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Occupation health and questions to ask

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Sorry for this second post in as many minutes, but my mind is changing like the weather at the moment about surgery.
I have an occupational health visitor from the hospital coming to see me tomorrow to bring me crutches and something to make it easier to use the toilet if I have surgery. She is also coming to talk to me about the surgical procedure, gulp! and recovery. What are the main questions I should ask her? I was considering showing her a couple of snippets from this forum so she can understand why I can't sit still because of nerves at the mear mention of the word 'surgery' or 'L5 S1 fusion'.


  • I don't think I would show her the forum. It would probably result in a lecture about how you should not read anything people write because it is not factual, you will get bad information, etc.

    You could ask her what the chances are of the surgery taking away your sciatic pain and your chances of being able to walk without pain, etc. What are they planning to do -- instrumentation, hardware, a cage, rods and screws; how will the surgery be performed -- posterior, anterior, going in from the side? How long will you be in the hospital? How long will the recovery be?

    These are some basic questions that you may have already covered.

    Are you in the UK?
  • It looks like the worker is going to hook you up with a raised toilet seat and possibly a shower seat too. I think a walker would be better than crutches. I got one from the hospital post op and I used my own cane prior to having surgery. I certainly would bug them for the shower seat. If they can't, you can find them at any medical supply store or even at Lowe's in the bathroom accessory aisle. Take care and best wishes on your fusion.
  • Hi Gwennie

    Yes, I am in the UK. I think the difficulty is that in order to make an informed decision on this surgery I have sought to find people who have experienced the surgery, in addition to listening to the success rates quoted by the surgeons. As someone said on here those success rates are based on whether it fuses or not and not whether you are relieved of pain.I need to confirm whether this is the case with my surgeon. I only know of three people who have had fusions, two have been very successful and the people have never looked back and had a great life. however, one ended up badly. I don't know the persons personally, but have been informed of these facts by family members of these people. Two of these had the surgery 20 years ago, including the one who had a bad time. I have no idea how many levels were fused or what the conditions were though. I have researched online and came across this forum during my research which has pretty much been the place where I have gleaned most of my information that has now made me question seriously what I should do. Hopefully, the occupational health person from the hospital can add to this knowledge so that it can help me to make the right decision.
    I don't want to be worse off by putting myself into surgery that has potential risks that presumably I don't face without it e.g. bowel damage, vascular damage, sexual dysfunction and all those other lovely things on the constent form.

    Thanks very much for your comments
  • I was also going to mention the bath bench. Our medical supply store where I went before surgery (fusion)
    also told me to get a handheld shower head - the kind that is connected by a cord to your shower head on the wall - I couldn't have managed without it. You can sit down and use your soap - liquid is great because the bottle isn't as slippery as a bar - and then holding the handheld showerhead you can rinse yourself off. My surgery was 2-24 and last week I was finally able to stand up and shower and I am still using the handheld showerhead. It's one of those things I would never have thought of. This kind has a button on the part you hold in your hand that turns the water off and on. It's just been so great to have. Good luck to you, you'll get better, I didn't think I ever would and I'm stronger these last few weeks. Susie
  • Thankyou all for your comments and suggestions. The lady came round today bringing a myriad of contraptions including something to put my socks on with, something to help me to get dressed, a couple more grabbers and a contraption to put around the toilet. She is coming back on thursday to heighten my chair and to give me a toilet seat.

    I had to ask myself how old I was after seeing on the various items that I will need to use.


    you was right, she did tell me to stay off the forum. However, she also gave me some more info about my surgery, recovery and what she had seen as a physiotherapist in the spinal unit, which helped a wee bit. As you can see, i am not staying off the forum because it is a really supportive place and I am learning lots.
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