Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Post op must haves?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all, :H

So I read the thread about getting satin sheets....going to Overstock.com to look for some on another screen. I was wondering if there are any other post op must haves I should start collecting now. I only have about 3 weeks before my PLIF at L5-S1. My NS said that they will give me anything I need to dress, shower, etc......but there are always those things that make our lives a little easier (satin sheets) that the NS may not provide us with.

I look forward to hearing all your input!!



  • HI Michelle,

    I sent you a PM. :)))
  • One idea in addition to the link paul gave you, is I always stock pile some meals in the freezer prior to surgery. And stock the fridge with easy foods to pull out and eat.

    Of course if you could choose anything you want post op as a must-have, I'd choose a chef and a maid! :))(

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!

    A walker
    A pick up stick
    An elavated toilet seat
    Lots of pillows
    A soaker pad like the hospitals use (to put under you to help someone help you turn over in bed)
    A notepad to write down when you took your meds and when to take them again.
    Lots of help around the house.

    These are ABSOLUTES!!! :D

    Good Luck on your surgery,
    Christina :)

  • you cant forget the supportive partner, mum or dad. they make the world of difference ;-)
  • For the seat on the ride home.....

    is that on that list?

    I know I sound like a broken record but my bag saved me! lol.
  • Since I can never keep a pen around, I would send myself a text message saying when I took my meds. For some reason, I never loose my phone. This worked for me best.
  • get a few straps to tie around your neck with things like mobile phone, and a little pouch with meds.
    These are essential to have on you at all times.
    I would also recommend a long handles pair of tongs like the ones for the barbeque. SOunds silly but I recokon I used to drop my long handled reacher 50 times a day and then sed the tongs to pick them up. LOL
    Tongs also work well for getting washing out of the machine without having to bend over to reach.

    I didn't have a walker once I left hospital, so would think twice about getting that unless you need it.

    With the satin sheets, make sure you put a stip of nonsatin fabric around the edges as you dont want to go for a slip off the side of the bed.

    I did a chart for meds so I could tick them all off as I took them. Just did a blank chart and filled it in when the hospital gave me the list of what and when.
    Also a plastic container to keep all the meds together (except the emergency ones around your neck.)and put a pen in it.

    Get some protien shakes or bars in case you dont feel like eating. You still need to keep your nutrition up and these are easy to store.

    Blessings Sara
  • is the list diff. for neck surgery? just wondering if i will need a raised toilet seat
  • is the list diff. for neck surgery? just wondering if i will need a raised toilet seat
  • I really didnt need to go out and buy anything. Just keep foods around that are semi soft as you might have a hard time swallowing for a lil while

    CHristina :)
  • That the meds in the hospital made me very itchy and as soon as I could get a cheap bamboo back scratcher I did.

    Mine was like $3.00 and very well worth it still.

  • Amy, you have done wonders with this list, so now you are the new official list keeper, unless we can convince one of the moderators to make it into a sticky (I tried, but no success).

    I may have missed it, but the only thing I would add is a Memory foam mattress top (min. 3'' thickness preferred but perhaps a 1 1/2 - 2" would do).

    Michelle, good luck with your surgery!

  • Thanks everyone for all of your input. I want to make sure my recovery is as smooth as possible, as I am sure many spineys do.

    I'm going to keep an eye on this and bump it every couple of days. ;) This is such a great resource!!
  • There is a device that looks like the "grabber" stick thing.
    This device is a special tool for putting socks on.
    I don't know what the actual name of it, sorry.
    This thing would have been so great to have had I known about it pre-op.
    It allows a person to put thier own socks on without bending if there is no help available.

    ....or they are stubborn and too proud to ask for help....
    ....like me :W :))( :H
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Paul - or wear flip flops ;)

    Kin -thanks for sending me the list back when I needed it :) I'll add the 3" memory foam mattress

    Bendy straws too Terry :)
  • Here is the list I have dredged up from when I asked the same question - it's a huge comprehensive list that has grown as people here have gone through the process.


