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Any advice for a freaked out chic having a lumbar fusion this Monday?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Greetings and salutations,
Just thought i would give a lil background on myself before I plead for any input on what to expect from a lumbar fusion L3-5! I am a 35 year old married mother of two wonderful boys ages 13 and 8! I am having a lumbar fusion on March 9, holy *&#! that's Monday, and just wondering if there is anyone out there to give me some hope on a quick speedy recovery! Ha Ha I guess, i have checked out alot of the chats and i am really wondering how i am going to functiion with my boys. i kinda want to chicken out but the doc says that it isnt going to get better on its own imagine that. i am new to all this so if i am being vague its because i really do not know what or how to ask what the hell is going to happen to me Monday and my doc is not really forthcoming with the info, i do not even know if i will have to have a graft from my hip or what the deal is. Most of my knowledge, which is little, has been derived from this website so i figured maybe someone would give me a shout and let me know a little of what to expect. i am reall scared about the pain after reading so many stories, i have been on meds for so long i am scared nothing will work and i dont want my little boy to be scared. wah wah, i know, i apologize in advance, this is all just happening a little fast for me and i am definitley not used to being out of control! Any comments would be gratefully appreciated-like how am i supposed to funcion to when does it get even a lil better? Anything would grate! Please and thank you and hope you have a grateful night!


  • Ok. You will be in a lot of pain. Your boys are the same age as mine, and they will be a lot of help. Not gonna sugar coat it, you will be in a lot of pain for a few days. One thing you need to understand is, this is not something that just came up. They have been dealing with this with you. The short temper when the pain is bad, and seems like it will go on forever. The things that you cannot do because you will hurt yourself. They can deal with it because they know you are going to get better. The first time I had surgery, my youngest some was 4. They will be a lot of help. Don’t try and be Wonder Woman and avoid taking the meds. It will make things more bearable for you, and the others around you.
  • Welcome to the board.

    Try not to let your imagination run wild. You will be fine and that much closer to being able to do things with your boys again.

    Will you be having any help for the first week or two after your surgery? You will not feel up to cooking or supervising the boys for a couple weeks, if you are like many of us!! Your husband will need to pick up the slack a bit until you start feeling better.

    Most doctors are pretty good about giving you meds to cover the pain after your surgery. Usually one criterium for letting you out of the hospital is that your pain is being controlled by oral medication.

    When you first get home you should make a schedule to keep track of your meds. It is important to take them on a regular schedule, even if it means waking up during the night. You don't want to let the pain get ahead of you. Some people are in a rush to get off the pain meds, but there is no point to that. Your body heals better when you are not also dealing with pain...so follow your doctor's orders and do what he says.

    The most useful item for me were the satin sheets, or at least a slippery bottom sheet. Your muscles will be weak after surgery and turning in the bed is tough enough without feeling like you are stuck with velcro. Also for me a raised toilet seat was a necessity, but this may depend on your height. Some short ladies have commented that it wasn't really that important. Depending on your insurance, they will cover things like this, a walker, a shower chair, etc.

    Before you go into the hospital, set up your room, or where you will be recovering. I moved a twin bed into our den because even though I could go up and down the stairs, I wanted to spend my days on the first floor. Gather all the things you think you may want and arrange them on a table near your bed (or whatever arrangement works for you). You will want a pad of paper and pen or pencil to keep track of meds and whatever else pops into your head. You will find that the drugs may make you a little spacey and it is good to take notes. You will want your pills and a container of water, etc. Some people keep a cooler by their bed. Their husband packs it in the morning before leaving for the day, and then you have whatever it is you want close by.

    Your boys are old enough that they should be a lot of help to you. Sit them down and explain that they will need to be your legs for a period of time. Have them do all the fetching. They can also help you pass the time, playing board games, watching movies, etc.

    Don't be surprised if your recovery goes in fits and spurts. I always tell people it is "baby steps." And, sometimes you go two steps forward and then one back. The going back is always very discouraging and sometimes you panic and think you've done something to your incision, but that is just a part of recovery.

    It is really difficult to generalize as we all heal differently and we have all been through different experiences even when having the very same procedure...but most people start feeling quite well by about six weeks. Of course, it takes much longer than that to heal. You really need to be vigilant for about the first year as it takes that long for the fusion to solidify.

    You need to learn to be very patient as healing takes longer than any of us thinks it should!! But after the first 24 hours in the hospital, you will start to feel better each and every day. Keep a positive attitude and remember to find something to laugh about whenver you can.

    I'm happy to answer any of your questions...as is anyone else on the board...so, ask away!!

    Good luck.

    Gwennie :H
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  • I had a microdisectomy, so I don't know what it feels like to have a fusion. Check out the the list for PreOp and PostOp neccessities (sp.wrong). It is a great resource to get yourself prepared for the upcoming surgery. I am a teacher and I do agree that your boys can help out. My seconders help me pick up pencils, paper, or whatever left on floor.
  • I can not stress enough that what ever meds you are taking for pain that you cut them down to bare minimums!
    Unless you are in danger of going into withdrawals I would cut way, back. I ignored this advice at my last surgery and it was a big mistake! Any break you can take in the meds will make it easier for them to control your pain after surgery.

