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

How soon post op were you able to get out & about?

TatiyanaTTatiyana Posts: 194
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have cabin fever terribly & I am thinking of having my hubby pack me up & take me to Walmart for a bit 8> ... I don't know how to run one of those electronic chairs they have but thought maybe they still have regular wheelchairs there?

I am 3 weeks out, and not able to do much still. :W
I tried to go to the fabric store last week & that was a bad idea..the ride alone about killed me.
I guess I am kinda scared to try it :S

So I am curious how soon you all ventured out on small trips to the store/pharmacy , etc.


  • Hi,
    I went out at 3 weeks to show houses. I'm a real estate agent and I had clients I was working with before the surgery. We saw 4 houses and then my husband took me to Dinner. On the way home from the restaurant I started to feel sick and new I did too much. You should be OK.

    PS My husband came with me and did the driving
  • walking days after the surgery, as ordered by my doc. Since it was December/January, I either went to the "fake" indoor mall in our rural town or to Walmart. I took my walker and we would walk round and round and keep track of how far I could go each time. Bad news would be if we ran into friends and they wanted to stop and visit. I couldn't really do that as I had a limited amount of time I could really be standing and such. But we made our daily rounds at Walmart and I'm sure the employees there thought we were weird.

    Kimmy, I was also a real estate agent! And after my first surgery- laminectomy/discectomy, I did not take the restrictions seriously. I showed houses, listed houses, dropped things and bent over and picked them up because when with clients, I would do things before catching myself to not do them. I know I am a big reason that first surgery was a failure.

    And while I am still actively licensed in 2 states (but in referral status), I know it is unlikely I will ever return to real estate because of all my nerve damage and numb feet. I can't do stairs in my real life, and don't know how I would limit my showings to only one story houses. I can't feel half my feet, and could fall so easily. I can't imagine the stress I would put on my clients.

    But I still love real estate, still follow it constantly online, etc. Those were the old hyper Cheri days - so fun!!

  • Living in the north, I can't tell you how glad I am that I had my surgery in the summer. I was able to get out twice every day for walks, so had no need to go to any stores too. Having hindsight, I can't image how tough it is to have this type of surgery in the winter.

    I think I only made one store trip until week 8, and that was short.

    I assume it is still difficult for you to sit comfortably for more than 15-30 minutes at a time. If that is true, remember that you are sitting in the car to go to the store and then may add sitting in an electric chair or wheelchair after that, then return home in the car. That's a lot of sitting at one time. If you had trouble last week on the drive to the fabric store, I imagine using any type of chair at WalMart will also be a problem.

    If you do go, it would be better to try to walk around a store for a little bit. Try to go when they're not as busy to lessen the chance of getting bumped.
  • When your body is ready.
    I did not go out anywhere except for walking on the road till my 1st checkup at 4wks. By the time I got home I was totally worn out.
    So its going to depend on what your body can handle and when your ready.
    If your walking alot already at 3wks on a treadmill or outside. Its more the car ride that takes the toll. Then the walking itself.

    I don't think there are no rights or wrongs on when to.
    When I did go out w/ hubby to the store I just held onto a empty cart and walked around.
    Its the driving thing that you usually cannot do for awhile till released from your dr.

    This is one long/boring recovery and worse during the winter months.. Hang in there!! O:)
  • If you going to be in a store, grab a push carriage. That way your getting some vital exercise and can still get some relief and rest with the carriage. I was out doing just that 4 days after I got out of the hospital when we went food shopping.


    PS. After my emergency surgery in 2006, I was so weak for a long time. I bought a good 4 wheel walker that you can sit on if need be. It was well worth the price.
    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • I so recommend getting out if you can! However, those first 3 weeks I had to plan my day. Get up in the morning, get pain meds, shower, then lay down for a short rest. After rest, pain meds, then get up and have hubby drive me to store.

    In a store like Walmart, you need one of those electric scooters. The store is just too big. If hubby pushes you in a wheelchair, the ride might be a little bumpier than if you were driving a scooter.

