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Surgeons should also talk with spouses/families

I have seen this a lot on our forums....spouses and families who think we should be back to normal and back to all our pre-surgery activities a few weeks after surgery. I am going through this myself. Just because the surgeon "releases" you to increase how much you can lift or increase activity slowly does not mean we can go bike riding, clean the house top to bottom, ride scooters, stay out dancing until late at night, go on long hikes, etc. right away! In reality it is more like 6 months to a year before we can resume MOST of our normal activities and some things we can never do again to protect levels above and below our fusions from being stressed. I am not even 6 weeks out yet and my husband, whom I love dearly, is already antsy for our life to go back to normal. They do not believe US when we explain it takes time to heal. I wish our surgeons would sit down with spouses and families separately from us and tell them what to expect.

My husband is retired (older than I am) and I retired 4 weeks intoy FMLA for this surgery. I want to get going with retirement also but many things just have to wait. I keep having to remind him that, while I was still working full time, I nursed him through rotator cuff surgery (we had our first snow the day after surgery and it snowed constantly all winter meaning I did all the shoveling that year) and lower back surgery 8 months later (I did all lifting and carrying for a couple of months). I know he does not realize that those times adversely affectedy spine and probably contributed to the severity of my neck issues, and I would NEVER say that to him). I just wish he would be more patient with my recovery and know I am doing all I can do without threatening my recovery by overdoing. If surgeons would talk with spouses and families maybe they would understand better and be more patient.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,525
    edited 11/06/2015 - 7:59 AM
    Making it happen all the time is more difficult. So much depends on the doctor/surgeon's approach and character.

    If the surgeon explains everything to the entire family (spouses/children/parents/etc) the overall impact of what is being communicated will be better.
    There is no question that if you are the only one on the receiving end of surgeon's communications, then there are always chances that you could have easily mis understood something or didnt hear something. Then when you are home and communicate what was communicated to you, there may be some questions.

    So many times I have read about family life after surgery. The patient knows they can and can not do certain things. At times they listen and at times they do not. The spouse then at times understands the situation, but many times can get angry or resent about some of the extra burdens they now may have. Situations like this can brew into major family problems.

    However, IF everyone in the family listened to what the surgeon had to say. Everything. The initial recovery, physical therapy, short and long term impacts, etc. everyone that would have the same understanding.

    Right now, the way that can happen, is for you the patient to initiate it. Either through the hospital case worker or directly with your doctor. Request a time that the surgeon can speak to everyone in the family.

    To me, that should be a normal and standard and required piece of the entire process.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I wish I had thought about scheduling time between my husband and my surgeon's PA, whom I respect a great deal and did most of the pre-surgery appointments with us. My husband was with me but, of course, the patient is the one who listens closest and asks most of the questions. Having one-on-one time between surgeon or PA and husband/family would have a greater impact on communicating to them what to expect....and NOT expect! I just had not even considered this before my surgery. Even a nice booklet that the spouse and family could read on their own time would be helpful!
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    edited 11/06/2015 - 11:30 PM
    If in the States, there is only so much that can be said to even a spouse with our HIPPA. ( patient privacy)
    We have to give permission about details given.

    But I did bring in my, at the time, significant other twice for that very reason...better understanding and help to be on same page of my condition.

    But I initiated that, and declared it at scheduling appointment.
    There was an additional charge to that appointment and bill read something that included meeting with family.

    It was helpful having information come from Doctor .....authority person who is definitely in the know.
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646
    I know, I've read some posts from both men and women that make me want to just reach out and get hold of their spouses...makes me thankful for being single even more when that happens....I can at least choose those I know who will be there for me, with my best interest in mind, during those crucial times and circumstances of recovery. Although there will always be those people forever after that think you should have been able to do all this and that from the get go....I just pray for them.
  • The Doctor I had for my gallbladder surgery brought up a program that he was putting together to insist on family and or caregivers meeting with him before surgery. When mine didn't show up I told him it was because they felt it was minor surgery and he got mad saying " any time you cut into someone it is never minor". My partner left me and I woke up alone the Doctor was furious but I explained he had some thing important to take care of. The truth is he went home and took a nap. I chose to stay in this marriage just saying it would be good to have a Doctor talk to those who will take care of us and maybe it will open their eyes a little right.
    There are reasons we stay with our partner love, financial support, belief in the vows for better or worse, hope, hopeless on and on. In the beginning you think your partner will stand by your side no matter what.. Then for some of us a whole different person shows up once you become a Chronic Pain sufferer or times get rough.
    I get what you are saying Sheri76 it makes me mad too when I read how some are treated. I would hope I would never treat anyone like that but I can also see it could wear on a loved one to the point they just block it out or walk away. I have always been one of those who over does it when someone is ill or hurt to the point they get irritated with me. Boy I could use some of that once in awhile Ha Ha.
    My Grandson said to me today " Grandma I can't see any hurts on you why can't you go to the movies".
    Gee I got off track sorry
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  • Gramma how come you are always sick? We want to sleep over.
  • I agree with everything people have said here!! I also think surgeons should strongly encourage some kind of individual/couples/family therapy post-op. Emotional support is just as important as physical support, and no one, patient or caregiver, should feel alone in their situation.
    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
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