View Full Version : How much pain are you in when you 1st wake up from surgery?

05-27-2010, 05:26 PM
I'm having surgery in about 10 days and so I'm starting to get really nervous. I have a pretty high pain tolerance as I gave birth to my 2 kids naturally and without an epidural. That was very painful, but I did it. I'm just wondering if I will wake up from surgery in excrutiating pain, or does the pain not get bad until day 2 or 3? I would love to hear everyone's experiences about when they first woke up from surgery and what it was like.

Thank you!


05-27-2010, 06:32 PM
Hi Jen. I am betting you'll get plenty of replies from people who didn't have epidurals. But I woke up with two epidurals and didn't feel pain for days. I think it gave my body a wee while to recover before the pain set in. It seems not many surgeons opt for epidurals. Wish I knew why.

05-27-2010, 07:22 PM

My surgery was with Dr. Lenke on Jan 29th, 2010.

I woke up in excruciating pain--like 11 on the pain scale of 1 to 10. (I had also given birth to my four children naturally). BUT, as soon as I said I was in pain they must have knocked me out. Then, I woke up later in just as much pain and they knocked me out again. Later, I was able to use the pain pump (I think I hit it constantly--good thing it only sends out a certain amount or I might have killed myself accidentally :) !!

I think the pain was worse because I had to lie on my back constantly for the first while. Once I could be log-rolled from side to side things got better.

I REALLY hope I haven't scared you. I just wanted to be honest. AND, tell the nurses what you are feeling. I am a nurse and we have no real way to access your level of pain--you must say something!

Good luck. It is so worth it! I am so glad, grateful and blessed to have had my surgery.

Fused T3-L3

05-27-2010, 08:02 PM
Hi Jen,

I am planning for surgery T10-pelvis later this year. I asked my surgeon about an epidural and he told me he doesn't use them because "I don't want anything extra in my incision." I took this to mean it might increase the risk of infection, which makes sense to me. Too bad, though...

Best of luck with your surgery.

05-27-2010, 08:10 PM
Hello....I can paint the exact opposite of Jen's story. Immediately when I woke up from surgery I had doctors and nurses yelling at me, literally yelling at me (or so it seemed) to breathe, take deep breaths, wiggle my toes, etc. I was trying to talk and do what they said but I just couldn't make anything move. And, they kept telling me same thing over and over. And, of course, I'd try to talk and wiggle something, but with a breathing tube it was making it a little difficult for me. Finally, I did the toes on my one foot to wiggle (thankfully) and Dr. Lenke said "that's good enough" and they pulled the breathing tube out. It didn't hurt when they did it or anything and it was much better once they did. But, I still couldn't move much of anything. Throat hurt a little, but not too bad. And, as far as back pain, I was surprised that it wasn't worse than it was because I was expecting it to be horrible! My pain the entire time I was in the hosp was never excruciating - and I used the pain pump too and had tons of dope medicine - but, it just seemed to stay under control. I made sure I never missed a dose either! Ha! My discomfort was more of "just uncomfortable" than excruciating. I would try turning over with assistance from the nurses and my wonderful hubby and I just never seemed to get comfortable. Once I would find "my comfortable spot", my hubby tells me I would sleep for what seemed like hours. Even snoring on occasion. How embarrassing that must have been! Ha! I, too, was very nervous about how much pain I would be in immediately postop - and I will tell you not to give it a second thought because if they hear you are in pain they will do something to make you feel better. All of my nurses, therapists, etc. were the best!!! They actually seemed like they understood completely. But, the rule that is most important is "take your medicine as you're supposed to" because once you get behind the pain it is forever until you are able to catch up to it and actually be in front of it and have it controlled again. I know how worried you are about pain postop, please do not worry too much. I did too and for me it was not too bad and I have two rods and 32 screws back there. Had surgery Mar 1st. Hopefully this will help you and I wish you the best of luck.

05-27-2010, 08:25 PM
I had surgery April 15, 2010. I was on pain meds and really don't remember clearly the first few days. I just asked my husband if I was in pain when I woke up and he said I was. He said it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be but I was in pain. Again I don't remember much. By day 2 I was getting out of bed and walking a bit. I got off the IV pain as soon as I could as it made me very nauseas (spelling?). I wouldn't worry alot about it as they do try to make you comfortable very quickly.

