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Thread: Surgery update

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285

    Surgery update

    Iím a little late in providing an update since my surgery was 9 weeks ago. Iím still not allowed to sit more than 30 minutes (and even if I wanted to my butt tells me to get up) so my computer time is limited. Iím still on a painkiller, but only three a day alternating with Tylenol. I have low back pain which requires me to lie down at least every 2 hours, and if I move suddenly or the wrong way I get sharp back pains, although that's getting better. My left leg is also a little weak; I have to take the stairs one at a time. At my last followup visit, my surgeon told me that a little pain is good because it keeps me from doing something I shouldnít be doing. Easy for him to say but, then again, maybe he has me figured out!

    Iím not allowed to drive for at least another month, so Iím still on ďhouse arrest.Ē I have a home health aide coming in once a week to take me shopping, clean, and do laundry. My family has been great, helping me out with chores around the house and visiting, always bringing food Ė bless them! But I am really getting restless Ö

    My biggest concern was coming home with oxygen Ė I was told my blood oxygen level was at 86% the day I left the hospital. Then, after doing an overnight oximeter test, the pulmonologist told me that I probably have sleep apnea. I am not yet convinced of that since I have none of the symptoms, and Iím also not satisfied that the doctors have given me an adequate explanation for the low oxygen levels. The only risk factor I can find is a diminished lung capacity, but that same doctor told me it wasnít low enough to worry about. Contradictory, yes? Since I found out my insurance wouldnít pay for the oxygen equipment, and because Iím trying to deal with my back issues right now, I have put all that on the back burner. I canít help feeling that the anesthesia had something to do with all this. I would really like to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience.

    I have been following the new posts, and Iím happy to see that everyone who had surgery at about the same time is doing well. Onward and upward!
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    283

    interesting article, maybe...

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...6b95d661f80ca7

    I had bookmarked this article before I had my surgery because i have asthma and was quite worried about recovery. I apologize for it sounding so negative and scary, but i think it helps explain why we have rough time sometimes with post-op night sweats, fever, etc. It helped me to be ready in case I had trouble afterwards with breathing. I wanted to be ready with my nebulizer and xopenex just in case, after i came home from rehab. I wish you a continued good recovery ! We do hit some speedbumps along the way!
    Lisa age 47
    T curve 69 degrees
    L curve 40 degrees more or less - compensatory
    fused to from T-3 to sacrum
    anterior and posterior surgeries completed June 1, 2007
    pushing hard in recovery !!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Thanks so much for the reference. I intend to discuss this issue with my PCP at my next appointment. No one offered any reasons or alternatives and seemed to have such a cavalier attitude about expecting me to drag those oxygen tanks around with me every day. That would be a huge step for me emotionally and I want to be darn sure it's necessary. I'm not yet convinced. Thanks again for the info.
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    283

    you're very welcome...

    I don't blame you a bit for wanting answers ! Good luck at the doctor's office- maybe your lungs will have healed enough to bump your oxygen level up.I guess they have you doing breathing exercises and maybe an incentive spirometer? the nurses at my rehab told me that is very good for post-op patients like us. take care- Lisa
    Lisa age 47
    T curve 69 degrees
    L curve 40 degrees more or less - compensatory
    fused to from T-3 to sacrum
    anterior and posterior surgeries completed June 1, 2007
    pushing hard in recovery !!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    32

    Low oxygen levels

    Trulyaires,

    When I had my first surgery in 2002 I had low oxygen levels. Took them the longest time to figure out (well, not that long, 2 1/2 weeks). They finally discovered I had a collapsed lung and the area was filled with fluid! They drained it off and sent me home the next day. Pretty bizarre. That was a big surgery where he removed ribs, so they were working in the area.

    I hope that whatever is causing your low blood oxygen level is something simple and works itself out soon. We have enough to worry about with our backs healing to have to deal with oxygen levels too.
    Christy
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Lisa -
    Forgive my ignorance, but what is an incentive spirometer?
    I have never heard that term. (I only had the overnight spirometer test.) I don't recall being given any specific breathing exercises when I came home, just the oxygen. Unless it was the drugs - I'm finding there's a lot I don't remember from the hospital and immediately after.

    Thanks to all for the info. It all helps.
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    283

    incentive spirometer

    Hello trulyaries- it is a plastic gadget that you inhale through the mouthpiece and it measures your lung volume and helps you to measure your intake and take deeper breaths- they are not battery operated, and are inexpensive- I hope you call your doctor and have them get you one, as like I was telling you in the other post, the nurses told me that if I used it every few hours, it would get me over the post-op fever and ward away post-op pneumonia. I took their advice to heart and was sucking away like my life depended on it because i was really afraid of not being able to breathe. These are proven to be very effective- here is a picture of one-http://www.clevelandclinic.org/healt...=4302&src=news
    Maybe you can get one at a pharmacy without a prescription- either way, please get one and start using it- I think you can recover your lung health on your own if you have the right tools- I really admire your Aries spirit!
    Lisa age 47
    T curve 69 degrees
    L curve 40 degrees more or less - compensatory
    fused to from T-3 to sacrum
    anterior and posterior surgeries completed June 1, 2007
    pushing hard in recovery !!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Aha - that's what I thought you were talking about - I never heard it called that. I was given one in the hospital and used it religiously then. But I haven't used it since I got home, so I guess it comes out of the closet now. Again, no one even suggested it as an ongoing tool. I guess we just have to keep trying to figure things out for ourselves and keep in mind that doctors and nurses are human and forget things too. Thanks for the info!
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    513
    I had a thoracotomy in 1997, where one lung was deflated. It can take up to a year to regain presurgery lung volumes. Working with my incentive spirometer really speeded things up, as did some Flovent(an inhaled steroid that reduces inflammation) and Alupent( a bronchodilator, commonly used in breathing treaments post surgery to open airways and prevent pneumonia). You might request some inhalers along with your spirometer. Excercise increases lung volumes because of deeper breathing and increased need for oxygen. Of course, at this point, it sounds like you might not be up to much, but anything your physician approves should help your breathing.

    Flovent, by decreasing inflammation, opens and relaxes the airways. It makes the airways less reactive and therefore less likely to constrict.


    Alupent is a Beta 2 receptor stimulant. Beta-2 receptors are the receptors in the lungs that relax airways. But it is not entirely selective for Beta-2 receptors and has some Beta-1 activity also. The Beta-1 receptor activity causes an increased heart rate and jittery feeling. (Most people have heard of Beta blockers commonly used for high blood pressure that block the Beta-1 receptors, keeping them from being activated, and therefore lower blood pressure and heart rate.)If you have high blood pressure or any arrythmias, etc., that should be taken into consideration, as this medication, Alupent, can aggravate those conditions.


    If they did pulmonary function tests on you prior to surgery or anytime in the past, you can compare presurgery lung volumes with postsurgery lung volumes.
    Last edited by cherylplinder; 07-25-2007 at 02:32 PM.
    God has used scoliosis to strengthen and mold us. He's good all the time!On this forum these larger curves have not held forever in Spinecor,with an initial positive response followed by deterioration. With deterioration, change treatment.The first year she gained 4 or 5 inches and was stable at around 20/20 in brace, followed by rapid progression the next year.She is now 51/40 (Jan2008)out of brace (40/30 in Spinecor) and started at 38/27 out of brace(Jan2006.) Now in Cheneau.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285
    Cheryl:
    Thanks so much for the info - I will use it. I understand that everyone's situation is different, but it irritates me that I was offered no alternatives except $700/month oxygen equipment not covered by insurance. To quote Lucy, my doctors have "a lot of 'splainin' to do."
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

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