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Handicapped Parking

sparkledctssparkledct Posts: 120
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey guys. ACDF C6/7 next week (10 days & counting). My mom thinks I need to get a handicapped parking sticker temporarily. Did any of you do this and do I need it? I do not want to abuse the system. Thanks! MY surgeon says they will give me one but I do not want to unless it really is of help.


  • I got one and am glad I did. Go for it. You don't need to use it if you don't need or want to. But when you do need it there is a good feeling when you get to park right in front of where you need to be. I also like the fact I don't need to put quarters into any meters.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    I have been offered one for over 20 years now, but have always refused.

    Part of that was because I've seen how much handicap parking is abused and that sickens me. The other part was that I tried to refuse to allow any current situation prevent me for doing just a little bit more.

    I am sure you will get other replies, but my feeling is that from cervical surgery, you are not in as much need for that as for someone who had lumbar surgery.

    As Paul just replied, even if you have one, that does not mean you have to use it. But having it might be a sense of a security blanket.

    But everyone views this in different ways

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I want all opinions... My problem is I also have 5 bad discs in my back that do not yet require surgery. Walking on a regular day is sometimes a challenge and my mom thinks after the surgery once I try starting to get back to normal life (grocery store or something) that the walking might do me in. Still debating. If I get it I would only do so for the shortest time (which I think is a 3 month) so I could use when I have to (if I am having a bad neck day on top of a bad back day) still thinking...
  • HI
    If I may comment regarding the moderators post....Yes, each view things diffently however u state that in your opinion some1 that has cervical surgery is perhaps not in the need as some1 w/lumbar surgery.
    Lets remember that all case's are different and if one has Myleopathy (cord damage) I would certain say that is as much an issue is any1 that under went lumabr surgery.


    3 Level acdf(c3-6) 2/08 w/hardware..cage,8 screws
    severe stenosis
    Cervical myleopathy
    Partial corpectomey
    2 exploratory back surgeries to locate and remove broken tip of lumbar catheter
    4/09..L5 Micro'd, S-1 root decompression
    1/10 L-5 reherniation....surgery again considered
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    each situation is different. So, I really shouldnt say that cervical post surgical patients are not in as much need as lumbar post surgical patients.

    I apologize if I was trying to tip the scale here in one direction.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • But I did not start driving till 6 weeks post op, and had been walking for exercise, the only exercise they did encourage. I have one more buldging disc in my neck that is not causing problems, but none in my lower back.
    I saw this infomercial last night-I usually don't pay attention to them- but it was talking about walking, posture and back pain. They were selling some new expensive orthotics and its benefits for the back. This reminded me of right before my surgery, I knew I was going to be walking after surgery for exercise, so before I had the surgery I got orthotics from walgreens, the ones that said they would help with leg, foot and back pain, for 15$. They do make it more comfortable walking, but I am not sure it has done anything for my neck, maybe improved by posture as my body got used to the hardware.
  • The information you shared was much appreciated. I think I will get it an use if NEEDED only. I am going to have bad days but with work and 3 kids must still have a life. It may come in handy :) with my back pain being worse than my neck most of the time anyways I wonder how the whole walking thing in going to work for me. I hate walking right now because I always get these sharp stabbing pains if I hit a spot that is not exactly flat. I can feel it just thinking about it.
  • I agree in that this option is a "personal" thing and personal decision. I didn't get one for my cervical surgeries as I was either dropped off in front of the store by the hubby, or feeling good we would park waaaaayyyy out there and walk in. I will probably get mine signed off on after my next NS visit as my lower back in now going south, and walking is getting bad.

