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Post Op Experiences: 1st Rib Removal

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Unread 09-25-2006, 02:09 PM   #1
nidia74
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Default Post Op Experiences: 1st Rib Removal

I am asking for those who have had 1st rib removal to relate post op experiences!!
I am finally authorized for surgery with Dr. Avery October 4th. I am trying to plan what to expect and get what I can in place to make it through this experience in one piece! I am a single mom with an 8 yr. old daughter. Thankfully I have a few family members around who are planning on helping as well as some friends. I am terrified and at the same time excited to have a chance at getting my life "back" or at least to reduce the amount of pain I'm in. Life will never be the same and I realize that, but to be able to experience a little more of it would be something truly exciting.

Some of my questions:
1.How was it right after surgery? Day of? The first couple days?

2.What was it was like when you left the hospital?

3.What was it like getting around?

4.What did you need help with? ie. how steady were you, how well could you take care of yourself? Help going to the bathroom? Showering/bathing?

5.Did you need help with the incision at all? Anyone just have incisions above and below the collarbone?

6.How did you manage pain? Did you need ice a lot?

7.What was it like the first couple of days?

8.The first week?

9.The second week?

10.a month post op?

11.two months post op? etc.?

12.How did you deal with meals, dishes, laundry, shopping? Did you use public transportation?

13.How active were you, ie. walking around?

14.What kind of tools did you use to make it easier for yourself? Any tips/suggestions?

Thanks so much for any input. I really appreciate it.
Nidia
--
Injured July,2002: 2 door size boxes weighing 120 pounds fell against my back. Concentra, then Dr. Weddington for Thoracic strain, lumbar strain, did PT and acupuncture, R arm began to hurt 1/03, switched Dr's, Dr. Swartz, MRI April, 2003 showed tendonitis in R shoulder/rotator cuff, slight bulgein neck, changed Dr.'s again after Dr couldn't offer any treatment but meds,off work May/03, Dr. Handleman, good relief from osteopathic manipulations &prolo injections. Continued with acupuncture & PT. I was feeling about the best that I had since the injury until Dr. got a crush on me and had to seek new Dr., worker's comp took 4 months to authorize new Dr., got increasingly worse, Dr. McClure diagnosed TOS, had MRI/MRA Nov/04, cervical epidural Nov/04,Began seeing Dr. Hines for pain management, s/x on R shoulder 1/05 w/Dr. Greenwald, cervical epidural 3/05 for neck which helps, began seeing Dr. Rosales/psychologist for cognitive therapy. Had QME psyche eval w/ Dr. Schnneider. Had AME psy
che eval w/ Dr. Kipperman. Had eval w/Dr. Ansel. Cervical epidurals 01/06, 03/06 and facet block injections 8/06 with dr. Giovanniello. Cognitive therapy w/Dr. Shulimson & Now have Thoracic Outlet surgery approved for 1st rib removal with Dr. Avery in SF.
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Unread 09-26-2006, 12:49 AM   #2
gibbrn
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Hi hope I can help with your questions........had first rib removed July 05.....but symptoms are all back with a vengence......here goes.......

Some of my questions:
1.How was it right after surgery? Day of? The first couple days? felt like a train ran over me....trouble climbing stairs out of breath a lot....very tired....had chest tube and only one night in hospital. Was given percocet....lol was on over 150mcg patch of fentanyl so didn't touch my pain very hard to sleep for over two weeks no comfortable positions


2.What was it was like when you left the hospital?

painful.....but I only stayed one night I was at my folks place so Mom helped a lot washed me in tub and did my hair ourside was nice summer so I lay on sunbed and she did it outside

3.What was it like getting around?
Very tired did not leave house for around three weeks..... sucks but no breath and lots of pain couldn't drive had to be taken to doctors etc.......very short of breath I was very slow and cautious all the time

4.What did you need help with? ie. how steady were you, how well could you take care of yourself? Help going to the bathroom? Showering/bathing? I did most of my own care sat in tub and did what I could...leg hair was a non issue pain was main concern and had to deal with that before anything else. No help with going to toilet lots of stretchy sweat pants comfort was key and no bra of course Mom helped in tub for first few days then I was able to figure it out on my own.

