probably looks like a comedy sketch)
I actually can find a comfortable position. *Just a hint...our homes toilets sit low, so my husband bought an attachment to make the one I use higher (all I can say, it's the little things that mean so much!! :) Better bouquet of flowers!! ** Oh another hint* if you're taking pain med (And I can't imagine you won't be to some degree) have Senokot, Colace, and a fleet enema at home (just in case)...It is definately 'not good' to get
constipated. Being I have a problem with pain meds side effect of constipation, I take colace daily (it is a non-stimulant stool softener). If I get no relief I take senakot or phillips caplets, I find them milder than correctol or ducolax. I had to use a fleet once right after I came home but that was because the hospital
"did not" do enough while I was there to get things working ..But honestly, I was on ALOT of pain med and did not want to stay another day because I was constipated. I know my own body responds well to yogurt, so I came home, went back to a yogurt each am, colace, and senokot if needed. My pain level is being controlled by 1/2 to 1 lortab (10/325) every 5 - 6 hrs. I can take 1-2 every 4 hrs if needed so my Dr. is pleased with that. I walked through the grocery store the other day with my husband who wouldn't even let me pick up a pkg of bread! (just kidding)...(but we know someone who wound up in the ER after she
picked up a gallon of milk 3 days post op from a discectomy! I guess it can't be stressed how much
you must refrain from bending, lifting, twisting, (not that your body is going to let you do it anyway).
As for weight, I started a sensible diet, portion control, high fiber, low carb, & no sugar for awhile. I'm doing this for several reasons...one is because I put on about 5-6 lbs, and you're 5'2, 5 lbs looks like
15. But the more important.. less weight, less stress.. Then being practical..financially... I don't want to
go out and but a new wardrobe. The incision and graft sites are both on or are very near most of my
jean's waistbands. Initially, they'll have to fit looser in order for them to be comfortable. But I don't think I''ll be ready for any type of form fitting pants for a while. Having an assortment of yoga pants and some stretch
pull on pants have worked out well. (PJ bottoms & t-shirts in the house).. **A friend gave me one of those
Grabbers, (one of those gadgets that grab things)kind of as a joke... but don't laugh...it's come in handy more times than I can count. It's reached and gotten things for me that I would have otherwise had to wait
for my husband to get for me. Sounds weird, but I've been changing my shoes during the day, walking in my sneakers, then shoes, instead of just slippers. I do leg raises while sitting (ok'd by the doc) but only that til next visit. Well I hope I have given you some hints on things that helped me out. *i've been staying downstairs to avoid having to go up & down them. So in case we need to communicate at night, I have my cell phone w/me so I can call my husband (whose upstairs) on our land line. We also have those talk abouts which have come in handy too...no yelling back & forth.. I hope I have given you some helpful hints.
There are days when I am up and others when I look outside and think how long it'll be til I'm back out digging in the garden...But...I will get there...we'll all get there! Just gotta keep it steady...slow & steady -
wins the race!...Maggie here...good luck to you. any questions please don't hesitate..glad to keep in touch and always willing to listen.

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Thanks to all the advise I have read from other contributors. Those whose information made me a more well informed patient..and gave me the information we needed to make certain decisions. Thanks to all.

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