My dual level ACDF (cervical fusion) surgery went off without a hitch. I spent one night in the hospital, left with no cervical collar, had the expected sore throat, and was driving within a week. After five weeks, I started physical therapy and the upper thoracic and trapezius pain in the neck is gradually dissipating.
The one thing I did NOT expect at all was a bout with depression. Although the surgery and recovery went exactly as the surgeon predicted (and even better than my own expectations), I slid into stages of frustration, anger, and finally depression. By the time I suspected it was related to the surgery, I was gradually pulling out of it. It took about 7 weeks from the start to return back my own level of a normal mood. Once I suspected the problem (equating it in my mind to postpartum depression), I researched it online. In my personal experience, I suspect it was related to the prednisolone (medrol pack) which was prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling. I mentioned the depression during my 4 week follow-up and the response was "yeah, that can happen". At age 60, I've had a couple of other major surgeries, and don't remember this response. In my research, I found that post-operative depression might be caused by the anesthesia, pain medications, and the trauma of the surgery itself, although the articles waffled on pinpointing the exact root of the depression. Apparently some people are more susceptible - those having previous episodes of depression, people with chronic health issues (I have fibromyalgia), and especially cardiac patients.
Had I been familiar with this not uncommon side-effect of surgery, perhaps I would have been more open about it with my family and maybe it would have caused a little less turmoil in my household. As it was, I didn't admit it until it was almost resolved.