View Full Version : First Week Home

06-23-2011, 02:40 PM
Hi All,
Today I am home from the hospital 1 week. I worry all of the time that I am not walking enough. I get up every 2 hrs., and walk 2-3 laps around the inside of the house. I can't get comfortable in any position, other than lying on my back. Sitting in a chair is impossible. I am really struggling with the ileus/constipation issues. I am taking every thing on the market! I can barely eat, and I know I need the protein. I am taking Percocet (10mg) every 3-4 hrs. I stopped the oxycontin in the hospital already. Did any of you find you could be only in 1 position? Do you think I am walking enough? I had tons of fluid in my lungs in the hospitasl, and partial collapse, so I worry constantly about lung function. Yesterday, I felt pretty decent, then today, I am so weak I don't want to move. Any insights would be greatly appreciated!!

06-23-2011, 06:00 PM
can you get protein shakes down...?
do you have anyone at home who would make them for you...
very simple to make in a blender, many recipes on internet for all different combos of milk, lactose free milk, yogurt, frozen yogurt, whey powder, fruit, etc...

might be easier to digest..?

hope you feel better every day!


06-23-2011, 11:21 PM
I hope you have some help there at least part-time. I had surgery on June 7 and June 9. I had a lot of problems with constipation too-- the rehab hospital used "Enemeez" on me, twice and that got things moving again. I don't know if they're prescription or not. Here's the website for them:

I hope you start feeling better soon!

06-24-2011, 11:11 AM
Jess, Thanks for the suggestions.
Paula, Thanks for the link, I will give it a try. Hope you are doing well. Sounds like you had the ant/post surgery done, and here I am, whining. Shame on me!

06-24-2011, 12:05 PM
Lorz, you're not whining at all. I feel really fortunate to be doing so well. I had a variation of the anterior/posterior done. At UCSD, they're using a technique to come in from the side for the lower vertebrae. I have two incisions on my right hip, each about 2-3 inches long. They fused the lowest two vertebrae that way, and found that the next two had fused themselves through arthritis. Then they did the rest with the rods, screws and bone grafts two days later. That one was significantly harder to deal with.

06-24-2011, 03:21 PM
Hi Lori --

Anyone with a lower lumbar fusion finds sitting incredibly difficult for a few weeks. It just takes time to build up tolerance to it. I spent most of my time in bed with frequent, short walks in and out of the house for a couple of months although I was careful not to lie absolutely flat too much. Even lifting your shoulders and head a little will help keep your lungs clear. Also, can you lie on your side? It's helpful to move around a little even if you're in bed.

Did Boachie give you one of those things with a tube that you breathe into (I forget what it's called -- inspirometer??) -- it has a little ball that you have to keep floating with your breath? I was told to use that religiously for a few months and I did. As far as constipation goes, I found that Miralax and a ton of water worked well for me, although I did need a couple of suppositories (UGH) in rehab...even enemas weren't cutting it at first.

06-24-2011, 03:28 PM
I struggled with constipation, abdominal pain, and hemorrhoids. Miralax helped, but it seemed that I either had too much of a laxative or not enough. It was far worse than any back pain. I ate Fiber One Cereal, lots of fruit, water, hot plum juice, etc. About a week after I stopped taking the pain meds, I improved a lot. Best of luck. It is tough to get through this period, but you will.

06-24-2011, 08:27 PM
Oh my goodness, only one week out and you are posting already?!?! That is AWESOME!

Those first few weeks are really tough. I had an abnormally easy, uneventful recovery, with a disgustingly abnormal upbeat personality, and even MY first several weeks were pretty frustrating. We all struggle with constipation. They struggled with it while I was in the hospital. I was a fairly new newlywed, and had to have my hubby help me with suppositories right after we got home. Nothing like getting up close and personal!! And at almost 50, the derriere ain't what it used to be... My husband is a pharmacist and really kept on top of it once we got home. I took colace regularly for quite awhile, and took daily doses of the fiber stuff that you mix in with water or juice and is clear. Mine was generic and I can't remember the actual trade name. He also made me (or maybe strongly encouraged sounds better) eat a couple prunes with lunch or as a snack. I also ate lots of other fruit. Once I was on this regimen, I did fine.

