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Recovery after posterior fusion

I will have a posterior fusion at 2 levels within the next 2 weeks. I had 2 prior anterior fusions, fusing 3 levels. I am single and live alone and have no friends closer than a 2 hour drive. I have been told I cannot drive for 12 weeks due to the Miami J brace I will wear. I am worried about changing the pads on the brace by myself and doing everyday care and chores--showering, cooking, laundry. Will these be a problem? Any suggestions on coping? I'm trying to be proactive in setting up my house to be most accommodating to my limitations. Will I be able to sleep in bed or will I have to sleep in the recliner? I have to wear the brace 24-7. The neurosurgeon said the biggest problem would be pain control. How limiting is this? He also mentioned physical therapy beginning in week 3. How often does that occur? 2 or more days a week? I am going to have to find transportation to my appointments and the grocery store. Does the OATS bus have age limits? Does anyone know the cost to use it? What can I do to ready my house and myself for the upcoming post op period?
Thank you!


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I also had the posterior surgery on the cervical spine and was terrified of the surgery after all the stories I had been told. I can tell you my story but remember everyone is different. On the day of the surgery in the holding area of pre-op I was ready to run. The nurses suspected this and gave me plenty of Valium in my IV line. Once the surgery was completed and I was sent to my room I was given excellent care. My pain was kept under control. The surgeon stressed to me how important it was to walk to keep the muscles from tightening up and to keep the swelling down. So within 12 hours of my surgery I was doing laps around the floor of the hospital with the help of a aide. I didnt need the help but for hospital liability issues they required one. Once i was sent home the hardest thing to do was to get out of bed. If you are not going to have anyone there to help you I would request a prescription for a hospital bed. Mine was set up in the living room right in front of the tv. I would make sure I had a bed side table where you can put bottles of water and your medications, kleenex and such. Have baby wipes on hand to give your self a way to give somewhat of a bath. I also had the dry shampoo I used a few times. All these things can be done while laying in bed. Prepare meals that can be frozen before you have your surgery that way all you need to do is put them in the microwave. Take your meds as prescribed.because the muscles get very angry after this surgery. Explain to the Dr that there will be no one available to help you and he may be able to arrange a home health aide to check on you at least once a day. Like I said I have had this surgery and although it is a rough surgery it was not as bad as others can lead on to believe. Maybe it was that bad for them but not for me. Like I said everyone is different. If can answer any questions for you please PM and Ill be glad to help all I can
  • edited 11/04/2012 - 6:38 AM
    Depending on where you are, you might contact the hospital and see if there is a short-term facility or even daily nurse visits to your home. It also will depend on your insurance, too. I had L5-S1 Decompression and Interbody on August 6 of this year. I had family stay with me for the first three weeks after leaving the hospital. Is it possible for your friends to alternate staying with you? I went home with a kit that is usually given to those getting hip replacement surgery: it contained a grabber, long handled shower sponge, a shoe horn, and a sock-put-on contraption. The grabber for me was very helpful. I also would write down the times I took my meds to keep track. I have a cordless phone and carried it with me around the house. What about getting a maid service to clean yor house? Or hiring a neighbor's teenager for that? As far as showering,when I felt like it, I had a shower chair, a hand held shower head, and since you are alone, you might want to get some shower bars. Either tape down the shower rug or use a rubber backed one. Another thing is when you go to shower, call your friend or a neighbor before hand, set a time that you will call them back, say in 20min, so if there is a problem, they can check on you/call for help. Try to set up paying your bills online. There is some companies that will bring your groceries to your door-- check online for what's in you area. I just started physical therapy twice a week. Is there a close neighbor who can drive you? Hope this helps and best wishes for your upcoming surgery.

    Decompression with L5-S1 fusion and interbody 8/6/2012
    spondylolisthesis grade2
    vertebra instability
    L5 nerve compression
    congenital defect of pars interarticularis

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