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View Full Version : Peggy's Scoliosis Surgery: the journey begins on 10/27!



PeggyS
10-02-2014, 01:28 PM
After yesterday's multiple tests & dr appts in St. Louis, my date for surgery has been confirmed! Yikes!

T-3 through S1 with Dr. Buchowski. Dr. Lenke made the referral, after reviewing my MRI. I like Dr. Buchowski and I'm confident he'll make as much improvement, as possible.

We're renting an apartment across from the hospital (Metrolofts) and I'm working on household organization. Our daughters live nearby. My husband's mobility is limited, but he assures me he's ready.

Friends have asked what they can do while we're gone. Any ideas? Is there something you wished you'd asked for - esp those who traveled out of state? We have house cleaners set up and a big freezer for food. My typical answer is prayers & positive thoughts.

I love this forum. I found it a little over a year ago. The information has been soooooo helpful! I know I'll have your support during this journey, so 'thank you', ahead of time!

Chihuahua Mama
10-02-2014, 06:56 PM
Peggy, I'll pray for you. No worries, sounds like you've got your ducks in a row! Congrats on finding a great surgeon and the family and apartment rental. Seems many prayers have already been answered?

You can count on mine.

God bess!

LindaRacine
10-02-2014, 09:42 PM
Peg....

I've uploaded a PDF file that addresses all sorts of things in terms of preparing for surgery. You'll find it here (http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1589&d=1397442480). In that document, I address the question of what you can tell your friends who want to help:

Fix a meal
Shop
Vacuum
Change the sheets
Do a load of laundry
Water the plants
Feed the animals
Change the litter
Walk the dog
Empty the garbage
Bring a video (and watch it with me)
Take me for a walk or a short outing
Drive me to an appointment
Pick up all the things I've dropped

Regards,
Linda

jane d
10-02-2014, 09:57 PM
Peggy, I will also pray for you. Many people prayed for me and I attribute that plus having a great surgeon, Dr. Lenke,as the reason I had such a good recovery. I had exercised with a personal trainer for 3 years before my surgery and that was also very important. I was fused from t4 to sacrum at age 67 two years ago. We traveled from South Carolina and I was in the hospital for one week and in the connecting hotel for one week after that and then flew home. I did have someone to help with the house cleaning and friends from church brought in meals for about two weeks. I had to climb a flight of stairs to get into my home but had no problem doing so. I used a walker for less than one week after coming home. My husband stayed home from work for the first week I was home and kept a written record of when I took my pain meds. I was on my own after that. I was off pain meds at about 5 weeks and was driving short distances at 6 weeks. I would advise tapering off the pain meds more gradually than I did. I just stopped abruptly and had trouble sleeping for about two weeks.
I will pray for an uneventful recovery for you.
Jane

golfnut
10-02-2014, 10:18 PM
Peggy,
The surgery didn't seem real to me until I had the day of tests so I know how you feel. The worrying before surgery was by far the toughest time for me. I was 60 also when I had my surgery at Barnes. Best of luck with a smooth recovery.

titaniumed
10-02-2014, 11:58 PM
Peggy

We never forget the day we commit and set our dates.....I set my dates on 10/31/07.

I didn’t plan much since I’m the Oscar Madison of scoliosis surgery! I think I had a frozen lasagna in the freezer??? Yeah, I have to admit, I did everything the hard way.....but I had a great support team which is everything! If I write a book on scoliosis some day, I might use the title “Roughing it”. The angels were hovering around me, no doubt.

My surgeon asked me a few times how many stairs I had leading into my house.....I have 2 steps. It would have been hilarious to ask why he was asking since I was planning on tent camping after I go home.....(scoliosis forum humor)

Many have mentioned having 2 grabbers just in case you drop the first one. Having 3 is better in case you drop the first two. (I know, bad scoliosis forum humor)

On a serious note......

The foam topper on the bed was crucial for sleeping......2-4 inches of latex foam. Latex will be a white color...

Worry creates stress, and stress is bad....Laugh when you can, and remember that these people are professionals, they do this everyday.

Ed

tae_tap
10-03-2014, 07:30 AM
Now the waiting game begins. At least it is not months of waiting and wondering because I think the wait was the toughest part for me.

As Ed said, these doctors do this every day and have been trained by some of the best in the realm of scoliosis surgery. So stay confident and positive because a positive attitude is what will get you through the next few months.

Tamena

jrnyc
10-03-2014, 03:19 PM
Peggy...
as for what to do for while you are away...

is your mail being taken in/looked after?
any bills to prepay, like phone or anything to pay in advance
so you owe nothing on utilities if you are away longer than you
think you will be...?

that is only thing i could think of....but maybe you won't need
to be away so long...

best of luck...for successful surgery and uneventful recovery....
jess...and Sparky

fifa
10-04-2014, 11:43 AM
Hi, Peggy!

I have so, so, so been wanting to talk to you (my login has been held in cyberheaven since late August). Glad you have scheduled your surgery. I, too, am having surgery at Barnes with Dr. Buchowski. I'm scheduled November 10th. The myelogram and postop teaching is set for October 22. Will post my story in a separate thread. Just couldn't wait to say hello to you and wish you good luck!!

Take care!

PeggyS
10-04-2014, 09:49 PM
Hi Fifa!

I just replied to your thread! Send me a pm if you have questions I might be able to answer. Nurse Megan has an excellent model of a fusion - I wish I had taken a picture of it. I'm going to ask her to send me one. Sometimes it's hard to explain what's going to be done to my back.

PeggyS
10-06-2014, 06:59 AM
Thank you all, for the lists & suggestions. Our spare bedroom is the dedicated packing place and I've started to gather the items we'll take to St. Louis with us!
We have a wheelchair, but my nurse gave a definite 'no' when I asked about bringing it - that makes me feel good! I'm looking forward to walking, walking, walking. In fact, my post op goal is to walk a 5k in July.

tae_tap
10-06-2014, 07:38 AM
I would say absolutely not to the wheelchair! The only time I would even fathom it being needed is getting from the hospital to your apartment and even then you will have access to the hospital chair. I think having it there would make it easy to cut corners. Walking will be the best for you.

A 5k at eight months post-op, I have a feeling you have always been an over-achiever! I can relate to that, but don't rush it. Take things slow and don't be devastated if it does not happen so soon.

Tamena

susancook
10-06-2014, 11:36 PM
Suggestions for friends: Give your husband a break and have one of them come over and be your company for 4 hours or so the first week. Let them grocery shop for you.
Forget the wheelchair.
Have a diary for pain pills and BMs.
I am sure that you will do well. Us older women are awesome!
Susan

PeggyS
10-07-2014, 05:54 AM
You made me laugh, Susan! I've kept a diary for pain meds before, but not for BM's! Yep, I think it'll be necessary. Hope you're getting stronger each day!

PeggyS
10-07-2014, 05:57 AM
A 5k at eight months post-op, I have a feeling you have always been an over-achiever! I can relate to that, but don't rush it. Take things slow and don't be devastated if it does not happen so soon.

Tamena

Ah, a dose of reality - I keep forgetting that all the walking I'll be doing in recovery will be in short increments! Thanks, Tamena

jackieg412
10-07-2014, 01:16 PM
As you approach your surgery date take a walk for strength and get a good book to read for when you can stay awake long enough to do so. Good luck and we are all on your side .Jackie

PeggyS
10-10-2014, 07:56 PM
Have most of you had your surgeons use BMP? My insurance company has denied coverage. Dr. Buchowski told me not to take out a second mortgage. He'll use bone from my hip. Ack - I don't want to deal with potential additional pain or longer healing! He has ordered 6 large kits of BMP for a whopping total of $46,433! A peer-to-peer appeal is scheduled with the insurance company. I have paperwork for financial aid, but I don't think we'll qualify - at least not enough to actually help!

My husband had lumbar fusion last winter that involved 2 vertebrae, so it was probably 1 kit. Insurance denied him, too, but his surgeon wrote it off. According to Dr. Buchowski's nurse, nothing gets 'written' off.

Any opinions? Thanks.

golfnut
10-10-2014, 08:18 PM
Peggy,
I had my surgery at Barnes, too, but with Dr. Lenke. Healthlink denied coverage for BMP which upset me since I thought it would increase the odds of fusion and didn't want to pay it out of my pocket. I called Dr. Lenke's office and was told not to worry about it because Barnes would absorb the cost, which they did. I hope it can be worked out for you.

Irina
10-10-2014, 09:29 PM
My surgeon did not use bmp. She said I did not need it and there is some study that shows that bmp might increase your chance of cancer. They used one of my ribs for bone graft.

LindaRacine
10-11-2014, 03:48 PM
Hi...

I got a PM from someone who is concerned about the reference to BMP and cancer. It appears that there is a small, but significant, increased risk of cancer.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25187579

I think many surgeons are still using BMP when they feel the situation warrants it. As always, I encourage everyone to find a professional that you can trust, and let that person, with all of their experience, determine the procedure and the materials to use.

--Linda

PeggyS
10-14-2014, 03:19 PM
My surgeon is going to use 2 kits of BMP, instead of 6. We're going to cover the cost ourselves. $15,000+ is much more do-able. Dr. Buchowski will use the BMP at the top and at the bottom of the fusion, the most stressed areas. He'll still need bone from my iliac crest, but this seems like a very good compromise.

My mom generously offered to pay for the other 4 kits, but I'm concerned about too much bone growth.

tae_tap
10-14-2014, 04:12 PM
Out of pocket? Is Barnes not going to absorb it or Dr. B write off the application fee? I feel for you because that is a tough one to afford.

Tamena

PeggyS
10-14-2014, 08:59 PM
Out of pocket? Is Barnes not going to absorb it or Dr. B write off the application fee? I feel for you because that is a tough one to afford.

Tamena

That's correct, Tamena. One of the financial managers for BJH told me that nothing gets written off. She sounded a bit offended when I asked! Nurse, Megan, has been very helpful with making the decision about BMP.

green m&m
10-14-2014, 11:16 PM
My surgeon didn't use BMP, and I did not want him to. we both agreed in my case it was safer to not use BMP due to a tumor near my spine which has a chance of turning malignant.

Susie*Bee
10-15-2014, 10:09 AM
Mine didn't either, but he did use something else with initials.. I think it started with a G... My op report is at the other house. For my own bone he used the facets, I think. Did not need to use rib or hip material. My fusion is solid.

fifa
10-16-2014, 10:45 PM
Hi, Peggy!

I've been so busy with preop and other stuff that I have not had as much time to post of late. I, too, have spoken with Megan by phone just two days ago. Dr. B has recommended four large kits - the financial office has quoted me $7,738.85 each for a total of $30,955.40 (that is roughly half price). Megan said the exact same thing to me about "not taking out a second mortgage." LOL I'm in the processing of filling out the financial forms and compiling all the information (tax forms, paychecks, bank account statements). I don't want the iliac crest graft if I can avoid it, so we are going to proceed with the paperwork and see what happens. I figure the worst that will happen is we'll make payments on what we owe. My husband said, "there's no debtors' prison anymore." HA! As long as they don't come for our house or cars, we will figure out a way to pay it back. You have to decide what is right for you. I can't remember if it was Megan or the financial counseling officer - have spoken with both this week plus e-mails to and from both, but one of them said that the success rate of fusion with the BMP is 90-95% and around 75-80% without it. You might ask about this if you are still on the fence. I want the extra security, but that's just me and it may be a pipe dream. Honestly, I've been quite depressed this week on top of everything, especially the money and some of the test results that have come back, but am just trying to push forward. Whatever you decide will be fine. Having worked in a hospital for 20+ years, they won't tell you what they'll write off up front - you'll have to take your chances. I don't know anything about the cancer risk or any of that, but I know in my heart that what I've decided is right for me.

Been thinking of you quite a lot this week and hoping you are well. We are in this nearly together! HA!

Take care of yourself - you have a friend in Columbia. I'll message you soon. SO MUCH to do here (will post that in my thread).

Sending you pain-free hugs!
Fifa

PeggyS
10-17-2014, 06:26 AM
I'm realizing how much of a control freak I really am!
I took pictures of the inside of our freezer, that's in the garage. I expect to finish wrapping Christmas gifts today and prepare just a few decorations to set out. Birthday cards, through Nov, are ready to mail. The spare room is filled with stuff for a month's stay in St. Louis, including little packets of coffee creamer! Next, I'm going to take pics of stuff in the basement, so I can tell our daughters where to find stuff I might 'need'. I have a list of banks & groceries, with directions for St. Louis. This is pure craziness!! It's even crazier when I write about it! We leave a week from Saturday.

PeggyS
10-17-2014, 06:37 AM
Hi, Peggy!

I've been so busy with preop and other stuff that I have not had as much time to post of late. I, too, have spoken with Megan by phone just two days ago. Dr. B has recommended four large kits - the financial office has quoted me $7,738.85 each for a total of $30,955.40 (that is roughly half price). Megan said the exact same thing to me about "not taking out a second mortgage." LOL I'm in the processing of filling out the financial forms and compiling all the information (tax forms, paychecks, bank account statements). I don't want the iliac crest graft if I can avoid it, so we are going to proceed with the paperwork and see what happens. I figure the worst that will happen is we'll make payments on what we owe. My husband said, "there's no debtors' prison anymore." HA! As long as they don't come for our house or cars, we will figure out a way to pay it back. You have to decide what is right for you. I can't remember if it was Megan or the financial counseling officer - have spoken with both this week plus e-mails to and from both, but one of them said that the success rate of fusion with the BMP is 90-95% and around 75-80% without it. You might ask about this if you are still on the fence. I want the extra security, but that's just me and it may be a pipe dream. Honestly, I've been quite depressed this week on top of everything, especially the money and some of the test results that have come back, but am just trying to push forward. Whatever you decide will be fine. Having worked in a hospital for 20+ years, they won't tell you what they'll write off up front - you'll have to take your chances. I don't know anything about the cancer risk or any of that, but I know in my heart that what I've decided is right for me.