    Handy List for Surgery
    1 of 7

    Food Items
    • Soft foods including: Yogurt, frozen yogurt, ice cream, popsicles, jello cups, pre-made puddings & tapioca, protein bars, cereal, microwave oatmeal, bananas, chicken stock, microwave dinners, frozen pasta entrees, pre-made mashed potatoes, cookies, chocolate, lettuce, salad dressing, cheese, lunch meat, hot dogs, bread, bakery items. o Check for other soft foods that are healthier than this list ☺o People had a difficult time digesting food. Reports include nausea, increased thirst and fatigue so quick meals were essential.
    • Drinks – Plenty of bottled water bedside, Gatorade, Powerade, coke, ginger ale, other soft drinks, yogurt drinks, Ensure or Boost protein drinks, milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, other juices, tea, coffee with cream/sugar/sweetener, Black tea with honey/lemon that soothes the stomach.
    • Frozen fruit for blending smoothies in a Magic Bullet or blender
    • Protein Powder [will assist with bone fusion, particularly if you cannot chew much]
    • Bag of ice – small cubes
    • Ice chips to help dry or sore throat
    • Flexible and long straws
    • Paper plates and plastic cups
    • Candy, sugarless gum
    • Mints
    • Vitamins
    • Magic Bullet (or similar blender) for individual servings o It is great for individual blending/smoothies, etc. which I lived on for the first 2/3 weeks. It is carried in most dept stores, kitchen stores, etc. It is great at blending up ice and much more convenient to have the individual serving size than the full size blender. Magic Bullet also has a website.
    Page 2
    2 of 7 Shower
    Bathroom Items
    • Shower stool to Chair to sit in shower with soap/shampoo/shower gel on another chair for easy reach
    • Non-slip mat for shower
    • Hand shower
    • Long-handled Back scrubber
    • Nylon bath poof instead of wash cloth; easier to hold
    • Exfoliating skin towel. [Body Shop has these and they are great for rubbing off the dead skin and helping you feel fresh, especially if stuck in bed]
    • Toilet riser with or without side handles - $15-$25
    • Bedpan if necessary
    • Walker and/or cane per doctor Personal Items
    • Deodorant body wipes / wet wipes for freshening up (Drug Store has near the Depends. They are a large size.)
    • Pre-moistened facial cleansing cloths
    • Dry shampoo $5 from specialty beauty store
    • Powder – Shower to Shower or other
    • Face cream (I would suggest small sizes)
    • Hand cream
    • Body lotion for itchy skin
    • Lip balm, Chapstick
    • Mouthwash
    • Throat lozenges o Chloraseptic Spray
    • Kleenex
    Page 3 of 7 Personal Items (continued)
    • Wound dressings per doctor
    • Thermometer to check temp after surgery
    • Stool softener o Suppositories for constipation (Some found they couldn’t keep the pills downand/or they got stomach cramps from the pills) Handy Items
    •Grabber/picker – preferably 36” long. Perhaps one in bedroom and one in living room. $10-$25
    • Long handled shoe horn. $5
    • Grabber-like thing to pull on socks with, or think about wearing flip flops etc.
    • Pill Organizer or notepad to keep track of what you need to take when and to make notations of when you take your meds
    • Bedtray
    • Bell or walkie talkies to contact caregivers
    • Microwaveable hot packs –great for aching shoulders, etc. o Bed, Bath and Beyond carries some that have aromatherapy and are especially comforting. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
    • Satin sheets for easy sliding in and of bed. Or satin PJ's.
    • "Turning sheet" strip of heavy fabric that you put under you so that you can have a signficant other pull to turn you over as needed, particularly good for those first few days.
    • Cold packs in freezer prior to surgery
    • Phone near the bed. Get a wireless or wireless adapter from Radio Shack o Cellphone and charger o Blackberry, Treo and chargers
    • IPod, headphones, charger o Update your playlists
    • Books, magazines, audio books, crosswords, Sudoku o Booklight
    • Extra batteries for remotes
    • Remote controls for TV, DVD, etc.
    Page 4 of 7
    Handy Items (continued)
    • Plastic containers to hold and organize items you will use while confined to bed. Also to use after mouthwash or for small trash. o Put all the reading materials, crosswords, pencils, etc. in one. Put personal cleansing items in another.
