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Hi all,
After a painful ride home yesterday, (Friday) I'm so happy to be in my own element. While in the hospital, I amused myself by fighting nurses & cafeteria people 3 hours for a cup of coffee that I had been allowed already, Insisting I needed pain medication between my percocet pills after weaning off the morphine, so took a shot in the butt a few times and fighting the nurse for some throat lozenges that I was also allowed. The short of it is that they didn't take good care of me in the hospital or upon my departure, I don't even know if I should put ice or heat on my neck. Jerks! So, I'm very happy to be home & my blood pressure has come down since being here. I have enough pain medication & whatever I need to get through the weekend despite my plea with my doctor's office to have him call me when he finished surgery, yesterday. I don't have an appointment with him until NEXT Tuesday, (Feb. 6) but can guarantee that Udo, (my husband) will be getting me a prescription from him this week, to give me sufficient medication to deal with this serious pain in my neck. They did not prescribe enough & (the *team of surgeons*) told me to take what I was taking before ... that wasn't even prescribed by my surgeon, so how would they know how much of what I was taking? Grrr. The last thing I want to do is turn into a full on junkie, and will take as little pain medication as I can to cut the pain. I write down what medications I take at what time, on my own private home chart, along with my blood pressure and temperature, so am very careful about what I'm doing.

Last night while trying to sleep, I was sweating profusely, I got trapped in my bed (socks wrapped in blanket) & ended up falling out of bed onto the floor. Somehow I managed to get myself to the bathroom & stripped off my pajamas, then wet my body with a cold wash cloth. Like an idiot, I didn't use the paging system we have on our phone system to summons one of my home "nurses" to me to help. Udo got angry at me for that one, "I didn't want to wake any of you since it was 3:15." so I promise not to that again. Tonight, I'll turn down the heat & take off my socks before going to sleep and Udo put one of the phones by his bed, so I can page his phone specifically. He really is a great nurse maid, even if he does get mad at my stupidness, I deserved it.

Most of today, I've been in resting position, with a TV pillow behind 3 down pillows in an angled position. I'm happy for this laptop because I can see it perfectly in my perfect resting position. I got a tootsie roll shaped, egg carton foam, pillow that I put under my head so I can sleep on my side. It's wonderful to sleep on my side in a flat position, despite the ICU nurse, (Brian) who told me I could NOT do it & moved my bed into a more upright position. Who can ever sleep in ICU with all the stinking bells ringing & blood pressure cuffs going on all the time? One of the surgeons told me that I absolutely could sleep laying on my side as long as I had support the depth of my shoulder, (I do).

I have painful bumps on my head from where I assume they clamped my head in some vice, along with very sore shoulders that must have been tied down to the operating bed. I have 8 staples in my neck and some tape over the drain that should be done draining tomorrow, so I can remove that. I have nausea pretty much all day & night and some really expensive pills to take for it, ($120 for 30!) Pain meds are $2 for 60! I guess the narcotics make you nauseous, so I'm now taking them with food, even if it's only a little bit, since I'm not that hungry. I escaped the laryngitis part of this surgery. :-). Though, it still hurts to swallow so I've kept my diet pretty easy with soups, jello, potato pancakes & lots of fluids. Thank goodness Udo is home & knows how to cook, shop & clean. :-) My right hand does hurt right now but only where an IV was attached. I don't feel the same pain I did before I went in for the surgery, this one major pain should end it all.

I'm told that the surgery was a success so that is good news. I'm not thrilled with my surgical team, the timing it took the nurses to get to my needs, nor the cleanliness of the hospital; I killed a cockroach in my bathroom the other night!!! YUCK! So, you can imagine how elated I am to be home! I should be getting a proper bed wedge in the mail on Monday, that will help me be in the propped up position without as much work as stacking the pillows up. I got one of those gripper things, like an extra long arm with an elbow. It's great for reaching things on the end of the bed. Amazing how much we do with our neck muscles, that we don't realize until they hurt & we need them to do just about every movement.

This will pass. I'm just thankful that I'm not a total idiot & will figure out my best treatment to get myself to the other side of this. Thanks for listening to my "not so short" update.