    I like the "security blanket" idea. You don't have to use handicap parking if you don't feel like it, nothing wrong with that, but the card gives you the option. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • When I was diagnosed with RA 11 years ago, I was pretty much crippled. My doctor advised me to get a handicap sign for me to have even if it's to come to the doctors...I used it a few times, but if my husband drove which was quite often, he would just drop me off. But since the treatments have helped with the RA, I haven't used it that much. In the last year I have used it more but because of my back pain. But the only thing that gets me is that when I do use it, I get these looks. People would look at me, and at age 36, yes, they have no idea why I have one, but they are wondering why I would need one at my age...I have even been asked if I could show my card in my wallet for proof that it is mine. Not by an officer but by another citizen...they would suggest I move my vehicle if I wouldn't show them my card. I didn't think I had to prove myself to them...If it was an officer, yes I will show proof. So, I do still have my card and I am glad since I am getting ready for back surgery. I park further away from the place I am going into if I am having a good day...knowing I could use the walk. But I am glad I have it for just in case...Sorry about the long post :) Tamara
  • I didn't get one after my ACDF (actually never crossed my mind), but I did get one after my TLIF. Because walking is an important part of the recovery process for a spiney, I'm very particular when I use it.

    I don't mind parking a ways away and walking, but if I know I have something that's going to be difficult to haul to the car, then I might choose handicap parking.

    I also use it if I go to one of the Target or Walmart Superstores and the parking seems miles away. That's just too much in addition to walking on the hard floors within the store and then back to the car.

    So, I'm very judicious in my decision to use the handicap tag. In my mind, it also matters how many handicap spaces there are. If there's only four, for example, then I won't take one of them. But if there's 10, I'd be more likely to park in one of them depending on how I feel that day.

    Bottom line: It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  • If/when I finally have my ACDF and if/when I'm offered a handicap sticker, I will take it. But I will only use it if truly truly needed, because I doubt I'll be driving much in the first place and like someone else posted, hubby will drop me off right in front of the store.. It will be nice to have when I'm having 'one of those days' and have to be out for something..

    Like Cath said and I fully agree, "It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it."
  • Thank you all for your thoughts. I am so glad I can come to this board with my questions when no one in my normal life really understands (even though they try)

    Love and hugs to all!

  • I guess if I had asked I could have gotten one. There are a few things that make it less necessary after surgery. First you don't drive till you are off meds so presumably if walking is so bad your driver would drop you off at the door. Second if you feel that bad you probably won't be out anyway. And finally walking is the best thing for you post-surgery even when it hurts a little.

    I remember one or two times when I parked in the handicap spot without the pass. Once was at the doctors office at my first followup and there were no other spots and two handicap spots open. Another was at the supermarket late one night. The way they do the handicap spots first and then the shopping carts mean that the rest of us have a long walk.

    Now that I think about it I probably could have used that pass more before surgery than after.......hindsight is 20/20
  • No Prob.just putting my cervical(and lumbar) 2 cents..
  • Here is a main concern of mine that I do not know why I have not mentioned. I fall down allot. Not like in the funny way, but with my back/spinal issues my right leg has been numbish for the last 6 years. I actually just fell a couple of weeks ago, the bruses on my legs you would not believe and it happened to be in a parking lot so I sort of sat there on the wet ground for a while.. I am VERY nervous walking after this fusion cause what if I fall. I have not discussed this with my neck doctor because he only talks about my neck not my back issues, but in hindsight I really should have told him. I will make sure I mention it before I leave the hospital. Cannot imagine a fall like I had a few weeks back AFTER having the surgery. I am sure it would not be a good thing.
  • Melissa, don't be afraid or embarassed to use a can, a four-footed cane or a walker after your surgery. The worst anyone will thing anywhere is that you've been in a bad car accident and you'll get doors opened for you.

    Make sure you have the falling thing covered when you get home. Don't take any chances. Like my nurses told me in the hospital - you don't want to be back in here, do you?

  • I am having a day where I just hate my life, nothing is coming together at work or at home. I am putting in 10 hour days trying to get the office ready. I am exhausted. And some days I am just MAD at all that I have to deal with (trust me I know, I know that it could be WAY worse, right...) I am just tired and no one around me gets it. So I have to count on my spiney friends to tell me I am not completely crazy (even thought I feel it right now) I went home yesterday and crawled in bed and cried for like a 1/2 hour before I made myself get up and go feed the kids. I just am NOT myself. I dont want to fall. I dont want to be in pain all day everyday anymore. Oh well, pitty party is over and back to normal life. Thanks for listening. :)
  • I wrote about Handicapped stickers awhile ago, but it bears repeating. If you can get one, GET IT. You don't have to use it all the time. But, there will be times when it is absolutely necessary (you'll know when).

