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Thread: just back from surgery...heres my recovery!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Michigan
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    just back from surgery...heres my recovery!

    Had my surgery Monday June 5th. Anterior,1 rib removed, 5 screws, fused T11 to L3. Surgery was supposed to be 5 1/2 hrs. finished in under 4. Donated blood ahead of time and did not need it. I thought the hubby could report in daily but i had a VERY hard time and did not want him to leave me. When i first woke up in recovery i had very bad chest pain and thought i could not breathe. I had a chest tube and it was very uncomfortable..ok fine it hurt. I was very drowsy cause of the pain meds which never took away my pain just made me sleepy. I felt worse than i tought i would. But really i was so stiff i could not move. Even though i did not want to anyway. I just wanted to sleep so i did not have to feel anything. I was having a real hard time breathing and i stayed that way for about 2-3 days. They had brought in the x-ray machine to my room 2 times by now cause my breathing and chest pain was scary and i could not get out of bed so i did them in my bed. I must have had 6 x-rays while i was there and they were all fine. Also had some ekg's they were abnormal but they thought i came in that way???? Anyway, first three days way to rough for me.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2006
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    Michigan
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    more on recovery.........

    oN day 2 or 3 they wanted me to roll onto my side and i cried and cried from the worst pain i ever felt. The burning i felt was unreal. i seriously thought my side was gonna split open. I really couldnot handle it. All i did was get frustrated and cry. So the physical therapist would just give up. The came in one day to take me to do the scoliosis x-ray ( not like the chest where i could do in the room ) and i had to refuse only because the thought of getting out of bed on the strechter off again for the x-ray back on to get to room and offf and then back into bed......i would have rather died. I had my iv and pain drip but it was NO HELP. I had morphine and dylatin ( not sure of spelling) but i only got drowsy. I had my foley cathader for the first 3 days and when they took it out i begged for it back. I could not get up for anything. I tried the bed pan ( thats how desperate i was ) but i could not lift up or roll on my side. So what happend????? i cried some more and kinda got mean with the nurses. I blamed them for taking out the cathader and cursed them. ( i am sorry now ) they said that was the only way to make me get up. So when i could not use the bed pan......here we are at 3 in the morning and i got 3 nurses that wanted to kill me , i had no choice but to push thru GET UP! when i did i said i am never getting back in the bed again and i am not eating or drinking so i won't have to use the restroom.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Michigan
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    do you really wanna know..........

    So now that i m up i refuse the bed. I get to the restroom ok and this lovely sugery brings on mother nature way off schedule....great just what i needed NOT! So its the middle of the night and i am in a lot of pain i am frustrated and i on't knoe what to do. I realize this was a major operation and i don't know how to handle this. All i do is go to my visitor chair with my pillows and tell the nurses i'll be staying there from now on. And i did,for 2 or 3 days i slept upright in the chair to avoid " the log roll". So now i thought i could get up for the bathroom so i ended my food/drink strike. Then we had another problem. My stomach was so blown up i looked pregnant. It was scary. A few times i had to call the nurse to check on it. I'm talkin bloated like i have NEVER seen. i don't even know if you can call it bloated. I was taking so may gas pills everyday and no relief. I took stool softeners and everything else daily but no help there either. Just because i could get to the bathroom now didn't mean i could go. This was a very difficult time for me. I horrendsly had to turn to a disgusting but only option. I'm sorry to say it...the nurse ....suppository......it was horrible! This day was tough!

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006
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    Michigan
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    Chest tube...

    The the doctors kept saying once the chest tube is out i would feel better. Yeah after i felt worse first. They killed me taking it out. All of the tape they had to peel off was torture. My side was sore enough as it was and all of the pulling was hell. I just closed my eyes and prayed for it to hurry up and be over. Taking the tube out was not that bad. It was all about the 90 pounds of tape. Even after the chest tube was out i still had chest pains ( mainly when i was almost flat or reclined ) an i still had shortness of breath. I had another EKG that night still the wierd abnromal but normal blood work. Oh yeah, i was running a fever the 2,3,and 4th after surgery and the whole hospital time had low blood pressure. Which i have no prior blood pressure problems. I had the thigh high stockings on plus they put these velcro wraps on each leg that alternated back and forth inflated them to circulate blood to help prevent clotting. My left leg was very swollen and it was and still is very hot while my right leg and foot is cool. On day four my leg scared us and i went down for a doppler ultra sound to rule out clotting. Again this was in the middle of the night. I was all clear but now a little scared.

  5. #5
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    Michigan
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    ill try to lighten up...

