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kyadog115kkyadog115 Posts: 266
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
HI Everyone,
as ya know probably, my fusion date is rapidly approachin,9/20. My nerves are getting frazzled. But, I'm wondering how bad i'll be after discharge from hospital,can anyone tell me please? I'm sure each person is different but will I be totally unable to be alone or do anything for myself? I ask cuz i really dont want to go into a rehab-center. Im 51 years old and as bad as this might sound,my 80 yr old mom, can stop in my house occasionally to check on me, will that be sufficient?


  • As the wife of a fusion patient, I think you should have someone there for at least the first two weeks. My husband could manage stairs but he did need help with getting up and down, food preparation,and just someone to fetch and carry. And I think your poor mom needs her rest and believe me, she will not rest if she is with an ailing son. Why don't you give the rehab place a bit of your time and leave when you feel ready. They will know what is suitable for post-op activity AND they will also see if anything is not right. When you live alone you just don't know what is normal and what to be alarmed about. I know some here have managed by themselves but I really don't know how they did it.
  • I am 49 and had fusion of L5-S1 on July 16th, Was in the hospital for 5 days and then in a rehab hospital for another 9 days. The rehab was well worth it. I couldn;t walk more that 25 feet and was in a wheelchair when I left the hospital. The rehab got me ready to go home. All this even though I have a wife and 18 yr old son at home. DO THE REHAB. Even after the rehab I couldn't drive for 6 weeks. Needed people to go places and do things for me. It is a SLOW process!

    Good Luck.

  • I will stick with that because you never know how someone will respond to the surgery. I am 60, and had a double fusion om my L 3/4 & L 4/5 this past June. I also had a cage and bone stimulator implanted. I had my husband and daughter here to help me, and for the first 2 weeks, I couldn't have survived without them. I also had a nurse come 3 times a week. Talk with your doctor and see what he advises. With me, the Dr. didn't know until after the surgery, how much support I would need, but I was prepared. It might be a little much for your 80 year young mom, so perhaps the Rehab. would be a good thing for a little while. Again occasionally there are some people who within a day or two are on their feet and require very little help, but most of the time that's not the case so prepare before you go in. Remember to check the posts at the beginning of this board for things you can get to help you after your fusion.
  • Thanks all....Perhaps i'll have to go in re-hab.The DR. did say he'll have to see how I am after surgery.
  • It is so hard to tell in advance! I had unexpected complications of pneumonia/plurecy and 3 blood transfusions! The lung/respiratory issues were a result of nursing care and the transfusion are somewhat expected as I had a 360.

    Both made my recovery more difficult. Your biggest challenge initiallyis getting comfortable and and pain control.You may want to consider renting a hospital bed. Meals will also be a challenge....

    What does your mom think? Is she a healthy active 80 year old?

    Rehab can offer assistance in giving you a little more time, especially if you do well in the hospital and are ready to go after 3 days.

    Maybe plan for either and see how it goes.....it is almost here! Hopefully football will help pass the time!

    wishing you the best!
  • I stayed in hospital but then went home. I was by myself all day and would have help only in evenings. I set up a little microwave in bedroom, had hubby leave me drinks, frozen something in microwave for lunch and then off he would go for work. I found it was very doable even with an unexpected infection but definitely only doable if you have someone who can come help you at least once a day for wound cleaning, getting everything set up etc. If you ahve the option of rehab, take it unless you're like me and won't sleep well unless home.
  • Wow, that's something that never even occurred to me. I'm scheduled for 2-level PLIF on 9/29. I will be in the hospital 5 days, then home alone. My hubby will be at work during the day but with me evenings/nights. I've known I'd be alone during the day and not too worried about it. I just had a total knee replacement 5 months ago and was home alone all day, without any problem. Nobody has said anything to me about rehab and don't know what I'll do if my doctor recommends it when I see him this week for my pre-op visit. We don't have rehab centers here in our smallish town, just nursing homes, and I don't think I want to go there even if I AM 62, lol.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • This has been a big question for me as well- my surgery isn't scheduled yet, but it will include removing a vertebrae, realigning my spine, and replacing the entire vertebrae. I just don't know what I will do with myself afterward! It is hard enough figuring out how to get the kids to and from school, but figuring out how to take care of myself is another thing entirely!

    I am hoping for a couple of hours a day with a home health nurse or something if I really need it. I really, really do not want to go to rehab! My husband is thinking rehab would be less stressful on the family. I guess it depends on HOW immobile I am.