Been thinking of you quite a lot this week and hoping you are well. We are in this nearly together! HA!

Take care of yourself - you have a friend in Columbia. I'll message you soon. SO MUCH to do here (will post that in my thread).

Sending you pain-free hugs!
Fifa


Hi Fifa!

No wonder you're feeling down, with trying to work extra hours & getting ready for surgery/recovery. Any possibility for short term disability?
Let us know how the myleogram CT went.
I got the financial aid rep to give me an idea of what I might qualify for - I didn't want to do all that paperwork, if it wasn't even close. Last year's adj gross income was 'over the top' unusual & they won't look at previous years, which would give a realistic picture for future years.
I'm ok with 2 BMP kits, instead of 6. I like the idea of putting it at the most stressed areas.
I accept your pain-free hugs with gladness! Sending you the same!

tae_tap
10-17-2014, 07:54 AM
I'm realizing how much of a control freak I really am!
I took pictures of the inside of our freezer, that's in the garage. I expect to finish wrapping Christmas gifts today and prepare just a few decorations to set out. Birthday cards, through Nov, are ready to mail. The spare room is filled with stuff for a month's stay in St. Louis, including little packets of coffee creamer! Next, I'm going to take pics of stuff in the basement, so I can tell our daughters where to find stuff I might 'need'. I have a list of banks & groceries, with directions for St. Louis. This is pure craziness!! It's even crazier when I write about it! We leave a week from Saturday.

Not crazy at all! I had surgery in November last year and had my Christmas tree set up and decorated with the kids in October because I did not want to miss out on that experience with them. You do whatever is going to give you peace of mind. Praying for safe travels.

Tamena

Irina
10-17-2014, 09:32 PM
I am a control freak too, but this surgery made me be less so, HA! We really learn how to let things go while going thru recovery. I bought so much non-purishables before the surgery that some of them lasted a year. My husband was laughing at the amount of curry paste, canned chicken broth and coconut milk that I bought, but I wanted to spare him from looking at these items at the grocery store.

So, you are not crazy at all. If taking pictures of a freezer makes you feel better, do it!

fifa
10-18-2014, 10:28 PM
Hi Fifa!

No wonder you're feeling down, with trying to work extra hours & getting ready for surgery/recovery. Any possibility for short term disability?
Let us know how the myleogram CT went.
I got the financial aid rep to give me an idea of what I might qualify for - I didn't want to do all that paperwork, if it wasn't even close. Last year's adj gross income was 'over the top' unusual & they won't look at previous years, which would give a realistic picture for future years.
I'm ok with 2 BMP kits, instead of 6. I like the idea of putting it at the most stressed areas.
I accept your pain-free hugs with gladness! Sending you the same!

Hi, Peggy!

I'm better today - thanks for the hugs! :) No, even though I have really great insurance through my job, we don't have short term disability. We have long term disability, but I would have to be off work (without pay) for six months to qualify for that. I really can't go into unpaid status at my job...if I do, then not only do I have no income, but we would have to pay for the full cost of benefits (the university stops picking up their part if I go into unpaid status). So, no deal. It seems this week that there have been some surprises. Megan told me that Dr. B plans for his patients to be off work for three months. I only have two months of paid time saved up, so that threw me for a loop. You aren't the only one who is a control freak! LOL There has just been a lot this past week. Things are getting better, though. I'm lying in bed right now trying out the over-the-bed laptop cart that we bought so I can work from home while lying down. Hopefully, even if I can't return to work as soon as I had hoped, maybe I can work from bed a couple of hours per day to start. That will preserve my paid status and allow me to access the paid time off that I will accrue in the two months that I'm gone.

The best part of this week is that I had dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We were sort of roommates in college (I couldn't stand my roomie and there was an empty bed in my friend's room, so I was there a LOT). Anyway, she is going to come with me for a couple of days to give my hubby a break, as he will commute back and forth to care for our dog...our baby. LOL The dog is 15 and on pain meds twice per day for his arthritis. Anyway, I'm beyond overjoyed that she will be with us. I desperately needed someone savvy who wouldn't suck all the oxygen out of the room!! With her and hubby nearby, I'm sure I'll be well cared for.

Wish I had asked the financial rep about the income limits, but maybe next week. I think you'll do fine with the treatment plan Dr. B has for you. He wouldn't have recommended it if he had doubts, I'm sure!! It sounds like you are well prepared - good for you! I'm counting the days until your surgery - I pray for you daily!

Fifa

PeggyS
10-19-2014, 07:08 AM
Hi, Peggy!

I'm better today - thanks for the hugs! :) No, even though I have really great insurance through my job, we don't have short term disability. We have long term disability, but I would have to be off work (without pay) for six months to qualify for that. I really can't go into unpaid status at my job...if I do, then not only do I have no income, but we would have to pay for the full cost of benefits (the university stops picking up their part if I go into unpaid status). So, no deal. It seems this week that there have been some surprises. Megan told me that Dr. B plans for his patients to be off work for three months. I only have two months of paid time saved up, so that threw me for a loop. You aren't the only one who is a control freak! LOL There has just been a lot this past week. Things are getting better, though. I'm lying in bed right now trying out the over-the-bed laptop cart that we bought so I can work from home while lying down. Hopefully, even if I can't return to work as soon as I had hoped, maybe I can work from bed a couple of hours per day to start. That will preserve my paid status and allow me to access the paid time off that I will accrue in the two months that I'm gone.

The best part of this week is that I had dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We were sort of roommates in college (I couldn't stand my roomie and there was an empty bed in my friend's room, so I was there a LOT). Anyway, she is going to come with me for a couple of days to give my hubby a break, as he will commute back and forth to care for our dog...our baby. LOL The dog is 15 and on pain meds twice per day for his arthritis. Anyway, I'm beyond overjoyed that she will be with us. I desperately needed someone savvy who wouldn't suck all the oxygen out of the room!! With her and hubby nearby, I'm sure I'll be well cared for.

Wish I had asked the financial rep about the income limits, but maybe next week. I think you'll do fine with the treatment plan Dr. B has for you. He wouldn't have recommended it if he had doubts, I'm sure!! It sounds like you are well prepared - good for you! I'm counting the days until your surgery - I pray for you daily!

Fifa


Fifa, it's good to hear you're feeling a little better. *I've never heard of the type of laptop cart you mentioned. *Interesting....
Disability coverage has changed a great deal over the past few years for many places of employment. It was never a concern for us & we needed it! I worry about our adult kids.
Our younger daughter is living at home, so she'll be there to take care of our dog.
That's good you've got friends to help care for you in the hospital - ones that really know how to help!
Take care!

PeggyS
10-19-2014, 07:14 AM
Wow - I didn't realize how MUCH diclofinec has been helping my joints! My husband has notice how much I've slowed down. It's a good thing I finished the 'heavy' type of cleaning/organizing b/f I went off the medicine!

Susie*Bee
10-19-2014, 07:24 AM
I can empathize, Peggy. I had been taking diclofenac for my arthritis for years and was off it for 6 months when I had my surgery. Fortunately the pain meds helped some with that post-op, but my arthritis was to the extent that kept me uncomfortable any position I tried to sit, stand or sleep-- mostly hips and knees, but also hands. Try Ed's soothing soaks in the tub or heating pads (but be sure they are not too hot) and you can purchase those small gel-filled bags that you can either get cold or zap in the microwave for a few seconds that you can place anywhere that can bring some relief. Those might help on knees and hips or even hands. Best wishes. Ask if you can take something like tramadol instead... for the pain.

That's really good of you to have done all that work!!! Now it's either time for hubby to take over or for you to not let it bother you if things aren't cleaned to perfection. Best wishes, sister scoli! You'll soon be on the other side of this!

titaniumed
10-19-2014, 11:54 AM
Peg, I also took various NSAID’s over the years.....and yes, they do work well....

I quit Celebrex and Bextra in Sept 2002 by swimming in the ocean all day long in Hawaii. I terminated one morning and the pain hit like a freight train.
I then decided that I would drive to Hapuna Beach, Big Island Hawaii at 6AM the next morning and do ocean therapy and it worked......I managed to get off the Celebrex with this method and stayed off. I put on too much weight taking NSAID’s.

There is always a price to pay when you take meds. At Hapuna, they have large tiger sharks that hang out there, so you can understand what I’m saying. Never mind the destruction to the liver and kidneys, that takes longer......(smiley face)

Being clean going in is a good idea........I also had to quit coffee, since they didn’t want me going through caffeine withdrawal.

I used hot water soaks for pain control before and after my surgeries. Having a deep tub so you can float is what you want......I also set the water temp at 106 degrees F. Hot water works well for bone and nerve pain.

I had a heating pad many years ago that I fell asleep on which produced major spasms.....I ended up throwing it out.

Heat works, but can produce more pain at times. I had a 7 ft square hot tub with all the bells and whistles and was having problems since it seemed to create more pain at times. For years it was drained leading up to my surgeries.

Diclofenac worked well for my neck last year. I took it for 30 days, and when the pain ceased, I terminated the meds.

We are prescribed Opoid’s in our recoveries. Oxy or Percoset etc....This is what we have to wean off of and its not an easy thing.....I guess it doesn’t matter what we are weaning from, its always a learning curve....The one thing that should be a goal after is the eventual weaning off of meds, that way you don’t have to worry about the sharks.

Ed

leahdragonfly
10-19-2014, 06:45 PM
Hi, Peggy!

I'm better today - thanks for the hugs! :) No, even though I have really great insurance through my job, we don't have short term disability. We have long term disability, but I would have to be off work (without pay) for six months to qualify for that. I really can't go into unpaid status at my job...if I do, then not only do I have no income, but we would have to pay for the full cost of benefits (the university stops picking up their part if I go into unpaid status). So, no deal. It seems this week that there have been some surprises. Megan told me that Dr. B plans for his patients to be off work for three months. I only have two months of paid time saved up, so that threw me for a loop. You aren't the only one who is a control freak! LOL There has just been a lot this past week. Things are getting better, though. I'm lying in bed right now trying out the over-the-bed laptop cart that we bought so I can work from home while lying down. Hopefully, even if I can't return to work as soon as I had hoped, maybe I can work from bed a couple of hours per day to start. That will preserve my paid status and allow me to access the paid time off that I will accrue in the two months that I'm gone. <snip>Fifa

I live in Oregon where we don't have state short-term disability, and I foolishly missed my opportunity to purchase it the year before during open enrollment. One of your comments caught my eye, the part about having to pay your full insurance if you are on unpaid status…your surgery will qualify you for 12 weeks of FMLA leave, and my understanding of this is although it is unpaid, your employer is obligated to continue paying your insurance as if you were still working. And I know at least in Oregon you get 12 weeks of FMLA per calendar year, so if your surgery is in November you get FMLA through December 31, then the clock starts over again on January 1 with another 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Have you asked your HR department about FMLA? They should be able to supply all the required paperwork. The other good part of being protected by FMLA is your job is guaranteed to be held for you (unless there are company lay-offs).

I stayed home 14 weeks after my first surgery…I did not feel ready at all to return to work, even on limited duty, but I had no choice financially and due to job circumstances (and I am a hospital nurse, sad how unsympathetic hospitals are to their employees). I was really super bored by then so despite still being in pain I was happy to be back in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. It was exhausting though, and I feel that I set myself back in my recovery by at least a month. I would advise you to check out your options in case you are not able to return to work when you are hoping to. You only have one chance to get the healing right for your back!

Take care,

Irina
10-19-2014, 09:01 PM
your surgery will qualify you for 12 weeks of FMLA leave, and my understanding of this is although it is unpaid, your employer is obligated to continue paying your insurance as if you were still working.

Gayle,

Only employers with over 50 employees are required to comply with FMLA. Small companies with under 50 employees can do anything they want - cut you off insurance when you go on medical leave and do whatever they wish. Sadly, I am speaking from personal experience and I've done a lot of research... It is legal for a small company to cut you off insurance when you're sick, but they are required to offer Cobra.

PeggyS
10-23-2014, 01:25 PM
I'm starting to pack - whew - I have a lot of 'stuff' to take for a month!

My anxiety level was high on Monday & Tuesday, but I've been more calm since then.

tae_tap
10-23-2014, 03:22 PM
Praying for you! I will be right behind you with surgery scheduled for November 20th. So I will be in Saint Louis on the 17th.

Tamena

Susie*Bee
10-23-2014, 03:36 PM
Best wishes, Peggy. I'll be praying for you. Soon all this waiting will be over and you'll be "on the other side" -- ready for the recovery time!!! Hugs! And you too, Tamena.

susancook
10-23-2014, 06:26 PM
You are on your way to healing and the rest of your life! Many people have a minor bump in the road with healing, so don't be surprised if there is a surprise!

Do exactly what you are told in lifting, constipation prevention (biggie!), pain control, rehab, etc. get outside as soon as you can and smell the fresh air and soak in some sunshine. You have done your homework and all you need to do now is to show up at the hospital on time with your insurance card buck naked. Certainly, you can wear clothes if you would feel more comfortable!

