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Advice needed for caregiver: neck surgery 72 yrs old 5 pets

Mr WingsMMr Wings Posts: 4
edited 01/12/2015 - 6:38 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm seeking general advice regarding helping my mother with an upcoming Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery.

She''ll be in the hospital for a couple days. After that she'll be at home. I'll be at home for about 5 days. After that, she'll be at home with Dad who is 84 years old with poor eyesight (he can't drive), 4 cats, and a dog. Dad usually takes care of the dog, Mom the cats. The house is very messy and there's a lot of dust around. Mom is overweight. She has high blood pressure which is very well controlled with medication.

1)Am I crazy to go out of town a week after her surgery, leaving her with pets and Dad?

2)I'm going to do some cleaning around the house before hand, but does anyone know if the pets are a health hazard for someone recovering from this kind of surgery?

3)she won't be able to bend down to give the cats food or water a week out of surgery, right?

4)I've heard it mentioned that she may want to get a recliner to be in. Any experience with this?

5)will her bed need to be raised?

Sorry if I sound like an ignoramus. We're seeing the neurosurgeon tomorrow and I'll ask him some questions, but I'm trying to get info from as many sources as possible.
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Comments

  • How many levels is she having done?
    I had a 3 level ACDF w/corpectomy 5 weeks ago, and I still won't clean the litter boxes (I have 4 cats). I do feed them occasionally, although my husband yells at me if he catches me, since I'm not recovering that well. BTW - I am 43 and in good health otherwise.
    1 - yes, it will be tough on dad, and the house will start reeking of cat urine (unless it already does...). Mom should do almost nothing the first two weeks, maybe different according to her NS. Restrictions may be longer if she doesn't heal well, especially with her age.
    2 - I can't say the pets will become a 'health hazard' unless dad absolutely can't clean them. I adore my cats, and they are a great comfort to me during my medical leave. Can you pay a kid in the neighborhood to come over every day and clean them? My neighbors jumped on it when we were out of town.
    3- with her weight and age, I would think bending that early would be bad. The bending is worse for all those lumbar surgery people, but won't be easy for her either. Pay the neighbor kid to feed them too!
    4 - I finally just got out of my recliner to sleep in (at 4-5 weeks), it was invaluable. I still sit in it most of the day as well.
    5 - no clue.
    Good luck. You're a good son (?) for trying to get this all planned out.
    I'm newer to this (but oh-so-experienced now!), so maybe you'll get other opinions. Good luck with everything!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • ADRJenAADRJen Posts: 211
    edited 01/13/2015 - 1:11 AM
    Maybe you should consider hiring a pet sitter to come in once a day for a few weeks. Perhaps even a neighbor child.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Spiny_MaloneSSpiny_Malone Posts: 225
    edited 01/13/2015 - 7:01 AM
    Your Mum is lucky to have you. And you her.

    I love your description of the house and home. Sounds like there's alot of furry love going on.

    1)Am I crazy to go out of town a week after her surgery, leaving her with pets and Dad? Overnight I'd say okay. A week is alot, and it's just early days.

    2)I'm going to do some cleaning around the house before hand, but does anyone know if the pets are a health hazard for someone recovering from this kind of surgery? I'd say no on the infectious side of things, but cats (and depending on the dog) are tripping hazards. They get under your feet and I've almost tripped on my own. they get into your space as they sense you're unwell and then .....

    3)she won't be able to bend down to give the cats food or water a week out of surgery, right? No way. Can the cats jump on the counter? feed them up there. (I know)

    4)I've heard it mentioned that she may want to get a recliner to be in. Any experience with this? I don't, but the other readers may. it would be nice to rent one of those chairs from the Shoppers Home Health. They lift you out and in. I'm salivating thinking about it. lots of little pillows and props and bolsters within arms reach would help her and Dad work the comfort out.

    5)will her bed need to be raised? Does she get into bed okay now? I'd have as many options as possible within your means. Again, rentals if they would help is something you could look into for a temporary solution.


