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got the jitters and have a few question

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,622
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,
Dont mean to be a hassle, but i had a few questions after reading some of the other articles. i hope im not a bother, i just want to make sure im ready to do this without hurting myself. its going to be an L5-S1 fusion with the donor Bone coming from my Ribs.

1. Pre-OP i have made a short list of items that have been mentioned as must haves. included are a shower seat, a device to clense myself after going to the bathroom,a back scratcher, loose pull on clothes, a ton of stuff to keep me busy in bed and satten sheets.

My questions are: will the octor give me a walker/cane if needed?
what should i look for as far as pillows? for both back and legs?
How do i transfer from my bed to my feet without twisting the wrong way?
what kind of stuff should i avoid at all cost post-op?

I know its a lot but i have a few more, i just want to make sure i do everything right.

Durring Hospital stay: I asked what clothes to bring and they said none, that i only needed what i planned to go home in.
Do i need anything special while im there?
Does My wife need to be aware of anything? i dont want her to be freaked out with me being laid up.
BIG Question: Will i feel this catheter thing if they do it or will it jus be there when i wake up?
Does it make it akward to go to the bathroom?

Post- op:
How long will i be stuck in bed/the house?
I know ill still have some pain but will i notice a big difference right away?

About what should i look for as far as scaring?

Will my wife have to change my bandages?
will the hospital supply the bandages or do we need to get those ahead of time?

I'm really sorry for this i guess im just really nervous. I want to make sure i dont mess this up. Ive never Been in for anytype of surgery except my wisdom teeth.

13 April, i know it won't be all over but i pray it will be Faster then finding the problem.



  • I don't have many answers, I just wanted to say hello and wish you well. I had a microdiscectomy 2 months ago. That was my 1st surgery as well, so I understand the nerves. It's a less invasive surgery than a fusion, but I'm guessing the pre-op jitters are just the same. The surgery will be behind you before you know it, and I'm sure you'll do great. There are a lot of great people on this site who've had the same surgery as you, so I'm sure you can expect a lot of feedback/answers/advice on your post. I wish I could offer more, but I've not had fusion surgery. So for now all I can do I wish you the best on your upcoming surgery. Stay positive, laugh, and keep doing what you're doing--asking questions. No need to be apologetic about it. You'll be just fine.
    Stay well,

  • Your doctor, or at least his/her staff should provide you with all of the information you need. I have a major procedure scheduled for July and they are planning 3 separate visits of which the last 2 are just discussing the procedure and how to handle the post op recovery.

    Good luck, I wish mine was coming as soon as yours!
  • I haven't had lumbar surgery, but I can answer a few of your questions, assuming you're just like me. LOL

    First of all, you are not a bother or hassle AT ALL! This is what these forums are all about - spineys helping spineys. We have a member, Kattoo, that is having surgery today that asked tons of questions and the result was that she was totally at peace with her surgery. I hope we can help you feel that way too.

    Anyway, I had never had anything that required hospitalization before either so I was totally freaked out. It's hard to believe that your first time in a hospital is for spine surgery not a broken arm or something.

    Be sure to get a grabber to pick things up with and help to pull on socks, etc. Those are invaluable.

    I took too much stuff to the hospital, so when they say to bring just what you want to wear home, that's pretty true. However, you'll be walking the hallways a bit so you might want a robe or sweats so people won't see your hiney.

    At the hospital, they'll teach you the log roll for getting on your feet from a laying down position.

    After your surgery, absolutely, positively NO BLT (bending, lifting, twisting). Follow doc's orders, follow doc's orders, follow doc's orders. We've all learned this the hard way - when you feel good it's very easy to do too much, then you really pay for it.

    As a cervical spiney, I can't really answer any of your other questions, but I hope what I've posted helps you some. You're going to do just fine. Remember that right before your surgery, they'll put you to sleep and the next thing you know, you'll be in your room and on your way to recovering.

    Take care and post as much as you need to. We're here for you.
  • I am starting to get nervous also. As for the hospital stay I am going to wear sweats and a t-shirt to the hospital and I am going to bring a pair of comfy P.J.s with a button top for after surgery. I will be spending at least 1 night in the hospital so I am also bringing my glasses, a book, a puzzle book, just stuff to keep me busy in case I am there most of the day after or have to spend 2 nights. Who knows I may even be in a drug induced haze and not be able to do any of those things but I would rather have them and not need them. I am also going to bring a pair of shoes that can easily slip (ones with no backs) on for walking.

