View Full Version : surgery on June 7th

06-09-2011, 12:21 PM
Hi everyone, This is lorz's sister giving the update on her surgery which was done on Tuesday, June 7th. Her surgery went well and she is recovering as expected. She is still in the PACU today as they are working on her pain management and they would like to see her blood pressure and pulse oximetry readings a little higher! She is not used to opiates so that is part of the difficulty. I hope she will be transferred to a regular room soon and she can continue with the updates herself!! But I will be more than happy to answer any questions, as it will help keep me busy until I can go visit her again!

06-09-2011, 03:09 PM
Thank you so much for the update! It's so good to hear all went well. It's just very difficult at first, but she will make progress-- baby steps for awhile, but progress just the same. Thanks again for the news.

06-09-2011, 06:04 PM
Thank you for the update. Good to hear she is doing quite well and look forward to her being well enough to give her own updates. :-)

06-09-2011, 06:19 PM
Wonderful to hear that she is on the other side. One day at a time right now. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

06-09-2011, 06:57 PM
Tell Lori we are all thinking of her and wishing her a smooth recovery. The first month is the toughest.

06-10-2011, 06:44 AM
Thank you so much for the update on Lori!! I've been checking in every day since the 7th and praying for her. So glad to hear the surgery went well! I was wondering how long the surgery was? Please keep us updated when you get any more news. Congrats, Lori, the surgery is over!!!! You don't have to worry about it anymore, you are on your way to recovery!!

Take care,

06-10-2011, 08:51 PM
Great to hear it went well!!!!

06-12-2011, 09:14 PM
Glad to hear it went well! Keep us posted.

JenM -- Let us know how you're doing one-year post-op.

Happy Summer, everyone!


06-17-2011, 03:09 PM
I just got home from the hospital last night, after spending 10 days. I spent the first 2 days in PACU , intubated, due to 3000cc blood loss, pleural effusions(fluid in lungs), partial atelectasis (lung collapse), and jugular vein emboli. The first 7 days were really rough. Dr. Boachie was very pleased with the correction he got. When he straightened the lumbar curve, the thoracic straightened so much, the rod was too short, and had to add an extension. I feel huge!!
On the morning of surgery, while in the waiting area, Dr. B.came in to see me, and had Dr. Lenke with him, so he introduced him to me. I told him I had heard of him many times on the forum. That was cool!
My experience at HSS was less than perfect. There were some exceptional people there, but, unfortunately many who were not. My first night in a regular room, I rang for a pain med, and it took 1 hr. to get it. There were altleast 4 incidences where I called for pain med/reposition, where the person answering the light said she would notify my nurse, turned the light off, then never gave my nurse the message. By that time I decided that paying for a private room was worth every penny, and moved, with with sister (an RN) at my bedside at all times. She was phenomenal , and took such good care of me. Case Management and O.T. services were basically nonexistent. I was ordering shower chair, grabber, etc. from Amazon from my hospital bed. I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Boachie. He is very gifted.
Now, on to the questions!! How many times a day, and how far should I be ambulating at this point? When will my lumbar area stop feeling like someone is pushing it forward, and looking several months pregnant?
Sorry for the long post. I know I enjoyed reading every detail of everyone's experiences post-op, so I wanted to to do the same. I would love to help in any way. Thank-you all. There's no place like home!!!!!

06-17-2011, 03:35 PM
Hi Lori-

I am so glad to hear from you!!!!! I have been thinking about you every day since June 7th!!! You must be so glad you are home!!! Congrats, you are on the other side now!!!

I just read your post and noticed you had the same hospital experience as me. There were times when I called the nurse and no one would come. Most of the nurses I had I was not impressed with. I did not have a private room either and wish I did. That was great that you had your sister with you who was an RN. I had no one at times and it was scary since the nurses were not much help. How can one of the best hospitals have not so great nurses???Ughhh, i could go on and on...... When you feel better, we'll have to chat over the phone!!!

Glad to hear you had a great correction. What levels were you fused?? How long was your surgery? So many questions! Did Dr. Lenke assist with your surgery at all?

Anyway, if you have any questions, I'd love to be of help. The surgery is still very fresh in my mind. Feel free to call me as well.

Congrats again! So proud that you went through with it!!


06-17-2011, 04:03 PM
Glad you're okay, Lori! Best wishes for an uneventful recovery.

Most of us who had surgery at HSS had a rough time with the nurses. Private nurses are the ONLY way to go there, in my opinion -- that's why I keep harping on it.

06-17-2011, 04:26 PM
I am sorry you had such a bad experience with the nursing staff. It's a shame most feel they have to have a family member stay with them in the hospital in order to receive good care.
I definitely looked pregnant when I came home from the hospital and weighted about 6 pounds more than presurgery weight. The severe bloatedness went away fairly soon as did the weight, but it was probably close to 4 months before I felt like my stomach was flat.
I wonder why Dr. Lenke was with Dr. Boachie? I am not sure, but I think that Dr. Boachie may have been president of SRS before Dr. Lenke.
Best of luck with your recovery. It gets easier with time!