Sending healing vibes your way. The force is with you!

Hugs, Susan

titaniumed
10-23-2014, 06:29 PM
Calm blue ocean.....its going to be ok....

Post when you can.....

Ed

Marianne
10-23-2014, 07:14 PM
Best wishes Peggy,stay calm. Will be thinking of you.

springchicken
10-23-2014, 07:25 PM
Good luck and speedy healing, Peggy!

Irina
10-23-2014, 10:55 PM
Best of luck, Peggy.

JenniferG
10-25-2014, 05:48 PM
Good luck Peggy. I'm not on here as much as I used to be as it's 5.5 years since my surgery, however, I've been popping in and following your journey as I'm sure many others have as well.

I'll be thinking of you and wishing you the best possible result and the smoothest recovery. We will be waiting for news. You'll be fine!

KathK
10-25-2014, 10:07 PM
Peggy,

Just wanted to chime in and say I'll be thinking of you on Monday! You will be in good hands with Dr Buchowski and the staff at Barnes. If you already had a central line put in on Friday, that's the roughest part (smiles). I think that you are wise to have rented an apartment. That sounds great.
Best wishes,

Kathy

golfnut
10-25-2014, 10:39 PM
Peggy,
Best of luck with your surgery and recovery. My surgery was also at Barnes. You will be in good hands with your surgeon and his team.

jackieg412
10-26-2014, 12:42 AM
Best wishes on your surgery on Monday. May your healing go well. Jackie

PeggyS
10-26-2014, 07:15 AM
Thank you, everyone, for your prayers & good wishes! All of you are one of my very special life-lines, life-preservers, floatation devices, cheerleaders - you get the idea!
We moved into our apartment at Highland Lofts yesterday evening & had dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant in Forest Park. We'll drive back today to see the area in daylight.
One of our daughters will fly into St. Louis tonight. She'll post some updates.
No central line - whew!
I'm looking forward to changing my signature!
Praying you are all blessed with an absolutely wonderful day!

PeggyS
10-26-2014, 03:27 PM
Praying for you! I will be right behind you with surgery scheduled for November 20th. So I will be in Saint Louis on the 17th.

Tamena

Tamena, I'm confused. You had surgery last Nov. & you're scheduled again for this Nov.? I went back and searched, but I couldn't figure it out. 'Mush Brain', due to nerves! What are you having done? Did a rod break? I'm sending prayers YOUR way, now!

susancook
10-26-2014, 03:51 PM
Peg, sending healing thought towards St. Louis from Oregon! Us older folks are fighters and just keep going when it gets tough. Close your eyes and imagine a picture of your surgeon and say to yourself, "I trust you". You are in an excellent hospital with a top surgeon. You will do well.

A "fond" memory of mine the day after surgery: The PT came in and said, "OK, let's get out of bed and stand up" in a very cheery voice. Needless to say, I let out something like, "you got to be shitting me!". (Hope my vulgarity wasn't offensive.) although I knew that I would be getting up after surgery, drugged in the haze, I thought that it was impossible! Well, not impossible at all! I did very well. You will do well.

I had a doctor once who said to me, "You're in it to win it!" That was my mantra.

You have a great attitude and a wonderful, active life ahead of you!

Hugs, Susan

fifa
10-26-2014, 04:44 PM
Fifa, it's good to hear you're feeling a little better. *I've never heard of the type of laptop cart you mentioned. *Interesting....
Disability coverage has changed a great deal over the past few years for many places of employment. It was never a concern for us & we needed it! I worry about our adult kids.
Our younger daughter is living at home, so she'll be there to take care of our dog.
That's good you've got friends to help care for you in the hospital - ones that really know how to help!
Take care!

Hi, Peg -

Just popping in to say I've been thinking about you all week! Sending prayers and love your way! You are in excellent hands!

Fifa

fifa
10-26-2014, 04:51 PM
I live in Oregon where we don't have state short-term disability, and I foolishly missed my opportunity to purchase it the year before during open enrollment. One of your comments caught my eye, the part about having to pay your full insurance if you are on unpaid status…your surgery will qualify you for 12 weeks of FMLA leave, and my understanding of this is although it is unpaid, your employer is obligated to continue paying your insurance as if you were still working. And I know at least in Oregon you get 12 weeks of FMLA per calendar year, so if your surgery is in November you get FMLA through December 31, then the clock starts over again on January 1 with another 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Have you asked your HR department about FMLA? They should be able to supply all the required paperwork. The other good part of being protected by FMLA is your job is guaranteed to be held for you (unless there are company lay-offs).

I stayed home 14 weeks after my first surgery…I did not feel ready at all to return to work, even on limited duty, but I had no choice financially and due to job circumstances (and I am a hospital nurse, sad how unsympathetic hospitals are to their employees). I was really super bored by then so despite still being in pain I was happy to be back in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. It was exhausting though, and I feel that I set myself back in my recovery by at least a month. I would advise you to check out your options in case you are not able to return to work when you are hoping to. You only have one chance to get the healing right for your back!

Take care,

Hi, Leah -

FMLA only protects me from losing my job. I will be paid from my vacation/sick/comp time. When that pay runs out (as it will in six weeks), then I'll go into unpaid status. My employer, then, will stop their contributions to the plan on my behalf and I'll be on COBRA. I, too, work for a hospital. (smiley face) The FMLA paperwork is done. Unfortunately, FMLA doesn't apply to insurance payments...only holding my job for me for 12 weeks. Thanks, though - I appreciate your thoughts!!

Fifa

fifa
10-26-2014, 04:53 PM
Praying for you! I will be right behind you with surgery scheduled for November 20th. So I will be in Saint Louis on the 17th.

Tamena

Hi,

If I'm still there, the three of us should have a party! LOL

Prayers to you both!!
Fifa

PeggyS
10-26-2014, 05:15 PM
Hi,

If I'm still there, the three of us should have a party! LOL

Prayers to you both!!
Fifa

Sounds like a plan!

leahdragonfly
10-26-2014, 05:49 PM
Hi, Leah - FMLA only protects me from losing my job. I will be paid from my vacation/sick/comp time. When that pay runs out (as it will in six weeks), then I'll go into unpaid status. My employer, then, will stop their contributions to the plan on my behalf and I'll be on COBRA. I, too, work for a hospital. (smiley face) The FMLA paperwork is done. Unfortunately, FMLA doesn't apply to insurance payments...only holding my job for me for 12 weeks. Thanks, though - I appreciate your thoughts!! Fifa

Dear Fifa,

I checked the Department of Labor website and this is what it says about continuation of group health insurance:

Employers are also required to continue group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

To me that means they still have to continue/pay your group health insurance. Since this amounts to a considerable amount of money for you, I hope you will at least be able to question your HR department, because I think they may be out of compliance with the federal FMLA laws.

Wishing you very best of luck heading in to surgery tomorrow and then on to recovery! You can do this.

fifa
10-26-2014, 07:35 PM
Sounds like a plan!

(huge smiley) It's 7:33 p.m. Missouri time. Thinking of you and hope you get some rest tonight. With you in spirit tomorrow! I'll PM you (just found out how to do that tonight). Hope you can post soon and let us all know how you are doing.

Hugs and love and prayers to you!
Fifa

fifa
10-26-2014, 07:40 PM
Dear Fifa,

I checked the Department of Labor website and this is what it says about continuation of group health insurance:

Employers are also required to continue group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

To me that means they still have to continue/pay your group health insurance. Since this amounts to a considerable amount of money for you, I hope you will at least be able to question your HR department, because I think they may be out of compliance with the federal FMLA laws.

Wishing you very best of luck heading in to surgery tomorrow and then on to recovery! You can do this.

Hi, Leah -

I will check with HR tomorrow. I will still have group coverage, I just have to pay the premiums myself instead of them shouldering their part, which they do because I'm in paid status. COBRA is all that is available once I go to unpaid. I totally get what you are saying, though, and will definitely ask. Thanks for the info!!

Fifa

Karen5
10-26-2014, 09:04 PM
Good luck, Peggy!

kennedy
10-27-2014, 12:02 AM
Peggy good luck

JenniferG
10-27-2014, 04:59 AM
It's 8pm Monday night here so I'm thinking the time must be close now. Thinking of you Peggy! Best wishes from Australia.

tae_tap
10-27-2014, 07:08 AM
Praying all goes well!
Tamena

PeggyS
10-27-2014, 10:17 PM
This is Peggy's daughter, Jenn. She asked me to post details about her surgery. It was 10.5 hours from the time they wheeled her away to the time she went into recovery. Her nurse called every 1.5 hours on the dot with updates to let us know the surgery was going as expected. After spending an hour in recovery, they took her to ICU where we were able to see her. Her face is swollen but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. She was talking, asking questions and was in a good mood for what she had just gone through. She wasn't complaining of pain tonight but is bothered by how tight her back feels. She kept telling us she wanted to roll on her side. As far as the actual procedure, I don't know many details, and we haven't seen any before and after images yet.

Thank you for checking on my mom! I'll try to post more for her tomorrow if we get more details.

titaniumed
10-27-2014, 10:41 PM
Jenn

Thanks for the update on your mom. It is very hard to get comfortable after scoliosis surgery and everything feels so stiff and strange.....Just tell her its normal and to hang in there....

Congratulations!

Ed

Karen5
10-27-2014, 11:17 PM
I'm glad she's doing well, and I hope her recovery goes smoothly!

JenniferG
10-28-2014, 03:34 AM
Yes, absolutely normal! I wanted to roll onto my side as well and asked the ICU nurse if I could. I was allowed but it was even more uncomfortable on my side, so I was rolled back! For a while, it will feel like she's wearing a back-pack but soon that feeling will fade as well.

So far she sounds like she's doing great! Thanks for the update, Jenn.

jackieg412
10-28-2014, 07:23 AM
Thank you for the update. The new hardware brings "morning stiffness" to a whole new level! It takes time to not fight that feeling. I am glad that all went well.

Susie*Bee
10-28-2014, 07:35 AM
Yes, thank you so much for letting us know how she is doing. It sounds like all is well and what a great daughter you are to be there with her and being so supportive. We appreciative your taking the time to get in touch with us. Give your mother our best and that we send our healing wishes and prayers.

springchicken
10-28-2014, 08:55 AM
I'm so glad to hear she is doing well and in good spirits. Great news!

tae_tap
10-28-2014, 09:05 AM
Thanks for the update! Praying for quick healing.

Tamena

PeggyS
10-29-2014, 03:08 PM
This is Jenn again. My mom wants to know if the day of surgery counts as "day 1?" She's in a lot of pain today. She was moved out of ICU to the orthopedic floor. She was told that there is a big improvement on Day 3, so if this is day 3, she's not seeing the improvement!

tae_tap
10-29-2014, 03:28 PM
Every person is different at the stages of improvement. I did not have any decrease in pain until day 6-7 and even then going home there was pain for the next two weeks. Just tell her to take it one step at a time and do not compare her recovery to that of anyone else because she is her own unique individual, but it will get easier.

Praying for you Peggy!
Tamena

fifa
10-29-2014, 09:27 PM
This is Jenn again. My mom wants to know if the day of surgery counts as "day 1?" She's in a lot of pain today. She was moved out of ICU to the orthopedic floor. She was told that there is a big improvement on Day 3, so if this is day 3, she's not seeing the improvement!

Hi, Jenn -

Please tell Peggy that she is in my prayers (as are you and your dad). I think Tuesday would have been day one (postop day one), so Thursday (tomorrow) is day three. I'll keep praying for her. Is she in a private room?

Very happy to know that surgery went well. I haven't had a chance to pop in here, but I sure have been praying for her.

Take care. Very glad you are posting!
Fifa

titaniumed
10-29-2014, 11:29 PM
Every minute that passes, the body heals itself....and after scoliosis surgery, there is a lot of healing going on. Everything has been moved into its new shape, bone removed, ground away, drilled into, soft tissues and nerves moved and prodded.....edema, swelling, ileus, and the general shock of it all on top of all the strong medications can be an unpleasant experience. It hurts, and its really hard to get comfortable.

As time passes we wonder when we will feel better, I remember watching the second hand on the clock waiting for the next shot. I was begging for shots for 8 days, but they do reduce, and it this reduction that hurts...The transfer to orals medications can be hard because they don’t compare, but this has to be done since its part of the weaning process. Do not leave the hospital unless she is off all the shots and weaned to oral medications.

Getting up and walking with the walker is extremely important right now.....these walks get easier in time.

The 1st shower will come in a few more days.....this really makes you feel so much better. I was around 7 days before I took my 1st shower.

Has she eaten any solid foods yet, or is she still on ice chips?

Ed

fifa
10-31-2014, 12:44 AM
Still praying, Jenn - please tell Peggy she's in my thoughts and prayers. Hope you and your dad are doing well.

Fifa

susancook
10-31-2014, 01:53 AM
Jenn, how are you doing? I really think that the surgery is frequently more difficult for the family. Tell Peggy that I am thinking of her and wishing her healing and pain relief.

Pain control is so difficult as every person is different. Sometimes they give too much analgesic and other times not enough.

