Surgery Date Rescheduled

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 2/15/2011 7:31 PM (GMT -6)   
My surgeon had a spot open up in his schedule, so my surgery has been moved up to March 1st & 2nd. He will be removing three discs (L3/L4, L4/L5, and L5/S1) and extending my scoliosis fusion to my sacrum. This will be both an anterior and posterior surgery, and I believe he said he'd start with the anterior on the first day. I'll be in the hospital for approximately a week in total.

My pain levels increased again recently, and my pain management doctor increased my pain medications (Nucynta, Topomax, and Baclofen) to help manage it. However, it's unfortunately turning me into a zombie. I can either be non-functioning due to pain or non-functioning due to pain meds. Not a great choice to have to make. I'm trying to finish up a few things at work, and will soon be orienting the temp my boss hired, who will be filling in for me while I'm out on medical leave. I could just start leave now, but I don't want to leave my boss in that position, if there's any way I could avoid it. The odd part is, how much the pain meds affect me mentally doesn't seem to follow a rational pattern -- at least not one I can figure out. In what feels like the same situation, one time I'd be fine, and the next time I'd be asleep at my desk and fall out of my chair (that one really hurt!!!).

I'm also trying to get my house ready before surgery. I let myself get incredibly behind due to the pain, and thus my apartment is a filthy, cluttered mess. But I at least need to deal with the clutter, and need to set it up in such a way that I'll be able to access the things I need when I come home, given the physical restrictions I will have after surgery. My husband is working on it too, but with a preschooler in the house, it's hard to get much done. And we can't afford to hire cleaners or organizers. Perhaps it's time to set aside my pride and ask for help from family members.

Here's a question for those of you with young children -- How have you handled surgery while having young children at home? How did you explain it to the?? How did you handle the weeks/months after?
Scoliosis fusion w/rods (92); herniated disc (96); partial removal of rods (97); microdiscectomy (97); pain worsened (08) when my kid was 15mo old; tried many non-surgical treatments with limited benefit; surgery scheduled for 3/1/11

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 2/15/2011 7:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Try to get a visiting nurse to help you out at home after surgery and ask
any and all family member for help after your surgery, this will be so hard on you
and your family will be needed more when you get home from the hospital...
Tell your child that mom is hurt and will have a big ouchy when ypu get out of
the hospital and will need help at home and good behavior will get rewarded.
Little ones don't understand much don't make it complicated, kids know what a big ouchie is,
so I'd stick with that, maybe ask any relatives if your child could even stay over night with them.
and explain any jumping on the bed will be very very bad and earn a time out...
Hope things go well for you...
Healing hugz and lots of them
Prayers for a speedy recovery...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 2/15/2011 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry you have so much to face with this surgery. My daughter was 9 when I had my fusion and she had a very hard time with it. The most serious problem (other than the hospital stay and her fear about mama) was my pain when I came home. She was very upset that she couldn't hug me or lay with me for quite a while. I wish I had explained this to her upfront, but I did not know I would be having surgery when I went to the Dr that morning. She had no way of knowing what to expect.

Even though you are working with a younger child, it will be very important to explain how much you love them and would love to hug them and lay with them, but that the Dr says you must be sure to stay still and quiet until your body gets well. Perhaps a new special bear or doll would be appropriate to "hold" your hugs until you can give them again. Also, I'd make sure that your child was aware that you may cry or need a lot of help for a while even for going to he bathroom. It's so hard for them to see mama in pain. Lastly, I'd make for sure and certain that your child is aware that there will be medications (perhaps patches) around and that they are never, ever to touch a medicine. Some of our meds are so strong that they could have horrible ramifications if they are even touched by your child.

I know I'm probably telling you things you already know, but it's so hard to remember things when they are facing you. I hope everything goes perfectly and that you and your family have a speedy recovery and a very successful surgery experience.
Failed fusion L5-S1, Pituatary damage, HGH Def, Fibro, Bladder surgery failure, Nissen Failure, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CTS (Bilateral Surgery completed), CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Vit D, A, Magnesium deficiency, Pre-glaucomic (sp?), HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia, Edema, too many Drug/Food allergies, sensitivites, and current meds to list.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 2/15/2011 8:37 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the advice. Does insurance typically pay for a visiting nurse? What types of things do they handle? I've never had a visiting nurse before, even though I've had three previous back surgeries (though none of them were while on this insurance, nor were they even within the past decade).

