Spinal Fusion: Day 1

My intent is to have a play-by-play of what happens during the surgery and recovery from the person going through it. I will be very detailed for those who might go through this in the future. This is my second time going through this procedure so I will make sure to point out the things that I thought were very important this time around.

If this is not your thing, no problem. Keep checking back for some more interesting things I have dove into recently that should lead to some great overlanding trips once I move further down the recovery road.

For those of you who have come to my page to see what a fusion surgery may be like, feel free to use the contact link to ask any questions you may have. There is no reason why you should not know EXACTLY what you are getting into when it comes to a spinal fusion.

Now that that is over, onward to Day 1…

The day of the surgery started off with a 5 am show at the hospital where we did some basic paperwork and was taken back to get prepped around 5:45. By 7, as scheduled, I was being rolled into the OR. On my way back they pushed the first round of anesthesia and all I remember after that was seeing the table with the supplies on it and then I got sleepy and Off I went into blackness.

Waking up was a surreal experience. What I can gather is that I was somewhere in a semi-conscious state. I remember bits and pieces in between segments of unconsciousness. Things like people saying my name and asking basic questions, rolling me around, and I remember moving from one bed into my final bed. They want you to scoot over, screw that, this time I rolled from one bed to the other while they fished all my cords around me. This was SO MUCH BETTER than when I did the scoot thing on my first surgery. 

Pro tip: see if they will let you log roll from one bed to another. If you have someone in your room waiting for you when you get there, prep them to have that suggestion ready to go.

At some point I began to fight for consciousness. I wanted to be awake but it was hard. After fighting for a while there was one time where I broke it and I was fully awake and felt like myself. Feeling like myself is new for me after surgery. My first surgery was VERY painful and I felt like I was in a medical haze the whole time. Maybe I am this time too but I don’t think so. Back to being awake, my awake periods started out being only a few minutes at a time but lengthened throughout the evening. I was able to be awake for around an hour right before going to sleep, or trying to.

It was hard to sleep because of a request I had before the surgery regarding a catheter. On my first surgery, I woke up to the most terrible pain… it was a real pain in the dick. I have a grandfather who deals with that every day. I have so much respect for him because of everything he has gone through, including that damn catheter. Anyway, I asked for them to take it out before I woke up and they did. Zero pain when I woke up but let me tell you, the first time I used the bathroom I swear it was miniature razor blades coming out. 

Pro tip: the more you have to go, the more liquid you have to push through. The BEST way to get rid of the razor blade feel is to get as much fluid through there that you can.

This was my sleeping problem. I drank so much water that I was peeing all night which involved painfully unhooking myself from everything, painfully sitting up, painfully standing up, and painfully walking to the bathroom. Did I mention all movement is painful? Yet, it was manageable when you have to pee real bad. 

Speaking of pain, let me discuss that before concluding today’s recap. Everything is painful but you must find a way to push through it. When it hurts to sit up, just do it and say “well that wasn’t fun” but you did it. The whole recovery will be like this and it is a mistake I made late in my recovery from the first surgery. If an activity was painful, I didn’t do it. Of course you need to know the difference between painful and something that might cause injury but I stopped if it was painful and I lived in constant post-op pain.

Pain meds. They’re like Frosted Flakes, they’re great! (Shameless dad joke) but they can be really bad if not used correctly. I’m not talking about addiction, that risk is there for sure, but I’m talking about implementation. My nurse tonight asked me if I wanted to be woken up for the pain meds if I were sleeping.

Pro tip: you want the meds when they are offered regardless if you’re in the middle of restless sleep or not. 

Here’s why; on my first surgery I was feeling pretty good at the time I could have taken my next pain pill, so I didn’t take it. Well, one hour later when the pain was unbearable, I asked for the pill and 30 minutes later the pain began to settle. That was an hour and a half of pain that could have been avoided. There will be a point where you will want to start increasing the time between pills but the day of surgery isn’t that day. Learn from my mistakes.

Well, that was day 1 and I need to pee again.   ….I started writing this post right after peeing a lot so this is just how tonight is gonna go I guess. Lol. 

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