    I am curious to see what people say about the catheter, I really don't want to have to have one - it makes me a little embarrased to think of my pee hanging on the side of my bed for all to see LOL.

    Is your surgery going to be minimally invasive or open?

    In the pamphlet my Dr. sent me it says when laying on your back have a pillow under your knees and one inbetween your knees if laying on your side.

    One thing I thought of that wasn't on the list was to have a cup next to the bathroom sink to use to rinse your mouth out after brushing your teeth (if you don't already have one) I usually just lean over and fill my hands with water or use the faucet like a drinking fountain. Won't be able to do that after surgery.

    For getting up out of bed you would use the log roll method:

    Sorry I can't help answer all of your questions, but hope that helps a bit!
  • Make sure you read (and print) the post by Saltz regarding post op must haves. It is a very good list of ideas and items needed.

    Good Luck!
  • all you need to take to hospital is yourself and clean tee shirt and baggy shorts .washing equipment {anything special will be provided by the hospital} after the operation you will be surprised how quickly you will be up on your feet and going to the toilet by yourself there is no requirement to catheterise so dont worry about that .you should be awake the same day after your operation and be able to talk to your wife {although you wont remember her visiting you when you get home}.your scar will have a dressing on it after surgery and on your discharge from hospital you will be given your take home drugs a letter for you doctor and insurance {if required} and some dressings .you will have to visit your doctors to have your clips removed from your back and you will be seen by the surgeon at the hospital within 6 weeks.when you get home just take it easy one good bit of advice ..buy a raised toilet seat from your disabled store in the UK we can get them from ARGOS they are a multi item catalogue store you may have something like that where you live .at home make sure you have a comfy chair to sit in during the day {a recliner would be ideal} if not a chair with a foot stool and plenty of pillows so you can get comfy .same for bed plenty of pillows {we have an electrical adjustable bed so getting in/out was not a problem} but if you have not got this luxury your wife will have to help you get in/out of bed fro a while.other than that you should be self sufficient..good luck and stop worrying..
  • The partial fused L6, is it Bertolotti's Syndrome? I have this and they call it a "transitional vertebrae".
  • I had my MIS TLIF L5 S1 fusion on 12/29/08. My surgery was 10 hours and I was in the hospital for 4 days. There are lots of different types of fusions and everybodys Drs are different. Some surgerys are shorter than others. Some use staples some don't. Mine didn't.

    I can say from experience that my catheter was a lot easier than I had imagined. My catheter was put in during surgery, while under anestesia, and I did not even realize it was there. My catheter was left in for 2 days and when it was removed I did not feel any discomfort. The only discomfort I had related to the catheter was that after it was removed. I HAD to get up to go to the bathroom myself.

    Something I wish I brought to the hospital that I didn't bring was my laptop and DVDs, I shared a room with another patient and was unimpressed with his choices on the TV. lol Another thing I wish I had was a ball cap to cover my head, as I really didn't want and couldn't shower for a while.

    Trin, its good that you don't want to "mess this up" and my only advice to that and the biggest lesson that I've learned during my ordeal is patients are called patients for a reason. Spinal patients have to have lots of patience, a personatlity trait I didn't have before surgery. Lots of people mess stuff up trying to do too much too soon. Listen to you DR. From what I've learned everybody's recovery is different.

    I got my walker in the hospital and I only used it for the first week. Now I use it as a place to hang things.

    Most docs stress lots walking for the first month. And honestly thats pretty much all I did for the first month. I watched a lot of TV spent a lot of time on my laptop and walked. I usually like to read books, but my concentration level was pretty low due to my pain medications.

    Christines slip on shoes idea is great, since its against the rules to bend, lift of twist. I love not having to tie my shoes.

    My girlfriend has been awesome during my recovery as I am sure your wife will be. The nurses at the hospital taught my girlfriend how to change my dressings and what to look for infection wise. The hospital also gave us a supply of bandages. A physical therapist taught me how to get out of bed and made sure I could climb stairs before I went home from the hospital. My DR recommended, and I was real comfortable in a recliner the first few weeks out of the hospital, although some Drs recommend against a recliner. My GF would set all the things I needed like food, remote control, water, and a thermos full of tea on a table beside me before she left for work, and I could take care of the rest myself.

