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Lumbar Fusion Next Week - Only Have a Claw Foot Tub

NEBakerNNEBaker Posts: 53
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just a quick question for those of you who have had lumbar fusion. Do any of you live in a house with a claw foot tub? You guessed it, old house, old tub. I thought it was amazing when I bought the house but now I think a one level ranch built in the 1990s would have been a better option.

I have a hard enough time getting in my tub as it is and I can't imagine it getting easier anytime soon. I did purchase a step stool with a handle, I've added non-skid strips to the tub and I have a non-skid mat in the tub too. The tub does not have a wall near it to help getting in - can't hang a grab bar. I haven't found a strap that I can attach to the ceiling that seems secure enough and while there is a chair/stool that can be positioned to fit one end in the tub and the opposite legs on the floor but it will not work in my house....and, it was $300 but since it wouldn't fit, I guess that point is pointless.

Please, can anyone let me know if they have any suggestions or comments? For the meantime, I have invested in lots of baby wipes :)


  • I don't have any ideas for you on the tub and yes it will be very hard to get in and out of after surgery, but the other problem is that you will not be able to take a tub bath for several weeks, only showers. I wish I could be of more help to you, but right now it sounds like the baby wipes might be a good idea. Sometimes there are shower hoses that can attach to the faucet on the tub, maybe that would be an option. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.
  • Mommyof3--

    I should have mentioned that the tub has an overhead shower. :) it's the whole stepping in thing that scares me. I've been practicing. I have fairly good ab strength so right now I can do okay stepping in and out but after the anteroir who knows? I love showers.

    Thanks for the reply.
  • Well that is good that it does have an overhead shower, you will need it. I am 5 weeks out from 2 level fusion and still have hard time getting in and out of tub. Can you not just put a chair beside the tub, something heavy like dining room chair, just to hang on to for stability? I wish I had some better answers for you, but I dont. Very sorry.
  • if you like building things make a seat that is custom fitted to your tub. cut 3 2x4's to width of top of tub. if you want an overhang for where you first sit then add that. take another piece of 2x4 and fasten to the bottom of the 3 2x4's and flush against inside side of tub. do same to other side. when entering tub sit on board then swing legs into tub one leg at a time. sand boards so splinters dont get your butt!!! you can even screw in a handle on far side of boards...
  • to grip onto the tub edge in and out. I also agree with basin of water and chair in front to help wash yourself is the same as a good old bedbath. Do you have someone to be with you while bathing? That would help you with your feet etc. Best wishes for your operation and I wish you a speedy recovery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Check out a medical supply store as they might have a rail that can attach to the tub. It is sometimes amazing what you can find. Even online through ebay. Medical stuff is on there also. I would think that you could call you Drs office or at the hospital the physical therapy dept would have some solutions. It is worth investing in something if they have it, also a bench to sit on, cause it might make it easier,especially if you have a handheld shower you can use. You will need this for many months, also the stool riser if you have dont have a high rise stool, and get one with the bars that it all attaches to the stool. Any discount pharmacy will have them. Or again online. I have mine still and use it so I dont need anyone to help me in there at least! :)
  • Perhaps my experience was not typical, but I did not feel the need to shower all that often after my fusion. The first two weeks I was on heavy medications and I did little but rest and walk, rest and walk. I can't remember, but I probably showered about every five days or so. I did not feel like having company so I wasn't concerned about my hair or wearing make-up. I washed as needed and used wipes, etc. But taking a shower was such an ordeal and zapped what little energy I had, that I would need a nap to recover from the shower!

    When I had an old tub, I would sit on the edge and then pivot around to get in. The problem with the stool is that it makes the "drop" into the tub that much deeper. I think if you can figure out a sturdy support, something really strong that you can hang on to, you will figure out the rest.

    Good luck to you.


