Part Two: That Time I Had Emergency Back Surgery

In case you missed it, here’s Part One. Crazy because this whole thing happened almost exactly five years ago – it was all around Labor Day 2006. My plan was to do one post for the story, but based on it’s length I’m breaking it down into three! Here goes Part Two…

The pain was so bad that I was completely debilitated and literally couldn’t even stand or sit up. The only way I was comfortable (and I use that term generously because it still wasn’t that comfortable) was lying on my stomach on the floor – the bed was too soft. My parents came that day coincidentally because they were moving and were giving me a few couches from our old house, and they were also taken aback at my situation, but probably didn’t realize quite how bad it was.

We ended up going to the ER, and I recall lying down on the floor in the hospital waiting room because sitting down hurt so bad. I was taken in and given an MRI and I remember crying the entire time because I was in so much pain from lying down on my back. They found a pretty bad disc herniation in my back, but released me from the hospital with prescriptions for two narcotic painkillers and a muscle relaxer, as well as a follow up appointment at a DO, a doctor of osteology.



The amount of pills they had me on was insane. I was literally taking 2 Oxycotin a day (the only long lasting narcotic painkiller there is), plus 2 Percocet every 4 hours, and 3 flexeril (a muscle relaxer) each day. After that long weekend, I went to the DO as prescribed and was put on a 7 day pack of steroids on top of all the other meds.

That week and a half was a complete blur.

I literally laid on the floor in my room for ten days, only moving to hobble to the bathroom when completely necessary. My dad had repositioned my computer from my desk to the floor, so I just surfed the internet all day long. My roommate would come home each day and see me, still on the floor, feeling terrible. I was in such a desperate situation, but I didn’t know what else to do. The painkillers were making me extremely constipated (TMI, I know) and they weren’t even killing the pain – I still could not sit or stand without extreme discomfort. And I’m talking 12 on a scale of 1-10.

When I went back to the DO the next week, I remember calling a cab and crying the whole way down the two flights of stairs because walking was taking the pain to a new level. The doctor was appalled at my condition and couldn’t believe that I was still unable to stand or walk without extreme pain. He sent me directly from his office to the hospital, where another MRI confirmed that my disc herniation was in the 95th percentile.

Talk about a blur. They had me on a morphine drip for the pain, which again wasn’t doing much to help anything, and I would be watching the clock to ask for more every 2 hours when it was allowed. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and the physician’s assistant came in at 7am the next morning and said the words.

“You need back surgery. Today.”

To be continued…

Have you ever been prescribed pain killers? What was it for?

18 Comments on Part Two: That Time I Had Emergency Back Surgery

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    September 7, 2011 at 8:57 am (9 years ago)

    Painkillers suck. Percocet made me hyperactive, paranoid, and gave me hallucinations after my kidney surgery. No, really, I thought that ninjas were going to break into the 5th floor of the GW hospital so I had to run away. Too bad I had 3 IVs in me at the time.

    I can’t believe the hospital let you out without treating it more aggressively the first time. Not cool.

  2. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    September 7, 2011 at 9:06 am (9 years ago)

    Beth how awful! I have never had an experience like that!

  3. Amanda
    September 7, 2011 at 9:56 am (9 years ago)

    Oh my, I hurt just reading your story. I can relate but I am thankful that whatever was going on with my back has either gone away or hasn’t surfaced in some time. I’m hoping my new body and the working out that I do has made a difference.

  4. Jennifer
    September 7, 2011 at 10:27 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, I cannot even imagine that kind of back pain. Just a little back pain feels terrible, let alone what you were dealing with. That is a crazy amount of pills they had you taking!! I’ve had pain killers after surgery, but truthfully, none of them ever really seemed to do much for me. Well, except for tylenol with codeine I had after I had my wisdom teeth out, those knocked me out.

  5. Angie
    September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am (9 years ago)

    Wowszers.. I suffer from chronic pain and am appalled that they could not manage your pain better. There are other long acting narcotic pain relievers out there such as slow release morphine and Fentanyl patches. Sounds to me like you would have needed something like the Fentanyl patches which are really strong to get you through this. What an ordeal you had to go through. I hope that you never have to experience anything like it again!! Can’t wait to hear part 3 of the story.