    When we made stops at smaller stores like craft stores, I pushed around an empty shopping cart or used my walker or some of each. But walmart is way too big to not use a scooter on your first outings.

    Be prepared to be exhausted that night but yet it feels good mentally to have gotten out in public. Also, stupid people will ask you questions like, "Oh my god! You must have hurt yourself really bad to have that brace on!" Always made me feel better to have a good story ready. I had posted on the other site that I told some folks stories about Karate injuries and other way out things just to make myself laugh.

    Getting out in the real world can really lift your spirits but just be careful, don't overdo, and expect that you might feel a little worse since you've upped your activity level.
  • I don't know what your weather is like right now, but I had my fusion surgery in the summer. My mom would pick me up on fri and sat mornings and we would go to garage sales. I love garage sales but it was nice to go in public and walk a little but then be able to lay back in the car seat if I needed to. It was perfect for little trips and little rests in between.
  • Just don't push much weight in it. I had to get out and do a little Xmas shoppping at about 2 or 3 weeks. My DSH was with me to help and support. Dropped me off at the door and picked me up. Of course I was wearing a brace at that point. I really overdid it first time out, tho. Limit your time out and the amount of walking around that you do. In retrospect, I now know that I was also fighting anemia for weeks after my surgery, although with the help of iron pills I'm now doing alot better.

    I also agree that you should expect to feel some effects after your first trip out so take it easy the next day! Let us know how it goes.
  • I started with a small walk in my neighborhood. Nothing big, just listen to your body. You will be able to tell if your able to do more. I'm about five weeks post op and each day is different regarding my energy levels. I would read the forum and compare myself to other and I soon realized you can't do that. We all heal at different rates and have different levels of fitness and age. Just be really careful and don't fall. Best wishes!
  • after giving it more thought, I don't think I'll try the Walmart trip today..its just too crazy on a weekend in that place. 8}

    When I went to the fabric store, I could barely walk around when I got there, and since I do not have a brace, I think the staff just thought I was lazy (hubby went & got things, pulled up the car, etc.) sometimes it is better if you have a visual when in public.. so I think when I go I may use an older backbrace I used when my back would go out, more or less to say "Hey, I'm hurt here..don't bump into me" and "NO, I can't lift the bags you fill into my cart" lol.

    I like the empty cart idea. I need the excersise, I'm in Iowa- so no chance the weather will be nice enough to walk outdoors for awhile!

    I think I am at a difficult stage where mentally I want to do things & my body is not quite there ~X(
  • My husband drove and we went to lunch and back home. It was nice to be out but sitting that amount of time at a restaurant was all I could take. It was uncomfortable as I kept squirming in my seat. It was nice be be out but I was happy to get back to my recliner. I had an easy time of it I hear, shopping in my second week with a driver. I used shopping as a way to get some exercise as well as walking but as Mark says, winter surgery would and does stink! Take it easy and don't do too much. I just slipped on the ice because one of my shoe spikes fell off and I slipped. I caught myself and now I am sore now. Be careful and go at your own pace, each person/surgery is different.
  • I feel like I am behind most of you guys as far as the recovery timeline :(

    I think I would be able to do more if I didn't have this tailbone pain & pressure,it really limits me. I know everyone heals at thier own rate but I am usually pretty active & hard to keep still.. I can't imagine going grocery shopping in my second week! :O

    Its hard to know when to do more for the sake of excersise,
    I am really trying to listen to my body and slow down when the pain starts, instead of pushing through like I usually do.
    Do you all feel you were pushing through the pain to get your walking in?
  • I had some pain and discomfort all the time and never felt like I was pushing through - it was just there and if it started getting worse, I just slowed down and maybe cut the walk short.
  • told me I had to be walking 2 miles a day at my 1 month appointment OR don't complain to him if I didn't heal properly. That gave me quite a goal!! I figured out how many laps that was at the "fake" indoor mall or Walmart, and if I could make it very far at lunch when my friends took me, hubby would take me later, usually to Walmart, to finish my 2miles.

