Spinal Fusion Recovery - The Real Poop

I honestly didn't research this surgery as much as I normally research things before hand. Mostly out of fear. And, I honestly am glad I did it that way. I would have been far more scared about the surgery if I'd watched videos first.

But there are a few things I wish I'd known before going into this.

One of them was how your bowels handle surgery and pain meds.  

When I was done with surgery, one of the things they asked me was if I wanted stool softeners or laxatives.  At the time, I had attempted one time to get out of bed once and it was torture so I declined the poop meds. I didn't want to get caught having to rush to the bathroom when I didn't feel capable of doing that.

Oh, what a mistake.

The thing I didn't really take into consideration or know much about was how hard core pain killers really stop you up. I'd never had surgery before, nor had I ever been on that level of pain meds for any extended period of time.

I started taking the laxatives and stool softeners once they removed my catheter (yeah, I had one of those) but in hind-site, I wish I would have started sooner.

I was constipated for a week.

On the positive side, I didn't feel too bad. I wasn't bloated or anything and it's not like my stomach was killing me. Then again, I was on really heavy pain meds that entire week so it may have all been muted by those.

In any event, I ended up stopped up for a full week, and I won't go into detail about that first BM. I'll just say.....when it happened, that was a rough day.

My mistake was thinking it would be similar to having a baby. If you're a lady who's had kids, you know about the horror stories you hear about having your first post partum poop. And I handled that each time with a day or so of stool softener and some prunes and it was fine.

This was NOTHING like that. It was worse.

Hard core pain meds made you SUPER dehydrated, among other things. I'm sure there are other things..they depress your system and slow things down too, I'd assume.

Since that first BM, I've stayed on stool softeners daily, as well as eating about five prunes daily and trying to get as much water in a day as I can. And even that isn't curing the issue. Today is 3 weeks since surgery and I think I've BM'd 3 or 4 times. It's gotten easier, but it's still not normal.

Moral of the story? If you're here reading because you're going to have spinal fusion surgery and you are wondering how to care for your self, I HIGHLY recommend taking anything they offer to help the situation in the hospital, as soon as you can after surgery. Buy yourself laxatives and stool softeners to keep at home for after. Maybe get yourself a big water bottle with a bend straw so you stay as hydrated as possible when you get home.

Oh, and get yourself a pack or two of those adult flushable wipes. Trust me, you won't regret it. 


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