The rest of my hospital stay was much improved after that first extremely uncomfortable day. Although, most of the nurses never did get the hang of my pain management medication order. It was a fight every time there was a shift change. I know my doses seemed high to them however, I had been on pain medication off and on for 16 years and had built up tolerance to the lower level medications. My surgeon decided to consult with my primary care doc as well as a pain management doctor from his own group at Southeastern Spine Institute to determine what I should be given to manage post surgical pain. Much thought went into that plan and it was very frustrating to see them refusing to adhere to it. My overnight nurse, Mary Jane, was wonderful and did everything she could to make me comfortable and make sure I had everything I needed. Brian stayed in my room with me all weekend. We didn’t plan it in advance but I have to say that it helped a lot to have him there not only to keep me company but as an advocate. If I had been alone, I am sure I would have been too tired and sore to try and argue with the nurses that didn’t want to follow my doctor’s medication order. He stood up for me and made sure that everything I needed was taken care of. I highly recommend that anyone considering this or any other surgery try and find a family member or very close friend to stay in your room with you and speak for you when you can’t.
My physical therapy began the evening of surgery. I got to my room at about 7pm from recovery and shortly after that a nurse brought me my walker and had me stand up and walk around my room. The expression on my face in this picture should tell you how that felt! Ouch! But I understand it was important for circulation. I also had boots on that inflated and deflated periodically so that I wouldn’t get a blood clot in my legs. Those felt nice, like a massage and I wore them throughout my entire stay.
The following morning I walked down the hall with my physical therapist and walked up and down a little set of stairs at the end of the hall. Having my family there with me helped a lot, their moral support made me want to try harder.