05-27-2010, 10:49 PM
JenParker's experience sounded a lot like mine. They had trouble finding what worked for me the first couple days and then it was better. And I agree with Rita--demand your meds on time or have someone there to do it. I had trouble with a couple nurses not bringing it on time and even after requests. The one, especially, I hope she's not still there because that was not good. I have really vague memories of a lot of this but my husband had a front row seat. It will get better for real! Janet

05-27-2010, 11:06 PM
Wow, I guess I was lucky. I remember everything from when I came round through my entire time in hospital. I woke up in no pain, and had little or no pain the entire time due to pain pump and meds :). Hope that makes you feel better.

05-27-2010, 11:13 PM
I'm with Lynette on this one. The pain meds really took care of my discomfort, however I did feel very stiff. I did feel some pain when they had me sit up then the following day when they had me stand up and walk. I did experience wild dizziness when they would turn me and that was much worse than the pain. I think that was due to the pain meds. Or because my blood pressure was so low perhaps? But the pain wasn't as bad as I expected.

05-27-2010, 11:20 PM
Strange timing, I was just talking about this with my wife earlier tonight. I honestly don't recall being in severe pain at all after my surgery. I only remember bits and pieces of my first few days in the hospital and I remember being uncomfortable, but not in pain. Through this whole process pain has never really been an issue, granted I've had other issues, but pain has never been a problem..gotta love the drugs!!


05-27-2010, 11:20 PM
after i 1st wake up i was not in pain a i was more aware it was a 7

05-28-2010, 12:07 AM
I vaguely remember waking up in post-op and the doctors asking me to rate my pain so they could adjust my meds. I remember telling them it was pretty high (maybe a 7)....but I have no memory of actually feeling any pain. I did have pain in the first couple of days/nights, mostly at night when the morphine was wearing off, after they switched me to oral meds. I felt sore and stiff, and my muscles just felt weird, but I don't remember a whole lot of pain after the first couple of days, and even in those first two days it was intermittent and mostly related to med timing and mostly at night. I had one night where I cried (the second night) because the morphine had worn off and it was shift change, so I had to wait to get more. It's all pretty fuzzy now, though - I felt it at the time, but it really fades.

05-28-2010, 08:35 PM
To be honest, I don't even remember anything from the first few times I woke up. However, I must have been in a lot of pain as I told my mum that I wouldn't wish the pain I had on anyone and I was regretting having the surgery as I didn't think it was worth it. I do remember some of the first night in ICU, but I don't remember my pain level well as I was fairly out of it. However, the second and third day (even though I was out of it some of the time) for me where horrible. I had a bad reaction to the morphine and had some major problems and was needing lots of tests.

At first I was recovering a lot slower then most people, but was released 6 days post-op when they weren't expecting to have me gone before 8 days! Everyone's experience in hospital will vary, and once I was smiling in hospital I have to say my stay was actually enjoyable! Also, make sure to let the nurses know when your pain is getting bad, as my nurses where incredibly good at monitoring my pain and making sure that I was as comfortable as they could make me.

Now I am extremely glad I had the surgery, even though I still have a far bit of pain and am suffering side effects of my medication (still on strong pain killers as I am 2 weeks post-op). Just remember to think of the positives and the little things you achieve each day that you couldn't the day before :)

Good luck with your surgery

05-29-2010, 10:15 AM
I don't recall being in pain. My family said that when i got back to my room, the nurse asked if i was in pain and all i said was, i'm going to be sick. They gave me some Maxalon through the IV and i didn't wake until 5am next morning. When i did wake, i remember having no pain, only discomfort and the itch to get out of bed real soon!

05-29-2010, 11:39 AM
My daughters said alot but I think they handled it very well. They had a pain mangement team working with them. They also had two epidurals each. Ask you doc if you could have the team and what he thinks of two epidurals. Mary

05-30-2010, 12:57 AM
Hi there! 1st of all I hope for all the best with your surgery coming up. I turned 19 in january and had surgery in September of 2009 and am fused T4-L3 :} :} to be honest I was so exhasted after surgery and slept a lot!!!!!!! The pain was tolerable it felt heavy. I had bad muscle spasms that occurred after I was out of the hospital...no one warned me about those :{ I don't remember a lot from the hospital but I do remember the hardest part of my stay was when they made me sit up for the first time...I got really really dizy but no puking :} But you'll get through all of this!!!! Keep us posted