Praying for your family, Susan

babyboomer16
10-31-2014, 08:42 AM
Jenn,
I am usually looking at the revision posts. So I am catching up on your surgery. You sound like you're doing very good for a 10.5 hour surgery. You will feel better every day. Make sure these nurses don't cheat you on pain meds. Most the nurses are great there. I had my surgery there with Dr. Lenke. But you must control your pain, as it helps in the beginning with the healing process.
I am putting you on my prayer list. How great this is going to be, after a few months of recovery. I'm excited for you. Warm feelings coming your way! Linda

jackieg412
10-31-2014, 04:24 PM
Pain control can be difficult but it does get better. I went to rehab on the 5th day and it was better managed there. My surgeon used a fentanyl patch at that point. And I had another drug for breakthrough pain. I think moving around in rehab also helped. I hole things are getting better for her now.

fifa
11-01-2014, 12:56 PM
Hi, Jenn and Peggy -

Please know that I'm still praying for you! Hope you can update us! How is life on the other side???? (big smiles - big hugs)

Fifa

susancook
11-01-2014, 02:30 PM
Looking forward to an update. Hope that all is OK. Sending healing thoughts.
Susan

PeggyS
11-04-2014, 01:00 PM
My daughter read all of your supportive comments & prayers on the day after surgery. I'll catch up later, just wanted to say, "I'm on the other side!" Jumped through all the rehab hoops& I'm heading there this afternoon! It'll be easier to follow through on my iPad

susancook
11-04-2014, 03:15 PM
Peggy, welcome to the rest of your life! So glad that you are doing well.

Three thoughts for early rehab and healing:

1- control pain; keep track of your meds in a notebook so that you know what you are taking and how much. Most important is that you take enough meds so that you are not in pain at home.

2- control constipation; write down output; take Colace, and other meds to "keep it coming"; if no poo in 2 days, get serious with suppositories or other options.

3- stay active; walking, mild stretching, get outside and smell the flowers.

Susan

fifa
11-04-2014, 09:53 PM
My daughter read all of your supportive comments & prayers on the day after surgery. I'll catch up later, just wanted to say, "I'm on the other side!" Jumped through all the rehab hoops& I'm heading there this afternoon! It'll be easier to follow through on my iPad

Oh, thank GOD! I was really worried about you and praying hard! Glad you're on the other side. Can't wait to hear from you.

Gentle hugs!
Fifa

JenniferG
11-05-2014, 02:11 AM
Great advice from Susan.

Walking really helps.

You sound great! Keep up the good work.

tae_tap
11-05-2014, 07:13 AM
Peggy,

Welcome to the other side! You have hit bottom and are climbing you way back to the top. It is going to be a battle, but remember the pain prior to surgery and keep telling your self that it is going to get better. Lots and lots of short walks. That is the most important key. The more you move, the more it circulates the blood and helps you heal. If you can't eat start Ed's smoothies. They were the biggest help with my diet. I felt like I could suck those down throughout the day, but I could get in the mood to eat a meal.

Still praying!
Tamena

fifa
11-05-2014, 10:32 PM
Peggy,

Welcome to the other side! You have hit bottom and are climbing you way back to the top. It is going to be a battle, but remember the pain prior to surgery and keep telling your self that it is going to get better. Lots and lots of short walks. That is the most important key. The more you move, the more it circulates the blood and helps you heal. If you can't eat start Ed's smoothies. They were the biggest help with my diet. I felt like I could suck those down throughout the day, but I could get in the mood to eat a meal.

Still praying!
Tamena

Hi, Tamena -

What are Ed's smoothies? (smiley) Also, is there a problem eating after surgery? I'm guessing maybe the drugs take away the appetite or something...

Thanks! Hugs to you!
Fifa

tae_tap
11-06-2014, 07:31 AM
Hi, Tamena -

What are Ed's smoothies? (smiley) Also, is there a problem eating after surgery? I'm guessing maybe the drugs take away the appetite or something...

Thanks! Hugs to you!
Fifa

This is the recipe that Ed gave me. I did change the whey protein to soy because I don't like the taste of Whey. And I also used almond milk instead of soymilk. This was my meals for a couple weeks because I did not feel like food was my friend.

In a blender;
Whey protein powder a few ounces
1 banana
1 yogurt
10 blueberries
5 strawberries
10 raspberries
20 almonds
A few ounces of soymilk to lighten

Tamena

PeggyS
11-06-2014, 07:40 PM
My surgery was on 10/27, so I'm very fresh! Fifa will go in this Monday. Our dates are so close and we have the same doctor, this has made me feel close to her. Also, Tamena will be in St. Louis shortly
for more revisions.
Here are some tips/observations I'd like to share:
iPad was only used by my daughter to post updates & read your responses to me. I didn't open it for myself until I was admitted to rehab! Shocking, considering how much time I spent on it, prior to surgery. I knew y'all were out their cheering me on, though! You can't sit up in bed at more than 45*, so that's the main reason. Sitting in a chair would literally bring me to tears within 15 minutes. In fact I had a sobbing melt-down when I was left in a wheelchair after spine X-rays.

Hair tie: for pain button, plus have someone remind you to use the button.
Velcro: to connect cell phone & 3' cord
Playlists on phone: Contemporary Christian music calmed me. ( my hubby forgot to bring in my phone the first night. The next morning I was required to sit in a chair for an hour. My nurse got her phone & put it on a Christian station & I was SO grateful!
Wake-up test: no recall
No direct line
Pain: tightness, an elephant still sits across my hips when I'm due for meds. Back of thighs was the most painful ex: sitting on toilet or in chair. Incision stayed numb, butt, too!
Modesty? Out the door
Bra? Don't bother
Log roll: hard to practice b/c it's difficult to understand just how weak you'll be!
In-patient rehab for out of state patients: necessary. I couldn't have faced the 400 miles we'd need to drive.
Flowers: wait til released from hospital - followed that advice on board & it was 'right on'
Teeny, tiny, itty-bitty bits of improvements: if you go in expecting that, you won't be disappointed. Most of the staff was really on top of telling me what they were noticing.
Hallucinations: the room had many different themes; only a few were scary.
I had 2 scary night nurses & I wished my husband was there.
Lip gloss: if you don't have any, you might get slathered with Vaseline!

Surgery stats: 2 long rods & 34 screws. 22" incision. 10.5 hr surgery with frequent updates from nurse for family. No bone removed from illiac crest. BMP was used with my commitment to $15000 for 2 kits instead of 6. My guess is BJH will absorb the cost.
Only 2 units of blood with an additional unit around day 3.

Dr. B's nurse Megan passed on a message from you, Fifa, AND I remembered! Thank you!
More later!
I need to change my signature!

PeggyS
11-06-2014, 08:06 PM
The apartment was nice, but not user friendly for surgical patients or handicapped spouses. Low contemporary family rm furniture, low standard toilets, tall beds. We asked for 1 upholstered straight back chair with arms. No response from Corporation. I need to let the concierge at BJH know.

tae_tap
11-06-2014, 08:07 PM
Peggy,
So good to hear from you and that you are on the mend. Keep up the good work. How long will yu be in rehab?

Tamena

hdsluckygirl13
11-06-2014, 09:44 PM
Peggy,
Thank you so much for the little tidbits, especially since it is all so fresh on your mind. I am still in the picking a surgery date stage, and it helps to follow all of these new surgeries =) Big soft hugs...

fifa
11-06-2014, 09:48 PM
This is the recipe that Ed gave me. I did change the whey protein to soy because I don't like the taste of Whey. And I also used almond milk instead of soymilk. This was my meals for a couple weeks because I did not feel like food was my friend.

In a blender;
Whey protein powder a few ounces
1 banana
1 yogurt
10 blueberries
5 strawberries
10 raspberries
20 almonds
A few ounces of soymilk to lighten

Tamena

Thanks, Tamena! When you say food wasn't your friend, was that a constipation thing, upset stomach... ??? Just wanting to be prepared. I've heard several people here talk about weight loss afterward. Just wondering what your experience was.

Hugs to you!!
Fifa

fifa
11-06-2014, 10:43 PM
My surgery was on 10/27, so I'm very fresh! Fifa will go in this Monday. Our dates are so close and we have the same doctor, this has made me feel close to her. Also, Tamena will be in St. Louis shortly
for more revisions.
Here are some tips/observations I'd like to share:
iPad was only used by my daughter to post updates & read your responses to me. I didn't open it for myself until I was admitted to rehab! Shocking, considering how much time I spent on it, prior to surgery. I knew y'all were out their cheering me on, though! You can't sit up in bed at more than 45*, so that's the main reason. Sitting in a chair would literally bring me to tears within 15 minutes. In fact I had a sobbing melt-down when I was left in a wheelchair after spine X-rays.

Hair tie: for pain button, plus have someone remind you to use the button.
Velcro: to connect cell phone & 3' cord
Playlists on phone: Contemporary Christian music calmed me. ( my hubby forgot to bring in my phone the first night. The next morning I was required to sit in a chair for an hour. My nurse got her phone & put it on a Christian station & I was SO grateful!
Wake-up test: no recall
No direct line
Pain: tightness, an elephant still sits across my hips when I'm due for meds. Back of thighs was the most painful ex: sitting on toilet or in chair. Incision stayed numb, butt, too!
Modesty? Out the door
Bra? Don't bother
Log roll: hard to practice b/c it's difficult to understand just how weak you'll be!
In-patient rehab for out of state patients: necessary. I couldn't have faced the 400 miles we'd need to drive.
Flowers: wait til released from hospital - followed that advice on board & it was 'right on'
Teeny, tiny, itty-bitty bits of improvements: if you go in expecting that, you won't be disappointed. Most of the staff was really on top of telling me what they were noticing.
Hallucinations: the room had many different themes; only a few were scary.
I had 2 scary night nurses & I wished my husband was there.
Lip gloss: if you don't have any, you might get slathered with Vaseline!

Surgery stats: 2 long rods & 34 screws. 22" incision. 10.5 hr surgery with frequent updates from nurse for family. No bone removed from illiac crest. BMP was used with my commitment to $15000 for 2 kits instead of 6. My guess is BJH will absorb the cost.
Only 2 units of blood with an additional unit around day 3.

Dr. B's nurse Megan passed on a message from you, Fifa, AND I remembered! Thank you!
More later!
I need to change my signature!


Oh, Peggy - so nice to hear from you! I'm happy you are on the other side!

I have too many questions to ask you. LOL

How were the night nurses scary? Did you just not feel like using the iPad? Was it okay having a roommate?? How is your pain control and (sorry) constipation? I have tons of other questions, but that is enough for now. (HUGE SMILES AND GENTLE HUGS)

Yes, I've spoken to Dr. B's nurse Megan a couple of times since you went in plus we've e-mailed a couple of times. I keep thinking of things to ask her. LOL Because of HIPAA, she couldn't tell me anything specific, but I was asking her about you and told her to tell you that I was praying hard!

Your "being left in the wheelchair" reminded me of my first night postop from my tiny back surgery 27 years ago. They didn't put in a catheter then, and I had had more than one bag of IV fluids. Anyway, I couldn't get up to go because I was just out of surgery, so they rolled me (ROLLED ME) onto a bedpan and left me there. Nothing worse than being in pain and "helpless." I am so sorry you had to go through that!!

Hopefully, every day will be less pain and more mobility. You sure do sound strong and coherent - are you faking it??? LOL

Glad you are in inpatient rehab. My insurance probably won't pay for that.

Oh, and I'm so happy you didn't have to do the iliac crest graft! I've heard from lots of people that the pain of that is pretty awful...some say it is worse than the back pain.

I don't know whether you want a visitor or not or if you're up for it, so no pressure. We'll be up on Sunday night the 9th...three more days. We'll be in the hotel overnight then surgery bright and early on Monday. As far as I know, they are planning on booting me out on Saturday, so that would be five days after surgery. I'm a little scared about that - seems a little quick to me. We will try to make it home (two hour drive) Saturday. So, I'll miss Tamena's surgery but will be praying for her and for your continued recovery. You sound great!

Write when you can. I'll be checking in over the next couple of days. I'm ready. Life has become even more miserable since they made me stop taking ibuprofen weeks ago. I'm shot after about three hours of sitting. Tomorrow is my last day, then I'm going to try to relax and pack.

Take care. If you think of ANYTHING you need, either reply here or DM me - I'm happy to bring you anything you've forgotten or need!!!

Just breathe....you are SO STRONG!

Fifa

jackieg412
11-07-2014, 06:53 AM
Glad you are doing well. Those first few weeks are rough. It will get better. Sitting is indeed hard at first. I still have trouble after 5 years . But it is better. Walking is important now. Are you using a walker. If so make sure it is the proper height so no leaning.

PeggyS
11-07-2014, 09:58 AM
Peggy,
So good to hear from you and that you are on the mend. Keep up the good work. How long will yu be in rehab?

Tamena

Hi Tamena! I'll be in rehab until 11/17. That's tentative, unless I test out sooner or get to stay longer!

Peggy

PeggyS
11-07-2014, 11:23 AM
Oh, Peggy - so nice to hear from you! I'm happy you are on the other side!

I have too many questions to ask you. LOL

How were the night nurses scary? Did you just not feel like using the iPad? Was it okay having a roommate?? How is your pain control and (sorry) constipation? I have tons of other questions, but that is enough for now. (HUGE SMILES AND GENTLE HUGS)

Yes, I've spoken to Dr. B's nurse Megan a couple of times since you went in plus we've e-mailed a couple of times. I keep thinking of things to ask her. LOL Because of HIPAA, she couldn't tell me anything specific, but I was asking her about you and told her to tell you that I was praying hard!

Your "being left in the wheelchair" reminded me of my first night postop from my tiny back surgery 27 years ago. They didn't put in a catheter then, and I had had more than one bag of IV fluids. Anyway, I couldn't get up to go because I was just out of surgery, so they rolled me (ROLLED ME) onto a bedpan and left me there. Nothing worse than being in pain and "helpless." I am so sorry you had to go through that!!

