View Full Version : Update on Backissues from the "other side"

12-18-2010, 09:02 AM
I DID it!! The surgery is over and I came home on December 14. My surgery took place on December 7 and took 11 hours. The estimated time had been 8-9 hours.

I followed the Peggy Huddleston suggestions about what should be said and played in the operating room. Who knows if they ever do it but it is nice to think so.

I was in ICU for 3 days. It sounds bad but it was because Dr. Rand uses Duramorphan and then my blood pressure was very low from all the drugs. Being in ICU really means you get more individualized attention.

My potassium levels were low. This may have caused me some light-headedness. I took supplements in the hospital and have some for home as well. This has improved as I learn to get up more slowly.

I am on 10 mg Oxycontin twice a day with Tylenol 650 mg in between. They gave me Oxycodone IR but I haven't taken any.

My biggest discomfort and pain is my stomach. I am taking Colace and Miralax so I am not constipated. I have very little appetite and either have gas or am just bloated. SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!!

I've tried Gas-X and it gives a little help. I spoke with my GI doctor and he suggested as Ed has done to take Magnesium Citrate and clean everything out of me. I am concerned about getting dehydrated. How can I safely take the Magnesium Citrate?

Has anyone used Probiotics? If so, what brand?

Thanks for your continued support.

Regards, Irene

12-18-2010, 11:44 AM
great job now your on the road to recovery

12-18-2010, 01:05 PM
Congrats on being on this side! The Miralax was the thing that finally worked for me after daily doing the prune juice, etc. Hope you find the right formula and it will ease up for you. That can be very difficult. Janet

12-18-2010, 03:40 PM
Congratulations Irene and welcome back! You sound fantastic for someone so early out.

Most of us have discomfort with gas/bloating/constipation, but believe me, it will pass, because you will work on it!

I used Probiotics, have no idea if they helped. Still, I think they're worth trying.

I loved being in ICU as well. I was only there overnight, but I felt safe. The nurse was at the foot of my bed and if I made a sound or a movement, she was there with her hand on mine. I couldn't see because my eyes were swollen shut until the next day. (Must have been a lovely sight!)

All you have to do now is eat, drink, sleep, walk. Not a heavy schedule, but the days will pass and you will look back on each week and see how far you've come. Best of luck for a smooth road!

12-18-2010, 06:43 PM
Yay!! You are home! You sound like you are doing great. I am happy for you. Look forward to the progress each week.

12-19-2010, 09:52 AM
My problem isn't being constipated. I am taking Colace and Dr. Schultz's Intestinal Cleanse, which my yoga teacher suggested. It is gentle and works for me.

I am having more bloating and general stomach pain. Sometimes, I think the stomach pain is worse than the back pain.

Also, I am on the Oxycontin 10 mg but am thinking this isn't doing my stomach any good either. I'm afraid to try to get off it right now. I use Tylenol between but I do have Oxycodone, if I need it. I try to stay away from the narcotics as much as possible. I have been taking a little Valium at night, when needed.

I'm doing my "laps" around the kitchen, familyroom, hall, etc. to build up my walking. It is amazing how much energy walking around 3 or 4 times around the house takes. I haven't walked outside yet. It is very cold in New England so I'll build up inside the house.

Thanks for being my cheering squad.


12-19-2010, 10:17 AM
hi Irene
i hate to think of you in pain!
i haven't had scoli surgery...yet...but i have 30 mg oxycontin, which i take on bad days...i take hydrocodone on other days...none of it constipates me...for some reason, i have a weird stomach...it just doesn't get constipated from pain meds! i wish others had that situation too!

perhaps you could call your surgeon, or your GP, to ask for help...it is awful to suffer in pain if it can be avoided!

best wishes for rapid healing and recovery

12-19-2010, 04:07 PM
10mg Oxycontin is a tiny dose compared to what I was on. Ouch! If you can get by on that, you're doing great, Irene. But if you're in pain, it's really not worth it (in my opinion, but then, I'm a big baby.)

It's great that you're walking, it's so important I feel. What a shame it's too cold outside, but glad it's not stopping you.

12-19-2010, 04:24 PM
yay! glad to hear you're home! hope these first few weeks fly by, and you can figure out the balance between bloating and pain meds and pain.

keep us posted!

12-19-2010, 07:46 PM
You sound great! wow!

I was told to eat yogurt.....lotsa yogurt, and sliced roast beef for protein. I was on heavy meds so eating was difficult, had to force myself to eat and still lost 40# in 40 days.

Yes, when you take meds the stomach hurts.... write down your daily intake, food, bowel, etc. keep notes. A slow weaning is wise. Call your Doc before you cut ANY pills.

