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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:28 pm 
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OKI'm having a fusion on my lower back L3,4,5 I am wondering how long the recovery will be. Some people say they have been up and back to work after 5 weeks or so and some say 6 monthes or longer I am a phlebotome student and will be done in three weeks and I am doing the surgery right after class is done and don't really know what to expect on the job I do have to do three weeks of OJT so I will get an idea I do know I must bend over a lot I have to get the back fixed it is getting worse evey time I get a MRI on it I can't hardly walk so waiting is not an option if you have had this opertation please tell me how it was, what to expect thanks.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:57 pm 
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I had a L5 S1 fusion in 2005. I was working as a nurse at the time. I went back to work in 3 months. In our lines of work there is no "light duty". When you show up you have to be ready to work, and nobody in the workplace is going to feel sorry for you if you are not.

I had to wear a back brace for 6 weeks or so after surgery and then slowly decrease the time in the brace daily until I was able to go without it. I also went for physical therapy. Surprisingly there was only moderate pain. This was before Suboxone for me, and I was on Oxycodone after surgery.

I felt OK enough to go back to work after 3 months but I was very fatigued for a long time. Looking back I realize that it took about a year to really heal down. Today I have very little back pain at all.

You should ask your neurosurgeon how long s/he anticipates that you will be off work. It really depends on what you are doing. If your job requires a lot of bending which we know that it does, the Dr. will likely keep you out longer. When they do the fusion they usually put in rods and screws, but also a small cage with a bone graft in it, and it takes time for this bone graft to grow in and immobilize the affected areas of the spine. S/he won't want you bending or twisting too much as it will stress the graft area.

This operation was not half as bad as I anticipated. It was successful in the long run. I just had a total knee replacement and the back was nowhere near as painful as the knee. I wish you all the best for your surgery. If you are on Suboxone, be sure to get yourself off it for a few days prior. I found out the hard way that having it in your system at the time of surgery is a recipe for disaster.

~Rossma


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Thanks man I had to leave the fire dept I worked for due to this shit I want to be a Nurse but need a job for the next 4 years so doing phlebotomy in the mean time I am starting my clinicals oct24-nov12 take national test on nov23 and will have surgery day or two after thanks for responding hope to get more info I'm worried the most about getting out of bed after surgery what was the hrdest part for you thanks

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:17 pm 
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The day I got home from my back surgery I took my dog for a walk down the road. It really was not as bad as I thought, but I'm not saying it did not hurt at all. The back brace really helps a lot. Mainly severe fatigue.

When you are in bed after surgery you will need to "log roll" - that is to turn from side to side as one unit to avoid twisting your surgical area. Place a very sturdy straight backed chair next to your bed. Log roll to the side of the bed on which you will be getting out. Get as close to the edge as you can and as is safe. Use the chair as needed for support. Ease your legs out of the side of the bed and come up to a sitting position, using the chair. When you are ready, stand up. If you put the chair there now and start practicing this it will be second nature, and you won't have any problems getting out of bed.

Will you be alone after surgery? if so, plan ahead by getting lots of frozen dinners and easy to prepare foods, and juices. Have everything set up so you can get to it easily. Stock up ahead on the things you may need like toilet paper, soap, dish washing liquid etc. Arrange your home so that the walkways are free from clutter, so you won't trip and fall.

I am hoping that you will be pleasantly surprised by this surgery as I was and that Thanksgiving will find you recuperating comfortably.

~Rossma


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