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TLIF Scheduled, March 24

poolladyppoollady Posts: 154
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am have a TLIF, L4/5 & L5/S1. It would be helpful for others that have had this surgery to share what needs I will have pre-op & post-op.
I am trying to donate blood on March 3 & 10. My problem is I have small veins and have tried several times to donate to the Red Cross. The lady at the hospital said they have to use the same size needle as Red Cross, so if I can not give to them, I most likely can't donate for myself. Has anyone else had this problem? Has anyone had family donate for them, my Mom and Dad have the same blood type and would donate. I will call the hospital too.
When I have a good day, I think about delaying surgery. But today I am having a really bad pain day and I want the date to be closer.
I have the "Things to have for surgery and after" it is a great list and I have been gathering what I need from the list.
This will be my second surgery on my spine, last year I had cervical surgery, but I was not as prepared. I had not found this great site and wonderful people. I really appreciate all the advise and I have been reading all the posts I can find dealing with surgery.
Take care and my prayer for all is for little to no pain for everyone everyday.


  • SATIN SHEETS or at least a slippery bottom sheet...and a raised toilet seat if you are at all on the tall side. And the patience of Job to guide you through recovery. ;)
  • I appreciate your reply. I forgot to ask a question that has been bugging me since someone else asked me, Will I be able to lay on my back as I recover?
  • Hi -

    I had a ALIF/PLIF and found that I was not comfortable lying on my back (or front) because of the incision. A life-saver for me was a memory foam mattress topper. Even though our mattress had a pillow top this additional memory foam layer made it Much more comfortable to sleep on my sides (which tended to get sore from being on them so much) and eventually made it possible to lie with relative comfort on my back if I put a pillow under my knees.

    And Gwennie is so right - patience is the most important thing you can have for this recovery! Plan lots of distractions - things you can do while reclining. There is a great list on this site somewhere of things to do during recovery.

    Good luck with your surgery.
  • I had a TLIF back in June 08. I had absolutely no problem sleeping on my back. Because I had the bone graft from my hip, it really hurt more to turn on my side to sleep.

    Don't have any info on the blood thing...I was not asked to donate and had no need for blood after the surgery.

    If I had to choose which items I absolutely could not have done without, it would be the grabber and the raised toilet seat with arms.

    I absolutely know what you mean about maybe putting off the surgery when you are not hurting so badly and then want it NOW when it hurts so bad. All of my pre-surgery issues were resolved immediately after surgery...no horrible pain in my butt and no pain in leg.

    Best wishes with your surgery!
  • Stacey,

    I woke up from surgery on my back, and I have been sleeping on my back ever since. I suggest you by a memory foam mattress topper, they are wonderful, like sleeping on a cloud. But they smell at first, so make sure you air it out for a few days. I also found having a small computer table on a hinge very useful. It serves as a night table, just the right hight (adjustable) and can be swiveled over the bed if you want to work on your computer, or eat or something. If you have carpet in your bedroom, you may need a plexiglass or something smooth underneath so the wheels can slide easily.

    Best wishes,

  • I had one with a laminectomy on the same levels you did. I did not have to donate blood and didn't need a transfusion during surgery. It is good to stock up on lean cuisines and easy to make foods and of course snacks. Pillows are a must and so is a comfortable mattress. The hospital may send you home with a walker and raised toilet seat, but you need to buy a grabber from any pharmacy. You can find a shower seat at any home medical store or even Home Depot at the bathroom accessory aisle. They have special "tongs" for holding toilet paper for cleaning yourself after using the bathroom. Stock up on Senokot and Fleet enemas, you cannot strain post op; you will be very constipated. Have items like movies, books, magazines, games, ipod, etc to entertain yourself and keep your sanity. Enlist help from everybody you know because you cannot clean, cook, etc for a good while. You need to have someone with you all the time for at least 2 weeks, or at least to come by every day.

    Well. that is all I can think of. I hope your surgery goes well and you recover quickly. Take care
  • I so appreciate everyones kindness in sharing what I may need after surgery. I have read so much and it is wonderful to hear from others who have had the surgery. I appreciate the well wishes, I also send well wishes to all of you as you recover.
    As I read the many posts on the site, I have come to understand that it is different for everyone, and healing takes different amounts of time.
    My doctor said I may be able to go back to work in 4-6 weeks. It seems like that may be quick for many. I work in a swimming pool store, I sell pools and spas, would be on my feet some and then I work in the office on my computer so sitting a lot. Any hints on returning to work?
    Take care,
  • Hi, my only suggestion is to be very informed about whether they will use your own bone or bmp. Please read all of the info about bmp problems to make the right choice for you.Zach's story and ernurse could give you great insight to what can occur. I wish I had known the difference before I had the PLIF with cage and pedicle screws with Infuse bmp. Some people have had great results, but just be informed.
  • I had the same surgery that your looking to have. It's a tough road of recovery but it does get better. After about 10 days I began to notice things geting better every morning. Take your meds and take lots of naps. Try and walk all you can and build up your distances. Not much walking the first few weeks though.
    I rented a hospital bed and had it sitting right in the living room in front of the tv. The bedroom gets old after a while. Had it for a month until I was getting around better. I also had a seat cushion that looks like a toilet seat that I sit on so that my tailbone wouldn't be on the hard surface of the chair. Sitting down is like walking. Start out sitting for like 5 minutes at a time then build up your time as you get to feeling better.Then when you go back to work you will be prepared to sit for longer periods. Be sure to carry your cushion with you everywhere because it helps. Mine was bright yellow so I carried it in a pillow case.
    I was off work for 14 weeks before getting released. Don't rush things and let your body heal or you will pay for it. I was so ready to get back to work due to being bored with tv,books,puzzles,movies etc.
    Good Luck

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