Hopefully, every day will be less pain and more mobility. You sure do sound strong and coherent - are you faking it??? LOL

Glad you are in inpatient rehab. My insurance probably won't pay for that.

Oh, and I'm so happy you didn't have to do the iliac crest graft! I've heard from lots of people that the pain of that is pretty awful...some say it is worse than the back pain.

I don't know whether you want a visitor or not or if you're up for it, so no pressure. We'll be up on Sunday night the 9th...three more days. We'll be in the hotel overnight then surgery bright and early on Monday. As far as I know, they are planning on booting me out on Saturday, so that would be five days after surgery. I'm a little scared about that - seems a little quick to me. We will try to make it home (two hour drive) Saturday. So, I'll miss Tamena's surgery but will be praying for her and for your continued recovery. You sound great!

Write when you can. I'll be checking in over the next couple of days. I'm ready. Life has become even more miserable since they made me stop taking ibuprofen weeks ago. I'm shot after about three hours of sitting. Tomorrow is my last day, then I'm going to try to relax and pack.

Take care. If you think of ANYTHING you need, either reply here or DM me - I'm happy to bring you anything you've forgotten or need!!!

Just breathe....you are SO STRONG!

Fifa

Hi Fifa!
Good questions! 2 scary night nurses: my reality was messed up, but these ladies were tall & husky & said as little as possible. It was odd how silent & unhappy faced, they both were. I think that was what make me feel vulnerable. My totally unscientific observation was that many of the 7pm - 7am were there for the paycheck without having an interest in their career. One young nurse was the exception, as she loves & will only work the night shift. I had a new-to-the-hospital night nurse for 3 nights, who probably won't make it. She was friendly, but tired & complaining b/c she was trying to keep her part-time, daytime nursing home job. Overall, the nurses & techs weren't a'team', like I'm experiencing in rehab.
I just wasn't interested in the iPad. Basically, it is too hard hold & try to keep my neck a bit elevated. I couldn't sit, easily & sitting straight up in bed breaks the restrictions. Mostly, I used my phone to text or read.
Nurse Megan, had told me the clear diet for a day would help not having food left in my gut when my intestines went to sleep. I was so scared about constipation, I did a bowel prep, on my on my own! That wasn't a good idea b/c there needs to be a little something in the intestines to help get things started. I've needed a suppository 3 times.
Weight loss/gain. I was counting on at least a 10# loss & had a 10# fluid gain, instead! Yikes! Glad I packed some 'fat' clothes!
I expected swelling,after surgery & warned my husband & daughter they might be shocked. Well, Jenn was shocked when she leaned over the WRONG woman to give 'me' a kiss in recovery! Ha, ha!
Fifa, I would love to have a visit from you on Sunday, if you're up to it!
Peg Stevens (roomie is also named Peggy) rm 305 rehabilitation institute of St. Louis. I've tried to get my bearings & it's near the hospital (I think towards the middle of campus)& NOT near CPAP.
Thank you for your prayers and for everyone's prayers! I'm so grateful!

jackieg412
11-07-2014, 04:06 PM
Hi Peggy, glad you are doing well. I also found out the quicker you get to rehab the better the care. I was not where you are but I found rehab much better than the hospital. They helped more and understood what was needed better. I went home about a week quicker than was predicted. I think there are some guidelines that are followed. Keep up the walking as it will help with the constpation.

fifa
11-08-2014, 12:33 PM
Hi Fifa!
Good questions! 2 scary night nurses: my reality was messed up, but these ladies were tall & husky & said as little as possible. It was odd how silent & unhappy faced, they both were. I think that was what make me feel vulnerable. My totally unscientific observation was that many of the 7pm - 7am were there for the paycheck without having an interest in their career. One young nurse was the exception, as she loves & will only work the night shift. I had a new-to-the-hospital night nurse for 3 nights, who probably won't make it. She was friendly, but tired & complaining b/c she was trying to keep her part-time, daytime nursing home job. Overall, the nurses & techs weren't a'team', like I'm experiencing in rehab.
I just wasn't interested in the iPad. Basically, it is too hard hold & try to keep my neck a bit elevated. I couldn't sit, easily & sitting straight up in bed breaks the restrictions. Mostly, I used my phone to text or read.
Nurse Megan, had told me the clear diet for a day would help not having food left in my gut when my intestines went to sleep. I was so scared about constipation, I did a bowel prep, on my on my own! That wasn't a good idea b/c there needs to be a little something in the intestines to help get things started. I've needed a suppository 3 times.
Weight loss/gain. I was counting on at least a 10# loss & had a 10# fluid gain, instead! Yikes! Glad I packed some 'fat' clothes!
I expected swelling,after surgery & warned my husband & daughter they might be shocked. Well, Jenn was shocked when she leaned over the WRONG woman to give 'me' a kiss in recovery! Ha, ha!
Fifa, I would love to have a visit from you on Sunday, if you're up to it!
Peg Stevens (roomie is also named Peggy) rm 305 rehabilitation institute of St. Louis. I've tried to get my bearings & it's near the hospital (I think towards the middle of campus)& NOT near CPAP.
Thank you for your prayers and for everyone's prayers! I'm so grateful!

Hi, Peggy!

It sounds like you are doing great and thank you for answering my questions! I sent you and Tamena a DM. I'm heading over to update my thread - my dad fell yesterday and things are kind of messy here right now, but I'll put that in my own thread. When it rains, it pours.

Thinking of you today and praying for you and Tamena. We'll be up tomorrow night probably around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. Wanted to come before then, but dad's fall has put a bit of a kink in plans right now.

Much love and hugs to you! See you soon... I hope! (smiley)
Fifa

fifa
11-08-2014, 12:37 PM
Hi Fifa!
Good questions! 2 scary night nurses: my reality was messed up, but these ladies were tall & husky & said as little as possible. It was odd how silent & unhappy faced, they both were. I think that was what make me feel vulnerable. My totally unscientific observation was that many of the 7pm - 7am were there for the paycheck without having an interest in their career. One young nurse was the exception, as she loves & will only work the night shift. I had a new-to-the-hospital night nurse for 3 nights, who probably won't make it. She was friendly, but tired & complaining b/c she was trying to keep her part-time, daytime nursing home job. Overall, the nurses & techs weren't a'team', like I'm experiencing in rehab.
I just wasn't interested in the iPad. Basically, it is too hard hold & try to keep my neck a bit elevated. I couldn't sit, easily & sitting straight up in bed breaks the restrictions. Mostly, I used my phone to text or read.
Nurse Megan, had told me the clear diet for a day would help not having food left in my gut when my intestines went to sleep. I was so scared about constipation, I did a bowel prep, on my on my own! That wasn't a good idea b/c there needs to be a little something in the intestines to help get things started. I've needed a suppository 3 times.
Weight loss/gain. I was counting on at least a 10# loss & had a 10# fluid gain, instead! Yikes! Glad I packed some 'fat' clothes!
I expected swelling,after surgery & warned my husband & daughter they might be shocked. Well, Jenn was shocked when she leaned over the WRONG woman to give 'me' a kiss in recovery! Ha, ha!
Fifa, I would love to have a visit from you on Sunday, if you're up to it!
Peg Stevens (roomie is also named Peggy) rm 305 rehabilitation institute of St. Louis. I've tried to get my bearings & it's near the hospital (I think towards the middle of campus)& NOT near CPAP.
Thank you for your prayers and for everyone's prayers! I'm so grateful!

Oh, shoot, Peggy - forgot to thank you for talking about your own "bowel prep." We were going to do the same thing here...I had planned to start a laxative and some other things. Don't think we'll be doing that now, or at least not as much as I had planned. That was great information and I appreciate it!! Oh, and I laughed out loud at your daughter starting to give a random woman a kiss. How funny!!! LOL

Take care - Fifa

titaniumed
11-08-2014, 02:28 PM
Peg

You sound pretty good......I just wanted to say congratulations, you did it!

Hang in there, it gets better....

Ed

tae_tap
11-09-2014, 05:05 AM
Peggy,

You are right about a few of the night nurses. I too had a couple that seemed annoyed when I would ask for help log rolling as if I should stay in one position. My husband actually had to teach one how to do it which I found annoying because that is basic nursing.

I think my main disappointment in the hospital was the PT department. I was in Columbia at Boone for my first surgery and PT was amazing coming in twice a day. At Barnes I was lucky if I saw them once. In fact I wasn't even walked in the hallway till the day I was released. At Boone I was walking down the hall on day two.

You sound like you are coming along quite well!

Tamena

PeggyS
11-09-2014, 09:05 AM
I was pretty miserable through Day 5. I was counting on Day 3 as a 'turning' point, since I'd read about that on the forum. I even asked my daughter to post a question about Day 3. Something like . . . Does surgery count as Day 1? I was SO focused on Day 3. She said she asked & read replies to me. Surgery day does not count as Day 1. I don't know if she really asked that question or made up some good answers! Now, that I've written this down, it seems so trivial! Silly, me!

hdsluckygirl13
11-11-2014, 02:25 PM
Just been thinking and praying for a non eventful recovery. Gentle hugs...

PeggyS
11-16-2014, 06:40 PM
Praying all goes well!
Tamena

Hi Tamena!

It looks like we'll just miss each other in St Louis. We're starting home on Tuesday, 11/18. I'm sending you prayers. I hope it's smooth sailing all the way!
Fondly, Peggy

tae_tap
11-16-2014, 06:44 PM
Peg, are you at the hotel? I will be down at the hotel tomorrow early afternoon. How are you feeling.

Tamena

PeggyS
11-18-2014, 08:56 AM
Peg, are you at the hotel? I will be down at the hotel tomorrow early afternoon. How are you feeling.

Tamena

I'm sorry I'll miss you Tamena. Goodness, 3 of us with surgeries 2 weeks apart & none of us could meet!

Best wishes to you!

PeggyS
11-19-2014, 03:32 PM
I'm tucked into my own bed & ready for a snooze! We drove 200 miles yesterday & 200 today. It was difficult to get out and walk because it's so darn cold! I had to make a 'wind adjustment' for my walker! So thankful the trip was uneventful!

hdsluckygirl13
11-19-2014, 06:10 PM
I'm tucked into my own bed & ready for a snooze! We drove 200 miles yesterday & 200 today. It was difficult to get out and walk because it's so darn cold! I had to make a 'wind adjustment' for my walker! So thankful the trip was uneventful!Soft hugs.... so glad to hear you had an uneventful trip home =) LOL love the "wind adjustment" comment. Rest and thanks for keeping us posted.

springchicken
11-19-2014, 06:44 PM
Hi Peggy,

It must feel so nice to be in your own bed! Very glad you had a safe trip. I had my surgery last January and we had blizzard after blizzard so I would set a timer and walk back and forth in my house. Spent many weeks walking in the house and got used to it. Then I downloaded a free pedometer for my phone which I still use. Maybe that would be helpful for you someday. In the meantime stay cozy and walk wherever works and when you feel up to it!

-spring

golfnut
11-19-2014, 09:55 PM
Peggy,
There is nothing better than being home. During my first several weeks at home, I was confined to walking boring laps in our small house due to snow and ice. Best of luck with up your recovery.

susancook
11-20-2014, 01:07 AM
Welcome home!
Susan

jackieg412
11-20-2014, 07:29 AM
We come home. I had winter surgery and it is hard. Sometimes a local park district or school will have a tract.

susancook
11-20-2014, 02:33 PM
If you want to walk....and it is cold or rainy outside, go to the mall EARLY in the morning. Many malls open for walking before the stores open. Few people there, benches for resting, almost all of the retail stores are closed (so you will not be tempted to buy anything), and the coffee place is usually open for a treat!
Susan

PeggyS
11-20-2014, 06:42 PM
Yes, I see mall walking in my future! Our church has a large rectangular layout - I plan to use it, too.

I feel like the trip home has taken a lot out of me + some added tummy troubles. I spent most of the day sleeping. Tomorrow I'll make an effort to walk a circular path through our house several times. All of you have probably been through 'giving yourself permission to rest & heal'. That's kind of my mantra right now!

PeggyS
12-02-2014, 03:41 PM
I went to my family dr for a follow-up. It's the first time I've been measured . . . I'm 5'5.5" - I'm thrilled! I used to be 5'8" and I was 5'3" prior to surgery.
I also came home with a prescription for Lactulose. I did a search and I know some of you have been on that. I SURE hope it helps!

Lizardacres
12-02-2014, 07:33 PM
That's great news! I'd be thrilled too! I've often wondered if it makes a difference in the amount of height you gain if your primary curve is lumbar or thoracic. Hope you are feeling a little better.

golfnut
12-02-2014, 10:05 PM
Peggy,
I hope you get relief. Isn't it nice to get back a few inches?

PeggyS
12-10-2014, 05:45 PM
Oh, boy . . . the board nailed to the butt has become a pain focal point! I'm trying the heating pad set on low & that seems to help.

I'm about 6.5 weeks post-op. I've cut my hydrocodone to 3 pills per 24hrs & muscle relaxers to 1-2 per day. Still having bathroom problems - ugh!

I'm absolutely loving the response from friends about my straight back & new height! We've been blessed with so many meals, I'm starting to freeze portions.

My family dr ordered in home PT & that began this week. I have lots of bad habits from compensating. My head juts forward & I'm worried about an increased hump above T3. Plus, I'm pigeon-toed on the right foot! I also found out I'm twisting when I look back at someone talking. I need to put a stop to that right away!

