View Full Version : 1 month post-op tomorrow!!

09-21-2009, 08:34 AM
I have read the posts on this forum several times per day after I came home from the hosp. I've only posted once, post-surg, due to pain.

On a very happy note, I am feeling sooo much better, back-wise. I do, on occasion, have a painful, burning area just to the left of the highest point of my fusion. Lidocaine patches fix the problem right up.

I slept in my own bed last night - I had been sleeping on the couch, which was fixed up with an arrangement of topper and pillows. Being back in my own bed is one of those little milestones that just make my day!

One day shy of my 2 week mark, I turned the corner - just like so many of you said I would. For 2 days, I decreased my narcs a little more with every dose, and was feeling very optimistic. Then the pain in my right thoracic area started to increase gradually, and by the 4th day of this INCREASE in pain, I was in a lot of pain, and very short of breath. Long story short, I had a pleural effusion, was admitted, had a thoracentesis a week ago Sat (they drained just under 2 liters) and was discharged. But, my post-thoracentesis x-ray still looked a lot like my pre-thor one. So, admitted again on Fri. They put in a chest tube and immediately got about 1 liter. I stayed for the weekend - they took the chest tube out yesterday morning. I have another appt w/the thoracic doc on Wed. I still have almost zero breath sounds in my right lung. It's too early to know what the long-term ramifications of that are, but I'll worry about that later. This weekend was hell - esp for the 15 hrs that, even with Oxycodone AND Dilaudid, I was still in great pain.

My spirits are great - I'm optimisitc, grateful and cheerful. Thanks to all that I learned from this forum, I knew to expect complications and not get discouraged by them.

09-21-2009, 01:03 PM
I had the same problem, so I feel your pain! At about three weeks post op, I was very short off breath and suffering from absolutely debilitating, excruciating pains near (what felt like anyway) my left rib cage/heart. Long story short, I was diagnosed with a very large pleural effusion. The thorocentesis procedure didn't work, and so I had to have a chest tube inserted, which stayed in for about four days. They drained 3 lbs worth of fluid, though I couldn't tell you the exact amount. I was fused T2-L1, posterior only. What stinks the most is, my pleural effusion wasn't accurately diagnosed until about a month after suffering with the pain/shortness of breath. It's been 3 months since they drained the fluid, and I still have painful scar tissue buildup. HOPEFULLY, that will go away with time. Physical therapy helped a bit; I recommend it.

09-22-2009, 02:39 AM
So sorry you've had this scary complication mgs. Hope this is the end of your worries and you're soon back feeling the little improvements as time goes on. Good to hear you so positive.

09-22-2009, 03:00 AM
Hi...wow! so sorry you have been through so much on top of the surgery....i hope your healing goes well from now on, & that you get pain relief & a healthy happy life post op!

best of luck

09-22-2009, 01:51 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the good wishes!!

I jumped the gun a little. . .I am 4 weeks post-op today, but a few days shy of the "1 month" milestone. You can tell I've been away from my normal life, huh?

I am curious to hear what the thoracic doc has to say tomorrow. . .I am shaving my legs this evening just in case he wants to admit me. :)

Jesscv, I am so sorry that you put up w/that pain for 4 weeks. . .pleuritic pain, on top of the post-surgery pain, is just too much to have to deal with at one time.

The working diagnosis for me now is "hemothorax." My walking is now minimal, because I am short of breath after just getting up and walking across the house. I am doing my incentive spirometer religiously, but I can feel that the air just is not moving through my R lung.

My back is great!!! If it weren't for the pulmonary thing, I think I'd be pretty close to back to normal.

Thank you all, again. . .this forum keeps me sane. ;)