Editor’s Note: Phil Meade is a 73 year old St. George, Utah man who has shared his thoughts as he decided whether to have a spinal cord stimulation device (SCS). On Monday (July 13) he had the permanent device implanted. In the 5th installment of the series, he tells the National Pain Report what it was like.
I went ahead and had the procedure on Monday morning. Can’t tell you much about it, because I was out. I remember awakening afterward and two nurses were in a hurry to have me walk. I thought it was to get the blood flowing and begin the healing process.
They wanted to see IF I can walk. If I couldn’t, they were prepared immediately to take me back into the Operation Room and remove both devices. I don’t remember anyone telling me about that possibility. The good news (actually the VERY good news) is it went fine.
So onto my rehab.
They sent me home and asked that I walk 100 yards three times a day and build it up to at least one half mile walk per day. That was good for me because you’ll remember one of my goals in having the SCS device implanted was so that I could get back to my active life style of exercise and, particularly, walking the golf course.
As I mentioned, the surgery was Monday and that day I still felt pretty good thanks to the effect of the anesthesia. On Tuesday, it was more painful, but actually not bad. They told me to expect some initial discomfort.
But they didn’t tell me about Wednesday.
It was a BITCH! It took me several minutes just to be able to sit up in bed. It was hell until the pain medication kicked in after breakfast. I took the maximum allowable of Lortrab because of the pain. (In case you’re wondering, one pill every six hours). It certainly helped reduce the pain, but it also caused insomnia and constipation (not a good combination).
By Friday, the pain began to recede, I reduce the pain meds by half and I began to sleep better. Also, and this might fall into the too much information category, I took laxatives which also helped.
I really have had a hard time getting real restorative sleep which everyone needs, and I have long depended on it. The hardest part about sleeping is that I can only be on one side. The Leads are in the middle back and the Pulse Generator (Stimulator) is on my upper left hip. Being a “tossy-turny” sleeper, major adjustments were needed. (By the way, I have no idea if I spelled tossy-turny correctly.)
I am moving around more, and though my natural Irish skepticism will rear its head at any moment, it is fair to say that it’s a “so far so good” experience.
I go in to see the doctor Tuesday afternoon to activate the Stimulator and teach me the nuances of managing my pain through it.