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Help - Need advice - Trying to plan for home recovery - upcoming cervical double discectomy w/ fusi

diamondeddiamonde Posts: 185
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm a soon to be 42 yo woman, with both C6/C7 herniations, bony spur, nerve compression, and narrowing of spinal canal due to the above. I just saw the NS today and we may go ahead with a fusion/cage in a few weeks if I continue to have no improvement. I'm anxioius to get back to WORK!!! love my job and need it for my sanity lol! I work in a children's hospital, no lifting, mostly talking with people, taking notes, reading reports, and a bit of computer work. Symptoms are right radiculopathy, PAIN (of course lol - down arm, in shoulder (front and back of shoulder) scapular, muscle weakness (particularly fine motor for writing, pouring, and gripping) and cold sensitivity (whew! I think that's all the symptoms).

It may also be important to mention I had a lumbar fusion (L4/5) 11 years ago which was completely succsessful (but NOT an experience I want to go through again!), and am diet controlled type 2 diabetic (with excellent sugar controls).

Just a couple of questions:
Q1: Is it realistic that I'll be back to work in 3 to 4 weeks like my NS says?

Q2: How much assistance did you need, and for how long when you came home from hospital? The reason I ask this is that while my 17 year old daughter lives with me (and no one else), she is very busy and I don't think I should count on her being able to be with me 24/7, unless she misses school... and thats not really a solution... I live in Ireland, and my 72 year old mother is wondering if I'll need her, and whether or not she should come over. I don't know what to say to her... Her health has had its ups and downs, so I don't want to ask her to come over unless its absolutlely necessary. I have good friends who can pop in and all that... but they've been popping in about 3 times per week at the moment... and I don't want to put more pressure on them if I'm going to need daily attention beyond the norm. They've been sooooo good to me, anything i need doing, it's done; but you know what its like... hard to keep on asking people for help.

So, any advice on how much help you needed straight after, for how long, etc... be really appreciated!!
L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD


  • First off, my daughter flew across US to stay with me for a month..after about the first3-4 days, we just had a very nice visit. The first few days, in my case at least, were the worst. Of course you need a driver, you won't be allowed to drive for awhile. Neither will you be allowed to lift over 10lbs, at least until your first visit after surgery with your neuro. I had trouble lifting a 2liter bottle of coke, so that's really important. Help with cooking was a big help for me, as was sitting or laying down for the first few days. I don't think your daughter would have to miss much school, if you were set up with cold drinks, meds, book or TV remote. I was encouraged to get up and walk around as much as I felt comfortable with, just want to be careful if you are alone, don't fall over something if you are by yourself. I recommend doing as much groc shopping beforehand as possible, and maybe cooking some meals you can freeze to re-heat easily. I was back to work in 4 weeks, driving 300miles a day. I also have type 2 diabetes, but still healed easily. If everything goes well, this isn't out of the question at all. It would be nice if your friends could take turns checking on you while your daughter is in school. Good luck, and God Bless..My maiden name was Casey, a good old Irish name!
  • Thanks Maggie, your advice is very practical and helpful! Sounds like I can avoid the worries about having my mom travel all the way over here.... long trip at her age!! And will just add in a few additional temporary supports for the first 3 - 4 days home. I'm still hoping i can dodge this surgery! The recovery stories are helpful... but scary too! I think the hardest part is not being able to count on how long recovery takes. From the stories I've read, it just depends on how successful the op is, your own health going into the op, optimism... but things can still take months (I'm counting on weeks lol)

    Again, thanks so much!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • :) I guess everyone heals at different rates some go back to work fairly quickly without much trouble and others take quite a bit longer.I agree with Maggie that you may want to pre-cook some meals and freeze them so that you aren't depending too much on everyone else to help,if it bothers you to ask them.Also get a reacher because your not going to be able to bend over to pick things up and once they fall its not a pleasant thing to have to get them off the floor.I found the worst part of healing in the first few weeks was showering.I would take everything out of me,i would sleep for a few hours everytime i had one and my husband put a stool in the shower stall so i could sit down while i took it.Usually they don't want you doing anything but walking for the first couple of months.But it doesn get boring after the first week or so,tv gets old very quickly.Did your surgeon tell you if you would be in a collar? I had one for the first three weeks that i wore when i was up moving about,other then that i didn't have to wear one.If you have lots of friends that don't mind checking on you now and then you should be fine.My husband went back to work after the first two days after i was home but he also came home and cooked and did the housework and took care of the kids.Just try and arrange everything that you need during the day when no one is around so that your not having to bend over.Keep everything at countertop level it will make life much easier for you.Good luck with your surgery if you need to have it!!! :)
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