  • Everyone is different. Wouldn't it make sense to have good options available? Better to plan now than be stuffed somewhere later.

    I would check into rehab centers before the surgery. Visit them to see what they are like and what they offer to get you back to being independent. Then check with your insurance or if you aren't covered find out the cost.

    Find out if your insurance would cover a visiting nurse service and then find out what is available in your area. Check on what that nurse will do and ask for references AND CALL THEM !!

    If you are planning on relying on family and friends find out exactly what they are willing to do. Ask specifically what hours they are available and what they are willing to do.

    It just seems smarter to me to plan for the worst now. That way when they are ready to discharge you from the hospital you can hand the social worker the name of the facility you want to go to. Oh and make sure you have a backup since these places are often full.

    What I'm suggesting is based on many times having to find rehab care for family. No one wants to rely on others but leaving this up to the hospital staff is like playing russian roulette.
  • Yes, it IS closing in. My mom IS a fairly healty/active 80 yr old. She is willing to be at my house in the day, but cannot b @ night. She goes to bed herself about 5 30pm...I am considering both options,I suppose I leave it up to the Doctor. He'll know best.
    Thanks everybody who wrote. This really stinks and im dreading this. I'm going to a local Major Hospital in my area. The hospital itself is intimidating. It's like a little city...actually its a mad house there. But, They do have the best physicians.
    I'll write again when Its over and i get thru and let u all know how it went..
    Thanks so much everybody!!
  • I had a perfectly uneventful surgery; went home after 3 days, and had to have help sitting up every time for the first week, and stayed with family for 3 weeks. I needed help putting on some of my clothes also. The only thing that I did those first couple of weeks was walk, shower, eat and rest.

    One thing that I felt was important and safe was to keep a journal of what meds that I took and when I took them. You will probably require quite a bit of medication, and for me, it was difficult to keep up with when I took my meds last.

    Hopefully you have had some time to look at some of the postop journeys of other spineys. Although everyone is different, it is in your best interest to make arrangements in advance for many senarios that you will read about on the forum.

    Much luck, and many prayers to you, Paul!

  • Like your dr. mentioned, it's hard to know until after your surgery. Just continue to remind your dr. about your circumstances so he will help you decide what kind of care you need. Maybe call your ins. just to see what they cover. If they don't cover home care then maybe rehab would be better,see? But you can find home care that will come in anywhere from a few hours to all day to help you shower,dress, cook,etc. one day or every day, it's up to your dr and you. If you don't need a nurse they will send someone with a CDC (usually costs less) to help you. We have services that provides nurses,CDC or general care for 1-2 hrs. a few days a week up to as many hours you want/need them. Even if you come home w/out help then decide you want some you could set it up later.....just an idea.

    Good luck with your fusion!

  • I required HHC after my total knee because I was on Coumadin therapy and had to have my blood monitored twice a week, but I wouldn't use home health again if there was any way I could avoid it. Maybe my experience was unique but it was not very good and I won't use that kind of service again if I have a choice.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Lisa,
    Thanks You, Much appreciated!

  • THG, what is your husband's logic regarding the fentanyl patches? Why does he think the patch is more prone to issues than the pill? Any extended release pill is an overdose in a tiny little package. I know the patch warnings were scary, but it's the same if you cut a MS-contin in half, or a Kadian.

    Anyway, I used them for a while and didn't die, and I'm the most accident prone person on the planet, so that's a good sign!
  • Happyhbmom,
    May I ask what ur post is in response to? I did not see anyone whom replied to me and my posts saying anything about Fentanayl.......what is this in reference too please?
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The best thing I did was buy an inexpensive toilet seat riser and a grabber. I was in the hospital 7 days and by the time I got home I was relatively independent. I could toilet, shower, and make quick meals on my own. I did need my husband's help with household tasks (laundry, cleaning, cooking more than a quick meal, etc)
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • This talk about rehab spooked me. I'm going to be alone during the day and I WILL be okay. Will carry my cell phone in case I get stuck in bed or a chair and can't get up so I can call a neighbor in an emergency. I got myself a grabber (Unger 51" nifty grabber). Am trying to be prepared for anything that might occur. I was over-prepared for my total knee a few months ago--didn't need the walker I borrowed or the pretty cane that I bought. Maybe, if I'm over-prepared for this surgery, I will be pleasantly surprised at how it goes. :>

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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