  • TWynnB said:
    How many levels is she having done?
    I had a 3 level ACDF w/corpectomy 5 weeks ago, and I still won't clean the litter boxes (I have 4 cats). I do feed them occasionally, although my husband yells at me if he catches me, since I'm not recovering that well. BTW - I am 43 and in good health otherwise.
    1 - yes, it will be tough on dad, and the house will start reeking of cat urine (unless it already does...). Mom should do almost nothing the first two weeks, maybe different according to her NS. Restrictions may be longer if she doesn't heal well, especially with her age.
    2 - I can't say the pets will become a 'health hazard' unless dad absolutely can't clean them. I adore my cats, and they are a great comfort to me during my medical leave. Can you pay a kid in the neighborhood to come over every day and clean them? My neighbors jumped on it when we were out of town.
    3- with her weight and age, I would think bending that early would be bad. The bending is worse for all those lumbar surgery people, but won't be easy for her either. Pay the neighbor kid to feed them too!
    4 - I finally just got out of my recliner to sleep in (at 4-5 weeks), it was invaluable. I still sit in it most of the day as well.
    5 - no clue.
    Good luck. You're a good son (?) for trying to get this all planned out.
    I'm newer to this (but oh-so-experienced now!), so maybe you'll get other opinions. Good luck with everything!
    Thank you so much for the info. It's truly helpful, especially because you have experience with cats! BTW, yes, I'm her son.

    We saw the neurosurgeon today. She'll be having a 3 level: C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6.

    Great idea having someone come by to clean the litters. And my dad can feed the cats, or we'll have someone else do it.

    Your comment about the recliner is a big help. The doctor advised we didn't need to buy one, but I feel like he's downplaying things. He basically told us we needed to do zero preparation for her return home, which seems unrealistic.

    Question: the recliner is for comfort, right? It's more comfortable than sleeping in a bed, and more comfortable than sitting in a normal chair?
  • Spiny_Malone said:
    Your Mum is lucky to have you. And you her.

    I love your description of the house and home. Sounds like there's alot of furry love going on.

    1)Am I crazy to go out of town a week after her surgery, leaving her with pets and Dad? Overnight I'd say okay. A week is alot, and it's just early days.

    2)I'm going to do some cleaning around the house before hand, but does anyone know if the pets are a health hazard for someone recovering from this kind of surgery? I'd say no on the infectious side of things, but cats (and depending on the dog) are tripping hazards. They get under your feet and I've almost tripped on my own. they get into your space as they sense you're unwell and then .....

    3)she won't be able to bend down to give the cats food or water a week out of surgery, right? No way. Can the cats jump on the counter? feed them up there. (I know)

    4)I've heard it mentioned that she may want to get a recliner to be in. Any experience with this? I don't, but the other readers may. it would be nice to rent one of those chairs from the Shoppers Home Health. They lift you out and in. I'm salivating thinking about it. lots of little pillows and props and bolsters within arms reach would help her and Dad work the comfort out.

    5)will her bed need to be raised? Does she get into bed okay now? I'd have as many options as possible within your means. Again, rentals if they would help is something you could look into for a temporary solution.
    Thanks a million for the response.

    Just to be clear, one week after surgery I might go out of town for two weeks, though I still haven't bought the ticket and am still unsure as to whether it's a good idea. The neurosurgeon agreed that dust or cat hair wouldn't compromise her immune system. You have a great point about the pets being under her feet. This does happen sometimes. Great idea about chair rental. I'll look into it.
  • I don't know if it is automatic or you have to request it, but after my surgeries Medicare paid for visiting nurses who checked out my house and advised me with any similar questions I had. Ask the Social Worker at the hospital before she will be discharged. The recline can be rented if you don't want to buy one (although for me, it is one of the best investments of my life!). The beauty of it is that besides being much more comfortable after surgery than a bed, most can be controlled, moved up and down electronically, making it much easier to get out of it.
  • I am a side sleeper, so sleeping elevated on my back in the recliner was infinitely more comfortable than a bed. As well, it was easier pulling myself up out of a recliner than a bed.
    I do sit in the recliner a lot, but I'll switch seats during the day. The recliner is nice because it gives my neck/head support, but it's good to switch positions. If my neck was tired, I'd switch back to the recliner. It will be especially important if she doesn't wear a brace (but still important if she does).
    I didn't think this surgery was nearly as painful as expected, and I had the same levels, although with a corpectomy of C5 (so he took bone out). However, I must say, I think the NS was a bit crazy saying there would be no special aftercare necessary on an elderly woman.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

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