Sarah's Essential Checklist for Spine Surgery: Part 3

We've been telling Sarah's* story as part of our blog series focusing on how a mother to young children prepares, undergoes, and recovers from spine fusion surgery.

Read Part 1 and Part 2

Part 3 in our series will focus on the items Sarah felt were essential to helping her cope with spine surgery.

See Essential Items for Back Surgery Recovery

Sarah signed up for the free pre-surgery class offered at her hospital, where she got some advice on items she may need. She commented that the class was also a great place to meet other spine patients, and that the instructor was very helpful in answering all of her questions.

Another great way to connect with other spine surgery patients is on the Spine-health Forums in the Surgery Buddies thread

The class instructor had this list of suggested items to buy in preparation for spine surgery:

  1. An unlimited 2-week hospital parking pass. The pass cost $30 and was transferrable to Sarah's visitors. The pass allowed her family to stay overnight without racking up high parking costs. Check to see if your hospital offers this convenience.
  2. A 30" grabber. These come in handy especially if you are tall. The grabber can help you pick things up off the floor without bending over.
  3. A long-handled shoehorn. This item will help you put your shoes on without bending over. I found one for a reasonable price on
  4. An apparatus that helps put on socks. Easier Living Homecare advertises a "Sock Aid" that helps you put socks on without bending over.
  5. A long-handled bath sponge. These can be found in any drug store. I found one at
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  1. A cast scratcher. This long handled tool will help you reach itchy spots. Many patients suffer from morphine-induced itching on their legs immediately following surgery. Since you won't be able to bend to reach your itchy legs, the cast scratcher may come in handy. Sarah bought hers from the Self Care section of Bath and Body Works.

  1. A hanging shower caddy. Find a shower caddy that hangs from the shower head or the door, so all of your products will be at face-height.
  2. A memory foam wedge pillow. Use the pillow wherever you need extra support throughout the day and night.
  3. See Different Types of Pillows

  4. Pill Reminder app. This app will help you stay on top of your pill regimen so you won't go too long without your prescribed pain pills. Staying ahead of the pain by timing your medication correctly is extremely important.
  5. Read more: Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

  6. iPhone with Facetime. Sarah knew she would miss her children terribly immediately following her surgery, but that she would be in too much pain to visit with them in person. She used Facetime in the early days following her surgery to virtually visit with her children.

Let us know if we left out any items that helped you recover from spine surgery on our Facebook page.

See also Prepare Your Home for Post-Op Recovery

In Part 4 of our series, we'll take a peek into what the first few days at home following surgery were like for Sarah and her family.

*Sarah's name has been changed to protect her privacy.

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