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Driving

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello Fellow Spineys,
Well a week ago at my 2 week post-op check up, my NS said I can start water PT and I can drive when I feel safe to do so. So today the kids went back to school and I decided I would venture out to the YMCA on my own . I am still in my TLSO brace for six weeks, so I got myself all prepared in swimsuit, etc, brought my walker and hoisted myself into my Tahoe for the 15 minute drive to the YMCA. Everytime I get into a car I pinch my butt between the seat and my brace, very annoying :B So I figured I would drive down the block and if all seemed well, I would head on to the Y and get into the warm therapy pool :) Well besides a big ache in my back it all was going well, and I arrived safely. Unfortunatley I got there to discover that the pool is closed for renovation :( Sadly there isn't another warm pool around here anywhere. So, I confirmed I can still drive, but no therapy for me yet unfortunately. Since I was out and about I stopped at a drug store to pick up a couple things (should have taken in my reacher). So it does feel good to get back some independence by driving.
Now all afternoon and evening my back and hips are yelling loudly for they apparently didn't enjoy my adventure :D I am settling them down with alternating heat and ice packs. I still consider it progress! Take care, and hope everyone is safely behind the wheel soon.
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Comments

  • Thanks Paulgla, yep it felt great to feel like I wasn't confined to the house anymore. My daughter has driven me around to my appts lately, but she is back to school today, (actually started college locally) so it is great to know I can get around town again on my own. Granted I don't plan to venture out on any long rides for sure, as it was quite uncomfortable. I did feel however that I could handle the car well, braking, steering, looking over shoulder, etc. Thanks for reminding me about the pain meds. I have been concerned about that as well. I have been tapering down so far well tolerated. This am I took 1/2 Norco, then it was 4 hours later before I drove, so I felt like it was pretty well worn off, (explains the ouchie back). I am a nurse, so also I can't be on narcs at work. Used to rely on lots and lots of 800mg IBU, but since that is a no no now, I have to be able to get off this stuff before I can go back to work. I know there are chronic pain sufferers out there who work and drive regularly on high doses of meds. My ex husband used to scare me sometimes in his vicodin coma while driving. He didn't see it as a problem and so far he has been lucky, but yep it worries me. I don't like how I feel on meds, but they are a necessary evil at this point. I plan to really limit driving and plan it out around meds. My daughter knows I am still relying on her to do most of it, and pick up her brother etc. (she's driving a car I own, so she knows she better cooperate or I can ground her wheels to the driveway). Thanks, Sue
  • Grounding her wheels to the driveway. Haha. That is an awesome way of putting it.

    Anyone drive standard after their surgery, or only automatic? My car is a 5 speed, but my bf's is an automatic. Thinking maybe I should use his for a while.....
  • My NS told me I can't drive a stick for THREE months! And even then, he said it was not good for my back-so we traded in my beloved car and bought a new automatic sorrento. So, now-I can drive 6 weeks post op. I never took any pain meds after surgery but they still want me to wait the 6 weeks to drive.
  • OH! And they did caution me about some states not being legal to drive with a back brace-which I have to wear for three months. Thankfully-FL is not one of those states-but he did say that if I were to get in any kind of accident an attorney would jump all over me if they saw me wearing a brace.
  • I will be recovering from two back surgeries during the winter months. I understand that walking is good and necessary for recovery and fusion. So, I hope I will be able to drive to the mall so I can walk indoors.
  • My first surgery I was told 6 weeks off then only if I feel comfortable, which was a laugh

    2nd surgery said wait til your comfortable.
    I barely went out for 6 weeks and my post op check was not comfy getting in / out of car.

    Then I struggled with reversing, twisting in my seat! lol!

    Medication - I guess the police would not be very sympathetic if they stopped you / accident scenario and took bloods. In a court how on earth do you prove you were fit to drive if you were involved in an accident and taking opiates? Tough one. Worth asking the docs maybe?

