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Post spinal surgery care:Information needed

Dear All,

Please be kind and patient with me as I am new here, and if you think something is wrong in my post, please guide/advice me. Thanks in advance!

I do not have any friends or family where I am working/located. I have severe damage from AS and was referred to one of the best doctors for spinal fusion on west coast.

I do not have any second thoughts about the surgery or my diagnosis. The surgery has not been scheduled yet, it will be multi level PSF. (fusion).

I had a one on one meeting with the RN, and I realize that it will be a a very big surgery(I was not aware of what all goes into it before and after the procedure), so after understanding a bit of it. I am really afraid to go through with it. Mainly because I do not have any one to care for me, after the surgery, and I live alone. Is there some guidance for someone like me, on how to get help? I do not want the help to be very expensive/costly. My surgery will hopefully take place in January. And although it may seem like too early for me to worry about the stuff, but I do not want be the lazy one, which I am , with my surgery. I  need this surgery to be a success. 

I live in San Jose, CA and my surgery is going to be in UCSF.  Kindly guide me. 

Another question, what kind of help will I need after the surgery? I mean, will I be able to go to toilet/and take bath myself or would I need someone to assist me? Sorry if this is a very obvious question, but I do not know the answer.

Thanks and Regards!



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,807
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,331

    Can you talk with the surgeons or the RN and ask specifically about care at home programs?  you will likely need someone for at least 3 weeks after you return home.  i had a long fusion (10 levels done T10-S2+pelvis) and i definitely needed help for the first 3 weeks.  i'm a stubborn sot, and did as much as i could, but doing things like getting milk out of the fridge was darned near impossible for that time.  get yourself a reacher/grabber tool or 5-seriously....you will leave them all over the place and never have one where you need it!  you will definitely need help in using the bathroom, rolling over in bed and doing household chores, cooking, cleaning all that.  you have one chance to heal right from this, so use it wisely, and be patient.  Hopefully your doctors/RN can help you find some help.  Also, a you a  member of a church or a sports club?  sometimes people from those will happily help out people in need.....especially if you don't have a support network.  also ask about the possibility of going to rehab instead of straight home from the hospital.  Quite often there are rehabs that can help you learn how to get back on your feet and going after surgery, and then all the things like tying your shoes again when you can't quite reach.....things like that.  how to lift so you don't strain the fusion etc.  i was surprised how many programs actually existed where i am (i'm in canada) that i had no clue about until i asked.   for me, it was just me and my husband.....and he had to work after 3 weeks off.....and i needed him there for those 3 weeks.....finally 3 weeks post surgery (2 weeks after coming home) i could sit and shower myself carefully.  it was 3 weeks before i could stand in the shower without feeling dizzy.  so please call your drs office and ask.....and good good luck with your surgery, believe me, january will seem to come quickly.  you might want to start getting ready with moving things up and down-get everything you use to a level between your shoulder and hips.  it's way easier that way.  and reachers.  and a non-slid mat for the tub/shower.  things like that.  there are threads on the board here for preparing for surgery, and several threads about what is indespensible for after surgery.....lots of great info here.  and if you have specific questions, please ask!!!!!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

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  • Hi,

    I am a week post op and I can tell you that you will need help cooking, cleaning, and initially getting to the toilet etc.

    I found a grabber, walking stick, and handrails helpful up to a point. I can't bend at all, and these only help me to a degree. If I drop my stick on the floor, I need someone to retrieve it for me.

    If you can ask someone to pop in and sort your meals and washing out at least, I'd highly recommend it. Your hospital may not send you home as quick as me, if you aren't going to have someone there so make sure they know your situation.

    My reasoning for surgery was that I had nothing to lose by going for it. Ultimately, it was still a difficult choice.

  • RDavidGRRDavidG Jacksonville FlPosts: 0

    Need for speed, advise your RN of the lack of family and friends where your located and they can normally get social services involved with post OP care. Hang in there!

  • Perhaps you can ask your doctor about the possibility of going to an in patient rehab for a bit after surgery given your situation. If that's not an option, I would ask about home health. 

    Other than that, do you have any neighbors, co-workers, church members, etc that you could ask for help?

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