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PLIF Fusion ???'s

lmestonllmeston Posts: 46
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello my fellow spine friends....frist off, O:) I would like to let you ALL know how happy I am to have run across this site. It has been a great comfort as I approach my PLIF surgery on 9/16/08. :''(
My question is....having the PLIF....does having one level done, verse two or three levels make the recovery easier? Also, I have been trying to do the "log roll" practice,in bed and can't seem to get that down am scared to death I will do something wrong and undo what they have fixed! So many rules and guidelines to follow....how did you do it! Do you have to lay flat in bed? I know you have to put a pillow under your knees, but what about your upper body? I have always slept with two pillows under my head. Should I get a toilet set lift? Should I get the other little items that make recovery a little easier....or is it a waste of time and money? So, many things, and from so many of the post I've read the hospital/doctors kind of leave us hanging. What do you think....ball park ideal....if everything goes as planned how long will it take for me to be able to cook, do laundry, run the sweeper etc....I am worring myself half to death over these stupid little details! My husband is so busy (work) I hate like heck for him to have to do much more when he gets home. My parents are going to come home and stay the first week and a half....will that be enough time? Will I be able to stay home alone by that time? I just am tying to get all of the lose ends pulled together as much as I can before this surgery.....oh, my! How much will I be able to do in two weeks time? I know no laundry etc....but, what will I be able to do at that point....anything? :?? I know we are all different, and I'm sure the surgeons don't know till they get in there what they really have to do....detailed stuff that is....and I'm sure that makes a difference in the recovery.....I'm nervous can you tell?
I have posted before under a different topic, so if it seems like you know me from some place else on here....your right. Again, you spine and fusion buddies are the best! Thank You, Thank You, lmeston


  • I went to rehab for two weeks after surgery because I live alone. Then I had home health aide for another month - helped me take a bath, changed sheets, laundry, would have done lunch. Basically, did anything I needed done so I didn't have to bend, lift or twist. After I was given permission to drive, that ended that, but if I really mess it up I can get them back.

    My daughter came every afternoon from June 9 until Sept 1 to tend to the cat pan, and most of the summer she brought my supper so I didn't have to try to stand up. I can do the cat pan now (we moved it up so I don't have to bend as much) and do my meals (when I cook(, but I have overdone.

    Without thinking I will pick up something - and my surgeon doesn't do braces - and here we go. Talked to my PT yesterday and we are going back close to square 1 with what I do in PT. I can use the treadmill and do table exercises ON MY Back, but we are going to hold off on the one on my stomach.

    As far as the house, I ran the vacuum two weeks ago. It is amazing what you can overlook. Dishes do OK with a rinse and being left for a few days. Use paper plates and plastic ware, TV dinners and sandwiches.

    But to say again USE ALL THE HELP YOU CAN GET. and get the grabbers - they save my life.
  • malaw, what did you have done on your spine, and when?
    Sounds like you have a very loving daughter, thats wonderful! Yeah, I will take all of the help I can get for sure. Do you know where you can purchase the grabber thingy? I have no ideal where to go an get things like that??? My mind is still not wanting to grasp the ideal of needing so much help....losing that independance....ghee! I've read too much about lumbar surgey and it keeps telling me the same things, but my head still is having trouble grabbing around it. I will soon find out and I will have first hand account of how difficult it's going to be.....
    Thanks again for the tips....means a lot.
    Keep the good work up and I hope your recovery starts on the uphill side real soon, lmeston
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  • Don't buy anything just yet. My insurance paid for everythinh and it was all given to me at the hospital-walker,toliet seat raiser AND 3 in 1 chair,grabber....... . The only thing I bought was a removable shower head. I am 4 weeks post op and already I feel SOOO much better than before surgery!! Good luck
  • My husband had PLIF surgery 10-30-2008.
    It is a hard surgery without any doubt. That being said,
    You are worrying before you know exactally what you need to be worrying about. Each person is different and recovers at a different rate. Example, The log-roll. You will learn this in the hospital. Once you have had the surgery, you will be helped by you nurse or Dr. It will seem pretty logical then. Next, some people do need a potty chair lift. My husband did well with just some help from me for a couple of weeks. For my husband, the hardest thing was putting on shoes and socks. If I had bought any one thing prior to surgery, it would have been walking shoes that required little of no effort putting on. For three months I put of his tie up walking shoes. He hated it.
    At this point, I worry about him, because he still has nagging pain all the time. The neurological symptioms are gone, but the pain still persists. It is affecting nearly every part of our life. I am begening to wonder if it will ever improve.

    Hopefully yours will go very well. In the mean time quit worrying so much.
  • I understand how scared you are. I went through alot of stress my self. The PLIF is a difficult surgery because they cut the muscle/ligaments in your back to gain access.

    This has been the hardest part of my recovery so far.
    I can reasonably pick up the kitchen and load the dishwasher about 10 minutes at a time. I can load and unload the washer/dryer with my grabber. I have taken a shower myself. I have vaccumed/swept but all of this is done in 10 minute incriments with pain meds.

