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When can you start doing more?

beaverbbeaver Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hubby is getting housebound and antsy from doing nothing. He had a fusion on June 24. He now walks over a kilometer six times a day but he wants to be doing more. So his question is when can he start driving and being more active. We don't see the surgeon until August 24. He is listening to you guys because he is a great believer in listening to those who have gone through it.


  • Howdy Beaver,

    Glad to hear he is exercising and feeling better. As far as other activities, I am sure you can run this by the surgeon by calling and posing the question to the office manager. Hopefully then the surgeon can make an adjustment his activities. I know my surgeon was "approachable" in this fashion when I was between post op visits. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda is right. Call the doctor's office. Usually the nurse or assistant can give you more details on what he can do. Did you look at his discharge papers? Usually those will tell you when you can drive or do other things.

    It's great that he is feeling so good but he's still only 3-4 weeks out which is still early. Driving is probably still a few weeks off. But maybe if the office says so you could take him to a park or a store so he can get a change of scenery. But don't be surprised when he gets warn out on those first outtings.

  • Different surgeons have different ideas of when their patients should be released to do things.

    Speak to someone to find out what your surgeon thinks and follow that.

    So pleased to hear how well he is doing :-)
  • My surgeon said no driving for 6 weeks..then when I asked about it then they said are you still taking pain meds 4 times a day? I said yes..they said then no driving until you are off pain meds...lol

    So I didn't drive for over 3 months...now I only drive if it has been a while in between doses of my pain meds. It has been 4 1\2 months since my surgery. I see my surgeon today..

    Tell your husband he is not alone. I was so bored I broke down and got a laptop computer. Best thing I decided to do. I watch movies on it...play games..visit this wonderful site..ect.

  • Hi Beaver,

    Theres a point in recovery where we are feeling better and want to do more due to the boredom and frustration. Unfortunately, this early in recovery it is easy to overdo it and do some damage. Inside there is lots of work and healing still going on and will continue to go on. Baby steps are in order when it feels like you want to take leaps!

    Its great that your hubby is doing/feeling so well. Like the others have all said, see what his surgeon says about adding on additional activities. The boredom can lead us do do silly things (I speak from experience, lol) so hopefully the Dr. ok's more activity. Baby steps...

    I also got a laptop for this most recent recovery and it basically saved my sanity quite a few times. Not that I was completely sane to begin with, but I digress....

    Hope he continues with a successful recovery, Lisa
  • My surgeon did not restrict driving, but common sense dictated no driving on narcotics. Tried it at 10 days but only lasted 1 hr until the pain was to much. By 3 weeks I was only on pain meds as needed and could drive. Too much activity and you pay the price later!; but other than the no bending or lifting restrictions were only limited by my soreness. My surgeon was of the belief that I could not do actual damage to the surgical site, but everyone has different surgery and should discuss it with their MD
  • I had L5/S1 fusion on June 11th. I returned to work on July 12th (work out of the home).

    It really is a doctor decision and what your hubby feels like doing.

    I was off pain meds at day 10. At the 2 week mark, the doctor said I could drive. I waited until the 3 week mark, simply because it wasn't comfortable. As far as walking, that's a good deal of walking. My doctor said walking is about all I can do. Even in the pool he doesn't want me swimming or really floating.

    The bottom line, from all I've read and everything I am being told is to really take it easy until physical therapy starts (for me, this is Sept 11, 3 months after surgery). This means, no bending, no lifting (I can lift up to 15lbs now, but it's awkward because when I do lift, I automatically feel it in my lower back so I just don't lift). I squat if I have to get out a pan, or pick up something, always keeping the back ramrod straight as I do so.

    I know what he is feeling. I look at the yard and think.... I cold do some of that. I look around the house and think..... I can patch that hole, or tinker with that, all I need is a step stool or to get on my knees a bit. The problem with this becomes when does it stop? When do I try to do something that I am not ready for and hurt the fusion. My doctor said "You can do anything you want and you won't break what we did. However, you may, and depending on the activity, very likely cause the fusion to not take." To me.... I just have to think of the bigger picture. I didn't spend 5 nights in the hospital and 4 weeks off work so that I can have a failed surgery.

    Slow and easy. Follow the advice of the doctor.
  • from mikey!

    Sounds like your husband has a bit of cabin fever!

    He is doing so well, he just needs to take it easy a bit and not overdo it.

    I am so pleased to see how well he is doing Beaver!! I bet you are too!

    Maybe he needs a new hobby. Something that won't be too strenuous.

  • So well stated Mikey! Thanks! :)

    My surgeon released me to drive at my first post op which was after 10 days! I live in the 4th biggest US city! I was in shock and did not drive!

    Recovery is long and it does take the mind awhile to catch up with the body. But it is a learning process!

    Before my fusion, I could not ever be still! I made lists of thing that HAD (?) to be done and didn't stop until they were!

    Boy has this fusion changed me! I am now mellow, and think (most of the time) what is the price I will pay if I do this ~ pain?, risk of nonfusing? risk of future injury to my spine?. No, I can look away from many things around the house/yard/pool/garden....

    Does he like puzzles, sudoko, games? Is there somewhere you could drive to,&he could walk, ~park.university, museum, etc for a change of pace?

    Hang in there! Wishing you two the very best!

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