    Everyone else has done such a good job and giving you prep advice all I can think to say is relax and let others do for you!
  • Had a couple minor accidents on this. Blood Pressure Meds had Fluid Med in it. Remember when you get home, you are moving much slower. When you first feel like you need to go, start moving. The feeling does not go away, remember it never has before. Add the pressure of trying to make it to the bathroom on top of the back pressure will make you feel worse. I never could go in a bottle.
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  • My fusion was in December. I got a hospital like table for my bed to use with my laptop, eating, drinks etc. Walgreens has some ok ones for about 30 bucks. I also got a couple plastic baskets for remotes, meds, small tablet, phone book, address book, and stuff. I have a hsopital bed in my den, and you can maybe get one rented if you have the room. They are awesome, gets you to more comfortable positions while you are recouping. Also get a grabber. Walmart has a great one with little like suction cups for around 10 bucks. You can pick up a pill if you drop it or a can from over head. One thing, clear the top of your dressor, and stack your nighties, underware,socks, and anything else you will wear for the first couple months. It helps cause you cant bend. Also a long handled bath brush is great in shower. You wont feel or be able to get into bath without a bench. The brush will reach where you cant. Good Luck and PM me if you need some reassurace. They will control your pain at hospital. But be prepared , it isnt fun the first few days, but it gets better, especially after the first time you get up . I will be thinking of you and watching for updates.
  • Hardwear and artificial disc replacement. I went home the next day and was happy to have my husband home the first week with me. The first 2-3 days were the worst and then it was all good. The pain went away and I feel so much better now. I am back to work and feel fine. No pain or pain meds for me. I really think those boys will be so helpful especially if you have someone to stay with you when they are at school. Kids are so helpful so allow them to help you, it will make them better husbands in the future. Try to get a toilet tongs to help you wipe your bottom since bending is not good. Best Wishes to you
  • All I can say is yes, it will hurt but I will be praying for you that day. I will be having more test so it will make me think of you. Also, talk to your Dr. about controlling your pain- mine went on a 5 day vacation and I was in horrible pain with a Dr. who didn't know me. Please learn from my mistake. Next time I will ask my Dr. if he has plans.
  • I had a 360 3 level fusion in Sept. Check the old forums for things you might need. What I found most helpful was extra pillows,extra help the first week or 2 if posible, if not your boys will be a big help. Also raised toilet seat, shower chair are the bomb after you get home... and remember to keep everything at waist level.. you wont be able to lift, bend or twist and Im sure your surgeon will give you a weight limit as well. Meals made ahead of time are good.
    The recovery room and getting up for the first time were the worst, but remember IT does get better. They will give you a catheter so you dont have to get up for couple days, you will have a button to push for pain (that helps, remember to use it before the pain gets out of control) and when you get home take the meds prescribed to you... they will help. Remember its one day at a time, ok? Any other questions feel free to PM me, and good luck to you, we'll keep you in our prayers. Keep us updated when you can. I also had a laptop near which helps, or if you like to read too. Keep all close to you when you get home. Take care!
  • No sugar coating here.... I had a three level fusion. You will be in "MEGA" pain!! I have always said, "I'd rather give birth to 10 babies than go through this pain". I was in the Hopital for 5 days, then in a rehab center for 7 to learn how to walk and climb stairs before I was allowed to come home. My first month at home was HELL to say the least. I had a visiting nurse twice a week for one month, which was awesome monitoring me very closely.

    You first are going to need tons of love and support, you will not be you for quite some time after surgery, and everyone is going to have to pitch in, in every way with Mama now. Stock up on real easy meals that hubby can cook, because you cooking is out of the question for quite a while. I couldn't stand or sit for any length of time for atleast 5 months, so I made a lot of stuff ahead of surgery and froze it.

    But the list of things that really helped me through were, a walker, toilet riser (a must!), shower seat (a must) hubby is really going to have to help you with baths for quite a while, (shaving legs is out of the question for a long, long time, unless he can do it for you, get use to being "sasquatch" for a while, it will be the least of your problems. A plastic (hard shell) back brace with velcro, a really large ice-pack (Walgreens has quite a few styles on-line, I bought 2, one really large one, and one that wraps around your surgery area, then fastens with velcro in the front. A heating pad. And pillows are going to become your best friend. Laying on my side I would place one in the nap of my side by my stomach, to keep my lumbar as straight as possible, and one between my knees. However you can keep your vertebra straight, the better cause of the pain.

    A cane. I used my cane not only for stability, but for comfort and security scared I might fall. I used one for about 6 months.

    Make sure before everyone leaves the house, that you have everything convienient in reaching distance for you.

    And as soon as you can, start walking, walking, walking. It helps to heal the quickest.

    And above all, take your meds, don't try to be touch and think you can do this without them, and PATIENCE!!! The most patience you'll ever have to have. You're having a major major surgery!!

    I am 1 year post from my 3 level fusion. I still wear my "Tens Unit" when I go out shopping or whatever. I still take about 3 percocets a day. I have totally convinced myself of my limitations, life is different.... I use to be soooo active. But I've learned to accept it, I cannot lift anything over 20#'s ever. All in all though, I am doing much better than one year ago, but it's been a long, long hard painful road. Good news though, my original sciatica pain is gone!! Oh ya, and you're going to be the "Weather predictor", you are going to have a "built-in barometer", if your having "instrumentation". I have two 6 inch rods, 6 screws and one stabilization bar in titanium. And I have been right in predicting weather 100% ever since it was installed!!! I ache for atleast 2 days ahead of every snow storm.

    I am walking 3 miles a day, jogging a little during that walk, I ride my stationary bike for 2 miles, and am still doing core strengthing excersises. Oh ya, I'm still in physical therapy, but finally down to once a month. At first it was twice a week.

    Good luck, and have a little chat with your hubby and children that they're going to be your whole world for quite a while. It's time they take care of Mommy.

    For you, no bending, lifting twisting, or as they call it, "BLT's". Driving is out of the question for a long time, cause you will not be able to turn around to see in back of you.
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