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Laminectomy and L3&4 Fusion surgery on 9/8

edited 06/11/2012 - 7:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
This will be my first back surgery and I am nervous about a number of things. Mainly, of all the other surgeries I have had in my lifetime, mobility has never been an issue. My husband is a truckdriver but we have managed to schedule a vacation week for him when my surgery happens. The surgery is this Thursday (9/8) and I should be coming home on Sunday (9/1). He'll be home on Wednesday and he has to leave again on Sunday the 18th. I'll be at home with just my mother who is 93. I'll be the one cooking for us both. I am pre-making some meals that can just be heated up for us, and hubby will be home every 2 1/2 weeks. I'm just not sure of how well I'll be able to get around the house. I know I'll have a walker, but no brace. Sorry to go on and on, but my nerves are getting the best of me. Thanks for listening to my rant.



  • to Spine Health.

    I can understand your nervousness just before your surgery next Thursday. There are lots of us here who experienced the same before our surgery.

    I really felt, and others have also reported that the anticipation of the surgery is worse than the surgery itself.

    I had a laminectomy and fusion of L4/5 with cage, screws and rods. Now, my recovery was very good compared with lots of others here and I was able to walk and move quite well and didn't need a walker or cane, even the day after the surgery. I didn't have a brace. However, I still needed help with daily routines for the first couple of weeks. My husband was able to take three weeks off, but the first 4 days were while I was in hospital.

    I didn't start cooking for a while. You will need to make sure that anything you use is at about waist height as you won't be able to bend, twist or reach up for quite a few weeks. Also think about how you will do any laundry, as again bending may be a problem. You won't be able to lift anything of much weight either. I used be able to crouch down with my knees bent and get the washing out a few bits at a time, drape them over my shoulder and go outside to hang them up. Once you start to get over the initial pain levels, you can be very inventive in finding ways of doing things. I also made sure that I had clothes that were easily reached.

    Have you looked at the list of useful items for after surgery? It is at the top of this Back and neck Surgery page. You will definately need a grabber so you can pick things up without bending. Also I found lots of pillows helped to get comfortable. A satin bottom sheet helped me to turn over in bed. A bath board helped me to get into my over the bath shower and then a shower chair was useful; it is amazing how tired you get showering and being able to sit down is helpful. Make sure you stock up with foods that will help with constipation and some laxatives. The surgery seems to upset the system and then the pain meds also cause problems. Your clothes will need to be loose fitting, especially over the incision. You will also need some slip on shoes.

    Do ask if you have more questions.
    I expect that others will be along to give some advice too.

    Pegi, do let us know how you get on. You will find that the recovery is very long, and the help and support you can get here is wonderful. It is so good to be able to talk to others who have been there.

  • The first 8-10 days are the worst. I had to use a walker for 2 weeks, and the only thing that I did during that time was get up to the bathroom, take a quick daily shower (seated), walked at short intervals around the house, and ate very light meals. Otherwise, I rested in bed, as sitting was too difficult. My son had to help me out of be for the first 3-4 days at home also. I stayed with my parents for 3 weeks. After that I went home and took care of myself.

    As jellyhall said, review all the post op must haves...so valuable, and prepare your home for months of being unable to reach above waist level.

    This is a long process; no way around the recovery time...it is what it is. The body can recover only so fast. Patience is necessary!

    Good luck,

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  • Welcome to spine health. You have come to the right place. This site is full of wonderful caring people.

    Want to wish you all the best with your fusion on Thursday. I have not had a fusion (had discetomy/lami), Jelly and Sleeprgirl have given you some great advice. My concern for you is that it will just be you and your mom alone for a couple of days before your husband returns and then will be just the two of you again 10 days post op.

    Great that you will have meals pre made that can be popped in the microwave.Try to have things set up to avoid any bending. Do you have anyone that can come over to help you with showering, cooking,etc while your husband is away?

    We will be here for you, wish you all the best with your surgery!

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012

  • I have just remembered that I also had suction handles placed in strategic places around my bath, which were great to help. If you are on your own they will be even more important for you.

    I agree that lying down is the best position to relax in. Sitting gets uncomfortable after about 20/30 mins, and at first you are told to save it for eating meals.

  • Best wishes on your surgery, Not worth being over worry about it because the worry part is worse then the surgery itself in some ways. I was very nervious with my 1 st surgery. I told them soon as i got there knock me out now because i left the car running and even if my back hurts i can be out of here across town in 30 sec or less.

    As others said the graber is a good litle tool to use after surgery along with that thing they give me to help put my socks on. I dont know what the name of it is. Its best to have someone close by just in case to help manage for a while at least. Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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  • Don't know where you live but, in Ontario anyway, we can get free home care for a while after an operation as long as our doctor agrees. They either come in a few hours a day or several times weekly depending on your needs. They are not nurses but they will sweep and clean and help with meals. I am just thinking that your mom is probably not that mobile either and you might need more help after hubby has to go back to work.
  • Good luck with your surgery. I have had 3 fusions and live alone. I did not have a walker or a brace. I did need a walker the first time in the hospital. I was n pretty good shape before each surgery so that helped.

    Have things at counter level that you know you will be needing so you don't have to bend. I did do some meals ahead and had friends bring meals over also which was nice.

    A grabber is a necessity. I also found a long handled shoe horn very helpful. I mostly wore clogs but needed to the shoe horn to get into my (former) running shoes to go for walks. Start with short ones several times a day and then increase. I bought a pedometer to make it more fun to see how far I was going.

    Loose elastic waist pants are a must. I also had a safety bar installed in my tub/shower and a plasic stool to sit on.

    Follow your doctor's instructions about no bending and twisting. When he oks you for PT it is very worthwhile. As soon as my incision healed I was able to get back in the pool and being weightless is wonderful.

    Good luck, let me know if you have any more questions and keep us posted.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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