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Post op care spinal fusion surgery

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Unread 06-22-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
pap5
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Smile Post op care spinal fusion surgery

Hi,

If anyone has had spinal fusion surgery (L5/S1 specifically) can you let me know how your post operative recovery went when you first got home after being discharged from the Hospital? How much assistance was required of a Family member and how long before you were able to handle every day tasks in the home. Preparing food, general cleanup etc. How long before you were able to drive a car again, things like that.
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Unread 06-22-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
topsi4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pap5 View Post
Hi,

If anyone has had spinal fusion surgery (L5/S1 specifically) can you let me know how your post operative recovery went when you first got home after being discharged from the Hospital? How much assistance was required of a Family member and how long before you were able to handle every day tasks in the home. Preparing food, general cleanup etc. How long before you were able to drive a car again, things like that.
My fusion was a bit different - I am fused T4-pelvis but I think the recovery would be similar. When you first get home, you will need assistance to do just about everything, but you will recover fast. No housework, no bending or twisting. You may require help showering and you may need a raised toilet seat and a grabber. Write down your pill-taking schedule and stick to it meticulously. The drugs will make you forgetful so write down everything that you take, when you take it. Or hand over the responsibility to someone you trust. As you begin to ease off the narcotics, your head will be clearer. I needed help getting out of bed for a day or two but once the improvements started, things got better very quickly. I walked every day, going further and further. This was the only exercise my surgeon would allow. I was told 12 months off work, but I was pretty much good to go at 3 months. I went on holiday at 6 months where I snorkled, trekked, swam and walked for miles. When I got home, I did a large garden renovation. By 12 months I am doing everything I did pre-op except without the pain. Good luck!
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Unread 07-04-2010, 04:36 AM   #3
Ally
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HI there,

I am 3 weeks post op s1/L5. Im 32.

I'm feeling fantastic, seriously.

I was pretty crap for 10 days, slept ALOT!! My parter had to do everything and I mean everything , we have 4 kids LOL.

This week, I have started to do a little more, I can hang washing (no bending), have started to cook light meals for the family, managed to do a roast a few days ago, I get very tired from this, but I'm building myself up slowly. It's doing my head in watching my house slowly turn into a bomb site LOL, I'm not complaining my hubby works full time, does all the cleaning, most meals etc, so I'm very grateful.


Stopped pain relief about 8-9 days post op,

Hope I have helped, feel free to ask me any thing else =)
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Unread 07-04-2010, 04:39 AM   #4
Ally
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oh yeah , cant drive for 3 months, so another thing hubby is doing so the kids dont miss their sports etc.

Really you need alot of help for a while, they recommend 2 months here in NZ, with no 'bending, lifting or twisting). Also you young kids would have to be looked after by a friend/pre school as it's a safety issue, you just move quick enough should an accident happen in my opinion.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 06:12 AM   #5
pap5
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Default Post op care spinal fusion surgery

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Originally Posted by topsi4 View Post
My fusion was a bit different - I am fused T4-pelvis but I think the recovery would be similar. When you first get home, you will need assistance to do just about everything, but you will recover fast. No housework, no bending or twisting. You may require help showering and you may need a raised toilet seat and a grabber. Write down your pill-taking schedule and stick to it meticulously. The drugs will make you forgetful so write down everything that you take, when you take it. Or hand over the responsibility to someone you trust. As you begin to ease off the narcotics, your head will be clearer. I needed help getting out of bed for a day or two but once the improvements started, things got better very quickly. I walked every day, going further and further. This was the only exercise my surgeon would allow. I was told 12 months off work, but I was pretty much good to go at 3 months. I went on holiday at 6 months where I snorkled, trekked, swam and walked for miles. When I got home, I did a large garden renovation. By 12 months I am doing everything I did pre-op except without the pain. Good luck!

Thanks Topsi4. Great information and very inspiring. I will save your e-mail and refer to it when I am discharged. My surgery is at Mass. General Hospital in Boston July 20th. Although I am looking forward to it and am totally focused on following every step of rehabilitation required to get me back to a physically helathy speciman (I hope to play baseball again with my old timers league), I wish I could have postponed it another year or two until my retirement. But, the sciatica nerve was not cooperating and I was beginning to have too much foot drop in the right leg.

Again, thanks for your great response and I wish you continued good health.
Apparently you recovered totally and are living your life to the fullest.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 06:22 AM   #6
pap5
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oh yeah , cant drive for 3 months, so another thing hubby is doing so the kids dont miss their sports etc.

