View Full Version : A month post-op with questions!

09-29-2007, 12:12 PM
Hi everyone,

I got a posterior spinal fusion on August 30th at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia. I have 20 screws, 10 hooks and two rods implanted. I also suffer from mild cerebral palsy. I'm recovering nicely with a few aches and pains, but I do have a few questions that I hope you wouldn't mind answering.

1.) I'm a moderate to heavy soda drinker. I know you're supposed to limit caffienated beverages, but what exactly is the reason for it? One doctor told me while I was still in the hospital that it has to do with girls and their bone density. Then, I went back a week or so ago for a clinic visit and my surgeon seemed surprised when I asked him why I couldn't have soda; he replied with, "Who told you that?" He ultimately told me, though, that the sugar makes you feel full when you're not. I've been drinking soda for years and I've never had any problem with that. Basically, what I want to know is, will it have any effect on my back and/or the hooks/rods etc if I continue to drink soda?

2.) I know all about the numbness you suffer from afterwards due to lying on your stomach for a long period of time during surgery (I forget what the vain is called). I was in the OR for 11 hours, and although some of the numbness has worn off, I still suffer from some on my right side in my hip area, as well as my lower back and between my shoulder blades. I'm assuming the numbness/pain between my shoulder blades is due to the fact they cut through a lot of muscle there. I don't really feel the numbness until I take a shower and the water runs over my back; it just feels weird. Anyway, they originally told me the numbness would wear off in 3-6 weeks, though I read about it taking much longer for people. How long is too long?

3.) I'm seemingly suffering from a lot of pulled muscles - what's the best method for dealing with them? I tried a heating pad last night and it helped very little. Maybe I didn't have it in the right spot or something.

4.) When I was in the hospital, I contracted a urinary tract infection from the catheter. Although it cleared up, I now find that I'm going a lot more than I used to (not abnormally though) and that I have to go right away. Is this normal?

Thanks in advance for answering my questions! I look forward to chatting with you all!

09-29-2007, 12:33 PM
I don't know if I can answer your questions, but the numbness may stick around for quite a while. My surgeon said up to a year - year 1/2. If it is painful, you might want to try neurontin (gabapentin) (ask your doc).

I felt that iced helped me better than heat.

Oops - I forgot what your other questions were, but just be patient with yourself. It is a long recovery, but at 4 months post-op I'm really starting to see the benefits.


09-29-2007, 05:22 PM
I am 8 months post op and I am still numb in a lot of places on my back. I was not told that I couldn't drink soda. For soreness/pain I have used the heating pad and ice, it helps some. I rememeber having to use the bathroom alot I think the pain meds do that. Your still early in recovery and you will have a lot of different pains and sensations. Of course if your pain increases speak to your doctor. Stay strong, recovery is a long boring road.

Sue :)

09-29-2007, 05:34 PM
Congratulations on being a month out from surgery! Maybe they want you to limit your soft drinks due the phosphoric acid in caramel colored drinks like Coke and Dr. Pepper see this link..http://enews.tufts.edu/stories/092503Tucker.htm
I am still pretty numb, but Skelaxin works wonders for muscle cramps. I would definitely get in touch with your doctor about the urinary frequency!!! You cannot let an infection get started in your body. Good luck and welcome to the forum... Lisa

09-29-2007, 06:19 PM
Hi Trin,

I'm 6 weeks post-op, and still have numbness by my incision. It's different than even a week ago (I have more sensation) but it is still there. Like others have said, I'd definitely give it more time before worrying about it.

As far as soda, I specifically asked my surgeon about caffeine, as I am a bit addicted to frozen mochas! He laughed, and said drinks like that were OK in moderation. He said my body will really be looking for protein during recovery and the fusion process, so I've tried to drink more Odwalla protein drinks, for example. I choose to limit caffeine JUST IN CASE, since the first 3-4 months are so crucial. I don't want to do anything to hinder the process after going through all this!

I also prefer ice to the heating pad, or atleast alternating between the two. Especially the first few weeks, the ice seemed to be all that would alleviate sore muscles.

I second what Lisa says about contacting your doctor about urinary frequency. There's just no reason to let something so easily remedied get out of control when you are dealing with this recovery.