Again, I'm very thankful for everyone's support!

jackieg412
12-10-2014, 08:25 PM
Peggy be real careful with the PT. Most ortho doctors will not allow it this early and few PT's understand the long fusions. A person with these long fusions just can't be treated the same as a single level fusion. Just be careful.

fifa
12-11-2014, 12:58 AM
Oh, boy . . . the board nailed to the butt has become a pain focal point! I'm trying the heating pad set on low & that seems to help.

I'm about 6.5 weeks post-op. I've cut my hydrocodone to 3 pills per 24hrs & muscle relaxers to 1-2 per day. Still having bathroom problems - ugh!

I'm absolutely loving the response from friends about my straight back & new height! We've been blessed with so many meals, I'm starting to freeze portions.

My family dr ordered in home PT & that began this week. I have lots of bad habits from compensating. My head juts forward & I'm worried about an increased hump above T3. Plus, I'm pigeon-toed on the right foot! I also found out I'm twisting when I look back at someone talking. I need to put a stop to that right away!

Again, I'm very thankful for everyone's support!

Hi, Peggy -

My most sincere apologies for not getting back to you before now (except in a couple of other threads). I have a personal e-mail account (friends and family only) that I've been trying to maintain, plus a "bogus" e-mail account where junk/spam goes (like if I order something from Amazon or somewhere that tends to spam me once they have my address. I also have my phone, where most of my family will text me rather than sending a full-on e-mail. Then, there is the work account, which I've been avoiding like the plague because I think if I log in there and see all the work that is waiting for me to return, I'll just go ahead and start the disability paperwork and never go back. LOL

I e-mailed Megan from my work account yesterday and sent a brief "update" e-mail to my bosses since to my knowledge, my hubby only e-mailed them once to give them an update. I haven't had a chance to check in today to see if Megan has replied or not.

The main reason I am writing you is because I HAVE THE SAME PIGEON TOE ON THE RIGHT FOOT!!!! My husband noticed it a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't really been paying attention to my feet - I was more concerned with not falling over (I've been SO dizzy with all the meds). Anyway, I asked Megan about it and I would suggest you e-mail her, too. When I take a step forward with the left foot, it is perfectly out straight in front of me. I hold my balance there just for a second or two, and then take a step forward with the right foot. Instead of being out front, pointed toward the direction I am intending to go, the right big toe is basically pointed at the left big toe (which is still facing forward). This is hard to describe in an e-mail, but if I'm not careful, a step forward with the right foot may end up with my right big toe on top of my left big toe. Let's just say that if the left foot is pointed north, a step with the right foot is pointed west. I don't know if this is what you're having, but it has become a real problem with me. Also, I'm not using the walker inside the house. We have a 70s house with lots of small rooms and hallways (and way too much furniture), so I just waddle my way from room to room and there is always something to grab onto. The walker was too much of a hassle. It fit fine through every doorway except the bathroom, which is basically where I needed it in order to lower myself onto the too-low toilet. So, we've just left the thing in there. Also, it's too heavy and cumbersome to lift while outside on a walk. It doesn't want to flow smoothly over cracks in sidewalks and such. So, me and the boys take outside walks when we can, but for the most part, I'm wearing a circular pattern in the carpet upstairs.

The board nailed to the butt has lessened some for me. I'm lying on my back in bed with one pillow under each knee, which seems to help me a lot. This is not a ladylike position, but I don't care. It's not like I'm running around the house singing "I Feel Pretty" at the top of my lungs, and certainly won't be doing any of that until at least half of my hair grows back. LOL The position I'm trying to describe is lying on my back flat on the bed with a pretty flat pillow under my head. My low back is flat on the bed, so I basically have my heels and/or the soles of my feet pressed together. I then have my husband put a fairly flat pillow under each knee. Don't know if this will work for you, but hope it helps. I can't stay like this for a very long time, but I'll tell you it sure feels good when you come out of that position and straighten your legs down as far as you can toward the end of the bed. I go back and forth between these two positions and it seems to help me quite a bit. I've also been spending some time on my side (seems like I can only do the left side - the right side still hurts). Anyway, I log roll into the bed and stay on my left side. I can mostly do it myself, but sometimes have to have the hubby help me again put a fairly flat pillow between my knees or just above or below my knees, whichever feels best at the time.

Since I can't "bathe" and sounds like it will be nine months before they'll let me get in and out of a bathtub, I bought a shower chair and spend significant time in there sitting, just letting the hot water run gently down my back. Ed had mentioned in a post before about how much the hot bath seemed to help him. I was VERY disappointed when Megan told us a couple of months ago that they had found there was NO WAY a person who was fused could get in and out of a standard bathtub without bending, lifting, or twisting, so there would be no bathing allowed until the fusion was fused. We thought about putting in a walk-in bathtub, but the more we looked at the things, you'll see that the water level in such a tub really only goes to about your navel if you're lucky, so we nixed that idea. Home Depot/Lowes has a couple of portable hot tubs, so we may invest in one of those at some point. I'm a bather by nature (HATE showers), so it is killing me to not be able to soak away the soreness.

I have yet to cut any of my pills, although I admit that I forget some of them. You all have said how important it was to keep a log, and you are definitely right. I couldn't remember what I had taken and what I hadn't. I knew if I was sobbing, it was time for an Oxycontin. They stopped those a couple of weeks ago and put me on Percocet (and a couple of muscle relaxants and the Senokot). We made the fatal mistake (also that you all had warned about) right around Thanksgiving when we hadn't counted pills ahead and realized we were going to run out before Megan could mail new scripts. Our family doctor wrote a small script while we waited for Megan's to come in the mail, so we got extremely lucky over that holiday week.

I'm also keeping a BM log. I'm truly not eating much of anything because nothing tastes good, but I have found a few favorites I can't live without. Hubby makes the best hot tea (with soy milk and sugar), so he keeps me supplied in that. Every morning with my breakfast pills, I have a single "lunch-type" plastic tub of diced peaches. There's something about having those cold first thing in the morning that is just wonderful. So, I have my peaches and a tall glass of chocolate soy milk for breakfast. I drink water and a cup or two of hot tea for the rest of the day, and then husbster fixes me something for "linner." I don't want both meals, so I either eat something for lunch or, if not hungry, wait until later to eat. Bread and butter seems to be what I want most. Also, saltines with butter. Yeah, I'm really boring, but nothing else even remotely appeals to me. I was not a small person before this surgery, so it will be interesting to see when all of this turns around. Oh, and POTATOES! Bob Evans makes "heat and eat" servings of mashed potatoes, and they are better and quicker (although probably not cheaper) than anything else I've found. Pretty much been living off those. Yes, it doesn't sound like much, but it is all I want right now. The scale says I'm down 24 pounds, but I don't know how many "pounds" of hardware they've added.

A couple of more things, Peggy, and I'll say goodnight. I'm wondering if you are having any trouble with your urinary stream. ?? It this is too personal here, DM me if you like. I've noticed since the catheter was removed, I had a fairly forceful urinary stream, and it didn't seem to take very long to "take care of business" and get out of there. Since I've come home, this has been reduced to what is best described as a trickle, and it seems to take more than twice as long to urinate. It's fine, I mean, at least I can still go, but it just seems like it takes forever now. On a similar note, I, too, am still having bathroom problems and am finding it is at least four to five days between "movements," and that is taking a daily Senokot stool softener as prescribed plus a few times a week, I take the heavy duty Dulcolax "overnight relief" laxative. Maybe it is because there isn't much in there to evacuate, but I seem to be getting little results. Also, much like the urination, I'm having trouble "pushing," for lack of a better word.

Sorry to be so wordy here, but I have to take advantage of feeling well when I can. (smiley face). Peg, I hope each day brings you less pain and more joy. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to run into you in St. Louis, but it just couldn't be done with all the stuff going on with my dad. By the way, his surgery is scheduled for Tuesday the 16th. My follow up appointment with Dr. B. is on Monday the 15th. I don't know how I'm going to get through four or five hours in St. Louis on Monday and then being at Boone for dad's surgery Tuesday, but we'll figure something out. At least there are lots of waiting rooms at Boone with couches, recliners, etc.

Thinking of you, Peg, and hoping you and your family are doing well. I continue to pray for us all. (huge smiley).

Gentle healing hugs,
Fifa

PeggyS
12-13-2014, 07:44 PM
Hi Fifa!

My pigeon-toed right foot has been that way for at least 12 years. I used to kind of 'throw' my right leg to put it into place. A therapist helped me solve that issue a few years ago, but I still turned my foot inward. I was always surprised at how I looked while walking up to a big glass door entrance. A couple of times, my students asked me 'why I walked like that'! Sounds like yours is a new issue. How does it feel when consciously straighten it?

I'll be very interested to hear what Dr. Buchowski has to say about everything at your appointment! Mine isn't until 2/4 because I saw his nurse before leaving town at week 3.

I had a UTI in the hospital, probably from the catheter. It wasn't diagnosed until I was in rehab for a few days. I don't have a problem with the flow, but I am going less often. I guess you have another question for Dr B. You must have a long list - you've had so, so much to deal with!

Take lots of pillows with you for your dad's surgery on Tues. I'm finding that most chairs are too low for me. Be sure to claim a couch and spend a lot of time resting your back!

Take care! Sending prayers for peace & healing.

fifa
12-26-2014, 07:14 PM
Hi, Peg -

This is a quickie, but I've been thinking about you lots and and praying for you and Tamena. Hope you are doing well and your holidays are/were merry. I'll put the rest in my other thread - thinking of you both and sending gentle hugs.

Love,
Fifa

PeggyS
12-27-2014, 12:57 PM
Thank you, Fifa (I'll probably never get used to Ronda!). I've been thinking about you & wondering about your dad's surgery and about how you've been feeling. Sorry to hear the meds are still messing with your mind. OxyContin is So strong. Have you tried hydrocodone (vidcodin)? I remember that you were on something else, too, but I'm not familiar with it - guess that's why I don't remember!
Our daughters provided our family with a traditional Christmas Eve celebration at our house. It was great, but I felt kind of 'detached' watching them take care of everything. I had purchased & wrapped most of the gifts prior to surgery, so I couldn't remember what the gifts were! I was surprised, too!

fifa
01-03-2015, 12:42 AM
Thank you, Fifa (I'll probably never get used to Ronda!). I've been thinking about you & wondering about your dad's surgery and about how you've been feeling. Sorry to hear the meds are still messing with your mind. OxyContin is So strong. Have you tried hydrocodone (vidcodin)? I remember that you were on something else, too, but I'm not familiar with it - guess that's why I don't remember!
Our daughters provided our family with a traditional Christmas Eve celebration at our house. It was great, but I felt kind of 'detached' watching them take care of everything. I had purchased & wrapped most of the gifts prior to surgery, so I couldn't remember what the gifts were! I was surprised, too!

Hi, Peggy -

Sorry I haven't been posting much here. There's been a lot going on, plus all the holiday stuff, plus my dad, etc. Also, unfortunately, I just really haven't been feeling well and, I hate to admit it here, but I've been pretty depressed and haven't really felt like talking to anyone. I've been thinking about you (and Tamena, too), but I just haven't felt like dragging out the laptop lately. I can use my little table to read and post, but I'm not good at the "one fingered" stuff like you have to do on cell phones, tablets, etc. I want a full-size (or nearly full size) "QWERTY" keyboard so I can just type as fast as the thoughts come into my drug-addled brain. Anyway, the laptop is heavy, and I lie on my back in bed with it sitting on my lap. Typing while lying on your back isn't all that easy for me, plus it gets hot, and the heaviness on my pelvic/lap area wears me out after a while. Geez, sometimes I think I only get on here to whine. Sorry about that.

My dad's surgery went well and he is doing pretty well. They fused from C2 through C5 (rods/screws/and his own bone from what they removed) and he seems to be doing well. Because of arthritis, about half those levels were already basically fused anyway, so he was kind of already used to not being able to move his neck. He's having the typical incisional/nerve/muscle pain that we all have after they've cut through all that stuff. The really good news is that he is able to feel his feet again and is walking with a walker. The sensation in his hands has come back, and although his strength and coordination isn't what it was before he fell, I'm hopeful that, too, will improve with therapy. My prayer is that he can be independent enough to go back to live with mom at the brand new apartment we just moved them into in October. If not, they will both have to go to some assisted living place. They don't know this yet, but if they go to assisted living, I'm going to insist that they move here. I can't take care of them or do anything for them since we live an hour apart. There are lots of great assisted living places here. They will make new friends and my husband and I can spend more time with them. Anyway,that's my plan. I'm sure my mother's plan is quite different. LOL

Since two of the four of us were under the weather, we really didn't do anything for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Neither daddy nor I could travel, so they celebrated both holidays in the hospital and I pretty much stayed in bed. I'm having some problems here and just not feeling well yet, or maybe I just don't know "how" I'm supposed to be feeling at this stage of the game. Monday January 5th will be eight weeks.

Since I'm feeling not so bad at the moment, I'll post the rest in my own thread so as to not hijack yours. It sounds like you are doing pretty okay, and for that, I'm grateful. My main problem is that I'm impatient, I guess, and I sure thought I would be feeling a LOT better than this at the eight week mark. Maybe a few of our folks can weigh in and let us know where they stood at the eight or nine week mark. Also, I'd like to know if anyone else got horribly depressed from the pain medicine.

