Hi everyone. Four weeks ago, I had an anterior & posterior lumbar fusion at the L4-L5 level. This was my fourth surgery in 16 months. The surgery went fairly well, although they had to take me back in to surgery 30 minutes after the initial surgery to correct the placement of one of the pedicle screws, so I ended up on the operating table and under anesthesia for about 4 hours total. The good news is that the nerve pain that has plagued my life for 4 years appears to be much improved, I'm healing well, and I'm optimistic about the long-term outcome of the surgery. However, I'm having some other problems that I don't know if are just reactions to the anesthesia, or maybe depression or even post-traumatic stress.
I have a hard time going to sleep. Even if I get up early, I stay up until 3 or 4:00 a.m. My mood is erratic, and I'm more emotional than usual. I feel confused and I have a very difficult time concentrating on anything. My hand-eye coordination seems affected; I drop things much more often than before. I'm very apathetic. I have no motivation to do anything.
These symptoms are worse since the surgery, but I've been having some of them for at least 1 year. They seemed to come along after my second surgery 3/07. The lack of concentration and motivation have been the most bothersome. I've tried a host of anti-depressants without much effectiveness. I'm currently taking Prozac. Previously, I just assumed this was pain-related depression. Most of us here know it's difficult to be happy when you're in excruciating pain every waking minute of the day. But, now my pain level has been markedly decreased, and the mental and emotional symptoms have gotten worse.
I'm planning on seeing a phychologist that I've seen previously. He specializes in chronic pain patients. Has anyone else experienced some or all of these symptoms following a surgery? I've read that it can take quite some time to overcome the effects of general anesthesia, but I don't know if that's part of the problem. I think it would be helpful for me to hear that others have experienced this and that it goes away in time (hopefully). The concentration and confusion problems are very unnerving and frustrating for me.
Thanks for listening everyone. Good luck and God Bless.