    Anyway, take it easy.
  • I'd hope that someone wouldn't be driving if they felt dizzy or cloudy. I've been taking narcotics for a while, and often, so they don't make me feel anything except knock the pain down a little. Generally police don't take blood tests, and you have to consent to that, anyway. They cannot legally force you to give blood. The only things they can do without arresting you or charging you is a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. Unfortunately I know many, many people who've gotten in trouble for DUI's. Also lived between two cops when I lived with my mom. The police and legality really shouldn't be a concern... It should be much more so if you felt like your perception was off a bit, you should stay home for the point of not risking your own safety or that of anyone else on the road. If you're fine with your prescription medicines, and feel okay physically, and it's not against your doctors order, then there really is no reason to refrain from driving if need be.
  • Yep, this is a sticky issue. I am gonna have to check on CA law to see where I stand. I figure if something happened and you have a positive blood test, not sure if they can tell if you took more than your prescripton or not, or maybe your just SOL anyway in that instance. I think here in CA, they can test your blood without consent. They bring handcuffed DUI people into our ER all the time for lab draws. Now I never heard/or dreamed of there being a problem/law against driving with a brace on. I am just going by MD instructions and he said wear it for 6 more weeks, and you can drive when you feel safe. I feel safe, just not comfortable.
    Lo, my leg pain is left sided, so it helps that I only have to use my right leg since I have an automatic. Would probably be wise to switch cars with your BF for a while. As far as knowing when you are foggy, I know my ex thought he was safe, but couldn't keep the car in the lane, and more than once I forced him to pull over and let me drive. Scarey!
  • driving short trips since 2 weeks out. Once I was off the Fentanyl (made me to dizzy when wearing a fresh patch). I drive a newer grandcaravan and have not issues getting in/out or seeing to back up etc.

    I take 10 mg Norco and 5 mg Oxycodone and seem completely fine. Before my surgery I was taking 1-2 5/500 vicaden so my tollerance is up.

    I too want to go to the Y for water walking- but I can't shave and I keep forgetting to get nair..... Not a pretty sight.

    Julie
  • I have hairy legs too, I got my daughter to help me a little to shave them a couple weeks ago, but she was all grossed out to have to help, so I won't ask her again. My occupational therapist at the hospital suggested I turn my scrubby on a stick upside down and tape my razor to it and use it to shave. I haven't tried it yet but that is my plan ;)
  • but I told my PT that both of our cars were standards and he said I could drive in 3 weeks.

    I drove for the first time Monday and was ok for a short trip with few downshifts or stops. Today I drove to the pool for my first post-op swim (a whopping 500 yds) and it was about a 20 mile trip.

    Going was on the freeway and was fine. Swim and walk after went great. But the drive home had a lot more stoplights, and they all seemed to be red. Even though I shifted into to neutral so I wasn't holding the clutch in, my leg is very sore now.

    Planning to lie flat for a couple of hours and see if that helps.

    I am thinking an automatic might be a smart purchase.......boring, but pain-free.

    G
  • It wasn't a fun trip, but I made it. I had to go for my neice's wedding....amazingly I did ok. I drove about 500 miles the first day,stopped and got a room, sat in the hot tub. Drove the rest of the way the next day. I am a tough old bird, but I didn't want to do anything to hurt myself. I was relieved that my excruciating leg pain was no more! I used 2 pillows and even turned on my heated seats for some comfort. Worked pretty good! I limited my meds,drank lots of coffee, and visited with my 5 year old. I'm 14 weeks out (2-level alif) I still have quite a bit of pain,but like I said, the leg pain is gone. I told my Dr before my surgery that if I got %50 relief I would be happy. It felt good to go somewhere, I had a hysterectomy in March, and my back surgery in May ,so I've been stuck at home all summer! I see my Dr in September, I guess he'll tell me if he thinks I'm overdoing it! My ol body has hurt for so long that I just got used to rolling with it! I found that all the activity of the wedding took my mind off ME,and I felt a little better. So that's my story and I'm stickin to it!
    Take care,let me know how the swimming goes, I might try it this winter! Sagehen
  • had lumbar fusion 7/28 and was allowed to drive a week later . i stopped taking drugs 5 day after surgery . I can walk 5 or 6 miles a day never realy have any pain except when I get into a car or drive my pickup. I have some little pillows I sit on so i can correct sitting position but anything more than 20 min. hurts afterward and next day . Doc said its a odd complaint . i guess i not alone
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