Medication following Spinal Fusion – Days 8 & 9
Upon my release from the hospital following my surgery for the fusion of my L4 and L5 vertebrae, I was provided a script for Tylenol #3 with Codeine for pain and Robaxin, a muscle relaxer. The TC3s stated that 1 to 2 tablets were to be taken every 4 hours as needed for pain. The Robaxin stated that 1 to 2 tablets were to be taken every 6 hours as needed for muscle spasms. I took one TC3 about every 4 – 5 hours the first three days I was home. There were some mild aches and discomfort associated with walking regularly and wearing the brace all day which pushed on my back, my ribs and (in my best Forrest Gump voice) my buttocks. I only took the Robaxin at morning and bedtime.
The impact of the Robaxin was to dry out my mouth a little bit and make me want to nap during the day. I did not want to nap during the day as the impact of the TC3s was to make me wake up practically every 2 hours at night. Some of those times I would have difficulty getting back to sleep – as long as an hour. During those wee morning hours, my mind would race. I decided I did not want to take any naps during the day and my back was not locking up or spasming out to any degree of discomfort that I could not handle so I laid off the Robaxin during the day.
HERE IS A MISTAKE I MADE ON MY MEDICATION FOLLOWING MY SPINAL FUSION. On day 8, Tuesday as I recall, I took both medications when I woke up at 4:30 am. At 10:00 am when I decided to take a TC3 (Tylenol with Codeine), I grabbed the wrong bottle and took a Robaxin. I made the same mistake at 3:00 pm when I was feeling a little more achy and sore than I had the day before. Imagine that. I did not notice my mistake until 9:30 pm when I grabbed both bottles to take one of each and go to bed.
It had been 17 hours since I had a pain pill – so yeah! I was a little more stiff and achy. And yeah! My incision did not feel as good as the day before! But what hurt worse was My Male EGO! This was the first day my wife left me alone for any period of time. Lesson to learn is this, “Be sure to know what medication you are taking and how much!” I took both the TC3 and Robaxin at 9:30 pm and when I woke up and 1:00 am I was back to feeling okay, except for the fact that it was 1:00 and I was awake.
Day 9 – Wednesday was relatively uneventful. I took the right meds (on my own!) at the right time and everything went okay. I went to bed at 10:00 pm and slept until 12:30 am when I woke up. I also woke up at 2:30 am and 4:30 am. At that point, I got up and started Day 10.
My goal for Day 10 now became to wean myself off of the TC3s and to get on the regular Extra Strength Tylenol. I started off the day with a TC3 and Robaxin at 4:30 am. The same time I took an Imitrex for a migraine. I just kept tossing and turning in the bed so I moved to the big navy blue recliner. I know, it is harder to get out of but I was planning on sleeping for a while. I did, until 6:00 am. Felt good too. I got up okay and started my day of rotating between chairs.
10:00 am I took two Extra Strength Tylenol. I had gone for a 10 minute walk inside at 7:00 am so I now went for a 16 minute walk outside. I felt good.
Another couple of Extra Strength Tylenol at 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm and I now think I am off of the TC3s. I will see what the night time brings as far as a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, I will not wake up every two hours ……
Well, so much for that! Day 11 began at the early hour of 12:30 am and it began with some pain in my hips. I could not log roll or get comfortable in bed. I went ahead and took a TC3 for the pain….as I was definitely not ahead of the pain. I think I woke up because of the pain associated with tossing and turning in bed. I woke up again in a couple of hours. 2:30 and 3:30 and then I moved to chair in the living room so that I would quit tossing and turning and get some sleep. LESSON LEARNED: Okay, try to get off the prescription meds, but don’t be stubborn, go back on if you need to. Today, I will see how it goes and take as needed. Maybe one TC3 to start the day, Extra Strength Tylenol during the day and another TC3 at bedtime. At least, that’s the plan. (Note: one of the side effects of the TC3s is some pretty weird dreams. I would be having some crazy dreams and in the middle of the dream think “This is stupid”. So be prepared, you may be at work thinking you have a new team that starts off the day with Ninja calisthenics all the while remembering that you are not supposed to exercise. Or you may have dreams where Zombies will chase you….but that’s okay because you can fly and you have already practiced your Ninja moves in a dream before!
All in all, just be aware of your pain level. Try some Extra Strength Tylenol from time to time to see if it works okay for you. My next consideration if I cannot get to a good sleep pattern is to ask my doctor about some Ambien or something. Today I will try the pain mgt plan referenced above. I’ll keep you posted; remember, God has your back.
Dear Pastor Stephens,
I had my L4 L5 spinal fusion 11 days ago. I have been wondering if my inability to sleep more than 2 hours and the leg aches I have are normal as well as I cannot see to get comfortable in any chair. I have read through your recovery records and am happy to hear that what I am experiencing is not all that abnormal and that there is hope of it all getting easier. Thank you for providing such words of comfort p, support, and ecouragement. I am happy for God’s blessings in my life and at times like this I need to turn to Him more then a ever with praise and thanks for the surgery and talents of the surgeon who are helping me and I want to give back in some way to others going through this. Thank you for the help in changing my mindset and seeing this experience in a different light. I will be taking your advice. God bless you and your family.
Glad to hear that the blog has been some comfort to you. The Lord is indeed an awesome, merciful, graceful, loving and healing God. Sorry to delay in getting back to you. My wife and I just got back from spending 6 days in Puerto Rico celebrating our 28th anniversary. It was beautiful. I woke up every morning and ran 4 miles and then spent several hours snorkeling, hiking in the rain forest, walking around old San Juan (up and down the hundreds of steps on the fort – San Cristobal), and doing all the things that tourists do. My back held up very well – even during the 6 hours total spent in the airplane seat on the way back. My first day back I was able to play on the floor with my 2 granddaughters and give them “pony rides” and pick them up and wrestle with them on the floor. My second day back in town I played basketball for two hours and ran with young men in their teens and twenties and I was blessed to have plenty of stamina and able to play hard the whole time without having to take a break.
I don’t know what you do for fun and relaxation but I am sure that with time the Lord will heal you and help you to enjoy those things again. Keep your mind focused on doing what the doctors ask you to do and focused on standing firm in your faith. I trust that the Lord will bless you and watch over you. You will be in my prayers.
May God pour out His favor and grace upon you and your entire family,