    I keep a rolling office chair handy so I can access things in my fridge and pantry at lower levels when my family is not around to help.

    All of my pre-op pain is gone- but sadly replaced by the recovery pain. It has gotten a lot better, but I have found that those handycap electric shopping carts are great to use. I was embarassed by them at first but when you are crying in the market because you have 200 more yards to your car it is an easy exchange.

    You will probably be sent home with everything- but my NS gave us prescriptions for the shower chair (I never got mine-maybe I should have :? ). My doc released me to drive at two weeks- I only make short trips around town.

    The first 2 weeks were a blur and I slept most of the time. My meds were pretty strong. I watch a lot of movies in bed (no cable in the bedroom). I now spend a great deal of time in my hubby's recliner with stiff pillows (our couch's are too soft).

    Keep a positive attitude and keep your pain meds on schedule and you should be fine. Don't be afraid to ask for help and always say "Thank you".

    Good luck,

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  • I posted a response under Aug Sept surgeries for ya..

    HANG IN THERE!!!! >:D< >:D<
  • lmeston,

    You already got some good advise, so I just add a few things. Having multiple level fusion vs. one-level does not necessarily make it harder. I had a three-level (L3-S1) lumbar fusion, and reading the other post, I discovered that I had it very easy. There are a lot of factors involved, for example you tolerance for pain and pain meds, and most importantly the skills of your surgeon. Mine used the posterior approach too, with a 5 1/2'' incision, and I did not suffer any incision related pain. So just because you have a multi-level fusion don't expect it to be worse. As far as the "log-roll", there was a thread posted on the old forum. Also, if you type in"log-roll" under the search line, you will find some info, some even have the illustration. Rather than buying all the gadgets prior to surgery, take a note book with you to the hospital, and write a list as you discover that you really need something. One thing you will most likely need is a grabber or two, and maybe a memory foam mattress top for your bed. For more info look up the sticky "post-surgery needs".

    Good luck with your surgery,

  • Imeston, you are worrying needlessly. I know you can't help it, I was just the same. The nurses will show you how to log roll. My nurse came in every couple hours and helped me turn over, tucked pillows behind me, and between my knees, etc. The first many times you get up, it will be with the help of your nurse who will supervise your log-rolling. I was allowed to elevate the head of the bed at the hospital for meals, and otherwise kept it up just slightly. At home I was using 3 pillows. I wouldn't buy too much as far as equipment since most likely the hospital will order it for you and give it to you there prior to d/c. I did buy a grabber at home depot that is longer than the one hosp. provided. I use both, each one seems better for different things, and if I drop one, I have the other to pick it up. I was in the hospital for 5 nights and help at home for 1 week after d/c.
    I could wipe up the kitchen, ccoked a little, did a little laundry using grabber around 2 weeks. At 3 weeks I started to drive short trips timed around meds so as not to be too loopy. At 4 weeks I am vacuuming and doing more housekeeping, just no BLT.
    Remember, everyone is different, and no one's recovery is exactly the same as the next guy. I know it helps to hear others experiences, and I am grateful to SH for that. Good luck, and try not to worry too much. Take care, your friend, Sue
  • Good advice....I am one of these plan ahead kind of people....want everything done ahead as much as possiable, so this is bugging the heck out of me....no control! This goes to show how goofy I am....I wrapped Christmas gifts last night! I thought that would be a hard thing to do, as I always have so many, so I would be ahead of the game this way....see I'm goofy! :P
    I did get the grabber, thanks for the advice on that. I will wait and see what they think I will need at the hospital.....and go from there. I'm sure I will lose that control issue the first few weeks after surgery, anyway.....won't care....focus only on healing. Maybe this will be a good lesson for me, that I don't always have to be the one in control....and the world did not come to an end because I was unable to take care of what ever.
    Tomorrow go to be fitted for my back brace, have a back surgery class?? then the lab work up stuff. The 16th will be here in no time, oh my!!!
    Again, thanks for the advice it has been a great comfort for me....best wishes to you, lmeston
  • You are sooo funny! Christmas presents? I haven't even thought about Christmas yet. I think it is awesome that you get a back surgery class. I am sure they'll answer a lot of your questions and alay your fears. I got my back brace at hanger orthotics. It was kinda hillarious because my orthotic tech made me a "mermaid dress" out of tubular stockinette that he cut arm holes in. I had to put it on over my underclothes and stand there getting measured in 20 different directions and then he asked my BRA size. My recommendation, woops too late, I was gonna say wear stretchy form fitted clothing. I think my choice of attire necessitated the "Mermaid" dress. Now for the past five weeks I am the proud owner of a TLSO brace (ZENA WARRIOR PRINCESS COSTUME), and it is quite busty, and I even told him my correct bra-size. The girls at my work want to decorate it and draw a bikini top on it, NO THANKS! Yep it will be here in no time, try to keep busy, yet calm, and think positive thoughts, >:D< >:D< Your Friend, Sue
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