I'm not gonna lie...both sleeping and sitting is tough. And it probably will be for a while. It just goes with the territory. Again, it DOES get better eventually. It took me quite awhile before I could sit long enough to watch a movie. I spent a lot of time laying down and reading. Like you, I got up as often as I could and did laps. Baby steps!

I lost weight with my lack of appetite. It was truly a struggle to get up and force myself to eat much of anything. It gets better. Now I've gained it back, plus about 5 more. Now I'm pretty active, and that helped nip that problem in the bud!!

So it sounds like you are having all the "normal" problems most of us dealt with. We have been there, and understand your frustration. Keep asking those questions to ease your mind!

06-25-2011, 02:33 PM
Thank you all so much. Your replies really have eased my mind. I am feeling better, and a little more mobile the past 2 days. As for the constipation issues, I have accepted that I have to be patient, and do whatever it takes. Jenee- I am right there with you, with the husband helping wthe suppositories issues!! Being a caregiver all of my life, I never realized how difficult it would be to have the roles reversed, and let go of control. It is really a learning experience. I really have been humbled by all of your compassion and concern. I will pay it forward.

06-26-2011, 09:53 PM
Lori, you're ahead of me. I was on oxy for 5 weeks from what I recall. The spasms were unfathomably painful and impossible to control with percocet alone. Hats off to you!

Listen to your body. If 2 laps are enough, then do that and lay down. If you can do more, do it. I remember being happy to walk to the sidewalk. Then to the end of my neighbor's house. Then 3 houses. Then 5. Then around the block.

Last weekend we went to NYC to see how my upcoming return to work commute will go, and as we walked out of Grand Central, I said to my husband, "This is the first time in at least 10 years that I can honestly say that walking is far more comfortable than sitting."

It did, however, take me 3 days to recover from the commute. Steps forward, steps back. It's a process and you are through the worst at this point.

06-27-2011, 07:51 AM
When do you return to work? It must be very scary, thinking of commuting alone that first day back. Congrats to you, for reaching that milestone. I have been reading all of your posts, and you have a good sense of humor, and a positive attitude. Two things that I am finding to be essential to recovery.
My grandchildren came to visit yesterday, and I sat outside on the deck swing, for the first time, and feel like I ran a marathon today. So, I see what you mean about needing 3 days to recover! Good Luck to you, on your return back to the working world. Let us know how it goes!

06-27-2011, 03:23 PM
Thanks! I am a smartass on my better days! At PT the other day I said to one of the women who's in for knee replacement, "Check out the lady without the crutches!" She was like, "It's my first day! Do I look cool yet?" Ha! Everyone's got their something.

I return the week of July 11 part time to work. I still have issues with attention span and focusing. Ever since surgery my brain is weird, I swear. I forget things, put stuff down and go from room to room looking for whatever I put down, etc... so getting back into the swing will be hard but I'll get there. Maybe a big part of my prob is that I've spent too much time playing Frontierville on Facebook and should have done more logic puzzles to stay sharp. ;)

I'm excited to get back in the office if for no reason other than to get back to wearing my stilettos on a regular basis. Yes, I am excited for outfits, not the actual work!

06-27-2011, 04:38 PM
Lily, this one is for you... I know you will relate-I sure did! SusanS sent it to me in an email, and it is too good to not share... My brain is not the same, either. I swear it feels like I have early signs of Alzheimers or dementia sometimes!

This sums up my medical leave of absence in under 3 minutes. This is especially for those from work who think I have had so much time to get so much done. Not always so....

Copy and paste in your browser for a good laugh.


06-27-2011, 05:30 PM
That's pretty much it. LOL! My girlfriend came over to have lunch and I walked in circles, checked the car twice, retraced my steps, etc and SHE found my wallet... tidily standing upright on the newel post, where I'd left it as I moved a window fan after letting the dogs out and putting away groceries.

I have done an entire book of sudoku puzzles, read 94 books, and yet I still have to pause or mute the TV to have a conversation because I can't focus. Very annoying.

On the bright side I'm in great shape and look awesome. Stupid but pretty! Finally my dreams came true!