View Full Version : nearly 2 weeks post-op: a day-by-day

12-15-2007, 01:54 PM
Hi Everyone,

I'm almost 2 weeks post op (time flies) and wanted to put up a day-by-day of my hospital stay (to the best of my ability) like I said I would, and also give an idea of where I am right now. Sorry in advance for the length!

Day 1 - Surgery Day. I arrived at the hospital at 5:45am. The surgery was scheduled for 7:45. The plan was that my boyfriend would drive me, and my parents would meet us around 6:30-7 to say goodbye to me before going in. I was shocked with how quickly the pre-op business went. They called me back, got me changed, and let my boyfriend come back with me. They were ready to take me back by 6:20, so I didn't get to see my parents. I'll admit, I got teary as the rolled me away from my boyfriend.

A neurologist spent time putting electrodes on my arms, legs, chest and head. I was a little freaked out, particularly since I was by myself and hadn't seen my parents. The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist telling me he'd give me something to help me relax...

After surgery, I did not need to go into the ICU, and went straight to the recovery room. I barely remember waking up, and asking for my family, and being wheeled into my room where they let my family see me. The told me it went really well (surgery was shorter than expected, I didn't need a transfusion, I wouldnt need a brace, and I didn't have any abrasions on my face). My mother says I spoke very softly , and my most common response was a soft, high pitched, "yay!."

Day 2 - I was on a pain pump, which administered dilaudid. It worked well, but the draw back was that when I slept, I wasn't getting any relief, so I would wake up in lots of pain. I needed nurses to help me move, and couldnt roll myself at all. I began to eat a clear liquid diet. They ordered xrays for me, and after being transfered from bed to gurney, wheeled through the hospital (bumpy!), taken on an elevator, and moved from gurney to xray table, and left there, alone, for what seemed like forever, they realized the xrays were supposed to be standing. At that point, I was no where near being able to stand... so I was wheeled back to my hospital room, where I proceeded to throw up a fowl shade of green... (low point number 1)

Day 3 - for the second time, the PT came to my bed and tried to help me sit. My blood pressure dropped stupid low, so they had to lay me back down. My stomach started to feel distended. I think this was when I switched to oral meds (though I was still on an antinausia and an antibiotic).

Day 4 - They removed the catheter because it was so uncomfortable. When I finally needed to use the bathroom, I was motivated to walk myself there with a walker, even though I hadn't even stood up yet. By then, my stomach was more uncomfortable than my back. They put me back on IV (no more food) so nothing more would build up in my stomach.

Day 5 - My stomach felt better after being on the IV for awhile without food. I went for xrays, this time much more successfully. I had 2 friends visit me, though they left when my stomach started to feel bad again in the evening. They called in an attending, who ordered an xray of my stomach, which appeared to be moderately distended.

Day 6 - They told me I could start on sips of water. By this time I was walking in the hallway, and just waiting not-so-patiently for my stomach to awaken.

Day 7 - I was back to a clear liquid diet. My stomach was making enough noise that the nurse expected it would be back to good soon enough. I was walking comfortably, and I was discharged around 2pm.

Overall, with the exception of my stomach trouble, my hospital stay was fine. The nurses were good (with the exception of 2, which is nothing considering the number I interacted with). I would have been out of the hospital much sooner if it wasn't for my tummy...

I've been home for almost a week now, and am getting sick of the same scenery. I'm comfortable sitting on the couch with lots of pillows, and have found a semi-comfortable position to sleep in. I'm extending the amount of time between doses of pain meds just a little (I'm on Dilaudid). Car rides are difficult due to pot holes, and the weather - it's icy so I can't really go for walks. And I'm SO anxious to be independent again, and back to "normal." Oh - and I grew about an inch and a half!

Sorry for the length of the post, but I hope it's helpful to some of you :)

12-15-2007, 02:55 PM
Nice job, vndy! Very informative --I'm sure it will help reassure some. When you're older, it all takes longer, but otherwise pretty similar.

