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Walker, Sitting, and Wiping

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Trying to plan as much as I can before my surgery (one level fusion,

I've read that several people used a walker to help themselves up from the sitting position. Should I buy a walker beforehand? How soon before you're able to sit for a bit? I envision being horizontal most of the time...except when I'm up and walking... 8>

Lastly, it was recommended that the toilet seat raisers WITH the handles are better. Someone mentioned that the handles get in the way of wiping. Is this the case? Is the wiper stick thingy (?) with the disposable wipes a good investment? :/

Thanks for being an invaluable resource to so many!

Diana (Norcal_Gal)



  • :) you should get everything bought and prepared for before you have your surgery. :? so yes, go ahead and rent your walker and get your toilet seat. i don't know about the handles but the wiper is a good thing to get as well. be sure and prepare your pantry, have some old movies to watch, stock up on some treats. really just think of your home as your hospital for awhile and prepare accordingly. good luck on your surgery. we want to hear of your progress as soon as you feel good enough to come back. Jenny :)
  • Hi Diana,

    As you know everybody is different. I had a three-level (L3-S1) fusion in May, and I only used the walker in the hospital (3 days) and during the first few days in rehab. There the OT and PT thought me how to walk with a cane. When I left, I had a choice to taking home either a walker or a cane. I selected the cane, as it comes useful for hanging onto while doing light leg lifts, and also when you need help getting up. It can actually be used around the toilet if you don't have a raiser, you just put it around the toilet and use it to sit down and get up. But at first, it is better either to use a commode (the kind that fits around the toilet). It had side-arms but that does not interfere with wiping. As far as the implement, I saw something on the internet called "bottom buddy" but I never purchased one. The first few days after surgery you don't need it (you wish you did!) as people are usually constipated, later on you should be able to do it (not around, but front to back maybe). Sorry for being so graphic, but this is an important subject and I think we should share the information.

    Good luck with your surgery!

    (another norcal gal)

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  • Hi Diana, the only thing I bought ahead was my special reacher that I got at Home Depot, it is way better than the one the hospital gave me. Otherwise the hospital set me up with a walker, and elevated potty seat with handles as well as a whole kit of stuff (reacher, wiper tongs that I never used, scrubby-stick, shoe horn, etc.). All was delivered to my hospital room and my family took it home for me. I didn't like my potty seat as it was standard size and I am not a little girl and I wipe front to back (not a reach around gal) and felt like the outside of my thighs would hit the arms. Also the seat opening was small and not comfy. They had a wide elevated seat in the hospital, and that one was okay. I just tried it without and didn't have any problem with my toilet height, so I guess it was a waisted purchase (for my insurance anyway). I live in the CA Central Valley and have an HMO insurance, they have paid 100% of everything so far. So if your insurance will cover these things you might want to wait, but if not being prepared ahead is always a good idea. The front wheeled walker was definitely an essential for me. It just gives you something to hold on to, helps me feel steady esp. at first when my brain was rather loopy on meds. Now I use for walks outside, in case I was to trip or something. The hospital will let you use theirs while there, but you may want one for home. At my hospial we have a discharge planner (RN) who helps get orders, auth., set up delivery of any equipment needed for home. She took care of everything for me. Good luck, Sue
  • EVERYthing was given to me at the hospital (charged to my insurance)=I'd wait to buy anything!! Walker-T.seat-back scruber-grabber-....all of it.
  • My husband had 4 level lumbar fusion 7-31-08. He had the toilet seat with the handles, the clopper pick up thing (got it at Lowe's),walker with the front wheels. He did use the walker for about 2 week, till the Dr. removed the staples. He also had a hospital bed for 2 weeks, the bedroom is 15 steps up. The 2nd week he used the walker and went up the stairs. The most important thing you can get is a good hard handle back brush for the shower. He puts the liquid soap on the brush and uses it to wash his legs and other areas that he can not bend to reach.He is very independent and wants to do what he can himself. Oh and don't forget a heating pad. His hips were bruised terribly and the heating pad seemed to help. I wish you the best of luck and hope you heal quickly. Just ask if you have a question.
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  • I found out much later after my surgery that the walker came in so handy when I was walking as it just tips you a little bit forward when you put your hands on it and it really really helped me because I never got rid of the lower back pain and the cane was not a good thing for me as you have to keep lifting it up and moving it and it gave me no support.

    I got nothing when I left the hospital!!!!! I sure wish that I had gotten even a cane when I left but they gave me nothing and didn't even help me to walk. I never knew you could get all that stuff at the hospital. Oh, yeah, they gave me this humongous plastic back brace which was so big and cumbersome and you sure couldn't sit with it on as it would push up to your neck because it sat on your thighs.

    You all sound like you were with a very good surgeons office and staff and hospital staff. Maybe if my doctor seemed like he cared what happened to me after the surgery I wouldn't have had such a hard time and maybe if the pain had gone away, it would have been different.

    Well, anyway, take whatever they can give you as you never know what will be of great help for you.
  • use and recommend the back scrubber for washing low and the tp thongs. I did not have fusion but microD in which most of L3/L4 was removed. I strongly recommend the toilet paper thongs as even if you are lucky enough not to need them you will rather be safe than sorry. I was not prepared for recovery at all and everytime that I had a BM I would have to take a shower. Also if you do not already have one a handheld shower massage makes it easier to rinse yourself. Good luck and keep us posted with surgery results.
  • Why is it that some people can't wipe themselves after a fusion? Does it hurt to move your arms, or does it depend on if the person has to bend? I never bend, but I have long arms. Kind of like a freakin monkey. Lol. Hoping I will be fine.

    Also, do you think showering with a significant other could make up for the long scrubby thing to wash yourself? That's what I'm planning on doing, but not sure exactly what to expect.
  • After my 1 level fusion, I couldn't reach due to not being about to bend. Lots of pain. I did not have a tp holder so I ended up drip drying for the first 4 days. HORRIBLE!!!!

    I used a walker for the for week after surgery including the 5 days in the hospital. My doc arranged for a walker and a toilet seat.
  • Like KIn, I had a 3 level fusion and I used a walker in hospital for the first 5-7 days before they wrenched it out of my hands. after that I didn't even have a cane as they said no way. Actually I am very pleased about it as it made me do things I might have put off.
    As far as wiping goes, in hospital I had the nurses help for the first 4-5 days but after that- yep it can be a bit of a struggle but I have coped. I had never heard of tongy things till recently.
    Like Cali-Sue I am on the larger side in the hips and used the toilet chair with handles in hospital but it did get in the way of trying to wipe. At home I just used the toilet seat raiser with no handles and it is fine due to the height.

    One thing I do have and I got a fter a hip replacement is a tray with two levels on wheels.
    I can put any items which are a bit heavier on them and just push or simply to keep things altogether and near me.

    I honestly rarely was lying down after the first week. I was always up and around sitting, walking or standing.

    Now, having said all that after a laminectomy & discectomy I needed a walker foe a month!
    So what I would suggest is not to go overboard with buying or hiring things before hand but have handy stores/prices etc so someone can go and collect what you need.

    All the best
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