    So basically i am sleeping in a chair, pain, upset with myself for doing this, and real miserable. Trying to remind myself why i did this and it is to early to know if it was worth it. At least now i got the hospital to bring me a recliner since they realized i was really not going back in the bed. Things were looking up. My nurse came in to change my iv bag and i don't know what happened but it really began to burn.....BAD. I begged her to make it stop so she turned it off. It started to let up so since being off helped she decided to take it out. This meant no more pain drip. Even though i thought it did nothing,later that day i really missed it and wished i had it to just go to sleep to escape this experience. bUt it was gone. And no physical therapy was back and they had things for me to do. Walk the hall was first. It was very weird. I felt like i was limping and that the left leg was to tall and much higher. This took 2 days to feel normal. Also i could not use my left leg fully on my own. I needed someone to lift it and put it on a foot stool. This scared me and i thought my leg was ruined. Later the Dr. said it was normal.

  6. #6
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    Stomach muscles connected to leg????

    I never knew stomach was connected to my leg. Apparently he had put the muscles in my abdomin thru the mill and it mad my left leg very weak,sore and i could not use it well. Even now my left thigh and hip are giving me a lot of pain. Phys. Ther. worked with me in the hospital on things when i go home. They gave me a " tub transfer" seat for showering. ( insurance did not cover..was $65 ) half is in the tub and half out. I practiced sitting out and slidding over and showering while seated. This helps. I really needed and still need the raised toilet seat with handles. Brought that home too,insurance paid for it. They had a three stair case to practice and a fake small car thing to get in and out of. I have pictures of these i just have to learn to put online. Slowly but surely getting ready to come home. Just still an't breathe good,low blood pressure,chst pain,and stomach/digestive problems. DAys 5 and 6 pretty much the same. Not really eating and felling very very stiff. Not able to shower yet but really want to. THings that were great for me in the hospital that i recommend to all are next.

  7. #7
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    Michigan
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    things i used in the hospital....

    I brought and used the readyy bath cloths that do not need water and could be used right it bed,olay express facial cloths these need no water as well, brush ups ( theses are little finger sleeves that can be used if u can not get up to brush your teeth and really helped) and of course your other toiltries. I did not want to read or write or anything all i did was watch t.v and sleep. Finally after 7 days i got to come home!!!!!! The car ride was diffucult. the bumps. When i got home all i wanted t do was shower. When i did i felt great. I did not need any help thank God, just when i got out i was not readyto drym legs on my own. The terry cloth robe helps alot. After my first shower i was reall out if breath. even tough i sat down and took it easy. I had to rest a few before i could dress. I needed the grabber to put on undies. 1st day home not so bad but that night i realized i needed the hospital bed quick.i could not get up from laying down and my couch and recliner were not working for me. I called the hospital and they said they could deliver me on th enext day.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2006
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    Michigan
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    bed came i'm better,this is me now..

    the bed helped soooo much. I do not get up by "the log roll" that i can't even think about. I just put the back of the bed up as far as it will go ( like i am sitting straight) and use my arms to push up. Thank goodness this has been working for me. I have been home for i week now and it has gotten a little better. I am glad i can do things by myself and i shower everday and can get dressed alone, i walk pretty great...just very slow,i am glad i do not need assistance in the bathroom and i am pretty much independent. I acn go upstairs...but i very rarely do and i even made macaroni. I have been home alone almost all day everyday and it is not that bad. I breathe much better and my left leg is working great. No prblems other than ITS KILLING ME. My thigh and knee are in constant pain but my dr. said it was normal. Myback is so stiff i feel like i am wearing a brace even though i have never and do not now eiter. And lastly.....my ribs really hurt. But i guess this was to be expected. I have oxycodone and loratab and neither one help at all. I see a pain management dr. tomorrow and i hope he helps. My dr. said i am doing great and my family is amazed how independent i am. Stll no liftling bending or turning. I am VERY carefull and taking it real easy.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2006
    Location
    Michigan
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    Today.....

    Sorry for the forever long posts but i just needed to catch up. I hope it wasn't to much, and really i left a lot out. Anyway as of today i am still in pain of course but at least i don't cry. LOL . I left my house today to go to the dr. and actually stopped at a resturant on the way home. NOt so bad. Visited my family and got some fresh air, it felt great to be out of this room. Glad to get back home and in bed to relax. Basically its been hard. Harder than i was expecting. Good luck anyone who is facing it soon. Be strong i know its hard but hey,it only gets better! I think in i'm doing pretty good for 2/3 weeks. Believe it or not my dr. was so proud of me he even said i could drive.......but i don't think so. I need a little more time. I even shaved my legs. Even thought the hospital seemed rough, i still had it in me to want to fix myself. I did try some makeup and ponytails. Anything i can help with real answers to questions please ask. I know there was a lot i would have like to have known. Hope i didn't bore you all to death!
    Stephanie 27 yrs. old mom of 3 yr. old
    T11 to L3 june 5th,2006 45 to 10 degrees!!!!!