Really you need alot of help for a while, they recommend 2 months here in NZ, with no 'bending, lifting or twisting). Also you young kids would have to be looked after by a friend/pre school as it's a safety issue, you just move quick enough should an accident happen in my opinion.
Hi Ally,

Very good of you to take time to post your response to my spine surgery thread. I will have the posterior lateral interbody fusion on my L5/S1 vertebrea on July 20th. My neurosurgeion will use 4 pedicule screws, titanium cage plus inject bone marrow from one of my hips to round out the fusion attempt. I'll have have a lamenectomy (I think it's called) for the severe sciatica nerve decompression that has affected the use of my right leg. I intend to focus 100% on my rehab and get myself back to perfect phyical health again. I'm twice your age (kids are grown now) and my wife will be home with me for a couple of weeks. So, I won't have to perform the miracles you are doing with the four kids. Yes, your husband is certainly doing superman work....but you are obviously super yourself.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.....I have taken note of what you endured the first 3 weeks but am surprised you are feeling as good as you are within a month. True, I don't expect to drive for a while....and no twisting, heavy lifting etc. I will follow my doctor and physical therapist's
advice to a tee. You have a great attitude and I wish you the best as you continue on with your recovery.
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Unread 07-06-2010, 01:28 PM   #7
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Hey, just wanted to say hi to a fellow Spinal person!! Don't push faster than you should...all will be well! Sorry about the long post...

This fall will be two years since my 5th Lumbar surgery. When you ask how long you will be down...well it will somewhat depend on how well you handle pain. Of course lifting is a no, no. My second surgery was my L5 S1 fusion. Back then they made me wear a plastic type of well, I called it my turtle shell. I wore this for six months.

I'm going to jump ahead to my last fusion surgery...Walking was a key factor. When I was in the hospital, I walked as much as I could. When I got home I had someone set up to help dress and bathe me however I didn't need her. The Occupational Therapist at the hospital will give you some dressing aids that will help getting dressed a little easier.

I had a hard time changing my dressing but my hubby took care of that for me. I think for the first week friends and neighbors brought meals in.

As for driving as soon as I was able to run short errands without taking any meds that would cause problems with my driving...lower doses. If going somewhere where I was going to be there for a while I would take a pain killer as I arrived at my destination. You know your know body and will know your limitations. My doc said if it doesn't hurt then just be careful!!

I am my husbands full-time caregiver, he was diagnosed with MS in 1986. I had a home health care nurse dress him in the mornings...for about two weeks and then I kicked her out. She was not doing her job so I told her we didn't need her anymore.

Yes, I had my painful days however I had pains that I have had all my life that slowly left me. I was born with a mild form of Spina Bifida, extra ribs and a L6 vertebra. All in all I would do it again just to have some of the pain relief that was mine for so long.

Still there are things I need help with in the house but I do okay. I've learned how to let things just wait until I can do it...now more clean the whole house until it is done unless I want to suffer for a few days. I do a little bit everyday, spread it over the week. Let family help if they will. I learned when someone asks if they can do something for you, I would push a basket of laundry to them. If you say I'll call you they will be busy when you call....

Oh, five months after the surgery I went to Jackson Hole Wyoming to go dog sledding with my hubby...it was wonderful!!

If you need anything let me know!
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Unread 07-23-2010, 06:19 PM   #8
baileyelise
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Hello Ally,

I am 36 and have 3 children (4, 3, and 6 months). I've already had a discectomy L5-S1 (while pregnant last year) and it looks like the disc is now collapsing. I can't believe I may have to do this all over again.

If you don't mind me asking, do you know what caused your back issues? Also, what have they told you about your recovery and taking care of your children. I'd appreciate any stories...I am so depressed to have to face this again and need full time help to care for my family.

Thanks,

Elise
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Unread 08-01-2010, 08:08 AM   #9
im4dexter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pap5 View Post
Hi,

If anyone has had spinal fusion surgery (L5/S1 specifically) can you let me know how your post operative recovery went when you first got home after being discharged from the Hospital? How much assistance was required of a Family member and how long before you were able to handle every day tasks in the home. Preparing food, general cleanup etc. How long before you were able to drive a car again, things like that.
Hi,

I had spinal fusion of L3,L4,L5 in December 2006. Initially things wen really well. The person that came for the purpose of physical therapy only came once as I was all ready doing everything they were planning to have me do. That being walking. I think my initial recovery went more quickly than expected. Driving a car took some time. I believe it was a month before I was allowed to drive. Even then it was necessary to be cautious. While entering the car you need to kind of back in, sit and then turn toward the steering wheel. From the time of surgery forward recovery is a individual experience. Caution is key, NEVER overdo it. Full recovery is approximately one year. If you feel pain or fatigued STOP! Take a rest. Don't push yourself into a setback.

I will say I wish you much luck with your recovery. I am someone whose back surgery failed. The fusion never occurred. I'm also one of a rare few whose bone reacted to the titanium screws and I now have severe osteoporosis in only the lumbar region of the spine.

Best wishes for you.
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