Surgery experience

L.E. -

Original posting, 2006-01-22

Hello, I have been using this site for information for six months. That is how long I have had my surgery scheduled. I am a nurse and it seems this year we have all been having surgeries, so I waited till the other nurses had come back to work.

I have had many hard falls starting as a child on the playground. I had my daughter at age 23 and my tailbone was sore for months following. Then about six years ago I had a step break while going to the cellar during a tornado, I was holding the cat and was not able to break my fall so I landed full force on my coccyx. After that I used a cushion at work and the pain just kept increasing. My family practice doctor said she had a patient who had pain for the last five years. Said in the past they removed the tailbone but it just isn't done anymore. As I already was on anti-inflammatory drugs for degenerative disc pain she gave me no other options. Two years later I saw a specialist for my back pain and during the x ray it showed my broken tailbone. Two sections and they were floating. After five years of steroid injections every six months. These took the pain away but wore off like clock work every six months. I started e-mailing hospitals and asking them to check out if anyone had done the surgery to remove the coccyx. After a few months I found a doctor only fifteen miles from home. Made a appointment and he confirmed I was a good example for the surgery.

Surgery performed on 11 January 2006, outpatient OSF outpatient surgery center in Bloomington, Illinois. I told them that day that I did not handle pain well and asked if something would be done about that and they assured me that a local would be given as well as the general. I was given one or two milligrams of versed before entering the surgical area. Then more after I was in surgery. A mask was placed over my nose and mouth and I was out. Upon awakening I had more pain in my throat from the intubations than the surgical area. After a couple of ice chips I asked to roll over onto my side as I started to feel the ache in my coccyx area. They helped me. I did not need any more pain meds at that time. My husband came back and we were taken to a private room until I was awake enough to be discharged. The ache was about like I remember when I broke it on the steps. They asked if I brought my pain meds that were prescribed. I had a script for Tylenol # 3's. but I already have ultracet for my back pain so I took two of those. That helped the pain. Ultracet doesn't make me tired like codeine.

Going home not too bad as I brought my round cushion and we brought the car. I have a Monte carlo, they have a large door . So we but the seat all the way down and I placed my hip into the circle and a pillow for my head. This worked great, I bent my top leg and placed my foot against the door, I was facing the driver. This braced me enough for the ride home.

Day one pain is not too bad. Laying on my side with pillow support between my knees. Sleeping this way at night and on my stomach some.

Day two more pain pills, not much different. Went to Dr. office for dressing change. Seven stitches. inc. begins about one inch from my anus and is about three inches long.

Day three pretty much the same. Pain from the stitches pulling a little with movement. Had my husband go to his mothers and get a toilet seat riser as I am getting a cramp in my right leg from holding myself up and it hurts worse than the surgical site. You can not relax all the way on the toilet as it starts pulling on the incision and the stitches. I advise getting one for day one! this is so great! It is the only place I can sit without pain!

Day four through seven pretty much the same. Finally had a bowel movement, use baby wipes after toilet paper to keep really clean. Taking pain pills, hips sore, long week!

Day eight through ten. Took a picture as I am dying to see the inc. I am a nurse, remember, we are all nosey about these things. It is a more red than I would like to see at this time. No drainage no hard spots, and the incision looks great, so instead of dabbing the area three times a day with peroxide as the MD ordered I had my husband take a towel to catch the run off, I leaned over some pillows on my knees on the couch and had him slowly pour it over the area top to bottom. Within one day it started clearing up. Looks great on day ten.

Day ten the stitches tickle and the swelling is down. I place a ice pack over my underwear for about fifteen min. three times a day. this helped the swelling. We went to town. used a cushion with a v cut out and kept the seat all the way back. not too bad. can sit in the computer chair about thirty minutes. Sore but not like the pain before the operation.

I am suppose to go back to work Feburary 2, hoping I can sit up in the car. If not my husband can take me, 35 mile trip and then pick me up after he gets off work. Standing is fine and has been since day one. Its the sitting that will get ya.

I'll update as time goes on. All in all this is not really bad. I had my right shoulder repaired a few years ago and the pain from that was so much worse. I couldn't lay on that side to sleep for about a year. Hope to be riding a bike again by my birthday in June.

So, my advice based on my experience not as a nurse, discuss pain control with MD and on the day of surgery. have baby wipes at home for cleaning and a toilet seat riser. have donut cushion and a cushion with a V cut in it. extra pillows for comfort while sleeping. wear pajama pants to surgery as it will be easier to get dressed after and less painful. if ok with your MD pour the peroxide over the stitches but make sure you dry them well with a new gauze pad after each time do not leave moist. have these supplies before the surgery date and the following if ok with your MD, telfa, gauze pads, paper tape and peroxide. just makes it easier than waiting in the car while someone else goes in to get all the bandage supplies.

guess that's all for now. Wish me well.


Update, 2007-01-21

Hi everyone, it has been one year and I feel great! Having out that broken coccyx was the best thing I ever did. I can ride a bike, sit in the car for vacation all the way to Galviston Texas and back without problems. I can occasionally feel the scar tissue rub over the area remaining but it has become desensitized with time. Not really pain just a odd feeling now. No cushions for me anymore!

Good luck to everyone.

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