    • Small, lightweight pitcher for water next to bed
    • Paper towels near bed
    • Small wash basin near bed
    • Small bucket for nausea next to bed
    • Small garbage bags nearby
    • Towel that lies flat on the bed beside you. Put items you may use on top then just pull the towel toward you to retrieve items you can’t reach.
    • Extra pillows to help with comfortable positions
    • Additional sheets, blankets, pillows near recliner, sofa, chair in living room
    • Wheelchair, if necessary
    • Recliner, if possible
    • Think about placing every day items at waist height even if it means storing on counters.
    • Pedometer for post-op walking program Clothing
    • Slip on shoes o Croc shoes with the open back. They are ugly but they are easy to get on, provide great traction, comfortable to wear and were recommended by the hospital.
    • Slippers - not too loose with good soles
    • Soft socks – NAP socks from Brookstone are awesome & keep your feet warm at night. $20/3 pairs
    • Bathrobe
    Page 5 of 7
    Clothing (continued)
    • Pull on pants – make them a size larger so they don’t bother your incision(s); check elastic so it’s not too tight.
    • Front buttoned shirts or zipper tops for trips to PT and doctor
    • Jogging suits
    • Sweat pants
    • Yoga pants
    • Front button pajamas – numerous sets
    • Camisoles or tee shirts to wear under brace, preferably cotton so it breathes. Try the ones with the bra built in. Comfort Items
    • Lots of pillows, body, small, wedge, cervical, etc.
    • 3" memory foam mattress topper pad $100 approx.
    • Pressure mattress or pads
    • Have plenty of sheets, pillowcases, blankets, washcloths and towels ready for use. o Have sheets, blankets, pillows near a favorite recliner or sofa
    • If you are planning on much reading or computer (laptop) work post-op, consider a stand that adjusts in position and height like a hospital bed tray –Brookstone. $150; There are less expensive ones around $60-70. Make sure they fit under your favorite chair.
    • Linen spray to freshen sheets and pillow cases. Use lavender scent to relax and help with sleep. To Do Prior To Surgery
    • Shave, wax, pedicure, manicure, etc. right before surgery. If you have fake nails, think about removing since they may fall off due to anesthesia
    • Hair cut
    • Dentist
    • OB-GYN
    Page 6 of 7
    To Do Prior To Surgery (continued)
    • Update prescription glasses, both reading and regular if you wear contacts since you won’t be wearing contacts much in the hospital or after surgery
    • Give all doctor names and numbers to caregiver(s) as well as next to your bed
    • Put together phone numbers of all concerned family members and friends on one sheet
    • Check with your doctor for handicap sticker
    • All grooming/personal supplies waist high to avoid reaching/bending
    • Organize essential items at home to be within reach, e.g. telephone, shoes, etc.
    • Arrange for care - someone to be with you for most of the first week post-discharge
    • Make sure you give your surgeon a list of your regular medications including the dosage amount.
    • Give blood prior to surgery and/or family members
    • Checks made out for bills, stamped envelopes ready or online payments done in advance
    • Have some cash handy for family members to run errands.
    • Pet care arranged
    • Car keys and house keys given to appropriate caregivers Boredom
    • Magazines, books
    • Audio books
    • Crosswords
    • Sudoku
    • IPod (updated with playlists for recovery)
    • Nintendo
    • DVDs o Order prior to surgery if belong to Netflix or other service
    Page 7 of 7
    Take to Hospital
    (check with hospital in case you receive items during stay)
    • Button up pajamas
    • Back Scratcher, cheap bamboo, invaluable
    • Bathrobe to cover up if use a Johnny
    • Hairbrush/Comb
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Mouthwash
    • Facial wipes
    • Body wipes
    • Hand Cream
    • Facial Cream
    • Lip Balm
    • Lavender linen spray or Febreze
    • For long hair, elastic bands to tie back
    • Loose clothing to come home in o Underwear o Front button top o Socks o Comfortable, safe shoes
    • Magazine, crosswords, notepad, pencil
    • Glasses

