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green m&m
07-06-2014, 11:00 AM
I did it.

Finally put it in writing and scheduled the surgery for mid-September. If I had my choice, I'd have set the date months earlier (still for fall) but because my case is considered 'complex', it took getting the ok from all my docs and surgeons for my ortho to agree to schedule. And even with my main doc wrangling everyone it still took a while for everyone to talk and share their piece of the puzzle.

I'm gonna be scouring the forum for tips.

One thing that I wanted to know from other thirty-somethings. I know many of you in the 50+ age group often goto in-patient rehab after being released from the hospital. Are people in 30s sent to rehab as often? Impression I get from my surgeon is that most people my age are sent straight home - but there's a part of me mildly concerned with being alone during the day.

Also, is 4 days in-hospital realistic? It seemed short when my surgeon said that but I realize everyone is different. At least this one was realistic regarding time-back-to work -- three months compared to the ex-ortho who told me I could go back to work in 6 weeks (HA!).

Attached is my soon to be 'before' xray.

mabeckoff
07-06-2014, 01:22 PM
Welcome to the forum You will find much good information here

Melissa

springchicken
07-06-2014, 08:12 PM
Hi Green

That's great that you have a date set. To answer your questions...
It's true, rehab wasn't even brought up to me. I did PT in the hospital to get up and walking (which is normal). And I was told four days as well, but ended up staying an extra day for a blood transfusion, but it wasn't a big deal. I was glad to have the extra day!

It might be hard being alone at first... If you can't have anyone come check on you I'd try to have a nurse come in. The first couple weeks are challenging; I needed help often. I know other members, like Ed I think, offered good posts on how to prepare your house beforehand if you'll be by yourself. And please feel free to ask anything else that might come up.

-spring

titaniumed
07-07-2014, 12:26 AM
Green

From reading the scoli forums through the years, most in their 30ís donít go to a rehab facility. I think its best to just see how it goes.....I didnít go, so they sent nurses and re-hab people out to my house everyday. The main thing is that you wont be able to drive to get groceries, and having a gopher is necessary. There are things you will forget, and will suddenly need. I have all my neighbors and worked hard at training all of my inner circle as to what I was having done, showed them x-rays and filled them in since they had no clue about scoliosis surgery.

Medtronics claims 2-4 weeks for returning to work....Thatís a nice thought, I guess marketing people are allowed to dream. I have admit that I do like some of their stuff, like the phrase ďreimagine reliefĒ which is something we do forget about ageing with scoliosis. I took 18 months off work but I had a very invasive open anterior, broken arm and shoulder, and eventually after all the gall attacks had my gall bladder removed. I would say that most really donít return to work for 3 months, and even that has to be done on a part time basis. There are a few posts about the agony of returning to work at 3 months full time....You want to do this part time for awhile. Working online from your home is a good thing.

I recovered alone and wasnít weaned to orals till I went home which is a painful thing. Make sure you are weaned to oral meds before you leave the hospital. Once you leave, you donít have the option for a needed shot. I have a deep wide tub and took many hot soaks for pain in hot 106F water. Hot water works well for bone and nerve pain. A standard bathtub wont work as they are not deep enough to float.

My surgeon asked me multiple times how many steps lead into my house, which is 3. If you have stairs, its best to avoid them if you can, a staircase fall would be a disaster. If you live in a 2 story home, setup a bed on the ground floor near a bathroom if possible and I would recommend that you buy a latex foam topper 2-4 inches think. It will be the best $125 you ever spent.

I had 2 units of blood from the blood bank a few days after my surgeries. That was a breath of fresh air, must have been those young stem cells. I wonder if they know the age of the blood? I think if you can request ďyoung bloodĒ that might not be a bad idea. (smiley face)

I think that recovering alone takes an understanding of whatís happening, what happened in surgery, determination, positive attitude, and patience. I really struggled with my bed. I would set my hips down, then lay down and my head would hit the headboard and would have to log roll out on an angle which is trying. You learn as you go, some of the things are a royal pain, but you adapt as you go. I thought I would never be able to reach my feet ever again and I was wrong. Many of my thoughts were compounded with depression and heavy medication usage and I had to stay focused. I guess we donít have a choice really. After I terminated all meds, I improved quickly.

In the end it all worked out and wouldnít change a thing.

They will straighten you right up....My laymanís guess would be a fusion down to L2 which is good for bending.

Congratulations on setting your date, believe me, we never forget that moment.

Ed

JenniferG
07-07-2014, 03:47 AM
Great post Ed, as always. Hope life is treating you well.

I was nearly 58 when I had my surgery and also didn't go to rehab. However, from years of reading this forum, many who did go to rehab, said it was beneficial.

JenniferG
07-07-2014, 03:55 AM
I see my signature is out of date. Can someone PM me and tell me how I change it please? It's not allowing me to update it in My Profile.

leahdragonfly
07-07-2014, 08:27 AM
Hi,

I was 42 when I was fused T8-sacrumÖbut that's nearly the new 30, right?

