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Old 09-06-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
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Back surgery


Hello,

I am a wallflower on this forum. I haven't asked many questions because most of the answers are already here. I feel like I know the prolific posters and appreciate your senses of humor. I am a stay at home mom doing most of the renovations on our house as I get time between volunteering at school and playdates.

I herniated a disc and require surgery. I'm guessing there are a few of you like that out there. I have never had surgery or general anesthesia and am pretty scared. Have any if you out there had successful back surgery? Everyone I know likes to share the horror stories, I never hear "oh, I had that surgery, best decision of my life, the pain was completely gone".

I know this is a DIY forum, but it also feels like a support network. I'd love to hear some positive stories. Thanks.

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Someone that I was close to had that surgery. I imagine you are suffering alot. Back pain coupled with shooting pain down your leg.

Does this sound correct?

The orthopedic surgeon that I spoke with compared a herniated disc to that of a slightly squished jelly doughnut.
They will just trim it up a bit and relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve.

As far as the anesthetic goes, its kind of amazing. You can feel it wash over you. There is no stopping the feeling of going to sleep and then it feels like you were out for only a second or two, but your surgery is over.

Best of luck to you. Its a good thing to get it over with. Try not to panic over the unknown. You will be glad you did it.

The person that I knew experienced a lot of relief


Last edited by creeper; 09-06-2012 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:30 PM   #3
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I have not had back surgery but have had others in the last few years due to the failure of the veins in one leg.

Those in my life that have complained most about back and knee surgery tended to complain alot about other things---or just about anything and the surgery just gave them something else to whine about.

The techniques get better all the time too and I certainly hope the decision in your case is because the quality of life you have now or the damage waiting could create far worse problems later on.

As mentioned, the anesthesia will depend on the length of the surgery and the docs but you will not feel a thing if they are doing a general and even the nausea after some complain about is seldom a factor at all. You might be light headed and your appetite off for half a day or so. I have always snapped out of it in record time.

Pain management shouldn't be but is a tricky thing and my advice to you is to be firm about it. Docs take very little coursework in pain management and near none have any idea of what addiction is really about beyond what you see on tv and read about so you know as much about it as they do. Of course they are afraid anybody they put on hydrocordone for more than two pills will turn into an addict and sadly our culture seems intent on proving them correct! But if you need pain meds, just stomp your feet until you get what you need and demand to see a pain specialist. They will not give you any more than makes sense of for longer than you need them. They will not let you be in a state of unmanageable pain at least to the extent of their capabilities.

What you do not want to do for long is keep yourself so souped up on pain meds you cannot experience what is going on or you will not be able to communicate the type and frequency of pain, whether it happens when you move a certain way, put extra weight on carrying things too soon, etc. And do heed the instructions about what and how much you should lift and starting when.

Chances are you will be offered some regimen of physical therapy and I encourage you to embrace that to the fullest extent you can. Push yourself as far as is safe even through some degree of discomfort. You will recover much quicker and be much stronger. Many of the people in my building are elderly and subject to back, shoulder an knee surgeries. The difference between those who cooperate with physical therapy and those who do not is nothing short of dramatic. My aunt is in her late 70s and was in the pool within a couple days of the last surgery. She is so glad she did the second knee.

In short, try not to worry too much. It is scary of course and do not deny yourself those important feelings. But talk them out with loved ones and your doc or nurse practitioner if you start obsessing about them. And be positive. You are probably going to feel much much better really soon.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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Back surgery


I agree with Steve completely about pain management. Take the morphine they offer you at first and as much as you feel like, but when you are released from the hospital wean yourself promptly from the narcotics.

I've also had a few different surgeries, the scariest being the removal of a tumour behind my ear. The darn thing had the audacity to wrap itself around a nerve. They had to peel back my ear and scrape...nevermind you get the idea.

One reason a body feels pain is to tell you to stop doing whatever it is you are doing. I'm certain the pre-op pain is much more severe than the post op

As a busy mom and day care operator, take the opportunity to rest while you can. Don't push yourself too soon, you may not get the chance to lay around in bed for a while again.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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Misscat -

I hated doctors and was afraid of anything in a white coat. I totally crushed my knee and could not even approve anything while under in the emergency room. My leg ended up being 1-1/2" short and 5 degrees from vertical for 9 painful years years. This screwed up my back, other hip and knee. The pain in my back was so bad I finally decided to go to a top-flight orthopedic surgery group. They said the first thing to do was a hip on the opposite side. I went to the hospital at 1:30PM and was up and had dinner at a table(hospital and doctor rules. I then spent one day doing some therapy and checked out the next morning. Since it was a left hip, I was able to drive in week. After that, I believe if you have a choice of good specialists and I wondered why I waited so long (9 years of pain). My wife said "now I know why we moved here).

My hip doctor would not touch my crushed knee, but the referred me to a knee specialist and said my legs had to be good to correct the spine problems that had developed. He also thought ahead and cheated on my hip and shortened my left leg by 1/4". The second specialist would only do the knee with 2 operations - one to remove hardware (brace and 14 screws as an out-patient and 3 weeks later a complete new knee and and a straight leg that is now straight and about 3/4" longer that before surgery. For the first time in 9 years, I was able to toss my heavy orthopedic shoes and walk normally by bending my knee and foot. It was a good thing that they talked together before my first surgery to create a plan if I approved the following surgeries.

I then decided to get my ruined back corrected now that the base was straight and went to a spinal doctor in the same group expecting an operation with a few new titanium/teflon disks in my spine and he said no. I was devastated, but he said you just need the right therapy for 3 months to strengthen the muscles that were weakened and possibly a cortisone shot. It is working as long as I don't over-do the exercising program. I was lucky since I had medicare that went into effect 7 years ago and some very good, costly additional coverage, none of this cost me anything but the premiums.