06-17-2011, 04:28 PM
Oops! I accidentally had a "t" in weighed. Being a teacher, I hate it when I accidentally have a typing error.

06-17-2011, 05:20 PM
Hi, Lori,

I've been thinking about you, too, and I'm so glad to hear that you're home and on the mend.

It's a shame you had to go through so much at the hospital. I've made up my mind--I'm definitely getting a private nurse or aide. I had pretty much decided that awhile ago but lately had wondered if maybe I didn't need one. Now I don't have any doubts and I know I won't regret it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Best wishes for a smooth recovery! Enjoy the comforts of home!

54 years old
T57, L43
surgery sch. with Dr. Boachie 7/05/11
T2 - T12, posterior

06-17-2011, 06:44 PM
Hi Lori, thanks for the update! You reminded me of an aspect of post-surgery I'd forgotten about, that feeling that someone has their boot in the small of your back and pushing forward. I haven't had that feeling for ages - I guess it only lasted a couple of weeks and I'd forgotten about it. I think it's to do with the lordosis you're given, at least that's what I think was the reason for mine. That, combined with stomach bloating, and you really do look pregnant for a short time.

Take care! It's good to have another one safely over *this* side.

06-17-2011, 08:45 PM
Great to hear from you, Lori. I know we had private messaged a while ago when you were still considering surgery. I wasn't at HSS but even at NYU it took a while to get nursing assistance at night. If I had it to do over again (heaven forbid), I would definitely have paid for private duty nursing at night. You're in the uphill climb right now, but it will keep getting better. Some days are better than others, but keep taking your pain meds and walk as much as you can. I was recovering in the dead of winter and made lots of laps around my dining room table. Swelling took a long time to go down for me. I think if you've had a lot of blood/fluid transfused, the swelling is even worse. The body releases it from the tissues very gradually so meanwhile you look and feel like a beached whale!

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you. Stay in touch and don't hesitate to vent and ask questions! I was addicted to this forum during my recovery weeks.
Take care and let yourself be pampered right now!

06-17-2011, 10:03 PM
Hi Lori...

Hang in there. It truly will be better soon. Sounds like they put you through the mill!

I got acclimated to my new posture very quickly. I think it was only a few weeks. As to how often to walk, the more the better in general. Walking will definitely help you with the swelling. I set a goal for myself in terms of exercise, and it seemed to help motivate me. So, my advice is to start out slowly, and build on it by increasing distance, time, and speed.


06-18-2011, 08:01 AM
Thank you everyone for all of your well wishes!
Jennifer: I am very glad to hear the "boot in the low back" feeling goes away quickly. It makes me very cranky!

Boomergal: I would definitely get private duty help. If you have anyone medical in your family, that can stay, I would suggest that. An RN for 12 hrs. is $990, and a private room is $875 a night. The semi-privates are tiny, no privacy, and I had a very loud, very demanding roomate. The private room was a godsend.

Karen: Dr. B. was president of SRS at some point. He introduced Dr. Lenke as a colleague of his, there to do lectures and observe.

JenM: I was fused T4-S1, w/bilateral pelvic fixation. The surgery lasted 8 hrs. I don't think Dr. Lenke would have been able to assist, since he is probably not licensed in NY. I would love to talk to you soon.

Anne: It is funny you mentioned the "beached whale" analogy. Every time I rolled over I would announce "Beached whale alert"! Of course, I was also seeing orange alligators, hot pink flip flops with "Pass Gas" written on them, etc. The wonderful drugs! My sister wrote everything down, and it is some pretty funny stuff.

I am soooo happy to be part of the "other side" club! Hugs to all, Lori

06-18-2011, 11:10 AM

Congratulations! You made it.

Funny, I never had problems getting the nurses....I was a little rough on the guys up in ICU from the start so they relayed the info to the other nurses on the wing, and I didn’t have problems getting the nurses to come. I really had no recollection of this happening since I was in the “twilight zone”. One thing that happened was they offered to bring a pile of nursing students over from the college for extreme training with Ti-Ed, and to tell you the truth, I loved it. Having so many there was great since the biggest problems in the hospital are usually the little things.....talking...communicating your feelings really helps so much. Being left alone is the worst thing that can happen in the hospital.

You know what to do now? Yes, that’s right, get up from the computer because it hurts to sit for more than 4 minutes, and walk a little. Just a little, not a lot, and many times during the day. It will keep your plumbing moving which is critical while taking meds. Drink plenty of water and try to hang in there, the first few weeks are the hardest part, like a tough chapter in a book, you will get through it.

