Surgery and Home Again: L4/L5 and L5/S1 Microdiscectomy

by Mary on November 4, 2016


So I didn’t realize until I talked to my surgeon’s PA that he planned to operate on two disc levels, not one. After all the research and thought process I tried to do I still ended up having important last-minute questions. It came down to Dr. C messaging me his answers with two possible courses of action: cancel the surgery date and come in to talk to him again, or proceed for the following day. He said we could do one or both levels as I decided.

Given that canceling that date would have meant going through the whole lengthy insurance approval process over again, I took a good look at his answers and decided to proceed. Between that and looking out in the driveway the morning of and seeing that my son was still out with my car, then creeping through rush hour in our truck instead with the low fuel light on, it was all very stressful.

Once I got there and prepped, Dr. C showed up and explained his rationale for working on two levels, and I agreed. I’ve gotten in the habit (I’ve had a few ‘procedures’ in my life) of skipping the pre-anesthesia drug that makes you forget being rolled into the OR. Dr. C. didn’t greet me back there but I could see him standing in the corner studying a huge wall screen image of my MRI. I only peeked at the nurses ready to turn me over onto the green padded frame at the center of the room.

And then I was waking up with a couple of decently small superglued stripes along my spine, and fairly shortly being rolled out of the hospital in an uncomfortable transport chair that seemed to hit a lot of speed bumps.

At home I’ve found that only a very firm surface will do, so I’ve taken to resting and sleeping on either the floor or our massage table. In fact this post is being pecked out with one finger as I lay on the floor. It’s ironic given that we have a new bed that I thought would be perfect for my recovery. I’m on an aggressive icing schedule, 20 minutes on and 15 off, thanks to the efforts of my family (including that same son who stayed up most of the night keeping up the icing and meds so my husband could sleep).

Dr. C. told me I should stay lying down with a straight spine except for getting up to walk a short distance every hour. As far as what else I could do, “if it’s not walking, it’s probably bad.” I woke up from the surgery with no sciatica in my legs but it’s since returned. I’m hoping that’s temporary. Thanks to my son for finishing typing this post when it turned out that typing with one finger involved twisting, which I’m not supposed to do. Apparently for good reasons (it hurts).

Signing off for probably a while.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva November 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thinking of you, Mary. I hope you rest up and do not reply to this for a while. 🙂
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Mary November 13, 2016 at 2:43 am

Thanks Eva!


Melissa November 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

So glad your surgery is done, Mary! Hope you can stay comfortable while your body heals. Saying prayers for a swift and full recovery. And as Eva said, just rest up and don’t reply. The blog and the ice will be ready for you after you heal.



Mary November 13, 2016 at 2:43 am

Thanks Melissa!


Jo November 4, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Mary, you are such a trooper. Thanks for keeping all of us fans posted on the surgery. I’m glad to hear that the incisions are fairly small, and that you have a helpful son as well as husband to provide help and ice as needed. Now, let the healing begin. No twisting (even to blog) allowed! We’ll wait for the ten-finger version!
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Mary November 13, 2016 at 2:45 am

Well now I can lie on my back so the ten-finger version has arrived! Thanks for the good healing wishes!


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