5.Did you need help with the incision at all? Anyone just have incisions above and below the collarbone?I had above clavical incision with dressing I changed each day with Mom's help first few times doctor glued...yeah glued my incision shut so no sutures YEAH it healed well but lots of bruising I put a new dressing on each day after bath washed with saline put on polysporin or some abx cream...no name is fine and then no stick pad and gauze then tape

6.How did you manage pain? Did you need ice a lot? [color="red"]Pain meds were key!!!!!!!!!! I had to find right dose and amount but had trouble sleeping till I saw family doctor who is a godsend!!! I did not ice, but did do gentle movements and stretching as I could not too much it was too sore....Ice would be 20 on then 20 off WHATEVER works do it!!!

7.What was it like the first couple of days?
first couple of weeks were hell from poor pain management and then things got better couldn't have a good sleep. hypnosis tapes helped a lot....pm me if you want some for pain control happy to email them to you

8.The first week?see above

9.The second week?see above but got a little stronger breathing easier and could do a little more like wash my hair with help and more stairs and moving around

10.a month post op?was much less pain doing more and felt like less of a train had run me over......rom was much better so could do alittle more

11.two months post op? etc.?better.....no more tos pain gradually coming off all meds doing more....physio started three months after sx so my pain was still there but surgical not Tos pain so each day was better could sleep better and deal with inabilities better that was the most difficult part not being able to do what I wanted to do....type A unfortunatley hope you are not and can relax and not feel guilty like I did

12.How did you deal with meals, dishes, laundry, shopping? Did you use public transportation? Mom helped me with all of this until I could drive agian by october i was on my own driving unloading dishwasher (hope u have one!!!!) bur did need help for sure....used left hand to eat with fork only coulndt use right until at least three weeks post op....

13.How active were you, ie. walking around?tried to walk a lot, but shortness of breath was an issue so limited by that

14.What kind of tools did you use to make it easier for yourself? Any tips/suggestions?Million dollar question!!!! I did only what did not cause pain took it easy and thanked God Ihad my parents to hlep me despite my nature to be independant with all things...I am (was) a nurse to cancer patients. Document all things esp calls to comp or ltd as you may need it .....use voice software if you don't already have it Dragon you can get on ebay for about 20.00 us not a bad deal!!! and sooooo worth investment. As for sleeping lots of pillows to get you in the right positon to sleep it was hard to get comfy.........and you will need help with chores....meals and cleaning for at least a month or more


best of luck....any more questions jsut email me happy to help you out...hope some of this helps rather than hinders...!!!! I used to run too will never do that again....so start grieving now....yoga on the other hand is the only exercise i can do so when you feel up to it do what you can Slowly for sure but it is an amazing stretch.......hope you can get back to it I love it.....mental clarity and all!!!!

hugs and support
Victoria rn
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Last edited by gibbrn; 09-26-2006 at 12:52 AM. Reason: adding text
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Unread 09-27-2006, 04:32 PM   #3
astern
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Angry it took 2 hours and PAIN to type this: I need Dragon!

1.How was it right after surgery? Day of? The first couple days?
Right after was tolerable pain. more uncomfortable from the tubes, IV's and pain pumps insered in me! I was able to go to the bathroom right away, so no cathater! You will be D O P E Y. That's a good thing. You'll be weak too. that will slowly come back. But don't try to do things you shouldn't (ie: "oh I feel ok to go lift that book.") you may feel OK from the pain meds, but the tissues aren't ready for that yet.

2.What was it was like when you left the hospital?
Again, very dopey for weeks. Some Dr's don't adequately address pain, I'm sure your's will. But speak up if you hurt. I was on several heavy duty meds all at once, and it didn't kill me. Your body can't heal if it is dealing with pain. I needed help washing my hair and cooking and with all housework. (did I get that? NOOOO. a long story, ending in Divorce.) With my first resection I had lung problems when I left the hospital and had to return for 2 weeks! Pluracy and fever. But the 2nd resection went smoothly and had no adtl issues.

The more time pases after surgery, the more pain there may be, but that's from the muscles/nerves waking up and getting angry. It will subside and is managable with ice or a heating pad, as you see fit.


3.What was it like getting around?
No problem, just moved slowly. I carried nothing heavier than a pillow. You wont be able to drive for a couple months. You may find your center of gravity changed. Just watch that posture in a mirror and practice straight back, shoulders down, etc.

