I think its awesome you found this dr and saw him. He may look like Doogie Howser, but you know what, I like those kind. The reason I like the younger ones is they are more uptodate on all the newer procedures, the whole nine yards. Alot of the old farts get stuck in a rut with their surgeries and never venture out of the box to something new and innovative. I can only assume due to your excitement that he answered all your questions, dotted his i's and crossed his t's the way he should have.
Now for the recuperation after surgery. Here's how it goes. A dr can only do his part. The rest is up to patient and that will define how well you do afterwards as long as you had a good outcome.
A fusion is a very serious surgery and cannot be taken lightly, as you tend to do. Follow the drs instructions to the letter. As far as work goes, usually most drs I know on necks keep people off 6 weeks. Why, for one thing they want things to be healing up good and not be out riding around in a car and get involved in a car accident with a newly operated neck-not good. If you think you hurt now, tear that new fusion up and you don't know what pain is. Stay out of the car except to go to the dr and yes you need someone to drive you. If you are not feeling up to par when the dr talks about going back to work ask for more time off. Make sure he understands that you do not have a typical desk job that your job requires over head work and lifting and he will change his tune real quick.
As for the girlfriend that had a similar surgery. Well, no two surgeries are alike so don't compare apples to oranges. If she was back at work in 3 days she was a fool. Her surgery may not be as in depth as yours so don't go there and don't let them make you feel bad into coming back to soon. Remember, this is your health on the line here, not your jobs and your health is more important than your job. Hey, one thing I always said when working, we are all replaceable.