    I agree, avoid Walmart and busier stores in the busy times - too much stress and chance to get injured. Are there any less busy stores you can go to?

    I would push my walker at first, but as I got stronger, I would push a cart (and still do when I go to those stores - for stability/safety and exercise) but once Dh puts too many groceries in it, I get my own empty cart. I don't push too much weight - careful that way.

    I was walking literally 2 days after surgery (360 PLIF with rods, screws, cages and BMP at L5-S1) because doc told me to, but I built up really slow. He swore to me that it would keep my muscles from spasming too bad and my nerve from scarring up. Well, my nerves were already damaged, so that never got better. But I am a fusion success story as far as stabilizing my back.

    Good luck as you try more and more. I even did laps around my home when there was nothing else.

    Take care,

  • You are not behind schedule compared to others. Your body has its own schedule for healing. Maybe I took more pain meds than you so I was able to do more initially or maybe another person was in better shape preop than you. It all happens differently. You will meet goals when your body is ready to.

    I did not try to push to get my walking in. Never really had a goal I was supposed to meet as far as walking. I was in water PT at 7 or 8 weeks(delayed becuz of postop infection) and found water PT to be so much better and more fun than walking. At least then I got to interact with other people than my poor family that I had driven nuts!

    I would stop worrying about miles and just think about whatyou can do that allows for breaks when you need it and makes recovery a little less boring. Your body will come along and I think that mental attitude helps so much.

    Take it easy and have fun with whatever you decide to do!
  • I went to walmart about 2 weeks out with my Mom. I used my walker and we also had a cart. I was dead set on making it to the back of the store to the crafts section to buy some beads to make a necklace. I got STUCK. By the time we got to the back of the store I was sooo sore, and could not IMAGINE walking back to the front of the store, even with the walker. I don't know why we didn't think of getting one of the scooters! Anyway, I just stood there for a few mins and finally made it back to the front of the store!! Anyway, it was a horrible experience and taught me to be more prepared, but in a way it made me feel good too that I was back out and trying to get something I wanted. My friends still laugh at me for "getting stuck in the back of walmart." For awhile after that me and my Mom would go somewhere like a Walgreens or Longs once a day so I could walk around a smaller store.
  • I am 6 weeks out from ALIF L4/L5, L5/S1 and have been going on short trips (once or twice a week) since week 2. Always listen to your body and stop BEFORE you are exhausted. I take pain medicine right before we leave so it does not wear off.
    I am supposed to walk, so I may as well get the shopping done while I am at it. Walking is easier than the rider, as it hurts too bad to sit.
    My problem is everytime I go to Wal-Mart, I catch a cold/flu due to immunity problems from too many steroids. Take anti-bacterial gel and use it often. I have been fighting a fever for a week which makes the pain and weakness worse.
  • I'm already tired of lying in bed and being in the house. I'll get up and walk around the house a few times and stand around a little then stand and eat...then I'm just a little tired. I'm going to try a short grocery store trip next weekend...just a block away with no traffic and no store crowd

    hope everyone is doing okay
  • I went shopping and to the mall about a week after my surgery. I'm pretty tough, though.
  • home i started walking back and forth in front of my apt. for about a week then back and forth in front my building, a neighboring kept insisting she walk with me "just in case" so with her help i started walking down the street adding a block at a time.

    I pushed myself because i don't like being helpless. :D I was able to go to the hair salon in a month because i needed my hair washed. Man, did that feel good. =D> I was not used to using a cane so i kept tripping over it, just a little.