12-15-2007, 05:03 PM
I had a similar pre-op experience. We were due there at 6.20 and arrived early, so went for a little drive up the neighbouring small 'mountain' (I don't think its big enough to justify the title, but it's called 'Mt Eden'). We then got back to the hospital on time, and waited in reception while they fussed over credit checking the cheque for $9000 that they had demanded the day before. Meanwhile, my anaesthatist walked past and greeted me like an old friend, which he was, and assured me he'd see me soon for a nice big pre-med.

Once they took me upstairs to the ward, I didn't have time to be scared, It all happened so fast! Turns out they had accused me of being late when I reached theatre, but it was the ward that held me up. I was annoyed at this! The nurse who admitted me into theatre was the same one who did it last time, although I don't remember, she had my old notes and found her signature on the last time's checklist.

I'm glad that you're at a similar stage to me, it's nice having a friend accross the other side of the world who is going through the same stuff. I have nicer weather though! I'm sitting in my lounge looking out to the Waitemata Harbour, where the America's cup was held when it was in Auckland (if you watched that you'll know my view). It's roasting hot, and if I wasn't recovering I'd be out on the water on our parent's yacht, or swimming. The hottest weather is in Feb, so I'm holding out hopes for a new-years swim.

12-16-2007, 10:04 AM
Reading about your experience brought back many memories for me. I also had all the same unpleasant stomach issues, etc. You are doing well though. Keep up the good work. I promise you that you will be independent again and it will get better. Hang in there and keep up the faith. The worst is over and you have a whole new life ahead of you.


12-16-2007, 10:27 AM

Thanks for the day-by-day - mine is just around the corner and, although I am much older than you and my curves are quite different, it is helpful to know what to expect in general.

Hope your stomach is now functioning as it should, and wishing you an easy recovery

12-16-2007, 12:23 PM
Just to reassure the pre-op folks that we're all different -- I had very little stomach trouble at all in the hospital. I was constipated of course, but it wasn't painful in terms of eating and/or digestion -- it was just uncomfortable in terms of bloating, mostly in rehab, AFTER the hospital stay.

I remember waking up nauseous in the recovery room and telling the nurse, and she put something in my IV that took the nausea away in literally about a minute. Apparently my stomach woke up relatively quickly after surgery and I was able to successfully eat liquids at about 2-3 days post-op.

I do remember my stomach rumbling and gurgling for at least a month after surgery....all normal.

12-16-2007, 07:28 PM
Hi all,
I just have a question - one of the things I'm afraid of is wierd....... throwing up after surgery. How can you vomit while you're lying on your back? Seems like you might choke or something. I know it's a strange question, but I choked (vomitting) after I gave birth to my daughter (maybe from meds?). It was terrible.
Congrats on your successful surgery, Vndy!

12-16-2007, 08:02 PM
Hi Ash,

I didn't want to be graphic, but here goes...

I had the forethought (even in my extremely medicated state) to logroll onto my left side before vomiting. It was really awful, as I was unable to lean over a bucket, toilet, or sink. But somehow my body had the natural reaction to to roll onto my side, to keep me from choking...

Sorry for being so gross!

12-16-2007, 09:07 PM
when I was in ICU on my surgery night I vomited almost all night due to meds but I had a little bucket and I was on my side but the thing is that night my back was a little sore I was mainly feeling fluish. congrats on a great surgery! try to sleep if you can! :)

12-17-2007, 01:08 AM
Thanks guys,
Nothing is gross to me - - it's nice to know there are friends out there who will answer anything I might have a question about. I'm still on the fence regarding surgery........