I stayed in the hospital 6 days and needed every bit of it. I had very inadequate pain control, made worse by my trying to minimize narcotics since they make me very nauseated. I went home in a lot of pain, which was not a good way to start. The first two weeks are pretty rough, so you will definitely need someone to check on you at least once every day, and bring you food. You will not be up to preparing yourself any food for the first two weeks, nor cleaning up. You may not even have much appetite due to meds, but if that is the case you will need to find something (soup, shakes, etc) that you can sustain yourself with. It is so important for healing.

A few practical tips come to mind. Make sure someone goes to the pharmacy and fills your giant prescriptions for pain meds and has it in hand prior to your leaving the hospital. This is imperative. I almost ended up in the local ER because after we left Portland and made the 2 hour drive home, our local pharmacy refused to fill my scripts due to amount, and I was starting to go into shock/withdrawal with extreme pain/shaking/etc. It was absolutely criminal, but it happens. Be prepared ahead by having someone obtain your meds before you leave the hospital. And make sure to take a dose of pain meds right before you leave. Don't let the nurses tell you no. You will need it.

Stock up on some over the counter laxatives at home, and plan to take them every day. I used Miralax and Senokot-S, which was a good combination. We pretty much all suffer painful constipation due to narcotics and long surgeries, so stay ahead of the game and start taking laxatives as soon as you get home. A bottle of Miralax is the bomb if the others don't get things moving.

Keep a notebook by your bed with the times and amounts of narcotic and med doses. Keep all your meds near your bed with water so you don't have to get up and go get them. Keep a cell phone with you at all times in case you need help. Can someone at least come by and make sure you get your shower safely, and take your several short walks per day with you to make sure you are steady? I would recommend this for the first two weeks if possible.

I am one of the ones Ed mentions who was forced to go back to work too soon, full-time. I returned at 14 weeks post-op to seated duty (I am a nurse in a busy cardiac cath lab) and it was exhausting and painful. I feel that I set my recovery back by a month once I returned. But I am pretty tough and got through it, and I was definitely getting very isolated and lonely/bored at home, so I guess it worked out.

Best of luck to you. There are other threads as Ed mentioned about recovering alone. Linda Racine I think discusses it, as did a poster named Pam (txmarinemom) who is no longer here.

green m&m
07-07-2014, 08:57 PM
Thanks everyone!

I should have clarified -- I'll be alone during the day, between 6 am till... 4pm ish. BF works at a contract job where he can't take off too much and doesn't have paid time off or qualify for any leaves. Though we are hoping that'll change if he becomes permanent full time.


My surgeon did mention that they'll send PT to my home and in his words "Not to make you do any real PT, but to make sure you are safe. I'd be happy if you got up and walk a little everyday." Real PT should begin around week 6 assuming I'm recovering on schedule.

I'm definitely going to be aware of the constipation and will be ready. Will probably add benefiber to my daily intake if surgeon says it's ok. That was a lifesaver when I was on Zofran to combat nausea side effects while on gleevec. Fully expect the super compacted constipation except this time I assume I won't have the full um, pushing strength. Also going to be getting those big pill box and relabeling them with times for each dose and will probably strewn water bottles around the bed... recliner... anywhere where I might rest.

I'm really hoping the fusion will stop at L2, at my initial visit with the surgeon he mentioned that between L2 and L3 there is a small bit of difference. But in truth I think my chances of fusion down to L3 is more likely than just to L2. I have small pedicles and doubt any hardware can be put in at the apex of my curve in T10 and 11. (Bony erosion, osteophytes, paper thin pedicles)

I should ask if my BF can donate for me... he's O neg. so a universal donor. The Red Cross (or Vampires as he likes to call them) calls him pretty frequently asking to donate.

With the surgery date, and my currently projected 3 month time off I'll be back mid-December when all the clients (big pharma/medical device) my company works with are on vacation. So... should be nice and slow easing back into work and I have the choice to work from home if needed.

So at what point during the hospital is 'after care' discussed -- as in who helps with setting up home nurse/PT folks and arrange them for you? I think there are usually different group of folks that do this vs. your surgeon/his staff?

jrnyc
07-07-2014, 09:12 PM
this info is from a website about blood donations and
transfusions to specific relatives/spouses...
i knew i read something like it before, so i looked for it and found
it again...
please forgive me if it is not applicable to you...

"A husband should not donate blood to his wife during childbearing years because it could increase the risk of complications in future pregnancies."

green m&m
07-07-2014, 09:19 PM
Hm.

I didn't know that about blood donation.

Make sense though, a woman could develop antibodies due to the transfusion of her husband's blood and end up rejecting the baby through an immune response. I wonder now though how many miscarriages are due to immune mediated response.

I don't plan on having a biological child so technically I'd be ok but I guess better to avoid just in case.

tae_tap
07-08-2014, 06:55 AM
First, welcome to the forum! Setting the date is a big step and now the waiting nerves are going to creep up on you.