Hi ~Ro,
I had ACDF surgery on 12/4/06.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience in the hospital. I too had a few complaints like having to hold my myself forever until a nurse came to undo the iv just so I can manage to the bathroom. But nothing to the extent of yours. Well anyway glad to hear surgery was a success. Definetly be careful moving around and swallowing. I found myself choking alot just swallowing pills. But that passed after 2-3 weeks. Also, if you are taking narcotics be very careful on your diet because it can cause some major constipation (I had to find out the hard way). I was on Vicodin for the first 6 weeks and occasionally now which did help but not as nearly as much as the morphine from the hospital. The nurse told me that I could use ice packs but I didn't. I'm shocked that they used staples in your neck I had dissolvable stiches and dermabond on the outside. Feel good though that you are able to sleep on your side. I'm still trying to do it without waking up in terrible pain.
I know that I'm all over the place with this reply just trying to touch basis on parts of your report lol. Oh, one more thing about the bruises the whole backside of my arm was 1 big bruise and around one of my wrist I think this happens when they are moving you around on the table in the operating room. Didn't have any on my head except under my eyes were pinkish. Well good luck with your recovery. I'm 7 weeks out and feel much better with only a few minor problems.:)
[QUOTE=bdancer;2768130]Dear Ro et al

>Hi I can relate to a lot to what you are saying.. OH btw we probably aren't too far from each other... I live off of exit 17 of the throughway if you know where that is... anyway I went in to the city for my surgery I don't trust anyone here.. where did you get it done if you don't mind me asking..

I'm off exit 19, then another 22 miles until my town. I went to New Rochelle for the surgery but do follow up in Kingston. The surgeon only does carpal tunnel in this area, all his spine surgeries are done in New Rochelle.

>I know the care is poor but at least you had some pain meds.. after refusing the IV drip I had a tylenol at 6am and another at 2pm NOTHING else... until that next night when they tried the vicodin which is what I am on now.. it surprised me that somethings at HSS wwere SO professional like a well oiled machine but when it came to floor nursing it was downhill.. I told them to take the catheter out three hours after recovery room and toileted myself on a bedside commode I even brushed my own teeth etc I NEVER asked them for anything but pain meds and they screwed that up!! upon d/c (I left on thursday even though I had only been there about36 hours)

I had to write notes of what it was I summoned the nurses for since it took so long for them to get to me, & I didn't want to forget what I needed. I made them leave the catheter in until they were ready to take me to the toilet because I refused to use a bedpan & they didn't offer a portable commode.

>I asked for home health and we were assured they would be at my house by saturday we even called friday to follow up we called saturday afternoon the home health agency didn't even know who we were.. and of course the set up people don't work on the weekends by the time they come I won't need them anymore we have DONE everything ourselves..

I was questioned in the hospital about the particulars of my house as if I really was going to get home care. I have heard nary a word since my return home. I don't want anybody here, we've managed just fine all by ourselves. The way I look at it, is this: I really needed the surgery, probably for years now. I got the best possible surgeon I could find in the area. I recovered as long as allowed in the hospital & now the true mending is to begin in my own element without anybody breathing down my neck. I will get my pain medications from the surgeon & all my extras I purchased reimbursed by the Insurance. I will be calling my patient advocate through my insurance company tomorrow before I pursue talking to my doctor about the lack of a pain management plan. She really helped me through my hospital stay, she's who made sure I got my medication between the percocets.

>but I am sure we'll be charged for things and boy will I fight it!!

I'd fight it too if I'm charged.

>Good news is I have been eating solid food now for two days and feel really good except if I am upright too long I get a spasm burning in myleft shoulder blade..

I've eaten solid food today and kind of yesterday, though it wasn't really solid. I hear how awful sitting up is, I enjoy being propped on my fake wedge.

>I woke up with bruises and holes that I have no idea what they are from I am tkaing my first shower ina couple f minutes

I got my first shower without a collar today. It felt so great!

>but my follow up appointment is not until feb 27??? Seems like a long time to me..but I guess they assume you'll call with complaints well I can definitely already tell a difference in how my body feels but I know it will be awhile to my body adjusts to its new decompressed self...:) well it is over...:D bye for now bdancer[/QUOTE]

That's an awfully long time for a follow up. Do you feel that you were given adequate pain medication to last you until then? Did you get a CT scan before you were discharged? If so, I'd imagine the doctors would call us back if something horrific showed up on it.

Anyway, my serequel, sleeping pill is starting to work. I took one last night & slept 6 hours straight through which is the longest I've slept straight in a couple months.

Best of luck, :wave:

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