    On the day you come home:

    Make sure you put a plastic trash bag on the car seat for easy sliding in and out of the vehicle

    Message from Jujybean

    Many thanks from everyone who made suggestions. I credit all of you with contributions to this list and forgive me for not keeping track of where suggestions came from. Obviously, there are so many items here that if you purchased everything, you would need a separate room to put things in, however, I included many items so people can make their own choices. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Thanks in advance and hope this list makes life a little easier for you prior to surgery. Best of luck.
  • I have been looking for this list since I read on another post to look for it. Yes, it would be great to be in a place where you can find it really easy.

    I have a latex mattress that I swear by, but I would use the memory foam topper on the recliner. it would be softer than the recliner itself. Also it would give extra "cush" where needed and with the plastic bag under a sheet you could move a little bit and the foam springs back.
  • Two things i would add to the above lists (sorry if i didnt see them)

    LOTS and LOTS of prune juice.. the stool softeners didnt cut it for me but taking my pain killers with half a glass of prune juice and i have had 0 problems in that department.. It may taste nasty to some people, but not using it is an even worse consequence. You can try stool softeners and if they work for you, great, but they didn't for me, but prune juice keeps me perfectly fine since i started that, and i am still taking hydrocodone/soma..

    Satin Sheets.. I got 'stuck' on my bed so many times trying to move around and get up, being able to slide easily on the sheets really helps imo.
    I posted this in my other thread but amazon has a decent deal on a set of sheets at the moment, and i own a pair of these now and they work nicely

    And i agree, get a foam topper for your bed.. I went full out and got a tempur pedic bed heh.. But it still gives me aches and pains when i wake up no matter what i seem to do to my bed.. at least my husband is enjoying it!
  • For posting that link. Those are a really good price. I wonder if I can find some to fit my bed.

    Anyone have any makeshift things they've used? I can just barely pay my rent and utilities and stuff for my son... I have maybe 100 extra dollars a month, but I generally end up having to buy toiletries, paper products, etc... Really don't have the money to go and buy most of the things people listed. So I was curious, wondering if anyone was able to just make do with the things they already had? Or can someone just tell me a couple of the most important things to have, and maybe I can borrow some money from my sister or something to get the MUST haves.
  • Wonderful list! I am going to cut and paste it so I can print it out for my family! Good to know ahead of time than trying to figure things out after when it might be too late!
  • First, I got my hair braided (corn rolls). Sure it doesn't look as pretty now since I couldn't take care of it like I wanted to, but at least I didn't have a bird's nest on my head after surgery or at anytime, because I don't have to worry about hurting myself brushing my hair (plus some movements right afterwards are just a no-no anyway).

    Bendy Straws!! I couldn't drink anything without them!

    Softer foods..at least the first few days! Chewing was hard to do the first few days after my surgery. I am 1 week post op and I can chew almost perfectly now, but every day has been a struggle. You have to chew very slowly and the first few days you dont feel like eating as much...which brings me to next:

    Slim Fast or something like it. I wish I would have thought of this. I cried in the hospital because I wanted to eat so bad..I was so hungry and my body needed the energy, and I couldn't even chew, and I felt sick to my stomach once trying. I had my wonderful boyfriend bring me a chocolate milkshake and it was like heaven!! Just hope its not too think because if it is then it will be hard to slurp all that thickness up:)

    Lots of Pillows: They kinda told me I should be sleeping in the recliner... funny thing is, they told me AFTER surgery, yea, I don't have a recliner. I do have lots of pillows and we stacked them in a certain way that I was laying upright enough and comfortable!! :D :X

    A good driver: Sounds funny, but when people are hitting the break too hard, OUCH!! Someone who understands they need to drive a little more gently, take turns smoothly, that really helps....A LOT!

    Someone available all the time: If possible, because hey, your not allowed to lift more than 5-10 lbs. Reaching things in the cabinets hurts too, so either someones cooking or you are eating lunchables all the time!! LOL

    Coffee or tea or something that makes you go when you feel up to it....because the recommended dosage of stool softener just wasn't enough.

