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Tips for Mom?

I am having a Lumbar Spinal Fusion soon and wondered if anyone has had major back surgery before with young children at home? I'm looking for tips/advice on preparing my kids (ages 4, 7, & 9) and home for my recovering period.

I've had two discectomy surgeries in the last 3 years so I'm not completely blind to the aftermath…but I know the fusion makes the discectomy look like 'child's play' and the recovery from each can't be prepared.

Remember any "Wish I would've known this before" moments or "things you weren't prepared for"? Anything help keep the house and kids organized…and all of the different people coming in to help?

I'm a school teacher having to go on disability for the remainder of the year, and I do have family that can help out when needed. I just know that there are things NOT on the standard checklists on websites that moms need to know.

I appreciate any advice or suggestions you can give me. Thank you SO much!!!!!


  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 02/16/2014 - 6:32 PM
    Your children are old enough to be made your little helpers. Giving them an active way to help take care of mamma will empower them. That said the first week will be scary for them because you'll be in incredible pain. I would not have them come to the hospital the first day or two. Face time or Skype instead and make sure they don't see you in immense pain; they won't understand it and it will be scary for them.

    Encourage them to cuddle with you when you are back home but to treat mamma with care and not have any wild and crazy behavior anywhere near you. Keep up on your meds by using the drugs.com pill reminder, and do not forgo a dose for the first three weeks. Buy a grabber, a wedge pillow, a bed rail for your bed, a standing tray to have in bed, and if they offer you a walker, take it.

    Make sure you are never alone with the children until you are strong enough; for me that was 6 weeks, but still no lifting. Have someone else grocery shop or purchase a coborns delivery service. Have easy clean up projects to keep the kids busy. Follow every single restriction your doc gives you

    Good luck!
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 02/16/2014 - 5:27 AM
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thank you Sarah:) You gave me so great tips…and I was wondering about the walker so that crosses looking into that off of my to-do list. I'll definitely get one. My 4 year old son is a wild and rambunctious boy at heart. He rolls and jumps around without even realizing he's doing it…so I'm worried about him wanting to snuggle and be near me (he's a "mama's boy") but ending up hurting me without even meaning to. Did you encounter that situation? Any suggestions? I thought about buying a fun pair of gloves to keep near. When he wants to snuggle or sit by/lay by mama he'd put the gloves on and know that when they're on he has to be slow and gentle. I thought the physical cue of the gloves could help him remember before reacting. May try. *And I obviously got the idea from the saying about "wearing kid gloves" around fragile things:)
    Thanks again!!!
  • i've had 4 back surgeries with little kids at home. last one was the lumbar fusion, and the kids were 4 and 9. a good thing, is to make sure there is something they can get to eat for breakfast, or snack which they can reach on their own. keeps you from having to get up and get stuff every 5 minutes. full day school also helps. my little one was in preschool, but we upped her hours dramatically when i went for surgery. fortunately, she loved it and was happy to be there longer. she also learned quickly she had to get herself into and out of things, rather than me picking her up all the time.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • But I have a 5 year old grandson, so I can relate to the rambunctiousness. When he sits with me in my chair, he has a way of putting his elbow in my "chest" to push himself up. He doesn't mean to, but it hurts like heck.

    I'm just wondering if you'll have someone at home with you, especially during the first week to help you out? You're not going to be able to get up and down to help the kids out with whatever they need, like at bath time or getting ready for school, etc.

    Good luck to you!
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • Yes, thankfully I'll have family that will coming and going to help me out with the kids. And my son does the same thing with the elbow! Ha!
  • RubyTuesdayRRubyTuesday Posts: 195
    edited 02/16/2014 - 2:24 PM
    Boys will be boys! I'm glad to hear you'll have family there to help you. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • 1. stock your freezer now with homemade casseroles etc. that your family will eat.
    2. stock up on paper goods
    3. Rearrange your kitchen/bathroom cabinets now so everything you use frequently is in easy reach.
    4. Don't give your kids a firm "I'll be gone this long" time frame. I thought I'd be in the hospital 5 days... that turned into 5 weeks. Luckily I had told my kids (at the time were 2 and 4) that I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone etc.

    Good luck! I went back to work after 7 weeks... back to the classroom in 9 weeks. I'm sure you'll be excited to get back in the Fall.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • For me it was easier to have my 7 year old twins stay with family some of the time rather than have them at home. It was hard to hear things going on and not want to get up when I should be resting. Thankfully mine are old enough to take it easy, but they're still kids. They are at home more now but the first couple of weeks it was more peaceful when they were at a family members house, and they enjoyed it as well.

    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • thank you for your advice:)
    i have another question…what did you all use to help you get out of the bed at first? i've heard some mention a bed rail. when my children were younger and transitioned to their "big kid bed" at first, i used a bed rail to prevent them from rolling off. all of the bed rails i've seen are fairly long. i would have to scoot to the bottom of the bed to get out. so, i'm obviously not aware of exactly what people are suggesting.
    any tips on what helped you get in and out of bed when you came home?
  • Hi Sarah,

    I bought mine on amazon and it's perfect - it's a medical bed rail and I love it.
    Drive Medical Adjustable Height Home Bed Assist Handle

    Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005JIJRZ2/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?ref_=pe_385040_30332200_pe_309540_26725410_item
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • I have never used a bed rail.... I know people use to talk about silky sheets or silky PJs for after surgery. I did both... I hate that type of material, but I have to say.... great advice. I founds silky PJs for the first week really did make sliding, turning, moving in and out of the bed so much easier.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • If going to have a walker at home, it can double as a rail to help you lean on when getting in and out of bed. I used the walker more for that than using it to get around the house
    Herniated discs & DDD at L4-L5 and L5-S1; ALIF L4-L5 & L5-S1 on 1/10/2014;
  • thank you all so much! awesome advice. my surgery is tomorrow…nervous as hell but ready to get it done and start the recovery process. my daughters have "decorated" my walker and i'm off to buy silky pi's and sheets today! thx and good luck to all of you!
  • I have been following your posts as I am having a TLIF on 4/10 so I'm looking for similar advise. My children are teenagers but it's still difficult for them to see me this way. Also, teenagers are very selfish so I've been slowing prepping them for the extra workload that will be placed on them.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • Sarah, Good luck tomorrow! I'll be thinking of you. Hopefully your op will be straight forward and you can get on to enjoying more of you life again. The first few days and weeks will be challenging but it should slowly start improving.

    Regarding the bed rail - i was happy to have it to help me roll over in bed - didn't need it so much for getting in and out since i've used the log roll, but it was helpful in rolling over those first few weeks.

    Good luck tomorrow!
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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