Try to keep notes on EVERYTHING. Keep a daily journal on meds, diet, bm, walking, water, pain etc. and make sure you eat! Eat protein. Your body has been hit hard and is going through some major adjustments right now....if you have any questions, ask them here. Your going to do just fine.

06-18-2011, 11:50 AM
Oh, yeah, a quick question. I can't seem to be comfortable in any chair I try, even with multitiudes of pillows. I don't want to be lying down all of the time. Any suggestions? Thanks

06-18-2011, 12:03 PM
I'm like Ed, in total jaw-dropping wonder (not good wonder) each time I hear about the care people received at HSS. I never had to wait more than a few minutes at Rush-- and they were so good to me. I even sent them--the ortho wing staff-- a Christmas gift (Fanny May chocolates, YUM!) (West cost people- that is similar to See's) 7 months later, I was soooo impressed with their wonderful care. Dr. H had two "fellows" studying under him at the time, so they stopped by to see me fairly often as well. Also, our rooms were small, but they were all private. I guess I didn't realize how good I had it.

I also kept a diary of my meds taken, etc. Well, my husband kept it at first. You don't want to get mixed up. I didn't do the BM thing though, Ed. :) It never occurred to me! I know I emailed or phoned my scoli nurse when I was having problems and she would tell me what to try. I did journal my walking and things like that, but just on my calendar--walked 1/2 hour, etc.

When I first got home from the hospital, both OT and PT came to my house a couple of times (and I live in the boonies) to make sure I was off to an ok start and that my house was set up ok for me to maneuver in, and OT made suggestions about some accommodations... That's when I first got a few stretchy bands from PT to strengthen my arms, and they had me rise up on my legs while holding onto the kitchen counter, and several other very basic exercises. I was SO weak. Are you able to have some help in that way?

It sounds like you are off to a great start! Welcome to the other side! It will just keep getting better for you, honest! Walk a little more, as your strength allows. Pace yourself so you don't overdo. Listen to your body-- it will tell you if you're doing too much. Take care!

06-18-2011, 12:14 PM
What part of sitting up bothers you? The whole back, pressure on the lower back, or what? Is your seat up high enough so that your upper legs are parallel with the ground? I don't know if that would make a difference or not, but low seats always bothered me. And I still like using a coccyx cushion (it has a wedge cut out of the back for your tailbone) because for some reason my tailbone kept hurting after my surgery... It is NOT the same thing as a donut cushion. The hole in those are in the wrong place and are meant for other problems... :)

06-18-2011, 01:55 PM
Lori congrads on your surgery

06-18-2011, 06:34 PM
I found sitting upright in a straight backed, hard chair was the most comfortable for a few weeks. I did have tailbone pain for a couple of weeks and sitting bolt upright seemed to take the pressure off that. If you have a straight backed (but padded) chair, use that for a little while and see how you go.

My comfy chairs and sofa were a no no for a while, but I love them again now. :D

06-18-2011, 07:17 PM
That's funny, Jennifer-- my most comfortable place to sit was my couch, but we had bought a new one, so it was firm and had a seat height of 21". With cushions behind so I didn't have to lean back any, and plenty of other pillows if I needed them, it was great. I had a nice tray/table my husband picked up at the drug store that could slant if I wanted it or just keep it flat.... and I planted myself there with my laptop and my books and my cross-stitch. :) There's a picture of me with my little table in a link in my signature area.

06-18-2011, 11:58 PM
Yes, I've seen that pic Susie, you do look very nicely set up there!

I think the main thing is that the seat must be firm and being bolt upright keeps the weight off your tailbone. I often sit bolt upright even now and it's perfectly comfortable though people rush to stick a cushion behind me (so I must look uncomfortable which I assure people I am not.) :D

06-19-2011, 07:53 AM
Congratulations for making it to the other side, Lori. I have been praying for you and want to thank you for keeping up on what's happening with you.

Glad you mentioned the hospital adventure, I have been told I will have a private room and it sounds like that will be a Godsend with this surgery.

Continue to keep us posted...and we'll continue to prayer for all the pain and weird feelings to subside.

06-19-2011, 12:09 PM
Hi Lori...

I went through a long stretch where no chair was comfortable, and a long stretch where only my recliner was comfortable. It was exhausting, because I also wasn't comfortable in bed.

I have no advice, but hope that you get through this period quickly.


06-19-2011, 03:17 PM
Thanks for all of the suggestions. The main reason I can't sit is the tailbone pressure, and the intense feeling of being pushed forward. I think the coccyx pillow sounds like a good idea. I am only comfortable on my back in bed, so I worry that I am not changing position enough. I think I am trying to cut back on my pain meds too quickly also. Today I went almost 7 hrs. between Percocet's- not very smart. I am sure, each day, I will learn something new.