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Finally headed to fusion surgery

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Forum topic by Tennessee posted 04-14-2018 12:35 PM 692 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tennessee

2880 posts in 2636 days


04-14-2018 12:35 PM

Well, after struggling off and on since 1976 with that first blown disc, my Neurosurgeon finally said we need to pull the trigger, fusion surgery from L4 down to S1, with an additional Microdiscectomy on L1-2 at the same time.

I had a Microdiscectomy on L4 back in 2015, but blew it out when I hit a tire ditch in my front yard last summer while on my riding mower, left by the truck that dropped off the shingles for my new roof. Didn’t even know it was there. Next day, same old crap, couldn’t walk, pain all over. Lot of you folks know what I am talking about.

We went through the usual insurance “lowest cost first” crap, pill regimen first, followed by a series of epidurals, and finally pulled the trigger on the fusion.

Only problem I have is I will be wiping out a summer in rehab, and when you are getting on towards 70, you don’t know how many summers you have left. I’ve packed my gallery with extra stock, told my music store that I will be down for quite a while, (got two last repairs this weekend), and will have to turn off my Etsy store for a while.

I have good doctors, (all five star rated), and a great hospital, (Erlanger in Chattanooga), so no worries there, and good insurance, between medicare and my Tricare for Life being retired Navy.
So it should be all good, just no humping planks of wood for about five months, no motorcycles, no golf. Argh! All that sunshine wasted!
I plan on taking up woodburning for a while with a Burnmaster I bought with my tax refund!

I go in Wednesday, 4/18.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN


19 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1318 posts in 284 days


#1 posted 04-14-2018 01:13 PM

wow – that is serious dude…. wishing you a very speedy recovery!
Tricare will take very good care of you – no worries there mate.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

4579 posts in 834 days


#2 posted 04-14-2018 01:46 PM

hi Paul …i know where you are coming from with pain as i to have had a : as surgeon called it a super herniated disc i was pretty bad before my fusion surgery loss of bowel and bladder functions ,,soo i do wish you the best recovery possible i will pray for you sir….. GET WELL SOON :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1626 posts in 2254 days


#3 posted 04-14-2018 02:08 PM

Tennessee, You’ll certainly be in my prayers. Yes, Chattanooga has Three wonderful hospitals, Erlanger being a supreme teaching hospital with renownded doctors.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@outlook.com

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1115 posts in 1030 days


#4 posted 04-14-2018 02:43 PM

Aw shoot, Tenn. Sorry to hear about that. On the plus side, when you’re finally done with the recovery, the chronic, nagging pain and merry-go-round of doctor’s visits and epidurals and daily swallowing of fistfuls of Motrin will be a thing of the past.

Looks like you’re a well practiced pen turner. Can you continue with that endeavor while you’re on the mend?

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8690 posts in 2964 days


#5 posted 04-14-2018 09:00 PM

I’m rooting for you Paul.

I do understand about limited productive time. Not laughing.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2880 posts in 2636 days


#6 posted 04-15-2018 01:35 AM

Thanks to all…
I think I can do woodburning, lichtenberg burning, and maybe some pens.
I have built the two lichtenberg units, one a microwave, one an oil furnace transformer. The big deal is the 5-7 lb. weight lift limit for the first month. Not even a gallon of milk, which is 8 lbs. Or a carafe of coffee, which is about 7 lbs.
With the help of my loving wife, and my Lord Jesus, I will get through this just fine. Took one of my motorcycles out today for maybe the last time…filled the tank and put on the battery tender. Have to cover it in a day or so for the summer.

I also am introducing a line of wooden jewelry into my gallery, they seem excited, and it is all scrap wood, (small pieces), that I can handle with the limited time I am allowed to spend on my feet. So all is not lost. Just to touch wood will be good…

Again, thanks to all, and this site and the members are just the best!

