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liveing alone and haveing plif surgery

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
what i also dread besides the plif surgery next month is i have to leave my home and stay with my son till i heal some, i live 50 miles from the hospital about an hrs drive. how long do you think i will need to stay with him until im good to go home. i dred, being away from home for so long, and liveing alone i know i cant be by myself after surgery.
im just so independant, and not used to anyone doing for me.


  • Usually you aren't allowed to drive for two or three weeks after fusion. Obviously it is all very individual -- what you're having done, how you come through it, how many pain meds you need, etc.

    My best guess is that sometime between ten days and two weeks you'll feel like being on your own and will be able to handle it. I had PLIF two years ago and recall being very out of it for the first week. My son came and stayed with me during the day while my husband was at work and I was ready for him to stop waiting on me at the end of two weeks. He insisted on coming the third week and it was starting to annoy me!!

    I know most people are very happy to have some help or at least company for the first week after you are released from the hospital. But I could have managed on my own if it had been necessary. I never needed help with bathing or dressing or things like that. The main thing I had trouble with was feeding my two big dogs. I had a really hard time trying to set their water bowls on the floor after they were filled. With their food I could get close and then kind of gently drop them the rest of the way, but water was hard!

    I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions for you. When is your surgery?

  • I think it depends if it all goes smoothly. I got a wound infetion 11 days post op that leaked for a further 3 and a half weeks (yuck). Because of that I needed to keep a dressing on it and needed help to change the dressing after a wash. I was also not allowed to drive or do any exercise to prevent it going in to my spine. So I was fairly dependent for the first 5-6 weeks.
    Doing stuff stood up, like cooking, was ok but I needed to be organised enough to get my husband to fish stuff out of cupboards etc. In some ways I think I might have been better alone as the house would have been quieter!
    I have gone back to work now. I am 14 weeks post op but you still have to think carefully about stuff like shopping. You just can't do heavy bags in and out of the car etc. It is amazing the things you take for granted!
  • Hi DEEBRA, I hope this finds you feeling well. I had a one level (L5/S1) PLIF done in November. Now my wife was there to drive me home and I'm glad. I am not sure I could have done it. I, like you, live a good ways from the hospital at about 87 miles. But due to some health troubles of her own, she wasn't just waiting on me hand and foot.

    I really didn't have too much trouble doing for myself. I never needed any help in the shower, cooking or getting in and out of bed. Here's where I did have difficulty:

    -Putting socks on. Silly I know, but I guess my legs aren't as flexible as they should be. Now, two months later, I still can't get the right one on by myself.

    -When I had to wear a bandage, the first week home, I got my wife to change it and monitor the incision for infection.

    -I had trouble the first couple weeks feeding my pets too.

    -I still have trouble with the dishwasher. The bottom shelf is really hard to load or unload. As well, getting clothing out of the washing machine is really hard for me.

    Mostly though, I think I managed pretty well on my own. I did prepare my home, thanks largely to tips I read on here. One thing I'll add to that is install you a flexible shower head on a hose if you don't have one already. It's cheap, easy and makes the shower mucho easier!

    We're fortunate enough to have a regular housekeeper. I'm glad, because I don't know if you could run the vacuum for the first month or so. That first month, I can see where a lot of housekeeping would be quite a challenge. Maybe you can get that son to come and help with that?

    You'll do fine. Sometimes the most stupid little things will get in your way, but with the application of a little ingenuity you can get by!


  • I agree with nel and gwennie-it will depend on how you do post-op.I think it would ease your mind if you have your house all ready for your return.Have you looked at the post-op needs thread?It is wonderful.Even though it is hard,try to take one day at a time,and try not to overplan as far as how many days at your son's.You will need and be grateful for the help those first few days.We spineys understand the anxiety,so talk to us!
  • Gwennie and B--we have a big dog-a Ridgie---we have a feeder made just for big dogs-the height adjusts,and it has 2 bowls,one for food and water.Have you tried one?We bought ours at Petsmart for about 30.00.They started about 20. all the way up to 80.------I bend at the knee to put his food and water in,or I pour water from a container.It is better for large dogs not to have to bend to eat and drink,and it is alot easier on my husband and myself.
  • I have two of those, but one dog had a traumatic experience with it and will not use it!! I may have to figure something else out though as this surgery I will not have the help I had last time. But thanks for the tip.
  • Socks - absolutley agree with Aaron on this. The surgical stockings were impossible for me to do and I had them for 6 weeks. So I needed help with those post shower too! Normal socks - I can do them now and my own laces!
    I still struggle with the dishwasher - I think my knees aren't too great so all this bending at the knee is quite hard for me to do. I am working on it though. I haven't tried laundry yet. Not sure I could lift a full basket of wet laundry from the floor.
    Being dependent gets to be a pain after a while but my husband moans when I try and do stuff myself because often he has to sort out the mess I make!
  • thanks everyone for the information and bless you for your heartfelt concerns.
  • I live alone, and had to stay with family after my PLIF. We set their family room up like a hospital room, with bed, hospital tray, and bathroom off the family rooom. It was ideal, but I wanted badly to be back in my home. It was impossible for me to take care of myself at home, so I did stay with them for 3 weeks. My surgeon allowed me to drive at 2 weeks, though for me, it was very difficult for me to drive back to my home. The first two weeks back home were challenging. I did plan well, and had food, clothes, towels, extension cords and anything that I might need at waist level. Also only do what you must to get through each day.

    Good luck,

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