    I also knew that shortly after the back surgery i would need another surgery to remove a large tumor and i needed to be strong enough to handle it.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • at 1 week post fusion? I couldn't wipe my --- at 1 week.
    That is incredible.
  • You got that right on 1 week!! I still have a hard time wiping!! LOL Really, she must be tough. Or else, I'm weak. Linda
  • I was driving at 10 days! Not smart by any means but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Shopping is good for you, it gets you walking and getting outside.
  • need stronger pain medication. I am taking the same amount as I was pre-op..I bet I could go shopping if I had stronger meds, or at least get out of the house :?
    I think I am trying to be tough in another way..minimal narcotics ;) (I'm not opposed to more if it will help tho)

    I also was not given a back brace, do you think that could make a difference?
  • Yes, the brace does make a difference. Three weeks out, I went to a Asian market with a friend and the brace gave me the support I needed and I was able to survive the trip.when I didn't use the brace, I paid for it.

    Riding the a car was tough for the first month, but gradually got better. I was able to take short walks almost immediately after release from the hospital.That helped my cabin fever.
  • My Dr said "let your back be your guide"....and "don't rush it". We wanted to make sure the cages did not move out of position.

    I think it was week 2 post op and I was going to the store.

    This was my second back operation. I remember being happy my terrible sciatica was gone.

    I was lucky..I only took a couple of pain pills post op.

    Good luck to you and take it easy.

  • The brace works wonders! Lol. I am on the same amount of meds post op as I was pre op, too. Didn't do much, so after I got my staples out I spent a lot of time with my heating pad. Haha.

    I was cleared to drive at 2 weeks, otherwise I wouldn't have. My body is in otherwise healthy shape, and I naturally have really strong muscles and a lot of muscle tone (it's genetics... runs in my family) So I got up the next morning after surgery and walked without a cane or walker... The nurse wouldn't let go of me but I didn't need her (and she was the mean one! Lol) so after that first trip I could go on my own... I'd get in and out of the hospital bed by myself, and spent some of the time sitting in the chair next to the bed, by recommendation of my doctor. Apparently they say the sooner you are mobile, the better. I believe it... I walked out of the hospital, too. Both surgeries. No wheelchairs for me. I was fine with the elevator and the walking. In the hospital I walked laps around the floor I was on, probably about 10 times a day or so. Totally helped. I didn't use a trash bag on the seat of the car, I could climb in okay, but my boyfriend would close the door just to be safe. I have stairs in my house, up to my apt which is on the second floor, and then I also have the third floor, so I was doing stairs pretty early on, too. Keeping mobile helped tons!
  • neck fusion it was the day before my daughters 13th birthday. Well, my sisters and mom put on a party for her the day after my surgery, I was released from the hospital at 2pm and that's when the party started so I made my husband take me to her party. Everyone was shocked to see me walk through the door on my own. I never have used a cane or walker after any of my surgery's and was always up out of the hospital bed on my own.If I would have waited for a nurse or someone to help I would have wet the bed.... LOL
    Also, on my first surgery I drove at 10 days and was back to work at 4 weeks. The other surgery's I was alittle smarter and took my time.
    Your body tells you what to do or not to do, we just need to listen.
  • a cane or walker either..they tried to get me to in the hospital but I felt more comfortable walking on my own. I didn't want the nurses hanging on to me either so I would walk holding their arm for stability. They laughed at how I did this but when you are 5'0, things have to be adjusted to fit you,lol.

    I actually am feeling pretty good today and would love to try a trip to the store but I am in Iowa & we are now getting a blizzard..schools closing and all, so I guess I will be homebound yet another day! ~X(
  • They didn't even offer me or my roommate a cane or walker... So we didn't even really have that option. Haha :)

    Yeah the nurses are funny with how much they want to latch on as if you're gonna just topple over. Haha.

    Man, snow sucks. We get tonssss up here in Massachusetts. It's horrible. Winters suck. Thankfully, my surgery was in September so the weather was good. I was actually able to go to CVS and Walmart the day after I got home. My surgery was on the 26th, and the 30th I went to CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. I didn't remember that until I read my old "leg shaving fiasco" posts! Funny how things like that just slip your mind.
Sign In or Register to comment.