spinal fusion hardware cage

Day 3 I feel the spinal fusion surgery pain 100%

Day 3 post-surgery is when I truly felt the first genuine blast of my full pain level. I felt 100% on this day. And, it scrambled my mind. As I’ve been repeating, I just was not expecting the pain to be this great!

Now, for those reading who are anticipating their fusion surgery and trying to get prepared…or for those reading this who are considering whether they want to get the fusion…let me repeat: I’m just conveying my personal experience.

The pain I experienced on Day 3 was absolutely Goddamn horrific.

But, I’m not saying that’s what’s in store for you. We’re all different physically. Our injuries and spinal problems are different. We have different histories. I’m a 6’3″ middle-age guy who smoked for like thirty years. That stuff factors into the equation.

But, I wish I had read an account like this before my surgery. I wish I had read an account that said,

“You know, it’s possible your fusion won’t be so bad or terribly painful. That’s possible. But, I want you to know that my recovery—particulary the first two months—was pretty fucking brutal.”

I really, really wish that I had read that account!

All alone in the hospital on Day 3

I didn’t have anybody. I was basically alone. I was at the mercy of the nurses. And, a couple of them were not very sympathetic! I wish I were making this up!

I actually had to tell them a few times when they were losing their patience with me…I actually had to say—I’m not making this up!—I said,

“You know, I had a two-level spinal fusion surgery two days ago. They drilled into my spine. You know, this is considered by most people to be a pretty major operation.”

I’m not making this up!

So, if you can have visitors serving as your advocate: consider yourself very lucky!

The overly enthusiastic and unsympathetic nurses

One of the nurses was what’s called an occupational nurse: she talks about whatever career you have and how you can keep doing it. The other one evaluates how much help you’ll need around the house. In my case, I’d have mother to help with a lot of things (at least in theory…it didn’t, unfortunately, work out that way!)

Anyway, these two young nurses came in with a head of energetic steam and enthusiasm. They were greeted by a man—me—who had negative energy and enthusiasm.

They wanted me to get out of the bed. Let me add this: they REALLY REALLY wanted me to get out of the bed.

And, I understand why. It’s very damn important that after spinal fusion you get up and moving! So, I get it. I appreciate that they wanted to help.

But, their sympathy level—on a scale of 1 to 10—was about a 1.5.

I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t even roll to my side. It was frustrating. The way they looked at me. It was humiliating. I couldn’t do it. They gave up and left. I pulled the sheet over my head and slept for hours and hours and hours.

Continue to Day 4

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