Thaddeus talks about how hard it was to deal with pain medication again after his lumbar fusion surgery. His wife and daughter monitored his pain meds, and he used a pain patch to help him through the first six weeks of intensive pain. As the pain lessoned so did his dependence on the pain pills. Per his doctor’s advice he took to walking as a way to not only build strength and stamina but also to keep his head clear.
The surgical pain was just absolutely intense. It was so strong that I was going through the pain pills, like, twice as fast as I should have.
You know, my wife was working. She would make me a lunch and pack it in a cooler next side to the bed. A sandwich or a drink or some hard-boiled egg or something, I just lay in bed and watch TV all day and take my meds. It's very hard. It's very debilitating. It's depressing, and it's hard to wrap your head around it, and one of the problems was getting more medication. They changed the laws recently for narcotic use to try to control the abuse.
You used to be able to get a prescription and then when you run out, you could just have the doctor call the pharmacy and refill it over the phone. Now you have actually have to have a hard copy script for narcotics each time you get them, and I would call the my surgeon's office and explain what was going on. Well, it happened that my daughter lives near there, and they sent down another prescription for some really strong stuff - Dilaudid in a tablet form, and they also gave me a Fenactol patch which you put on your skin.
So, those two combinations - the pills and the patch - really kept me comfortable, and once you're comfortable, you start healing. You're not depressed and you're not fighting it and your wife isn't worried. Slowly I just started getting better and better and better, but I really had some pain management issues for about six weeks postop, and it was all surgical pain. I didn't have any more shooting pain down my back. All my symptoms were gone. I just started building up my endurance, and now I'm about, well, I've been walking up to two to three miles a day for every day, and I feel great. I don't have any pain.