    Patience: This one I am still working on. I takes forever to do the simplist things. Chewing small pieces of food took forever because swallowing at first was hard. Everything has to be taken slowly and I am just a naturally fast paced person:(

    Your meds: I kept mine next to my bed at all times. I barely got out of bed I was in pain and tired etc. I had something to drink on standby (with my straw) so if I wake up and I'm in a lot of pain, in go the percocets!!:)

    I hope this helps and if I can remember anything else I will let you know!! :D
  • I would wait until you're in the hospital and then ask them for the reacher, walker, etc that you need as often insurance will pay for these. Also do you have any satin baby blankets left from your son, as I am using one under my shoulders to butt area for turning easily in bed instead of the satin sheets. It works like a charm and is about the size of the turning pads they put under you in the hospital. Turning gets much easier after the first 2 weeks. Many of the items on the list are probably things you already have or can improvise on. I highly recommend the bendy straws though. Oh, and the plastic trash bag on the car seat home is great. I actually got an extra patient belongings bag from the hospital, and it worked great. So far I have just used my plain mattress, no foam topper needed. I prefer nightgowns and ditched the undies the first few days, easier to not have to pull it all down just to pee ;) . Good luck, Sue
  • Hi, and maybe we can become fusion buddies as I have my fusion 9-16-08, and am scared half to death. I am also looking for info on things that will make life a little easier as well. I feel quilty (??) having my husband, and parents taking more time out of their lives to wait on me. I would do it for them and I know they don't care....I believe it's a woman/mom thing. I wish you all the best with this surgery. Please, keep us (me) fellow fusion buddies posted on your recovery. I'm a good listerner too, so vent anytime......again good luck! L
  • This is what I did last year when I had mine.
    I slept on the couch. Of course much easier if your room is upstairs.
    Next to me I kept the walker just to roll and get up. As hubby had no time off.
    I had a feather bed folded in half on the couch so I was high up. 2 pillows behind my head. 1 under my knees. 1 for each arm. LOTS OF reusable gel ice packs as they are more comfy then the hospy ones.
    Kept a basket on the coffee table next to me. Phone numbers, meds, remote, phone, grabber, lotion. Just a bunch of odd and ends.
    Had my toilet raiser but did not need it till I started sleeping upstairs 3wks later. When I felt I was not going to fall down the stairs.
    List of meds !!! I wrote down each time I took them. Believe it or not you do forget especially if your taking them every 4hrs plus muscle relaxer you get a little 8} 8} I)
    Kept the food at waist level. But not much of a appitite.
    Good weight lose program but hey not the healthy type!!!
    Slip on sneakers.
    LAPTOP COMPUTER!!!!!!!! Would be lost if I did not have one.

    garbage bag and 2 pillows to come home with in the car. i only did the 2 pillows and it was a bit tricky getting out. so from the good advice from others through time i am doing that.

    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SURGERY!!!!!! Mine is the 17th of Sept for the 2nd time. BRING IT ON BABY!! :D :D :D 8)
  • Sounds silly, but saves wearing the water/juice.

    How many times did ya spill your drinks? :))(
  • No undies is a typical for me. Nightgowns... Good idea!!!

    Thanks :D
  • Thank you for the suggestions! Very useful stuff :)

    I have a pill box that has 7 vertical slots... and 4 horizontal.. So it's morning, noon, evening, and night for 7 days... it is such a good way to keep track. I set all my pills up for the week and then i don't have to worry about forgetting. I got it at walmart for like 4 bucks...
  • I suggest that you check with your insurance provider before you go into the hospital to find out what they will cover regarding post-op supplies. You may want to purchase some things they do not cover before you're incapacitated.

    For example, my insurance will cover a back brace and a walker/cane, but they will not cover shower chairs, reacher/grabbers, toilet seat raisers, etc., even if prescribed by physician or supplied by rehab center. These things are not considered "durable medical equipment" under their rules; they are "convenience items." So, I'm on my own for all of that and plan to get whatever I think I'll need before I go in for surgery.

    I got a copy of my plan's "Summary Plan Document," which is the very detailed document listing everything covered and all the exclusions, and I've called the provider a couple of times to confirm/clarify.
  • My son bought me something called "porta book" at walgreens for $20...I had neck surgery and looking down at a book was not good, holding it up didn't work too long.This thing is great! I can read, do cross word puzzles and even put my lap top on it and still maintain good posture. It is light plastic that simply adjusts depending on the activity. Also has storage area underneath for pencils, etc.

Sign In or Register to comment.