I used pedialyte for electrolytes after using Mag Citrate. I felt like a 12 volt battery with only 1 volt left.....pretty dim actually. Drink 3/4 bottle and hang by the toilet. 2-3 hrs. Citric acid works well for cleaning tile....should work well for the intestines. Apple juice, prune juice should keep things in line. Eating a balanced diet is probably the most important thing.

You can get constipated “going every day”.......I did have a 10 day ileus, that might have contributed to that “little” problem. Water is very important for intestinal health. So is walking. It keeps things moving down there. I have also read that chewing gum stimulates the intestines.

I didn’t know Dr Scholl’s went into the intestinal cleanse business.....

12-19-2010, 07:50 PM
I didn’t know Dr Scholl’s went into the intestinal cleanse business.....

You didn't know that?

He stomps around with those wooden cloggie things to break things up. (smiley face)

12-19-2010, 08:01 PM
Ok, As long as he doesn’t weigh as much as Schultz. Sgt. Schultz that is.

01-08-2011, 11:55 AM
Here I am almost 5 weeks out and my stomach is still my problem.

Backtracking to week 3, while on the oxycontin, I couldn’t eat or drink that much and became dehydrated. Christmas Eve I went by ambulance to the hospital where I was pronounced dehydrated. I stopped the oxycontin and was on IV potassium and sodium. My sodium level was at 110, which is very low.
I went on Tylenol for pain management. I was in the hospital for 3 nights and came home Monday.

My appetite is much better but I still have pain in my upper abdomen, especially on the right side.

For back pain control, I began using Tramadol. I guess it helps. I take Donnatol for my stomach pain.

Then, my PCP sent me for an ultrasound to see if it is my gall bladder. I had the test on Thursday ( 1/6) but haven’t gotten any formal answer back. The technician didn’t see anything abnormal. Thank goodness. Now, my PCP is thinking peptic ulcer.

I have an appointment with Dr. Rand, my surgeon, on Monday. He wants to see x-rays to see about the placement of instrumentation. (I hate to think of more surgery.)

Today, I stopped the Tramadol because that can cause stomach upset. I’m back on Tylenol 650 mg twice a day.

I am NOT constipated so I am not using any of those drugs.

My walking is good. I am up to 20 minutes around my house inside. It is boring but I get it done. Otherwise, I do 10 minute segments. I am using a cane.

So, without the belly pain, I would be doing great!!

Has anyone else had such trouble???


Regards, Irene

01-11-2011, 12:32 PM
Yesterday I went to Dr. Rand. It appears that the cement at the top of the fusion may have slipped a little, which isn't unusual. Dr. Rand is thinking the pain in my abdomen is referred pain from the back. I have less or no pain when I lie down. He took regular x-rays, chest x-rays, and a lung test for embolisms. All were negative. He wants me to curtail activity for a few weeks and use the cane all the time as well as the brace when I am up. My cane was too short so he adjusted it. Walking without a cane because I can is not what he wants me to do.

If I want to go to a gastrointerologist after trying this resting, that is up to me. He doesn't really think there is anything wrong with my stomach. I have an appt with him Feb. 7. He hopes by then I will have improved. Me too....

Just thought I would catch you up.

01-11-2011, 09:47 PM
You say the pain is in the upper right abdomen? I'm assuming they did an ultrasound of the gallbladder/liver area. Could it be adjustment of your rib cage? Hope you get some relief soon!!


01-12-2011, 04:42 PM
Yes, I had an ultrasound of the liver and gall bladder and they only found some polyps but didn't think it would cause pain.

I think you are correct about readjustment of my ribs and rest of my body. My body shape is changed for the better. I grew 1 inch and have no belly bulge any more. Also, the biggest change was that I was listing to the right side and had a crimp on the right side. That is gone and both my sides of my waist are even.


01-14-2011, 08:43 AM
Good luck with all of this, Irene. I would think that all the muscle readjustment would be so radical, especially if you have curtailed your pain meds and get to feel everything. I have often wondered if it is hard for the surgeon to reattach the tighter side of the muscles once the spine has been straightened.

Take care of yourself and let us know.

01-14-2011, 10:21 PM
I have spoken to several people on the Forum and found that with the readjustment of my body comes discomfort. I have been one shape for 65 years and now I have a new, and much better shape. However, the side that was stretched out hurts and so does across the upper abdomen. All of this has been realigned. I gained 1 inch. I am taking Dilaudid and Tylenol for the most part for pain.

It would have been good to hear about this in the pre-op workshop I attended. Then, I wouldn't have been looking for some mysterious source for the pain.

Thanks again for all your knowledge and support.