I'm going to go try to eat something but will be back shortly on my own thread. Big gentle hugs, Peggy. I pray for you every day and hope you are doing well (Tamena, too).

Love,
Fifa

PeggyS
01-05-2015, 09:24 PM
It's good to hear from you, Fifa!
I'm sorry to hear you're feeling depressed - probably the meds & the winter season. I know you've been worried about your dad. I didn't realize he was having cervical fusion. I hope his recovery goes well.
So, you're returning to work this week? Part-time, I hope! I'm feeling better than I thought I'd be at this point in recovery, but I don't think I'd be ready to work. Sometimes there isn't a choice. Hang in there & take as many breaks as you can!
When you've got time to add to your thread, I'd like to hear about your appointment with Dr. buchowski.
Your poor car! I drove for the 1st time, yesterday: 4 miles round trip on a country road - big deal! I was worried about twisting to see in the mirrors. I'm lucky to have a back-up camera. I found that if I keep my shoulder blades against the back of the seat, I'm more likely to turn only my head. So many bad habits to conquer!

At what point in recovery, have others started to drive? I know it's dependent on meds & I've really cut back. Any tips?


Hugs to all!

fifa
01-06-2015, 05:56 AM
[QUOTE=PeggyS;162016]It's good to hear from you, Fifa!
I'm sorry to hear you're feeling depressed - probably the meds & the winter season. I know you've been worried about your dad. I didn't realize he was having cervical fusion. I hope his recovery goes well.
So, you're returning to work this week? Part-time, I hope! I'm feeling better than I thought I'd be at this point in recovery, but I don't think I'd be ready to work. Sometimes there isn't a choice. Hang in there & take as many breaks as you can!
When you've got time to add to your thread, I'd like to hear about your appointment with Dr. buchowski.
Your poor car! I drove for the 1st time, yesterday: 4 miles round trip on a country road - big deal! I was worried about twisting to see in the mirrors. I'm lucky to have a back-up camera. I found that if I keep my shoulder blades against the back of the seat, I'm more likely to turn only my head. So many bad habits to conquer!

At what point in recovery, have others started to drive? I know it's dependent on meds & I've really cut back. Any tips?

Hi, there, Peggy!

Nice to hear from you and hear that you are doing well. Maybe there is hope for me yet. LOL

Yes, dad's cervical cord was compressed/impinged from C2 through either C6 or C7 (I can't remember which now...must be the drugs). Anyway, they had him in the hospital for weeks giving him steroids and pain meds trying to reduce the swelling of the cord so they could operate and basically "clean out" all the bone that was impinging on the cord, then they did rods and screws and used all the saved bone to fuse him. No BMP, iliac crest graft, or even cadaver graft. He's doing great for what he's been through (he's 81). The hospital is doing a home evaluation tomorrow to see if he can return home, so I guess in retrospect, we're quite lucky my mother decided to move to the new apartment in October, even though the timing for me with my upcoming surgery was completely terrible (or so I thought at the time). It sounds selfish of me to say that, but what I mean is that I was so close to surgery I was already off the Motrin, and I was trying to ready up my own home...clean and declutter.... plus get in some extra hours at work so I would't have to go back to work so soon, so I couldn't help them much and they are both pretty frail and they needed us. Anyway, we'll know tomorrow if dad can go back to the apartment with mom or if we'll be looking at assisted living/nursing home placement for the both of them. This is part of the depression, along with all the drugs, plus I've been having a real bathroom issue, and since it sounds like you were/are, too, I thought I should mention it.

You already knew I had an ileus when discharged from Barnes on a Saturday and had to be readmitted here on Monday to get it fixed. They kept me until Wednesday of that week - took three days to fix it. Anyway, I noticed you mentioned you were discharged on Lactulose. That's odd, because I wasn't discharged on anything for bowels except a prescription for something called "Senexon-S Tablets," 90 of them with no refills, to take "one tablet by mouth twice a day for constipation." Obviously, that did no good because two days later I was admitted to Boone for an ileus. I spent four or five hours that night in the ER before admission getting an IV plus potassium and either Reglan or Zofran (can't remember which) for the nausea I was having. I had a huge enema and couldn't even pass the water they inserted.

I had to cancel my follow up with Megan which was set for December 15th because the night before, I was so constipated that I took too much over-the-counter laxative, which made me really sick. The night of the 14th was my first major bowel obstruction, and I was up all night trying to clear it myself, and took way too my laxative. It would have taken six hours to get to St. Louis because I was either having diarrhea or throwing up just about every 15 minutes. My major mistake here was that I had not been keeping track of bowel movements (we were tracking everything else, including food intake, but not bowel movements or how much water I was drinking). I didn't realize until later that it had been just over a week without a bowel movement, so it is my own fault, but since I was following all the doctor's orders as far as I knew, I didn't give it much thought.

I'm going to post the rest in my own thread because I'm a medical person and the things I say can be a bit graphic, so I want to put up a disclaimer before I post what the last four weeks have been like for me. I should say "for us," because unfortunately, my darling husband has had to be involved in "resolving" my defecation issues because I've had to have countless suppositories and enemas and application of Preparation H, and since I'm fused, I can't really do any of these things myself, which has completely humiliated me and also is probably a big part of the depression I've been having.

I will say this to you and anyone else out there who is contemplating what they need on hand before surgery. Get a large bottle of Milk of Magnesia. Get a couple of bottles of mag citrate. Buy some Preparation H in case you have a tendency for hemorrhoids. I found that Peri-Colace tablets worked the best for me....they are a combination of stool softener plus a stimulant laxative, and they work fairly quickly. Just do yourself a huge favor and be prepared for constipation. I also had prune juice on hand, but I couldn't keep it (or anything else, for that matter) down.

By the way, my car keys have been taken from me. LOL I was impaired enough that I thought I was well enough to drive. Even running over the tree didn't phase me....it didn't click that I could hit anything else or hurt someone. I figured I'd be fine since Boone Hospital is about a mile from where I live. So stupid! I would suggest to anyone out there NOT to drive until you're off the heavy-duty stuff. Just like people who've been drinking, you feel fine and you think you're not impaired and fine to drive, and the next thing you know, you're running over a tree and like an idiot, continuing on your way.

Talk to you soon. I hope your poopy problems weren't like mine. I'm glad you're doing so well. My surgery was eight weeks ago today (November 15th through January 5th) and I think you're doing way better than I am. It's weird to me because you had the same team and really way more surgery than what I had. Your mental state was probably way better than mine, especially with my dad's fall two days before I had surgery. I'm happy for you!!!

Keep on truckin', my friend - from what I'm reading, it gets better every day. Oh, and yes, I started back to work part-time today. Dr. B said I could work from home, so I'm flat in bed taking care of business. I'm mainly doing bookwork - I'll go back to the office part-time in the middle of February, and work up to being full-time in the office by a few hours each week (two hours a day for a week, four hours the next, then six, then eight). It will March before I'm back full-time in the office. I can only sit for 45 minutes at a time and will have to take a 15-minute walk once an hour once I go back to the office. With the level of pain I have right now, that seems impossible to me, but we'll see. (smiley)

Take good care of yourself and watch your intake/output if you are still having any bathroom issues. I'll post my "poop thread" under "Fifa's Surgery" right now.

Love and gentle hugs,
Fifa

PeggyS
01-14-2015, 02:58 PM
I know I saw this warning somewhere on this site & I still got a burn! I 'always' turn off my heating pad when I stop reading to go to sleep. I forgot last night. Even though the setting was on low, I have a water blister, the size of a half-dollar on my upper butt area! I couldn't figure out why it didn't hurt until I realized my skin is still numb. Maybe this reminder will help someone!

jackieg412
01-14-2015, 04:25 PM
Hi Peggy, I too burned .myself with a blister a bout that size . Be very careful with the burn area. Keep it covered and have someone watch it. Mine got infected and I had to have emergency treatment. It involved special dressings to pull the infection out.I did not know that I had burned myself until the blister broke and my shirt kept getting caught. BE Careful .you don need an infection so close to surgery.

PeggyS
01-14-2015, 07:48 PM
Oh, gosh, Jackie . . . I never considered how bad an infection could be, that close to my instrumentation. I think I'll call my family dr tomorrow. Thank you.

jackieg412
01-14-2015, 10:54 PM
Peggy I would also recommend getting a new heating pad. It really should not burn you. My surgery had been a few years before the burn but as you said you can not feel it. That part of me never did get the feeling back. Make sure to call the Dr and do what he says. Have someone check it and look for any changes.

jrnyc
01-15-2015, 01:01 AM
hi Peggy
wondering if anyone is using the heating pads with moisture...
when there is a wet towel or something built into the heating
pad for the moisture...supposed to do most good to have wet
combined with heat...

i think i remember a heating pad i had that only went up but
"so high" on the settings...or turned itself off at a certain degree
of heat...it did something like that to keep it under a burn level...

also, you can put tape or something else to keep the round dial
from going beyond a certain point, so the setting cannot get up
too high....very important when sleep or numbness involved....
and when it is both that present the possible burn developing...
well....something to stop heat or turn the thing off or an alarm
set to wake you....
must have a "safety net" so to speak...

hope you get better fast....
just a suggestion....have the burn looked at right away....

jess

Lizardacres
01-19-2015, 12:23 PM
Rougherrr recovery than expected. Difficult to get pain under control.

mabeckoff
01-19-2015, 07:56 PM
Rougherrr recovery than expected. Difficult to get pain under control.


Sorry to hear it.

titaniumed
01-19-2015, 11:28 PM
Rougherrr recovery than expected. Difficult to get pain under control.

Oh boy.....Liz, things can be tough right now, but it does get better......think ahead. Use your mind and transfer yourself.....Emotions do have an effect on pain, do try to keep this in check.

I also had a rough recovery and don’t expect an answer for awhile, I am really surprised you are posting. Post when you can....

Look forward to your 1st shower, it should come any day now. This will make you feel a WHOLE lot better.....Ask for a 1 hour shower.

Hang in there

Ed

susancook
01-19-2015, 11:46 PM
Same thing happened to me, but in decreasing pain of the repair of hernia from the ALIF incision. Keep the area clean. My doctor put a patch over it and that decreased the pain.

You will get better, you will have less pain.

Things that might help you feel better [aside from good pain management]:
- Music
- Getting outside
- shower
- Pet
- Movie DVD
- Your favorite food

Here is hoping that things are controlled better soon!
Gentle hug, Susan......still arollin' along in my red wheelchair

Lizardacres
01-20-2015, 04:24 AM
Hoping i can go home today. Very hard to write and can!t get comfortable anywhere 0
Ff
C

PeggyS
01-20-2015, 08:24 AM
Hoping i can go home today. Very hard to write and can!t get comfortable anywhere 0
Ff
C

Liz, I hope you're pain is under control today. I wasn't prepared for how much my entire body hurt and how difficult it was to move - like dead weight. It gets better. The first 6 weeks are very slow. Hang in there! Sending prayers for healing!

PeggyS
01-20-2015, 07:03 PM
Hi Peggy, I too burned .myself with a blister a bout that size . Be very careful with the burn area. Keep it covered and have someone watch it. Mine got infected and I had to have emergency treatment. It involved special dressings to pull the infection out.I did not know that I had burned myself until the blister broke and my shirt kept getting caught. BE Careful .you don need an infection so close to surgery.

My family dr didn't want to see me - just told me to continue with neosporin & change bandage. It's been a week & I went to my Derm. It's a 2nd degree burn. I have antibiotics to take & 2 ointments along with a follow-up appointment in a week. No infection - just trying to prevent one. No pain, but if I wasn't numb, it would be awful! What a dumb thing to be dealing with!

susancook
01-20-2015, 08:40 PM
My family dr didn't want to see me - just told me to continue with neosporin & change bandage. It's been a week & I went to my Derm. It's a 2nd degree burn. I have antibiotics to take & 2 ointments along with a follow-up appointment in a week. No infection - just trying to prevent one. No pain, but if I wasn't numb, it would be awful! What a dumb thing to be dealing with!

Shame on your family doctor! Call me dumb with you! I did not know that I had burned myself until 2 days after it happened. I was dressing in my brother's bathroom and I looked in the mirror and saw 2 big blister on my numb lower abdomen! Was I surprised!

Glad that you are in the healing phase. Susan

jackieg412
01-21-2015, 01:11 PM
Peggy I am glad there isn't an infection. Keep treating it. I was told when I did it that it would heal slowly in around a four week period of time.when I called my primary care doctor, mine was already infected. I told them that. They said the next appointment available was in two weeks. I went to quick care. Mine required what they said was a wet to dry dressing. It pulled the infection out. It worked. Can you just imagine what waiting. Two weeks would have caused. Even in the medical field, there is little understanding of what a fused spine means. My favorite fight is with a mammogram. Since my cervical is also fused I can not get it out of the way of the machine. There isn't any turning further.It might rip a breast off!

fifa
02-04-2015, 02:22 AM
My family dr didn't want to see me - just told me to continue with neosporin & change bandage. It's been a week & I went to my Derm. It's a 2nd degree burn. I have antibiotics to take & 2 ointments along with a follow-up appointment in a week. No infection - just trying to prevent one. No pain, but if I wasn't numb, it would be awful! What a dumb thing to be dealing with!

Hi, Peggy!

I'm sorry it has been so long since I posted, but I've been thinking about you tons and praying! I'm so happy you went to your dermatologist - can't believe your family doc didn't want to see you after all that surgery!

Hope you're well - will post more later.

