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annmarie824aannmarie824 Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
:? Hi everyone again,
Oh my gosh...what a question...but..I am having lumbar laminectomy with a spinal fusion L5/S1 in 3 weeks.
Do I need to get one of those high riser toilet seats? I saw it on the list but didn't know if I could live without it or it would help alot. I am going to pick up the memory foam topper. Several of you really recommend it. What would I have done if I didnt find this site??? All doctors ought to put this website in their "packet"!
Annie =D>


  • The physical therapist came the day after my surgery and brought me a high-riser toilet, grabber, walker, and shower chair.

    Ask you doctor if these things will be provided before you go out and buy any of them.
  • You will find it very convenient if you're having fusion. I left it on for almost 6 months just because it made things easier for me.

    Did you get satin sheets for your bed? I really only use the bottom sheet, but it makes such a big difference in how easily you can move in the bed. You will find that your core muscles will feel weak after surgery, and it is hard to turn over to your side. With regular sheets, you feel like you are stuck with velcro to the bed.

    Sometimes people say to buy satin pj's instead, but I found that I pretty much lived in "lounge clothes" all the time. It is cold where I live, so I always wore lightweight fleece pants with an elastic waist, a long underwear shirt, covered by another long thermal cotton top...the kind of things that could be work-out clothes, or lounging around the dorm clothes....Any time I wanted to crawl back into bed, I didn't need to change into my satin pj's. I felt "dressed" in case anyone stopped by, but I could also wear it to bed if I wanted to.

    The satin sheet is the one thing I could not have done without!!
  • I found it very helpful the first 3 days after surgery (ALIF L5 S1) while in the hospital, I did not have one at home and my insurance did not cover it. I decided to wait and see how I would do, as I could have someone run out to Walgreens easily enough; anyhow I've been okay. I'm also 5'2" so not sure if height makes a difference.

    If your insurance doesn't cover it (mine does not), you may want to wait. Its cheaper to buy thru a drugstore (about $50) than the hospital (about $110) at least it was in my situation.
  • Dina,
    I know the doc said that PT will be in to see me at the hospital. I have surgery the 17th and go in to see the doc on the 6th for questions, etc. Its nice though to hear from you who's been thru it. I wrote down the things you said and will ask if I need them before I go in. I am having surgery in Buffalo, New York and probably all places are different. Thanks for all your help.
  • Satin sheets it is! Will order them today! Do you know whats the norm as far as stitches vs. staples? Thats on my question list for the doc. I dont want too many shoulda, woulda, coulda. I would rather be overprepared than under!
  • If you order them online, you can get a good price, too. I am tall, so perhaps that does make the difference!!
  • and I absolutely could not do without the raised toilet seat...no way...mine also doubled as a shower seat (which I really did not need), but the toilet seat enables you to use the arms to push up with in order to stand...I'm at 3 weeks now and are just now feeling comfortable to not use it...but I'll wait a little while longer

    my insurance paid for that along with a walker...the kind the old ladies have with the wheels in the front and the legs in back where they put the half tennis balls..it's collapsible unlike the toilet seat...I had my wife put the toilet seat on as soon as I got home as she does not mind using it herself...the DME guy came to my room the day after surgery and "took my order", verified my coverage, and had them back in my room that afternoon. If not, then I would have been proactive and followed up to make sure it happened...I used the walker for a little less than a week

    you'll also really appreciate a grabber that has the pinchers on the end...that is a convenience item that insurance will not cover, so you will want to get one of those on your own before you go into the hospital so you'll have it at home...it is as crucial, if not more crucial, than the toilet seat
  • Melissa,
    I am a regular visitor to "Pity City". Should get a job there! I am in New York State and because I was in a car accident, NO FAULT is taking care of this surgery. I am going to ask the doctor about all this equipment (walker, toilet, etc) that I have read about on here and make sure I have it before I go in. Thanks for the reply...
  • Oh Annie, up until my surgery last Wednesday, I visited Pity City EVERY DAY. You know what? Have not been there since the procedure :))) You will get to that point soon too! Something to look forward to...
  • The raised toilet seat will be very helpful! I have knee issues also so my legs don't work the greatest,lol. If can swing it, get one with arms too (if you have the room next to your toilet). It is nice to have that extra leverage when you are standing. Using a cabinet to hold on to is OK as long as it is secure, never use a pedestal sink, wall sink or toilet paper holder to pull yourself up!! Like others said this is something your OT/PT should order for you in the hospital unless your insurance procedure is different. If its not covered it is cheaper to look elsewhere instead of the medical supply store. I have found alot of things on my local Freecycle group, its just a place that people list offered and wanted things, trying to keep usable things out of landfills.
  • I vote "yes" on this question. Mine has the arms on it, too. I got mine at the drugstore and I think it was about $50 or so. Could NOT have functioned well without it! Best wishes.
  • I did not get a toilet riser because I am very OCD about a clean bathroom(bleach is one of my best friends) and I knew I would end up cleaning the darn thing. So, I just used my walker to raise and lower myself onto the toilet. Hint: Take off your brace before you attempt any wiping or it won't be a good experience.
  • I would recommend the elevated toilet seat. When I got home from my L4-/L5 fusion the beginning of the month that was the easiest place in my house to get from sitting to standing.

    I got a folding walker, elevated toilet seat, shower chair, grabber, sock tool, shoe tool, and back sponge when discharged from the hospital.

    Oh! This is too much information but I need a toilet paper tool to help wipe as I could not reach well without bending. Just something to think about. I asked at the hospital and they found some on a different floor.
  • Hi Annie, when I had my fusion the OT came to my room and brought me a kit of tools and taught me how to use them. It had a grabber, a scrubby-on-a-stick, a sock-putter-onner, a shoe horn, and a toilet tongs. The grabber was the most important. I also bought my own at Home Depot so it was nice to have an extra. The hospital Case Manager(Discharge Planner) arranged for a walker and elevated toilet seat with arms. My insurance paid for it all. I personnally ended up not using the toilet seat. It was narrow, and uncomfortable, and I did better without it. I ended up using it as a table in front of my toilet for supplies, and did hold on to the arms on occasion getting up and down. The hospital had an elevated seat in a wider version and it was better than mine. It seems there is a lot of variety as to what individuals end up needing and liking. I also never used the toilet tongs, tried once, was too awkward, and mangaged without. Good luck in your preparations for surgery. Don't forget the plastic bag for the car ride home. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I didn't get one and my legs go into horrible spasm after i use the bathroom -- oddly enough, only at home! I'm 11 weeks out now from a three-level and I still get horrible pains in my legs after using the bathroom. I think the toilet booster would have helped.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • get one the attaches with arms to top of toilet. That way you hae arms to help you up and also if you need to reposition. I had 2 level and woulodnt have had it any other way. Also one of those bed tables like from walgreens for 25 bucks. It is great for laptop, food , reading,.It has the ability to angle for laptop and books. Grabber and scok putter on. Flexable straws for drinking. Little plastic baskets for meds along with pen and small tablet to record what you took for meds and when. Also baskets work for remotes for tv and stuff. Thermometer, you will need to watch temp. Hope I helped.
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