Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sciatica Sucks (hopefully no more)

I had the microdiscectomy surgery Wednesday on my L5S1.  The hope is this would relieve the sciatic nerve pain in my right leg.  I've been in some degree of pain since it started in Sept 2009.  I tried many of the alternative methods but in the end, it wasn't getting better.  My spine doctor at Columbia Orthopaedic recommended living with it, more shots, or surgery.  Surgery is a last resort so I decided to seek a second opinion at Missouri Orthopaedic Institute.    The doctor there also recommended surgery and I found him easier to talk to than my previous doctor.  I told him my concern about being able to run after the surgery and he felt there was no reason I could not although there is no guarantee either.  The surgery could possibly make the pain worse or might only partially improve.  I decided it was worth the risk and he removed a couple pea sized portions of the bulging disc and hoped it would stop pressing on my sciatic nerve.

I arrived at noon and was home by 9 pm.  I tried to relax about the surgery but was still pretty anxious since it was my first surgery.  I am guessing that is why my blood pressure was high every time they took a reading.  Also, I think the pain level I have has been keeping it higher than it used to and with the anxiety it was even higher.  Hugh was able to be in the preop room most of the time.  About 2:30 they put some happy drugs in my IV and took me into the operating room.  I remember taking about 3 breaths.

Then woke up around 4:15 in the postop recovery room.  I wasn't cold but shivering so gave me some Demerol and that fixed the shaking.  I was amused by the staff's conversation, but the nurse attending to me said to me if I told anyone they would have to kill me.  Just regular work issues that I was sympathetic too so I won't reveal. 

They took me to a patient recovery room and let me have some ice chips since my mouth was beyond dry and throat a bit irritated from the breathing tube.  Hugh arrived and eventually I was allowed water and didn't help much with the dryness.  Then had some chicken broth and gatorade and felt better.  After going to the bathroom a few times, taking a pain pill, and getting up to walk, they finally released me just before 9 pm.  Before they released me, my blood pressure was ridiculously high at 161/92 so they took again a few min later and had gone down to 151/83.  They thought that was strange since I said I wasn't in pain, but thought I would be fine.  Everyone took great care of me and the worst part was just waiting to be released.

Went home, ate some dinner and went to bed and had a hard time going to sleep since I had to pee so much I guess due to all the IV fluid plus drinking.  Finally slept pretty well but still dry mouth.  No more pain in the right buttock, back of leg, and just a tinge in the calf when I woke up.  The incision wasn't hurting until later this morning so may have to get the pain prescription filled.  They have not scheduled my follow up appointment, but am guessing if all goes well, I will be back to work in 2 weeks.  Right now, it feels the best to just lay on my back in bed so that is how I am functioning today between my laptop and iPod touch.  Answered some work e-mails this morning and will probably start a book later.

Day 2 - I ended up not getting the  pain med even though the incision hurts and it is hard to get up and down off the bed and couch and turn over.  It isn't so bad that I can't tolerate it and once I settle I am fine.  I noticed later yesterday I no longer had the tinge in my calf and right leg feels nearly like the left one.  Now, my lower back which didn't hurt before, hurts because of the incision.  Feels like I have been stabbed in the back, but I am sure will improve with more rest.
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