If you have faith in the doctor and his group, just do what he/they say and tell them to knock you out and wake you up when it is done. They can do wonders. - Just turn your self over to them.

P.S. regarding the pain, you may find you you have a high pain tolerance, which can be dangerous. I did not take any pain killers once out of the hospital (except some Tylenol) and have enough prescriptions for Vikiten, Oxycontin and others to become a dealer.

Dick

Last edited by concretemasonry; 09-06-2012 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:24 PM   #6
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Back surgery


yep, i'm recovering right now ,i'm glad i had the surgery. as far as being put under that's the fun part.the part that's not fun is i work for myself and am going to be on the shelf for a total of 6 weeks .that's 6 weeks as in no money for 6 weeks .i thank God i have clients waiting for me ,and i have calls coming in everyday.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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My mother had back surgery twice in her lifetime. I'd say it gave her many years of a better quality of life than she would have had without them.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:52 PM   #8
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After 12 months of having a Cervical fusion of three vertebrae, I am finally off of all pain med's. Just taking Ibuprofen when I have flairs, but no more Meloxicam, Flexeril, or Tramadol. Getting through the first 24 hours was great after surgery, with the Morphine pump.

What really sucked, was having to do nothing from Sept. to Dec. last year when I went back to work, which most on here can vouch that I spent a lot of time on this forum raising my post count. What else did I have to do all day, since I was restricted to doing nothing more than watching tv, sitting in a chair healing, and really nothing more.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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Concretemasonry, my new job is entering Prescription Authorizations from Pharmacies & doctors. Majority are for Pain killers, mainly narcotics. The rest is of course stuff like Cymbalta, Adderall, Strattera, etc.. There are too many doctors out there that we love to call in our office the top "Drug Dealers", due to all they do is over medicate their patients.

Of course we love the back to school time, because that is when the kids go back to school as Zombies, due to they are over prescribed med's, same with those that get over medicated on pain meds. And we wonder why people are so screwed up, when the doctors and PA's are assisting in the problem, not finding a solution to not over prescribe meds.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:31 PM   #10
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Greg -

I got the pain killers prescribed by the hospital doctors (routine thing) and got them filled, but did not like what they did and forgot about taking them, but saved them for a possible family emergency (you never know). - Ever tried to cut a pill into 16 pieces and put each into cat food for 16# cat with a hip problem? It does not work.

Dick
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:38 AM   #11
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Back surgery


I don't care for the pain meds I'm currently on, I just feel so dumb. They do make it possible for me to maintain some kind of lifestyle while I wait for my surgery though. No table saw for me though-I like my fingers the way they are.

Thank you for all the replies. It's so nice to hear about people having good outcomes. I will keep you posted as things progress. Right now, I'm waiting for Kaiser to get me on the schedule. I've done the consults and am "in the system" but waiting for them to schedule me. I kind of just want to go now and get it over with now that I've decided to get it done. Kind of like eating something yucky-get it over with and move on. I cried when I hung up my hockey skates this week knowing I won't wear them for a while.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
Greg -

I got the pain killers prescribed by the hospital doctors (routine thing) and got them filled, but did not like what they did and forgot about taking them, but saved them for a possible family emergency (you never know). - Ever tried to cut a pill into 16 pieces and put each into cat food for 16# cat with a hip problem? It does not work.

Dick
Ha I've also got a little stockpile of leftover painkillers.

Try putting a pill in a little baggie and whacking it with a rolling pin. Then the small pieces mix well with applesauce or yogurt for human use or wet cat food for kitty.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKat View Post
I don't care for the pain meds I'm currently on, I just feel so dumb. They do make it possible for me to maintain some kind of lifestyle while I wait for my surgery though. No table saw for me though-I like my fingers the way they are.

Thank you for all the replies. It's so nice to hear about people having good outcomes. I will keep you posted as things progress. Right now, I'm waiting for Kaiser to get me on the schedule. I've done the consults and am "in the system" but waiting for them to schedule me. I kind of just want to go now and get it over with now that I've decided to get it done. Kind of like eating something yucky-get it over with and move on. I cried when I hung up my hockey skates this week knowing I won't wear them for a while.
I wouldn't be so quick to think you're putting the kybosh on any activity just yet.

You will be surprised how quickly the nurses will have you on your feet again.
They will simply walk into your room within a couple of days and announce you are getting up and walking. A couple more weeks at home and you will be ready to sharpen those blades

There are some narcotics that seem to have a more addicting quality to them. I hear oxycoton is bad. Talk to Dr. if you are on those and be careful
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:41 PM   #14
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Back surgery


You will do just fine. The surgery will be worth it. Back in the day, my God mother had it done, and it really did wonders for her. I haven't heard any horror stories about that one.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:50 PM   #15
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Back surgery


Keep a positive attitude and as I said before acknowledge your feelings. It is alright and normal to be scared. If such thoughts are consuming you, talk them out. Ask for some temporary anxiety relief if you need it.

Embrace the physical therapists when you get to that phase. Do the drugs but taper off as soon as you can manage. I helped introduce the PCA (patient controlled analgesia) devices for Abbott years ago. They deliver narcotic when you push a button, sort of. People on them use much, much less than with cyclical injected or oral pill pain meds. What they do is distribute your pain meds evenly over a 24 hour period. Otherwise you wait for a shot it races into your blood stream, works for a few hours, then leaves. And you lay their waiting for another. If you push the button on the PCA and it is not time? You get the placebo effect.

You will find the occupational therapists hilarious. The inventions they will offer you had me roaring with laughter. They will not let you be discharged or otherwise leave the hospital without taking a gadget of some kind so just pick something you can give as a white elephant gift for the Holidays. Some of the toys they have to offer are quite amusing though so giggle like I did if you must.


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