I was 34 with my first surgery and 36 with the second. The second was T2-sacrum with pelvic fixation. I was in the hospital for 7 days and stayed at the hotel connected for the first night out due to a four hour drive home.

My husband works for the state and with the time frame being winter when I had my surgery he had to get back to work to keep the roads cleared of the snow. I really did not need anyone during the day when I got home because I basically slept all the time. Things were left at my level where I could just grab them. I was not interested in eating, so Ed's smoothies were prepared prior to my husband leaving and I just sipped on that during the day.

My house was set up to where I used my walker to get to the bathroom and lucky for me the constipation came in handy when first arriving home because I could not figure out that butt buddy for anything, lol!

The trick to being ready is too keep everything that you use at a low level. Don't shower until someone gets home. Enjoy the quiet time because you are going to need the sleep. If you have a close church family put the word out that you may need someone to check in on you or even come a couple times a day to assist you in walking and to just give you a sense of "normal" with the outside world.

Having this done in your 30's is an advantage during the healing process. I think the most important piece of advice I can pass on (which I wish I had listened to when Ed told me) is to not rush the healing process. Your body will tell you when you are ready to return to work and your normal way of life.

I will be praying and watching for updates.

Tamena

green m&m
07-08-2014, 09:56 AM
Ed's smoothie.

I remember reading about that... (Found an excuse to get a nice blender... yes!)

Thanks for your welcomes -- I've been around for a while though since 2005 (It's been almost 10 years? Time flies :-o!)

I told my work straight up I'll be out for three months at minimum and NJ has state short term disability up to 24 weeks so I can have more time if I need.

titaniumed
07-08-2014, 07:44 PM
Ed's smoothie.
Here it is....

2 shots Absolut vodka
2 shots peach schnapps
1 dash of grapefruit juice
1 dash of lime juice
1 splash of grenadine syrup

Wait a minute, thatís not the right one....LOL Thatís sex on an Arizona beach.

Here it is...Edís recipe. Not as exiting, but an easy way to get some needed nutrients and protein

1/4 cup Whey protein powder
1 yogurt
1 banana
10 blueberries
5 strawberries
10 raspberries
10 almonds

Blend and drink. Buy berries frozen, its easier.

Thanks Jen, Iíve been ok....Iíve been working hard lately...Taking my RV to a secluded lakeside camping spot this weekend for some R&R

Ed

mabeckoff
07-08-2014, 09:32 PM
Enjoy the weekend

Melissa

Irina
07-08-2014, 11:23 PM
Tamena is spot on - the best advice is not to rush your recovery. If you can afford to tell your company that you return to work when you are ready, it's such a wonderful feeling knowing that you don't have to hurry back. I enjoyed my time off, walks and swims so much.

tae_tap
07-09-2014, 07:16 AM
Here it is....

2 shots Absolut vodka
2 shots peach schnapps
1 dash of grapefruit juice
1 dash of lime juice
1 splash of grenadine syrup

Ed

Where the heck was this one when I needed it? Hehe!

The only thing I did different was use soy protein instead of whey. I can't stand the taste of whey.

Tamena

scooter950
07-09-2014, 01:03 PM
Great news, M&M! I'm 20+ yrs your senior, but I'm scheduled for Nov. 4th/ We can do this! It will be so nice to get this behind us. 4 days seems like such a short time for such a horrific surgery, but then- even open heart patients get discharged quickly. I may end up in rehab BUT I hope not; I have practicing placing my butt in the bed exactly where it's needed so that My head does not hit the headboard ( thanks TiEd). already have the butt buddy ( toilet wiper aid!!) and will be getting a shower chair. Please share your preparation tips - I am so looking forward to being able to STAND for more than 2 minutes without pain! Jamie in TX

titaniumed
07-09-2014, 08:06 PM
Where the heck was this one when I needed it? Hehe!


Ohhhh...no...I was just joking around. You donít want to mix alcohol and medications. This is a BIG no-no. This was our local news for years.

Some of the older New Jersey folks might remember Karen Quinlan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Quinlan

Thanks Melissa, You know that every so often we need to turn off our worries, and this is one of the ways I do this. Perhaps I will post a picture this weekend.

Ed

mabeckoff
07-09-2014, 11:03 PM
Ohhhh...no...I was just joking around. You donít want to mix alcohol and medications. This is a BIG no-no. This was our local news for years.

Some of the older New Jersey folks might remember Karen Quinlan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Quinlan

Thanks Melissa, You know that every so often we need to turn off our worries, and this is one of the ways I do this. Perhaps I will post a picture this weekend.

Ed

I remember Karen Quinlan

green m&m
07-10-2014, 12:29 PM
Where the heck was this one when I needed it? Hehe!

The only thing I did different was use soy protein instead of whey. I can't stand the taste of whey.

Tamena


LOL. I'm the opposite. I hate the taste of soy protein. (and most soy protein based stuffs)