    With what we all will be going through and have gone through, I think we deserve something for all the anxeity, pain and agravation that we endure on a daily basis.

    I'm going for my pre-op tomorrow and I'll be leaving for Florida in about 2 weeks for my PLIF. I'm going crazy just trying to get my house in order as it is not worth asking my husband to help cause he just doesn't get it yet. But, eventually he will, I hope.

    Right now, I'm just so glad that there is someplace that we can all vent. Without this site, I would have been taken away in a straight-jacket by now.

    I'm really starting to get nervous about this whole process and how long it will really take to get to a point where I can take care of myself. I hate asking for help. Marsha
  • You are preaching to the choir on that. I am divorced so the ex is my support system and he told me yesterday how "mean" I am. LOL Argh if they all just understood the way I really want to act and I hold it all back. I mean we have to go around nervous, in pain, stressed about the house the job and the kids. And we are suppose to be little miss sunshine, well sorry if I cannot pull that off for you right now...lol
    The hospital just called to get me pre-registered. Argh talk about it getting real at this point. I am freaking out.
    Hope you hang in there. We really are tough cookies and we just have to keep telling ourselves we can do this!!!
  • Amen: I'm freaking out as well. I have t start packing as I have my son and 2 little granddaughters coming to see me this weekend (lots of work preparing for them) I know that they want to see me before surgery and I want to see them but it will be a difficult 4 days taking care of an 18 month old.

    BTW, my husband of course is going with me and I have to pack for him as well. He has never done it himself and would certainly pack all the wrong things and then blame me for not doing it for him. Just one of the perks of being married (just kidding).

    WE all have to stay strong within ourselves and tell ouselves that there is a time when we have to be selfish. I intend to do this for the next few months.

    Stay in touch....Marsha
  • Hang in there ladies! This is so very stressful and you both are functioning on little sleep. I remember before my surgery, others would suggest to me to make meals ahead of time. It would make me so sad because I was in such rough shape I couldn't make us food to eat at the time!

    As far as hubbys, mine would get angry because he could not fix me and he wanted to so badly. He didn't want me to do any household work. But yet it doesn't take care of itself on it's own. He is in sales and he would promise he that he would help after surgery!

    Ladies, ice crystals must be forming in h*@^ because he is helping! :) And he is supportive! Things are definately not getting done the way I would do it, but thats ok!

    Hang in there~after surgery, you won't care how the house looks or what kind of food you are feeding your kids (sparkle).

    Try to be kind to yourself each day!

    Sparkle~please consider calling your cervical surgeon and let him know about your falling (I fell many times also). He definately needs that bit of important info. You may get issued a walker at the hospital. I came home with a walker and a 3-in-1 commode aka raised toilet seat.

    Remember Ladies we are here for you! :) Shari
  • As much stress as we are under there are times where I just read the notes and get a little giggle. I guess that is good. I have been falling off and on for 3 years. I actually was having bladder control when I fell and yet it still did not cause any stir in my ortho guys so I just live with it. Yes, I have so heard the, oh you should make a lasagna and freeze it or whatever. Man, they are lucky to get mac n cheese right now. I am not at the top of my cooking performance today and I will not be for quite some time. I am sure my mom will make sure my kids dont starve..lol They may not love her food but it is better than being hungry. And Marsha, Last weekend my brother and 3 kids (ranging from 3 to 15) were here for the weekend. I wanted to see them so badly but all I thought about was the time that I could be using cleaning something at the house.. lol. I did not RELAX one bit while they were here but I guess it was still worth it to see them. Try to relax and enjoy your weekend and give the hubby a nice hand written note of what you think he needs to pack then leave it up to him. My ex complained about having to pick out my six year olds clothes this morning, like really.. I just laughed and said "get use to it" ha ha. Trust me that picking out her clothes will be the least of his worries when he is in "charge" for a couple of weeks.. lol. I guess sometimes I just have to make myself laugh so I do no go insane.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Luckily I thought about the disabled parking placard before my pre-op appointment. For the state of AZ I could just go online and print out the form. There are two options, temporary or permanent. I filled out the form and checked the temporary box (it's 6 mo when you opt for temporary). I took the form to the pre-op appointment and the Physician's Assistant (PA) signed it without question then we drove to the DMV to get it, took about 20 minutes of waiting (not bad).