Love and hugs,
Fifa

PeggyS
02-04-2015, 07:01 AM
My 3 month + 1 week check up is this afternoon. I'm expecting a good report!

PeggyS
02-04-2015, 07:18 PM
Yea! All the hardware is where it's supposed to be! My weird sensations/odd pains/twinges are all normal - I thought so, but it's reassuring to have confirmation.

jrnyc
02-04-2015, 08:58 PM
Peggy....i am so sorry your family doctor
was so ignorant and useless for help...i hope from now on that
healing is steady, smooth and uneventful....
and i hope, after you are healed and have some energy, you might
be able to find a new, more useful and helpful family doctor.

jackie412....can they be satisfied with ultra sound for the mammogram...
????? sounds as if they should accept alternative approach due to
special situation that your spine presents to them...????

jess...and Sparky

jackieg412
02-05-2015, 07:19 AM
Thanks Jess for bringing that up. I will approach that question to the Dr. It does seem that we will have to use an alternate method. I am almost 3 months from the last cervical surgery so it will be soon that we will try.

Lizardacres
02-05-2015, 08:39 AM
Yea! All the hardware is where it's supposed to be! My weird sensations/odd pains/twinges are all normal - I thought so, but it's reassuring to have confirmation.

Congrats on a good checkup! The healing process seems so slow, it's good to have confirmation you have been doing all the right things to help it along.

golfnut
02-06-2015, 06:50 AM
Peggy,
Congratulations on a good checkup! It is reassuring to have your surgeon look at your X-rays and confirm that everything is as it should be. It is hard to believe that strange aches, pains, numbness, tingling, etc. is all normal. Best of luck during the rest of your recovery.

PeggyS
02-06-2015, 04:20 PM
Afterwards, I thought it was odd that my surgeon didn't ask me to stand or walk & he didn't look at my incision site. I guess it IS all about the hardware! I do have permission to use the treadmill & recumbent bike in PT. I'm up to walking a mile on an indoor track.

fifa
02-09-2015, 11:28 PM
Afterwards, I thought it was odd that my surgeon didn't ask me to stand or walk & he didn't look at my incision site. I guess it IS all about the hardware! I do have permission to use the treadmill & recumbent bike in PT. I'm up to walking a mile on an indoor track.

Hi, Peggy!

Glad to hear everything is in place! (smiley) Sorry I haven't posted for so long - I'm battling fatigue and depression. I had put off my checkup with Megan, and when we went to see her last month, it turns out that a LOT of things I thought were okay to do were NOT okay. That started (or continued) the depression for me. I'm scheduled to see Dr. B the first week of March. I'm not looking forward to it, but truly, I'm not really looking forward to anything at this point.

Since I haven't posted in my own thread for some time, I will do that now.

Can't even imagine navigating airports and planes, plus Barnes is such a HUGE place. We're seeing Dr. B in Chesterfield. It is a little bit shorter of a drive for us plus less walking. I'm forced to use a wheelchair at Barnes...it is just too much walking for me at this stage. Tomorrow is three months. I can't believe it - seems like I've spent my entire life in this bed!!!

Glad you are doing well. Has your burn healed by now? I did the same thing years ago (burned butt). Our heating pad was very old and didn't have an "automatic off" feature like they do now. It's easy to burn, especially when you're numb. Hope you tossed it and got a new one!

Take care - praying for you and thinking of you every day!

Love and hugs,
Fifa

Lizardacres
02-10-2015, 12:54 AM
Fifa,

I'm concerned about you; you have had a difficult recovery, and yet I don't believe you have suffered any of the irrevocable, bad consequences from the surgery but you are beating yourself up over things you were not supposed to be doing according to Megan. Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself why Megan didn't communicate better what was expected. What are you in trouble for? It doesn't really do any good for them to get you upset for things that are water under the bridge now. The surgeons do an amazing job with these very complicated surgeries but then just move on to the next case.

I really think that most of these surgeons could do a better job of having someone in their office checking in with patients post op to see how they are getting along and reminding them of what is and is not allowed at certain points in recovery. How about emailing a UTube video or something with instructions? I have had only one postoperative visit so far and it was right after discharge and I don't remember any of it. My next is at six weeks. I could have very likely benefitted from time in rehab to learn how to take care of myself postoperative but parts of my experience in the hospital made me afraid to go to another care facility.

I count my blessings everyday that I woke up from this surgery intact with minimal blood loss and am not blind, paralyzed and didn't throw a clot. I stand without pain and can even sit in a chair for quite a while now. But I really could have used more hand holding the first few weeks after surgery.

PeggyS
02-11-2015, 09:12 PM
Fifa, Are you able to get X-rays at the Chesterfield office or do you have to go somewhere else for them? They always put me in that upright circular X-ray machine at Barnes. When I first went for a consultation 1.5 yrs ago, that was the only machine like it in the US.
Dr. B told me it was too soon to see if any grafting had started. He might be able to tell at my 6+ month checkup. I thought he may have used the full 6 kits of BMP, but he said he used 2 kits. It wasn't approved by insurance til AFTER surgery! He said I had a lot of my own bone from the osteotomies.
I don't think I've told you, yet, but good for you for refusing to pay your co-pay. I hope it works out. I love that your friend is your attorney!
I hope you're feeling better!

PeggyS
04-12-2015, 05:11 PM
It was a beautiful day in central Ohio for a walk in a nearby metro park.
I walked the same route (2miles) in the same amount of time (45 min) as I used to do before my scoliosis surgery. The BIG difference was NO PAIN! Amazing! I'm sure many of you can identify with having to stop to rest or lean over to stretch the back multiple times. I've been walking at the Y on the track & treadmill, but today's outdoor walk was a confirmation of progress in my recovery!

golfnut
04-12-2015, 09:08 PM
That is a great comparison!

fifa
04-13-2015, 05:02 PM
Fifa,

I'm concerned about you; you have had a difficult recovery, and yet I don't believe you have suffered any of the irrevocable, bad consequences from the surgery but you are beating yourself up over things you were not supposed to be doing according to Megan. Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself why Megan didn't communicate better what was expected. What are you in trouble for? It doesn't really do any good for them to get you upset for things that are water under the bridge now. The surgeons do an amazing job with these very complicated surgeries but then just move on to the next case.

I really think that most of these surgeons could do a better job of having someone in their office checking in with patients post op to see how they are getting along and reminding them of what is and is not allowed at certain points in recovery. How about emailing a UTube video or something with instructions? I have had only one postoperative visit so far and it was right after discharge and I don't remember any of it. My next is at six weeks. I could have very likely benefitted from time in rehab to learn how to take care of myself postoperative but parts of my experience in the hospital made me afraid to go to another care facility.

I count my blessings everyday that I woke up from this surgery intact with minimal blood loss and am not blind, paralyzed and didn't throw a clot. I stand without pain and can even sit in a chair for quite a while now. But I really could have used more hand holding the first few weeks after surgery.

Hi!

I totally agree with you! I, too, could have used more hand-holding than what I got, and I certainly could have used more preop information. For instance, I was really surprised that they used the halo traction during surgery...I mean, of course they did, but no one told me that. My preop visit was rushed due to a scheduling error, so I really didn't have enough time to ask questions and feel comfortable going in. The postop hand-holding has come from this forum for SURE, and I am grateful every day for each one of you!

Your last paragraph above about not throwing a clot or waking up paralyzed speaks volumes and I couldn't agree more. I'm lucky AND grateful to be doing as well as I am doing, but it is definitely a long winding road that I couldn't have navigated without this forum. Who else could I really talk to about my poop??? LOLOL

Take care - sending huge but gentle hugs!
Fifa

fifa
04-13-2015, 05:20 PM
Fifa, Are you able to get X-rays at the Chesterfield office or do you have to go somewhere else for them? They always put me in that upright circular X-ray machine at Barnes. When I first went for a consultation 1.5 yrs ago, that was the only machine like it in the US.
Dr. B told me it was too soon to see if any grafting had started. He might be able to tell at my 6+ month checkup. I thought he may have used the full 6 kits of BMP, but he said he used 2 kits. It wasn't approved by insurance til AFTER surgery! He said I had a lot of my own bone from the osteotomies.
I don't think I've told you, yet, but good for you for refusing to pay your co-pay. I hope it works out. I love that your friend is your attorney!
I hope you're feeling better!

Hi, Peggy -

They do standing plain films at Chesterfield, so I don't go anywhere else for films. It is a much shorter trip for us. I LOVE that machine at Barnes! Incredible pictures!

I don't know what you mean about seeing if any grafting started...does he mean fusion? I assume I am fusing, but what he said to us was "your x-rays look as good as they possible could," and he was very pleased with how everything looked. I just assumed I was fusing and that he could tell. Will have to ask Megan when they can start to see this - I don't go back until June.

Just paid my last bill at Barnes today for the x-rays I had in January at Chesterfield (they just sent the bill). Suffice it to say that I plan to never return. LOL

Sounds like your check-up was great - CONGRATS! You are doing so well!!! I'm progressing slower, I think. I wish I could have gone for some therapy!

Take care, Peggy. Hugs to you!!

Fifa

PeggyS
04-14-2015, 01:55 PM
Thanks, Fifa! Dr B said it was too soon to tell if bones had started to graft or knit together over the fusion & hardware. I'm supposed to have a CT at my next appt on 5/6 & that should show bone grafts start to form. I guess that's why it takes at least 1 year for a solid fusion, maybe 2. I'm also guessing the restrictions are in place, so as not to disturb the newly forming grafts. I wonder if any will be lifted. . . .

PeggyS
06-11-2015, 04:26 PM
My 6 month checkup was delayed to 7.5 months and the report was good. My X-rays showed the hardware is in place & I don't have any loose screws - at least not in my back!
Dr. Buchowski recommended that I see a physiatrist or physical medicine doctor about my shoulder. I'll go to someone local.
Overall, I'm doing well. Massage has helped the shoulder symptoms become less intense & less frequent. I unknowingly sat in an odd position & aggravated my tailbone area. I'm hoping that clears up soon so I can go back to walking longer distances. I signed up to walk a 5k on July 4th. It was one of my pre-surgery goals.

Erectormik
06-11-2015, 07:58 PM
I live in Pickerington. I am 57 years old. I have a slight case of scoliosis. My major problem is lumbar kyphosis with retolistisis and a flat T vertebrae. I have been told that I need T4 to pelvis with Pelvic anchoring by Dr. Khan at OSU Spine Center. I am curious if you have heard of him and why you went out of state for surgery?

Michael

PeggyS
06-12-2015, 07:56 PM
Hi Michael!

I haven't heard of your doctor.,but that doesn't really mean anything. I had consultations with 3 Ohio doctors & 2 of them supported my decision to go to St. Louis for scoliosis surgery. The one who didn't, said his skills were adequate. The advice from this forum was to run and I did!
There are good back surgeons in Ohio, but they don't frequently do scoliosis surgeries - maybe a few per year. I wanted a surgeon who did 'my' type of surgery several times a month. I thought it was important to have a doctor who had a 'bag of tricks' or multiple experiences to draw from. It took some major planning, time commitment & money to support my decision and I have NO regrets. I'm thankful I was able to do 2 weeks of rehab in St. Louis before making the trip home.
This is a huge decision, so take your time. Ask your doctor about his experience.
I'll send you a pm with my phone number if you want more details.

golfnut
06-12-2015, 08:23 PM
Peggy,
I am glad you got a good report at your check up. My tailbone bothered me for at least a year. Eventually, I had no tailbone pain. I had assumed it would be for life, but it is no longer a problem.

PeggyS
06-13-2015, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the tailbone encouragement, Karen!

PeggyS
12-14-2015, 06:47 AM
I'm reaching out to everyone who can send prayers & positive energy my way.

I've recently been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer - 13.5 months after my back surgery. I've checked with my scoliosis surgeon & treatments won't interfere with my back - whew.

Chemo first (4-6 months) b/c the cancer has an aggressive component, then a mastectomy. The good news is that so far, my lymph nodes have not been affected.

I did a forum search to find out if anyone has been through this after a major fusion & I'm sure someone has, but my search failed.

My faith is still strong, but I do throw some temper tantrums in my mind!
Thank you, in advance.

golfnut
12-14-2015, 08:14 AM
I am sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. I am sorry you have to go through this, but know you will stay strong and beat it!

susancook
12-16-2015, 12:54 PM
Sending you a hug and Healing thoughts. You will get through this like you did with the back surgery.
Susan

jackieg412
12-16-2015, 05:15 PM
Peggy I am sending positive energy your way. Praying that all goes well.

PeggyS
12-17-2015, 09:29 PM
Thank you, Karen, Susan & Jackie.

JenniferG
12-19-2015, 02:23 AM
I'm so sorry to hear this Peggy. Wishing you the successful outcome you deserve, after going through spinal surgery so recently. Let us know how you go and we'll cheer you on. Good luck!

PeggyS
01-17-2016, 07:22 PM
Update: last week, my newly (14.5 months) constructed back held up to having a 9 hr mastectomy with reconstruction! In addition to worrying about cancer, I was worried about my back. I told everyone I came into contact with that my back doesn't bend or twist! Surgery results are good - no cancer in the lymph nodes. Waiting to hear what's next. Thank you for your prayers & positive thoughts!

Mom of 4
01-17-2016, 07:44 PM
Peg, thanks for the update...wonderful news!!! You really have been through it. You are one tough cookie!!!

golfnut
01-17-2016, 08:44 PM
That's great news, Peggy!

jackieg412
01-17-2016, 10:58 PM
Glad you are on this side. Praying all goes well