  6. Lisa
    September 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm (9 years ago)

    I was REALLY sick in the hospital when I was 19. I had meningitis and pneumonia. I was literally on my death bed. I was unconscious for 3 days and they were going to do a blood transfusion when I finally woke up. I was on dilaudid through an IV and I could tell how people got addicted to things like heroin. I felt no pain on that stuff.

    A few years later I had surgery on my ankle. Excruciating pain. They sent me home with a ton of drugs, no idea what they were now. It barely took the edge off. The constipation was awful–like I think it lasted over a week? The side effects were a nightmare. And it made me never want to take pills for anything. I hate them!

  7. Sarah
    September 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Aw I’m so sorry about your back. I really hate prescription painkillers. They always make me feel loopy. I’ve been on oxycotin several times and I hated every moment. But I’m also the girl who has to be forced to take medication except midol because honestly I’m a miserable biatch without it.

  8. Jenny
    September 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh, my… ugh I don’t even know what to say, this sound horrible. I feel that “sick-to-my-stomach-imagining-what-your-pain-felt-like” while reading this.

    I was given some sort of pain pills after have all four wisdom teeth taken out at once (2 pulled, 2 were impacted, so cut out) and also when my tonsils were taken out (at 20. Yeah, thanks Dr for making me wait till I was an adult to have that done). But, I was so out of it I couldn’t tell you what the heck they gave me.

  9. Roz
    September 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Holy smokes Beth, that is HORRIBLE!!!! The only time I’ve had prescription painkillers was after oral surgery. I’m not sure which was worse, the mouth pain, or the consitpation that followed. You’re MOST welcome for that TMI moment!! 🙂 Have a good, pain free day!!

  10. Ang
    September 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm (9 years ago)

    That sounds so, so awful! 🙁 I can’t imagine.

    I’ve been on painkillers after my wisdom teeth, gallbladder, and tonsils were out. They helped some with the teeth and gallbladder but did absolutely nothing for the tonsils. That was the worst two weeks of my life. Way, way more painful than labor and nothing would touch the pain. I was later given them for shingles and broke out in hives so I guess I’m allergic now! I’m having surgery in a couple of weeks so recovery should be fun! lol

  11. janetha
    September 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm (9 years ago)

    oh wow–just read your back posts! i can’t believe you had to go through all this. re: painkillers, i did take a lot of them when i broke my arm. i couldn’t take oxycontin because i’d previously dealt with an addiction/abusing the drug in my younger years (blech) so i stuck to lortab (and morphine while in the hospital). pain killers make me ITCHY!

    xoxoxo hope you are well, congrats on the move!

  12. Christina
    September 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve had Vicodin for my wisdom teeth, and I’ve been on flexeril and naproxen for my back as well. My back definitely hurt but nowhere near the pain you experienced! That is truly awful.

  13. Mary (A Merry Life)
    September 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow!!! That’s so crazy and horrible. I’m sorry that happened to you.

    I’ve been prescribed and taken Oxy before. The first time I had kidney stones I was throwing up and passing out because of the severe pain so I had to go to the ER and they gave me pain killers so I could manage to stay coherent until it was over. Pain and pain killers are never fun.

  14. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    September 8, 2011 at 8:47 am (9 years ago)

    Holy crap! What a scary story! I’ve had one major surgery and it was just awful. But at least I could kind of move around. I found taking the meds to be the worst part about the whole experience!

  15. Cynthia (It All Changes)
    September 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow. I can’t believe they released you in that much pain. Well I guess I can. I was on Fentynal patches, percocet and flexeril before they did mine.

    It’s crazy how much the discs in our back can be beaten around and one slip or squish too much and they are no good.

  16. Summer
    September 13, 2011 at 9:52 am (9 years ago)

    Is part three still coming?! I’m anxious to see how this story ends!

    • Beth
      September 13, 2011 at 9:55 am (9 years ago)

      Yup it’s coming! =) Either tomorrow or Friday, I promise.


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