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Back Surgery recovery



  • I was terrified that recovery was going to be really difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised. I never needed a walker, or a raised toilet seat, or any other special items aside from a grabber, and that was really just for convenience. Everyone heals differently, but it was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. My bf helped with my son for the first week and a half that I was home, then I took over again, and did everything around the house like normal. I think it depends a lot on a person's pain tolerance as well as their body's own way of healing. I say be objective, but don't stress out or fear the worst. Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best, and stay level... If you've read all the stories here and aren't going into this blind, then I really think you are going to find it's not as bad as you thought. Good luck!
  • I had an anterior/posterior fusion and I was driving 2 weeks later (with approval of my doctor, of course.) And it was fine... Never had a problem. Drove myself to get my staples out, 10 days out of the hospital.
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  • Just because you're cleared to drive doesn't mean you can go back to work. I was cleared to drive at 2 weeks, but wasn't cleared to work until 12 weeks post op, and I was doing great well before then.
  • Wish I was as lucky! I had my Morphine pump upped 5 times until it was at the max dose, and it still wasn't making a dent.... Ended up with injections of Dilaudid, Valium, and Percocet pills in between, and that didn't work so well, either. Once I got home I was fine but in the hospital I was absolutely miserable and my pain was NEVER ONCE under control, and they didn't do anything about it. My guess, though, is that because I am young they think my pain threshold is off and that I'm just exaggerating or being sensitive. Only, I have a high tolerance to pain... AND to meds. They weren't at the max dose of Dilaudid but they wouldn't up it. At least I got sent home with Dilaudid, Percocet, & Valium. Dilaudid in pill form isn't commonly given, so I suppose I have to give them a high five for that. Lol.
  • I had a two level lumbar fusion and I too found the grabber tool essential. You can ask the hospital's case manager to get you one or I saw them in walmart for 9.99 today. I used a shower seat and walker(also case manager can get for you) but did not use a toilet riser. I'm a bleach fanatic in the bathroom and to think of my husband or boys trying to clean the riser would drive me nuts so I'd end up cleaning it. So, I just used the walker to get up and down off the toilet(and for walking and resting-I'd lean against it. Putting a bicycle basket on the front of your walker is nice to carry around the telephone, bottle of water, and meds.

    Invest in ice packs, usually feels very good after surgery. My only limitation in driving was taking narotics. I could drive when I felt up to it but hard to drive when you're new to narcotics.

    Good luck to you, I'm sure you'll do fine. The members here give great practical advice and support.
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  • Do you remember me from about two years ago on this site?? Long time no see. I see you are doing well, i'm glad.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • I'm having an ALIF at L5-S1. I've got a Grade II slippage in the L5 vertebrae (spondy). My doc is very nonchalant about the whole thing...the impression he gives me is that it's no big deal, I'll do just fine and be driving in 2 weeks. But then I read all these stories and think how could I possibly drive after 2 weeks!?! I hope it's true, but I guess I'm just preparing for the worst!

    I wish I could make a decision on the graft from my hip vs. the BMP though...I'm still struggling with this one!

  • Good to hear from you!

  • I felt fine to drive at 2 weeks... It isn't unheard of. The other people I know who had lumbar fusions were also driving at 2 weeks. The recovery was NOWHERE NEAR as bad as I thought it was going to be.
  • One more thing I thought of-steal everything you can from the hospital. Not really steal. But, you know those cloth disposable pillows some hospitals use? They throw them away when you leave so take them! They're great for the car and for home to get comfortable. Take that big rectangular washbasin they give you too. Anything that is not a reusable item, take it. That may sound really cheap, but when you get home, you do not want to be heading out to buy more pillows because you can't get comfortable and the big washbasin is good for vomiting. If they leave an open package of dressing supplies, take it, you'll need it and they've already charged you since it's been opened.
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