I think the worst part is I delivered my last guitar today – and the guy who bought it, (his second), had a friend over who played it. He loved it, and his friend is best friends with Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters. The guy said he thought the Kentucky Headhunters would be very interested in playing my guitars on stage. What a bummer of a time to finally get maybe famous! He wants all the pictures of all the guitars I have ever built, to show to the band. I tell them I am down for a few months, doesn’t seem to faze them. We’ll see. Funny how things work. Fame and fortune are a fleeting thing, no doubt!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View mudflap4869's profile

mudflap4869

1832 posts in 1581 days


#7 posted 04-15-2018 02:43 AM

I kind of understand what you are going through. I fell in 2015 and had to have a piece of steel put in my neck. I had to totally learn to walk again and still use a cane constantly. Busted my lower back in 1967 and suffered the pain until 2016 when I finally found a Dr who knew what I was going through. He implanted an electrical device in my lower back that sends a current to the damaged nerves somewhat reducing the pain. (If I remember to charge it up daily.) I will be 70 on the 20th of April, so we are about the same age. Rode hard and put away wet was always the lifestyle for both of us. Now they wont let me lift hardly anything, and being blind in my right eye prevents me from making precision cuts, so my playing in the shop isn’t what it used to be. I’M ROOTIN FOR YA BROTHER!

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

8690 posts in 2964 days


#8 posted 04-15-2018 02:53 AM

Get a comfortable stool and an assistant if the guitar gig comes through. That was great to hear.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3455 posts in 2110 days


#9 posted 04-15-2018 11:50 AM

Good luck and take care. I have the same area in my back fused. It has been a great help but not perfect. I wish I was 20 years old again.

Get well quick and do your physical therapy.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2880 posts in 2636 days


#10 posted 04-23-2018 12:55 PM

Well, they got in there, and found more damage to my lower back than the MRI had shown. They ended up including another vertebrae, and locked it all together with the titanium thingy and the high density polymer discs, although it took 8 hours under the knife instead of the 4 they originally said.
My wife was going crazy in the waiting room. By the time the head surgeon got to her at 3:30PM, she was just a mess, or so they told me. She was just glad to see me.

I woke up in an ICU room, with five nurses from the OR and the ICU all shouting questions at me to get me alert, (where are we, what city are we in, what’s my name, etc.), and all I could focus on was a clock that was on the wall. It said it was about 5:15PM, and I had gone in at 7AM. Whhaaattt!!! I didn’t know what room I was in, where my wife was, or how it had gone. Had about a dozen tubes and things still attached and in me. Finally around 7:30PM I heard my wife call into the ICU nurses desk, and after they got off I called her with my cell phone they had given back to me. I spent 24 hours in ICU just to make sure everything was all right, then they put me a big single private room on the top floor.

But I recovered pretty quick from the initial operation, and they said I could go home Saturday afternoon, only three full days after I came in. Rather amazing. Little constipated, but one day at a time. Part of me thought one more day might be good, but the food and the bed was enough to make me want to come home. Have never figured out why hospital food is so bad, and how it can be so bad, and why hospital mattresses are always so lumpy and not remotely comfortable.

I’m really sore in a lot of spots, the incision is larger than originally thought, (9 inches on the front, 2 inches on two each on the back plus the micro disectomy incision up at L1), and I’m in for a huge rehab, but safe at home for now.

So overall, L4-L5-S1 were fused, and L1 was given a micro disectomy.

Turns out they had to be in front and back at the same time, with me on my side so they could do all they wanted. The main surgeon said the vertebrae on the fusion were tilted, grinding against each other, just a mess. He asked me how I walked before the operation…
But he said that the bracket took well, they got the screws into solid bone, and it all should be good when physical therapy is over.

Redoak49, I sent you a PM, but I also have an artificial knee, my left one, so this is not my first rodeo.
I know the stuff they replace in your body is just not as good as the stuff God gives you. We’ll see – I’m pretty good at the therapy, I want to be as good as I can. This was pretty much the last call on my back, I have to make this work.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1115 posts in 1030 days


#11 posted 04-23-2018 01:01 PM

God speed, Tenn. Hope you’re back on your feet making dust ASAP.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10842 posts in 3550 days


#12 posted 04-23-2018 01:08 PM

Now, take it one day at a time. Don’t rush it. Best of luck. May your road forward be pain free.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1626 posts in 2254 days


#13 posted 04-23-2018 01:23 PM

TN, Glad things went so well. Gosh that was a long surgery, I’m quite sure you’ll recover well w/theropy. Where was it performed? Erlanger, Memorial, Vanderbuilt?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@outlook.com

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1318 posts in 284 days


#14 posted 04-23-2018 01:27 PM

wow – thank you for the update and hope you have a speedy recovery
and a very healthy and fulfilled lifetime of being back to “normal”.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

4579 posts in 834 days


#15 posted 04-23-2018 02:04 PM

it is very hard on our loved ones when the time runs over I’m glad all went well for you now i wish you a good recovery back :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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