  • definetly I agree to get is a hand held shower thingy. That way if need be you can put a shower chair in the tub and use the hand held shower to wash up. That combined with pete's idea or a shower chair or bench and an assistant to help you get in and out would be best, but that would be in a perfect world. Or you can sit in a chair next to the shower and use the shower thingy to wash up then have someone mop up for you!! You may have to stick with the baby wipes and bed baths for at least a few days because, even tho your abs are strong, they don't feel strong after surgery. After a few days you may be stronger but you are going to need something to hold on to if you lose your balance, a rail, a chair(sturdy), a person. That first few weeks is rough, I wish you all the luck in the world!! (((Hugs)))
  • Not to add to your concerns, but only to give you an option, I *still* can't shower (or bathe) because my incision has popped open! I have gotten very adept at washing in the sink with a wash cloth and a bar of soap. One wash cloth for my face and upper body, another for my privates and my feet :-) Until I was a little more flexible, I washed my hair standing at the sink -- a washcloth to wet my hair, a drop of shampoo, then rinse rinse rinse with a clean wash cloth. Now that I can lean over a little, I've moved my hair to the kitchen sink with the sprayer. The ol' sink bath technique might hold you until you feel ready to climb in your tub. Best wishes! --Dorothy
  • After my fusion the hospital sent me home with the remainder of a pack of premoistened wash clothes, like a huge baby wipe and they were microwavable. I will find the package. But they did work great until I was up to feeling like showering. And having them warm was also good. Will look in the morning.
  • When is your surgery? Havnt heard from you. Have you had it? I am thinking of you...... >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I was able to step in the tub when I returned from the hospital. Being an evil little devil I decided not to share that with my wife so she would give me sponge baths }:) .

    I am sure you will come up with something but if you have help you can do sponge baths or washcloths for a week or so until comfortable enough to get in and out of the tub. You will want something to stable yourself with though!

    Good luck
  • From the floor to the top of the tub? I agree a chair will be the most helpful to allow you to transfer with stability - but the chair has to have non skid legs and be high enough to be place over the tub wall. Maybe a cheap used bar-stool with skateboard tape on the bottom of the legs? With a rotating seat-back would be really cool so it can move as you move into the tub but the legs stay put.
    I know it sounds dreadful (but better than falling), but I know some guys in our armed forces that have gone several weeks without showering or bathing - just using baby wipes to clean themselves. There is also "spray" or dry shampoo - one I recall was made by Sebastian and called "Dry Clean Only".
  • Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I had my fusion on Monday and came home yesterday, Friday. I think I am doing really well. Other than getting a UTI from the cath and pulling a muscle in my rear trying to re-situate myself in bed, I'm felling very little pain.

    I got some great advice from OT in the hospital and had a visit with the home care worker to discuss my tub and stairs situation. My tub is too tall for any of the seats so, we opted for a $25 shop stool from a wholesale club. It's at the perfect height. With help, I can swivel around and get my feet in the tub and then stand with little effort. However, I'm still looking at the shower as if has an evil presence. I'm just so scared of it but I'm sure as the days go by, I'll get stronger and I'll tire of baby wipes so a shower will be necessary :) Oh, I counted my stairs - 21 in all to get from the back door to my upstairs bedroom. I can't believe I can manage with little problems, only hesitation. Yea!

    Thanks again. Your ideas really helped us find a solution. You're the best!
  • Its great to hear that you are doing so well! I am very happy for you! I really hope that your recovery continues to go well for you. Keep us posted!
  • I have an old home with a clawfoot tub as well. There's a possibility of needing surgery again in the future so have been looking for options to get for my tub. I found this seat that I will be buying soon so that I can get in using my stool, sit and use my hand-held shower hose.


    Sounds like your doing well.

    Best wishes to you,

  • Thanks for the link. I quickly marked it in my bookmarks bar. My main issue is getting my leg high enough to get in the tub. While it's scary standing in the shower, that was how I was taught by PT in the hospital. I'm getting that seat. There will be times that I really don't want to stand. Even after recovery, wouldn't that be great to have to sit on to soak your feet after a long day?

    Thanks Marianne!

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