    I was very nervous before my surgery too, but it all worked out ok. Good luck trin.

  • For my fusion, they inserted the catheter after they put me out, and it was gone when I woke up. They wanted to make me get up to got to the restroom on my own I guess. (thank god for hospital beds!) They did offer to bring me a portable to my bedside the first time so I wouldn't be required to walk so close after surgery, but I refused and made it to the toilet. You will be fine you'll be talking to your surgeon one second, then a nurse in recovery the next :O :? The first few hours will be a breeze because of the surgical "drugs" in your system. After that, just remember, God won't make you go through more than you can handle!

  • catheterization as routine in the USA? because its not done over in the uk because of risk of infection .i mean most people can manage a bottle or bed pan after surgery .i think that it is putting even more stress on the patient and is not necessary .well you learn something new every day!
  • Depending on the length of surgery is why they will do a cath on your bladder in the US. Surgeons don't want you to urinate on them (or your surgical site) while your body is wide open.

    Most surgeons will remove the cath right after the procedure. There is a small risk of complications with a catheter. For men, if they don't insert it far enough and inflate the ballon, it can lead to a rather painful case of prostatitis (trust me on that one). But, 9 times out of 10, there isn't a problem.

    The only clothes you should worry about taking are the ones to wear home. While laying in the hospital bed, their gown is good enough. Between changing dressings, trips to the toilet and spilling food on yourself eating while laying down, it's too much of a hassle trying to wear anything else. Do take a house coat if your modest and don't want people in the hall to see your backside while you get up and begin walking.

    The only two things I really needed was a grabby thing (picking up stuff from the floor) and a toilet riser with handles. I did have a brace and a bone growth stimluator the doctor had me use.

    Just go into it with an open mind and realize that things will get better. Don't get depressed. That's easy to do.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • One thing that is helpful is a large garbage bag in the car. Put it on the seat where you will be getting in. The bag twists instead of you and makes it alot easier to get in and out. You are not suppose to bend lift or twist so I kept it in my car and it was very helpful for a long time. Also those of you that have pick ups or large SUVs. A small step stool will make it alot easier to get in and out and then you dont have to pull yourself up on running boards. Just a little info that we found helpful. :H
  • Hi Trin
    I can sympathize with you. I am scheduled for a TLIF L3-4-5 with instrumentation on April 14th. Don't feel bad...I am nervous, too, and I have worked in a heart cath lab for 20 yrs! I am new to spinal things, but I have had pain for many years. Injections didn't last more than 2 weeks or so. I have gotten to the point that I can't walk without pain. And I especially have trouble at work since I have to wear a lead apron and stand most of the day. Very painful!!

    I'm sure your surgery will be fine. Don't worry about the catheter, it's not a big deal. You will prob be asleep before they put it in. I am more worried about having trouble after the first week. My sister will be here for a week, but after that, I'm on my own. But I'm sure I will have friends to help, if needed. I'm just so much better at taking care of others than someone having to take care of me!

    Good luck with your surgery. Post on here when you can afterwards and we can compare notes!

  • i know of a few people that have done this and i understand why..but DONT !! reason ...should you be involved in a head on crash there is more than a chance of you sliding under your seat belt {information from UK firs service} better use a nylon car seat cover ..the plastic bag will slide all over the seat under crash conditions whereas a seat cover is fixed to the seat and designed for the purpose and only cost 20 pounds or so ...i have one on my SUV{}the last thing we want to do is antagonize our already torchered backs any more}
  • thanks a lot for the info. sorry for not replying sooner, ive been really busy at work tring to get a couple trained up on my programs. the one thing that i know ive managed to get out of this is, stay possitive. ive managed to tell myself that even if something goes wrong me and the wife will be okay. we got everything in order... well for the most part, so hopefully im not putting to much added stress on her. thanks again
  • I hope everything goes fantastic on the 13th and you have done your homework so you should be fine. The group here helps more than the doctors when it comes to what to expect and how to deal with everything. I have learned more here in a short time than anywhere!

    Thank you Spine Health...
  • If this is your first surgery and you can feel overwhelmed and afraid, it is normal. This is a new territory for you. Yes, you can stop worrying by using various coping strategies. However, keep asking a lot of questions if you have them.

    I was very scared before my first surgery. When I had my second one, I had my husband leave once they put the IV in. I ended up waiting an hour and a half before my surgery. I brought iPod and relaxed.
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