12-17-2007, 06:57 AM
I'd also like to reassure some of the pre-op people that everyone is different. I did have an ileus, but definitely no nausea or vomiting. With the ileus, my stomach just didn't wake up. They didn't allow me to have anything to eat or drink until it did--otherwise you can have a great deal of discomfort or other problems. I did get to have occasional ice chips. The ileus did not cause me discomfort. Every day they would ask if I'd had any gas-- and they would listen to my stomach. Finally I passed a very little gas and was ecstatic! :D I remember I didn't even feel that hungry although I didn't get to eat anything for 5 days after surgery. I think the hunger issue didn't really happen very much because I was getting food via the IV. I DID wish I could eat though! I missed having food! And I was thirsty, but the ice chips helped some with that.

My suggestion is to know that it's a possibility (so it doesn't surprise you terribly) that you might vomit, be nauseous, have an ileus, etc., but don't dwell on it. No reason to cross that bridge, especially since you might not ever get there. Even with those problems, we all got through it ok, are recovering, and are straighter and stronger for it all. That's the main thing. :)

12-17-2007, 08:54 AM
There is a little patch that you can ask for before surgery to help with the nausea after. It's a little thing that goes right behind your ear. I asked for it each time before my surgery and never got nauseous when waking. Your anesthesiologist will know about it... when they come to speak to you beforehand, ask for it!!

12-17-2007, 09:41 PM
Here's a question for those of you farther along -

I can feel the rods inside me, particularly when laying on my back, or learning against the back of a chair or a couch. It's not painful, really, but more uncomfortable and awkward feeling... Will this go away?

12-18-2007, 09:56 AM
Hi Vndy,

Yes, that feeling of the rods will go away. I'm 6 months post-op now and do not feel them. I do feel one screw in my upper back that is protruding, but that is it.


12-18-2007, 11:05 AM
vndy, the phone call was wonderful: It's soooooooo helpful/reassuring to talk to someone on the other side of my very similar, scheduled fusion!

Anya, THANK YOU for answering the questions about the rods, because I knew vndy was feeling hers - and was a bit uneasy (to say the least).

I very happy to hear that improves with time ;-).


12-19-2007, 12:31 PM
I had my post op yesterday, and although the waiting around part was painful (I was there for 3 hours!!), all news was good. My degrees are now 10T and 11L - the bottom curve reduced, even though it's not actually fused. While I'm about 3/4 an inch tilted to the left right now, the doctor expects my body will adjust to my new back, and become straighter over time.

I'm now allowed to lift 10lbs and have been cleared to drive, though I can't imagine being behind the wheel quite yet. I will begin PT after my next appointment, six weeks from now. For now, I'm to keep walking, and try to return to my normal daily activities .

Oh, and I'm an inch and a half taller!!!

I've attached before and after xrays if you're interested (sorry the postop xray is blurry - i took a picture of the xray with my cell phone!)

12-19-2007, 12:39 PM
Your x-rays look great, it's so nice to see some really good looking films. It seems like a long time to wait until starting physio, I am itching to get back into it before I lose muscle.

12-19-2007, 01:00 PM
The xray looks awesome, vndy!

12-19-2007, 03:21 PM
Great correction, Vndy! Congratulations. And I couldn't help but notice that your pre-op curve is almost identical to TXMARINEMOM's.


12-19-2007, 03:30 PM
It looks super, vndy! How exciting!!! :D Some day I may figure out how to post pictures too-- my x-rays aren't the greatest quality either, like your post-op one, because I took pictures of them... plus they show more tissue (or, Great Scott! could it be the extra fat around my middle???) :eek: Take care! You are doing great! :)

12-19-2007, 03:44 PM
Great correction, Vndy! Congratulations. And I couldn't help but notice that your pre-op curve is almost identical to TXMARINEMOM's.


Yes, Chris, we've talked about that ... now if only I can get that level of correction!


12-20-2007, 05:44 PM
Despite the post-op pain, don't the new pictures make you feel so good about this? It looks great, I'm so happy for you!!

12-20-2007, 06:35 PM
Way to go vndy! Your xray look fabulous!