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2 weeks post surgery and have question

iowarobiniiowarobin Posts: 1,268
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have a silly question. Well it may seem silly but I need help. I am a 48 year old woman and cant figure out what to use to help me in the bathroom to use toilet paper without twisting or bending. Its embarrasing, but any help would be appreciated.


  • I typically stood up from my raised seat before using toilet paper. That seemed to make it easier to reach. There may be a minor bit of twisting, but not enough to cause you any problems.

    I left a roll of toilet paper on the bathroom counter for easier access, so I would not have to bend to get to the roll.
  • it was one of the first questions I asked, what can I say I have no shame haha. Standing or sitting, whichever feels less painful or whichever feels better to you as far as your degree of twisting motion. When I asked they said the tist to keep my back upright and do a "shoulder drop" with minimal twist, or standing with the same rule. I thought well I dont have monkey arms so how will possibly drop my shoulder, sure enough it came to me like second nature. The twist is also so minor they said that either position would be fine as long as I kept my back upright. Whichever one feels more comfortable and yes always make sure there is one roll on the counter and one on the back of the toilet for easy access. You will start to figure out how to compensate for these things we totally took for granted before!!!
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  • While we're on the subject, I have a funny visual. My daughter just had a breast reduction, and being her first surgery, she was following the doc's order's to a T and scared to move her arms.

    She was frustrated that she couldn't wipe well and said at one point, she put toilet paper on the rim of the seat and tried to sit down on it as a method. Which I find hilarious yet sure wish I'd known. I'd had that lysol out immediately! :-)

    I purchase her some wipes which helped immensely and on one of the doc checkups, they told her she can bend down enough to wipe, it will not hurt her incisions.

    I'm going to have ready to try...a set of tongs as mentioned above, one of those bath things with the thing on the end (netted) that comes with a long handle, and I have to laugh, although this is a very frustrating subject when it's an issue, too bad the "grab it" tool is too long.

    And thank you for posting this, please don't be embarrassed. Your post served as a reminder to me that I need to prepare this next week.
  • They work and you can get a basic set at WalMart or such store. You can purchase them at Home Health Stores or online. They really do exist and it is not a silly or embarrassing question. We are all here and are going through or have gone through the same things. Ask away, nothing bothers us spineys. Women also have "other" issues at that time of the month so it is suggested we use pads not tampons for a while. Good Luck and try not to bend too much.
  • I am going to search oline and order me some now.this is a subject people probably do not think about till you cant wipe.
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  • Lisa,

    Actually, I think the "Post op musts" sticky mentioned that, I am not sure under what name, but I know I was able to look up on the web the "Bottom buddy" product. Fortunately, I did not need to get it, although I bought a box of latex gloves, in case my hubby has to help me, but by the time I got home from rehab, the OT thought me how to wipe myself.

  • You can buy them online at most medical supply places if Walmart doesn't have them. Craziest contraption I'd ever seen!
  • This is one of the first things I wondered about when I planned on surgery. I could not figure out how in the world to do it. When I asked a few folks, I was told "there are ways" and "there are tools." Various postings on spine-health mentioned tools. But, I really didn't know what to expect until I started using a tool after surgery. I found that it is not easy, even with tools.

    Being in a big, hard brace, I absolutely can not wipe myself--the brace limits my movement way too much. In the hospital, the occupational therapist gave me a pair of "toilet tongs" (they gave me a little kit of helpful tools). The tongs are not just regular tongs--they are slightly curved and long-handled. They are difficult to get used to, but do work (mostly). I tried various methods of holding/wrapping the tissue with the tongs, and finally found something that works for me. I end up using a lot of tissue (and found that some brands hold up better for use with the tongs than others). I keep antibacterial wipes in the bathroom to clean the tongs after each use, just to be extra sanitary. Also, as is probably posted in one of the "must haves" lists, the flushable bathroom wipes (not baby wipes) can come in handy.

    If you search Amazon or other sites for something like "toilet aids" you'll see some options. After I got home, I bought another "highly rated" and expensive toilet aid to try and it did not work for me at all.

    Regarding dealing with periods: I take birth control pills, and my surgeon's office suggested I talk to my gyn to get on birth control pills continuously for a few months, so I wouldn't have a period at all during the first difficult post-surgery months. My gyn had no problem with that at all--she said many women do this when they're planning for special events, big trips or activities, etc., and that I could stay on my BC pills almost continuously without harm (they're very low dose). I started the BC pills continuously prior to surgery, and I am so glad I did. Just peeing while in this brace is difficult enough; I can't imagine dealing with a period. Not to mention PMS and all that!
  • don't be embarassed- all of who have had back surgery deal with this issue. I tried the toilet tongs,but they did not work well for me-I couldn't get clean enough, so I just stood up after using the toilet and wiped.I tore off the paper before standing so I didn't have to bend. I am also blessed to have a good friend who is an RN who was able to help me with that issue when I was first released from the hospital.
  • know where you are coming from. I was so unprepared for that issue after surgery and was in the same boat as you. Hopefully someone has already told you about disposable tongs. You can get them at a home health store. If I had known about the issue pre op, I would ave purchased one of those bidet's that you attach to toilet seat. I had to get in shower after each BM post op. Good luck with your recovery!

    Sorry I should have read the other replies before posting.
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