  10. #10
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    Aug 2005
    Location
    California
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    88

    wow

    Wow...

    Gosh Stephanie it seems like you had a real rough time in the hospital! The first surgery is so hard because you dont know what to expect. I know the feeling of waking up from surgery and just wanting to cry. I did alot of crying. I also yelled at my nurses and the doctors. It was a big fear of mine to get out of bed also but when I finally did, I was glad that I did! It is really weird how your body goes through so many changes after a surgery and it seems like we are falling apart.
    I am glad that you did make it through it and each day you will get better. I know in the beginning and maybe even now it doesnt seem like that but it will get better. When you look back at this a couple years from now even a couple months from now you wont even remember all the bad details and you will be happy that you did it!

    I hope each day is better then the day before. You will get better, I promise. Just try to push yourself but not too much

    Sarah

  11. #11
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    Oct 2005
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    Chicago north suburb
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    Oh my God, Stephanie, after reading your posts, I'm not sure I could ever get through surgery of this magnitude. In addition to being 30 years older than you, I would require much more extensive surgery...front and back and a long fusion. What a horrible time you had! I wish you a speedy recovery and better and better days ahead.

    Chris

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    313

    Glad you're home

    Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for sharing your surgery story with us. Sorry to hear that it was so rough, but glad to hear that you are coming along well at home.

    Do you think that it would have been any better for someone without the rib out, because it sounded like most of your pain was from that. The reason I am asking is that I am having a posterior fusion in 6 weeks without a thoracoplasty and wondering what I am in for.

    Deb

  13. #13
    JamieAnn Guest
    Stephanie,

    By the time I got to the bottom of that I was very glad to hear you're doing so much better! Wow that sort of scared me, but like you said, I'm sure it will help everyone who is close to surgery to know what to expect.

    I am wondering though - you are very similar to my age and degree in curve (I'm 25 and have a 45 degree thoracic curve).. what made you decide to do surgery?

    Jamie

  14. #14
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    Mar 2006
    Location
    Michigan
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    Without rib removal

    Deb, In regards to the rib removal I definately think it would be much easier without the rib removed. The majority of my pain about 75% of the pain I experienced in the hospital as well as at home was due to the rib removal. About 20% is in my left leg on the side they romved the rib. I think this is because of the muscles that they moved in my abdomin. The other 5% is due to stiffness in my back it's not really a severe pain just being stiff. I'm not saying that your surgery will be easy, but it should be better then mine. I say this because as you can see most of my pain is because of my ribs. The rib is what caused most of my complications such as rolling in and out of bed, standing, breathing, walking all gave me the most trouble and pain because of the rib removal. I wish you the best with your upcoming surgery. I pray that God will be with for for a speedy recovery. I hope that my info was helpful and did not scare you in any way. Each day as time goes on it does get better. In the long run it will all be worth it. If I can be of any assistance in any way please don't hesitate to ask. Once again God bless and good luck.

    Stephanie.........

  15. #15
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    Mar 2006
    Location
    Michigan
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    Why I did it

    Jamie, I've ben struggling with pain due to my scoliosis pain for about the past 12 years. I was first told I should have the surgery by a diffrent doctor at a different hospital about 15 years ago. I chose not to because I was only a child and didn't want to miss out on any of my childhood. Also my parents didn't like the idea of taking on a mojor surgery at such a young age. Once again at the age of 16 I was still having major lower back pain. I saw another doctor who also advised that I habe the surgery. I was 16 and in highschool and not about to miss any of that. Now at age 27 I could no longer take the existing pains that I have suffered from for the past 15 years. I was convinced that there was something wrong with my back aside from the scoliosis. I again to a doctor who informed that the scoliosis was the cause of all my pain, and it wasn't just going to go away. On my first time ever meeting with the doctor the first thing I was told is that 1 2 3 this is the surgery, this is what it involves, and when would you like to do it. I was told that the main reason for the sugery was not to get rid of my pain and that it was only a bonus. It was necessary because of all the damage being from the curve shifting all of my organs to the left. If left untreated this would only cause more problems in the future. Not to mention the stupid rib hump. I figured enough was enough it's time to get this taken care of. I knew the longer I waited the harder it would be for me to recover and the pain wasn't going away it was starting to spread. This was the third time I was told I needed the operation so what was I waing for. It's probably better to do it now when I'm younger and I have my family here to help. I never really took anything for the pain before, but I didn't want it to get to a piont that I might have to or even become depending on it. I thouht it would be best the just finally get this taken care of. Instead of just covering it up. The number one thing that hepled me with my decision was this forum. I never realized how many people shared my same struggle and conditon. The information I received was very heplful and calming. Even though it is hard at first it will all be o.k. If there is anything else I can help you with please let me know. Thank you and good luck.

    Stephanie......

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