So far, I have told my daughter that I will be going to the hospital to see a doctor who will do something to help my back. She knows what hospital means from the time she jumped from high up, and hurt her foot and ankle when landing, and we had to bring her to the emergency room. (It ended up being a sprain.) She remembers that as a cool adventure, and not as anything scary. I told her that I would have to stay there for a few days, and that when I got home, my back would actually hurt more than it does now. I said I wouldn't be able to play or leave the house or do much for a while, but after a while I'd actually feel better than I do now, so hopefully we'd get to plan together even more.

I haven't made my mind up about having her stay overnight with a family member yet. She hasn't actually done that yet, so I'm not sure if that would be helpful or an added source of stress for her.


Thank you for sharing your experience with me. As you can read above (in my response to Chartreux), I've started trying to prepare my daughter, but I haven't actually used the word surgery yet. I'm not sure whether she would even know what that means, but she does often surprise me.

I love the idea of a special doll or bear. Perhaps it doesn't have to be a brand new bear, but just new to her. I have my "hospital bear" which is just a regular teddy bear that helped me through all my hospital stays as a child. Perhaps she would love it if I passed it down to her.

She is already used to seeing me take medication, and knows that she is not permitted to touch it under any circumstances. Though I have to ask, which meds "could have horrible ramifications if they are even touched by your child"? That is a scary thought.
Scoliosis fusion w/rods (92); herniated disc (96); partial removal of rods (97); microdiscectomy (97); pain worsened (08) when my kid was 15mo old; tried many non-surgical treatments with limited benefit; surgery scheduled for 3/1/11

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 2/15/2011 10:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Dam; I know what you are going through as I too have had S1 thru L3 fused as well.  Of course, my surgery was done in a matter of a two level fusion the first time (S1 thru L4) and L4-L3 two years later.  Then a revision cause the fusion didn't take. Plus one of my screws came loose so they did the anterior to fix it in 2004.  Sucked, but my hubby came up with a real good idea.  He decided that since we had a waterbed and you know how waterbeds are, that we would rent a hospital bed and I stayed in the living room for two weeks.
My son was 14 when I began this process and pretty much knew what mom was going through, but dealing with little ones is a tough one to handle.  I think that retired gave you some wonderful advice, so I really don't have anything else to add to that.  Just make sure you do every single thing the doctor advises.
hugs and good luck.  I will pray for a good outcome for you.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 2/16/2011 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I wish you good luck with your surgery. I can't give any advice about talking to your little girl about your surgery because I don't have any children and I haven't had surgery either. The others have given you some great advice, it sounds like. Take care of yourself.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 2/16/2011 1:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Will insurance pay for a visiting nurse? The answer is maybe. It all depends on your policy as well as if your doctor thinks you need one.

Now this does not mean that you can't get help while you recover at home. Your insurance may pay for an aide to come in for a few hours anywhere from daily to every few days (once again depends on your needs and what your doctor says). Also many areas have volunteers who will come in and help out. The social services office at the hospital should be able to tell you what options are available.

I had surgery on my arm and hand due to nerve damage a few years ago and had to also care for child who was about 3 years old. What we did was make up a bunch of sippy cups of juice, water and milk and kept them in the fridge as well a made up snacks and meals that could be served cold or simply put in the micro. We did this every day until I could once again use my hand and arm.

When my kid was 1 y/o I was in the hospital for over a month and it took about 2 weeks after I got home before I could care for him for even a few hours during the day when there was no one else around. During this time we sent him to stay with his grandparents. I hated doing it and missed him terribly but in the end it was the right thing to do and it also provided me with incentive to push through things and get well sooner than expected.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 2/16/2011 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of your great advice.

Jim1969: I'll have to look into the visiting nurse thing, or volunteers. In regard to sending her to stay with her grandparents, that's not a feasible option for us. Three out of four of her grandparents still work full time, and the fourth is not an acceptable option. Also, most of them live 1-2 hours away. My mother-in-law will probably be able to come and stay in our apartment during the two days when I'm in surgery. This way, it will be less of a disruption in her life -- same house, same bed, can still go to preschool each day, etc.

Pebbles225: Here in Boston, I've never seen volunteers for this type of stuff, but I have seen "mother's helpers" who come to help with the child(ren) and do basic house chores (day-to-day type stuff, not deep cleaning). The hospital bed idea sounds interesting as well, but I have no idea where I'd put it. Where did you put it while you were recuperating from surgery? We don't have a spare bedroom, which would be the obvious choice.

I also spoke to the head of the Work/Life Office at my work today, and they gave me some more advice about this. I'm feeling a bit less anxious now (but just a bit).
Scoliosis fusion w/rods (92); herniated disc (96); partial removal of rods (97); microdiscectomy (97); pain worsened (08) when my kid was 15mo old; tried many non-surgical treatments with limited benefit; surgery scheduled for 3/1/11
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