    The irony is there have been a few occasions we've wanted to use it but all the disabled parking spots were taken! If there is a non-disabled spot available close to whatever we are going to then we don't use the placard. But when we went grocery shopping we did as we knew the walk in the store would make me a bit sore, so I'd need to sit down as soon as possible.

    When I lived in NJ in the mid-90's (it may have changed since then) the actual surgeon's office could give out the disabled parking placards, which had a duration of 90 days, but they could only do this once. If you needed one after that it required a trip to the DMV with a form signed by the doctor. I had some extensive knee surgery and I found the disabled parking placard to be a blessing back then.

    I may use the placard more when I am driving alone than when hubby drives me somewhere.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • If you have someone to take you, just have them drop you off. In the beginning, my wife would drop me off at the door, and I would walk in and get a motorized cart. Later on, I got a bit more stubborn and made her park wherever, then we would walk slowly together.

    It would be altoghether different if you didn't have someone to take you. I would hate to take a handicapped spot from someone that "really" (I don't mean anything by that) needed it. I felt guilty when I had one, and just threw it away. I guess it's a guy thing!
  • I've also felt guilty when using my handicap placard once I was feeling a bit better. So, being the idiot that I am, I always made a bigger deal of getting out of the car and walking slower into the building so I looked more handicapped. Isn't that just idiotic? Consequently, I don't use it very often at all any more - I figure I need the walk anyway.

    My brother, who was truly handicapped (amputated leg, asthma, diabetes, etc.) used to get so ticked at people that parked in the handicapped spots that didn't have a placard or plates, that he'd hock a big loogy and spit it on the windshield right in front of the driver's side. LOL He was a piece of work, but maybe a few of those people stopped parking there in the future.

  • I am one of those people that gets mad when I see someone park in the handicapped spot that does not need it. I picked up my placard today and put it in my glovebox. It was embarrasing to me just to go into the BMV for it. Like people looked at me funny, why would SHE need one of those. Pray I never need it - right?
    Your story made me laugh.. :) Thanks so much!
  • Someone famous said that and it is soo true. I used to get mad when I saw someone in those handicap spots who didn't look like they needed it. I'm old enough to remember parking lots before they had handicap spots. Boy were people mad when they started that!!

    But my point is that what you think you see is not always the whole story. Can anyone see my 23 staples in my back? Can anyone see the hardware they put in your body? Just because someone "looks" ok doesn't mean they are. And just because someone carries a cane doesn't mean they really need it.

    So try not to judge others. A piece of paper is just that - paper. Do what you feel is the right thing and hope that others will act the same. Afterall you aren't going to change someone who is selfish or mean just by making a law. But by example we can change the world.
  • You are absolutely right. Everything you said stands true. But I have to admit having the problem I do not really makes me appreciate that fact. That things are not always what they seem. I know that I will use it ONLY when absolutely necessary and you just have to hope other people use theirs responsibly too.
  • You are so right.

    Several years ago after I had the ACL repaired in my right knee, I used my Handicapped sticker and someone stopped me and yelled that I did't look that handicapped. My reply, are you a Doctor and would you like to examine my scars? That shut them up. I know how frustrating it is to feel that you have to use the sticker...but do so, if you need it. That's what they are for.

    Hugs to all.....Marsha
  • I already got looks at the BMV, I can only imagine. I think it is almost sad because it does discourage people who need it from getting it because of the stares... I cannot imagine what I will say if someone says that to me. All I can hope for is if I have to use it that they can tell I just had surgery. You know, then they will leave me be.
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