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Author Topic: I'm taking a forced break from my bus and the forum for a little while  (Read 4191 times)
Paladin
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« on: May 13, 2011, 10:29:29 AM »

Sadly I won't be working on my bus this summer and won't even be able to lurk on here anymore for at least a little while. I'm going in on Monday for a long over due fusion of my L4-L5-S1. Doc says I just can't wait any longer unless I want the nerve damage to be permanent.

I know others here must have had this, what should I expect?

So long everyone.....for a little while at least.  
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 11:04:26 AM »

Pain, I am sad to say.  You are correct that pushing a key would be too much.  Take all your pain meds and ask for more if need be but get AWAY from that stuff as soon as humanly possible.  They have a whole host of really bad side affects that you want to avoid.  All this is common advice.  Grit your teeth and do what you are told in PT.  You will be fine and those nerves that die never come back.  I lost 40% of the muscles in my right arm and I could not push myself to a sitting position if I woke up on my right side.  Rolled over to my left.....the weaker side, you know.  Weighed 185 at 6' and was in good shape.

I think you will come out just fine and better than before.  And, if I can be optomistic....anybody can.

Good luck Paladin....you will be missed and thought of often.  Prayers are in the mail as we speak.

John
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fe2_o3
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2011, 12:09:03 PM »

Good Luck...Hurry back...Cable
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Sofar Sogood
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 04:01:08 PM »

A speedy recovery Wink All the best to you Wink Good Luck!
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Cary and Don
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 05:01:27 PM »

Don has had two spine surgeries.  Fused five vertebrae in his neck and then three in his lower back. Take your pain meds.  He tried to tuff it out.  This is a mistake.  He still has pain.  The doctor he has now explained why.  When you overload the pain receptors,  you grow more.  Then you have even more pain.  Every minor thing is then translated as pain.  Control the pain as much as possible and you will be better off later.  You might also ask for a prescription of Lidoderm patches.  They are non narcotic, you use them with your pain meds and they work really well on the spine.  It's the same stuff the dentist uses on your gums before giving you the shot.  I don't know why doctors don't think about them,  we heard about them from a user also.  Good luck.

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Brassman
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 05:17:31 PM »

I had 3 fused in my neck. Spent the night in the hospital, went home the next day. Something I agreed to while on a morphine drip. I guess the insurance company was trying to save some bucks. The first week wasn't too bad, but the next several weeks were literally unbearable. That was due to no post-op care, and poor pain management. Could not eat enough tylenol/codeine to help. Probably came close to destroying my liver. The actual surgery worked though, and solved my problems.

So, good surgeon, good post-op care, and proper pain management, and you should do well.

Good luck.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 07:08:30 PM »

I have had back surgery on L4 and L5. I'm not sure how bad the fusion would be, mine was just herniated severely. Just take you meds and don't do anything until you are ready. You'll be back before you know it.
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 09:10:32 PM »

You have some pretty good advice here.  FWIW, I am the nurse that wakes you up every few hours to see if you can still wiggle your toes.  Unfortunately, lami surgeries are all different.  Your post op experience will depend on how/what type damage has been done.  First off, you WILL have pain after surgery.  If the doc tells you different, you are being lied to.  Use analgesics  appropriately but understand that even with morphine, dilaudid, oxycotton/oxycodeine, etc you may still have pain.  Secondly, you may still have numbness and tingling that was there before surgery.  This may not go away.  Usually, the pain and numbness/tingling peak around 3 days post op and then decreases from there.  Don't lie in bed when you need to get up.  We try to get people up the night of surgery or the next morning.  Getting up may just be getting out of bed and pivoting to a bedside commode and a walk may just be to the bathroom.  It is just baby steps for the first few days.  Consider using analgesics prior to going to pt.  You will be more comfortable.  Finally, don't try to be a "tough guy" to the nurse/doc.  If you hurt tell someone.  If something changes in your ability to move or feel things tell someone.  It usually is not a bad surgery.  Most of our lamis are in and out in about 3-5 days.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
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Dennis Watson
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 09:18:15 PM »

You guys are putting the "scare" into future surgery patients..   I have to get C4-5 6-7 fused.   Being a small business owner makes thing worse.   

I have constant numbness in my fingers, pain up the shoulder.    All the years being a wrestling coach and turning the wrench for a living  has trashed my neck > a high speed rearend crash doesn't help things..

This is a good thread..   My Doc told me that hes going to call the Sheriff to get me in!

