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The drive home

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I would like everyones opinion. On 9-3-09 I have am having anterior posterior lumbar fusion on my S1 L5 L4 & L3. We live 300 miles away from the hospital.
My question is do you think I should try to tough the ride out all the way home or stop 1/2 way and stay the night at a hotel (of course I have stayed at this hotel before)?
What does everyone think?


  • In my opinion, 300 miles is a lot to tackle after this procedure. I have just worked up to 185 miles after 6 weeks. The bumps on the road, no matter how minor, are painful. You may be sick to your stomach, etc. I would break it into smaller bits. You will be glad you did.
  • Hi Tiara, Good luck with your fusion surgery! Boy, I would say to not over do it and spend the night at the hotel. But be sure you have pillows, potty chair seat/lift,meds and any and all supplies you will need to make it through the night and traveling time.

    Most importantly, discuss this with your dr. and make sure you take his advice first. I'm sure he will tell you how many days in the hospital, how to travel home, and what you will need post-op, etc.

    I had a fusion (L-2/3/4) with other things and was a few hours from home. It was a LONG ride and I was so happy to finally get home, into my bed!

    I'm sure others will have good advice and concerns to help you with too! Many SH friends have much more experience than me.

  • You are having a 3 level lumbar fusion as an outpatient? Surely not! That seems crazy to me.

    You must mean when you get out of the hospital, 3 or 4 or 5 days after surgery. Right?

    I would say give it a day or two after surgery, and see how you feel, then decide. I don't know your age, but many times with a little PT, people perk up pretty good after surgery, and a 300 mile ride wouldn't be unreasonable if you feel like it. If there is any question though, always safer to stop halfway.

    Good Luck, and please tell me this isn't outpatient surgery.
  • Hi Tiara. Having had an anterior/posterior lumbar fusion about 4 years ago, I can't imagine having that long a drive home and doing it in one stretch. With incisions in both the front and back it is very difficult to find a comfortable position at first.

    Leftback made an excellent point about making sure you have everything you need to stay overnight in the hotel if that is the choice you make. The elevatated potty seat is a must!

    I had a cervical fusion last week with a 3 hour drive home. I told the nurse this and she made sure that I got a good dose of pain meds right before I left the hospital so that I would sleep a good part of the drive home.

    Good luck with your surgery. Feel free to pm whenever you want. Often it shows that I am here because for some reason I tend to forget to log out of here. But I will answer ASAP when I am really here!

  • Tiara, I think you'll be pretty tired and out of sorts even after half the trip. My 3-hour trip home on 4th day postop still ranks as one of the most painful episodes of the entire recovery period, and I didn't have the frontal incision you will have.

    If the motel doesn't have an elevator, try to get a first floor room. Going up and down stairs would be too painful to imagine.

    Best wishes for a great surgical result, like I've had.
  • Definately have them give you some pain medication right before you leave the hospital. Just a suggestion, I bought an styrofoam egg carton like you put on a bed and made up a bed in the backseat of the car, had my cd player with my ocean music and lots of pillows. I went off to dreamland and traveling was not too bad, but I did not have as far to go as you. Hope things go smoothly for you.
  • Have to agree with everyone, You really need to take it easy after a surgery and stop mid-way. I'm not so sure on a egg carton mattress set up in the vehicle, wouldn't that aggravate incisions? I mean the mattress bumps? Personally, I would invest in a 1-inch memory foam single bed topper at Walmart.

    Either way, good luck on the surgery.
  • AND... a big hefty bag or two - it makes sliding off your seat SO much easier! (and just in case it makes a great barf bag - sorry for the visual)
  • although things went very well for me as far as surgery was concerned, and walking up and down stairs before i left the hospital was a challenge. the car ride home which was only 20 min. was pretty intense, the smallest of bumps in the roadway seemed like craters as big as the grand canyon, when you have a 12 inch incision on your tummy and 3 new parts inside you body.

    so my recommendation to you is take it as it comes and dont go any further than your body allows you to, maybe you can make it by stopping several times along the way, rather than sleeping the night in a strange bed.

    good luck to you in whatever you decide, and remember travel safely...
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