4.What did you need help with? ie. how steady were you, how well could you take care of yourself? Help going to the bathroom? Showering/bathing?
I needed help preparing meals, getting groceries, trips to checkups, laundry and vacuuming. (did I get that? NOOOO.) After maybe 2 weeks you should be able to handle washing your hair, in a modified way. Needed no help in the bathroom. I did need help cutting my meat which I found humiliating. You may need help dressing/tieing shoes.

5.Did you need help with the incision at all? Anyone just have incisions above and below the collarbone?
My incisions were in my arm pits, I needed no help with them. Couldn't shave there for several weeks tho!


6.How did you manage pain? Did you need ice a lot?
LOTS of ice (bags of frozen peas) and LOTS of heat, alternating and sometimes at the same time! This will mess with your bodies' thermostat - drove me nuts! But that too will subside. I took Oxycontin 20mg, Tizatidine 10mg, Valium 5mg and a sleeping pill. Suffice it to say I was trippin' for almost 2 months straight. Then I was able to feel well enough to taper off the meds. Have ample pillows and comfey blankets on hand. I was fortunate enough to have a hot tub too - that really helped.

7,8,9,10... all the same as above. It (time) will blend together.


11.two months post op? etc.?
minimal driving, minimal laundry, food prep, other tasks as you see fit. remember: YOU decide what you are ready to do, not your family.

12.How did you deal with meals, dishes, laundry, shopping? Did you use public transportation?
NO public transport (except cab) - too rough a ride and you cant afford to have someone bump into you!! Meals and dishes: you need help, or use your good arm and only let your bad arm 'assist' the other arm - NO weight bearing. Laundry was manageable, as i could lift a few items at a time and walk them to the machines (walking: good exercise and do-able). Folding: no problem. NO ironing!!! (hear that Victoria?)

13.How active were you, ie. walking around?
I walked whenever I could, but mostly around the house/yard. Great stress reliever! After month 2, I walked 1 mile daily. It's not how far you walk, it's how WELL you walk! Posture, posture, posture. Having a hooded jacket with pockets helped, I rested my arms there a lot.

14.What kind of tools did you use to make it easier for yourself? Any tips/suggestions?
Bags of frozen peas; lightweight/paper plates, cups, etc.; small sized containers (no gallons of milk or huge laundry soap jugs); someone to check on you every other day for a while.

Best of luck and keep us posted as the time draws near!
(((((hugs)))))
Anne
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Unread 09-27-2006, 10:50 PM   #4
gibbrn
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Default you're too funny Anne!!

thanks for the tip...lol
I'll keep that in mind....
I have changed meds.....increased lyrica to 150 tid and zanaflex(tizanadine 8mg(i only took 4) tid....wow was I flying high!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! felt stoned as hell....back to high school or what......lol

Oh.....Nidia one more tip......if it hurts DON'T DO IT!!!!!! and don't EVER be afraid to ask for help you will need it!!!!! Hope you have dragon for after so we can all still help you !!!
Best of luck Victoria
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Unread 10-08-2006, 12:38 PM   #5
astern
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Bumping this up for Rachael and trix.

I may add to it when I feel better
Anne
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Unread 10-08-2006, 04:44 PM   #6
Rachael
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Thanks Astern....this info is most helpful....any others with this experience want to share?? I'm a bit nervous, never had a big surgery like this......
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Unread 10-08-2006, 06:22 PM   #7
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nidia was to have surgery on the 4th. Wonder how she's doing? Hopefully someone will post for her. Wishing her a speedy recovery!!
A.
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Unread 10-08-2006, 11:36 PM   #8
bmofield
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Smile Glad to have an "outlet"!

Hi, I'm Bernadette & glad to have you'all as company. I will be posting soon due to my neck burning like crazy lately. Must be a front moving thru. I had a 1rst rib removal obove clav.& a pec minor release on 4-14-06 & could share alot, but it seems you have already very good responders that sounds like my story already. Take good care. bmofield
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Unread 10-08-2006, 11:47 PM   #9
Jo*mar
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nidia - hope you are resting and healing well.
check in when you are able to.


and Welcome bmofield!!

I'm glad you have found us- hope you can post some more soon.
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Unread 10-12-2006, 12:19 AM   #10
annhere
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Hi,

Did anyone out there have a MRA/MRV/MRI...if so what was the narrowing
( MM ) mine 6mm on the right and 7mm on the left. My doc has suggested
surgery...

Thanks
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