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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 09:38:38 PM »

I'm not trying to scare anyone.  I've just seen too many people that have been told they would be "pain free after surgery."  If you stop and think about it, a surgeon has had to cut through several layers of muscle just to access the area and then nerve tissue is manipulated, areas of stenosis are opened up, hardware is installed, maybe rods, screws, cages, etc.  Surgery is not what you see on TV, it is much more involved and often more physical.  Hopefully, your surgeon has suggested other approaches like therapy before actually cutting on you.   You shouldn't be afraid of surgery, those guys do it every day.  Ask questions.  Find out how long it will be before your return to normal.  If you are  not comfortable with your doc, find a different one.  Good luck.
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Dennis Watson
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 09:46:23 PM »

Zero,

This is a good thread....especially for you.  All the guess work is gradually falling away.  Did you get the part about "whatever was numb before you had the surgery will stay that way forever."  If you are numb or tingling anywhere you have impinged nerves.  You are loosing the ability to function in some way....motor or sense.  Get in there and "get'er done".  You snooze, you loose.  As a business man you have to appreciate that being out for a specified time is a better deal than doing it when driven and needing even more time to recover.  Then there is the wait till paralysis solves the problem for you and you can never get back in tghe saddle.

Sound like I am preaching?  I am.  Remember I said I lost 40% in my right arm?  Well, that injury occurred while I was on travel to Nashua, NH.  Horrific pain....simply devastating.  Dr. Piper gave me pain m,eds and a neck stretcher and told me the pain would resolve in 3 days.  OOOOOh good you might say.  Wrong O Buckeroo.  That God forsaken creep wasn't telling me that the nerve would be dead and my symptoms of paralysis would be permanent and the pain would transition to numbness in most of my arm.  When I got back to SD I saw my Orthjo and he gave me the bad news.....after 72 hours of depression the nerves are irrevocably DEAD and your symptoms are permanent.  He also told me that the operation is a very very common one with almost zero danger and 99% full success.  Ever see a guy with a surgery scar on the center of the back of his neck and he had a raspy voice?  Vocal cords got nicked during surgery.  I might also suggest that you talk to the PT nurses and ask which DR. has the fastest recovery rate and fewest complications.  No matter what others say those PT types deal with the results and they KNOW better than anyone who is top dog.

Be well and be nice to you.

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
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Paladin
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 09:50:30 PM »

Thanks for the info and words everyone. I've waited for a long longtime to do anything and possibly too long but we'll see what returns.
I began with the basic back aches. Took a two story fall back in '77 and compressed my spine. Two motorcycle accidents in '88 or '89 that were pretty bad. I don't recall the year...or several years before or after due to the head trauma so I only know it was '88 or '89. Aside from that I've had the same life as 99% of anyone else here, lifting lot's of steel, engines, working on cars and the bus.
The sciatica came in years ago beginning in the butt and then mid thigh and then several years ago one morning after working on the bus and lifting a lot of iron I woke to a numb foot. It slowly got better but came right back after any work.
Fast forward to last summer I suddenly got excruciating nerve pain and constant numbness but the neurologist I went to told me that I was fine. I went to several other docs since and they told me that I'm anything but fine. Meanwhile I began also getting the numbness and pain in the other leg.

Soo, here I am. I'm actually rather excited for the surgery or rather, the healing. I'm terrified of the days immediately following surgery. The pain, having to stay in the hospital etc.   I'm really looking forward to getting back to work and I know that some of the issues will linger. You just don't get 100% back and especially over 40. At this point though i know that I just can't put it off any longer without serious issues.

Thanks again everyone!
 
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 10:10:04 PM »

Dennis, Ed,  Thanks..   The first thing that I do when I wake up is grip my hand to gauge the numbness.   It is not 100% so I do have "hope"   

Ed you mention the rear surgical approach.   The path of entry for my surgery is thru the front.  I get the nice plate screwed in place along with the bone graph..   

Paladin,  I Thank you for the thread.   In '95 with the car accident I fractured L5..   It has healed, but I still have pain.   I'm sure that I'll be following you a few years down the road.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2011, 04:51:22 AM »

Best wishes and prayers for fast recovery.  As others have said, don't try to tough it out without the pain killers.  I know several people (mostly men) that have done without or minimized the use of post op pain killers and in each case it put them through hell and recovery took longer than it should have.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2011, 05:01:12 AM »

I think the ones around you will later tell you: You have a better attitude now!  I didn't realize how grumpy I was before when there was pain all the time. Was 5 ft10 at 20yrs old now 5ft 6 at 65 - all from loss of pads.Now- Pain free standing tall:according to Judy(the wife) in a better mood.  Look to the bright side----   Bob
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