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First time.....ugh

Hey all, I'm a 28 year old first time surgery haver (is that even a real word?). I'm one week out of my lumbar microdiscectomy surgery for my L4-L5. I'm struggling with a lot of feelings that I've never felt before and I'm having a really tough time with the whole thing. The surgery went really well and I'm managing the pain pretty well also but its everything else that comes with having gone through such a surgery.
I have my boyfriend (whom I've lived with for several years) and my parents (who came from across the country to help) to whom I am very greatful to have but I feel incredibly guilty. That is what I am struggling with the most. Everyone has to help me, I cant do anything on my own. It's driving my up the proverbial wall.
I don't like feeling like a burden to everyone and that's how I feel. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm not, but every time I have to use the bathroom, someone needs to come upstairs to help me go to the bathroom. And I pee A LOT. I normally drink a lot of water but now that I need someone to help me go, it seems like I'm drinking more water than ever. I cant get my own food, I cant get dressed on my own, I feel like I can't even think on my own. I never thought that I was someone who was super independent, but now that I need help doing everything, I'm going crazy. I've been outside twice but unfortunately, my house is situated on mostly grass (can't walk on that) and my road is on a slant (can't walk on that) so I'm stuck in the house.
I am very lucky to have the support system that I have, but I'm going crazy being in the house. And I'm feeling like a burden to everyone I love. I don't know how to make these feelings go away.

Please tell me I'm not alone and that someone might have some advice for me...

(PS I'm sorry for the rant, I've been needing to say all of this.)
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Comments

  • You are not alone!  I totally know how you feel.  I had my first fusion last fall.  I stayed with my parents for what I thought would be a few weeks.  My recovery was longer than anticipated - and I had to rely on them to drive me, cook for me, clean, do my laundry, everything!  I felt so horrible being a burden, and also helpless!  I am older than you (34), but still felt awful having my parents taking care of me.  You have to know that your family loves you and that it is fine to lean on them....we are both lucky to have great parents able and willing to help!  It will improve an get better, and you will be able to do more for yourself.  There were some issues with my first fusion, and I am scheduled for a second surgery in 2.5 weeks.  I still feel bad - just when I was back to being independent, I will be leaning on my parents again for help.  It's hard but I am happy to have them, I don't know what I would do!  I am sure I will be able to return the favor some day.  Best of luck in your recovery!

  • BionicJennBBionicJenn Rossville GAPosts: 6
    It's totally normal to feel that way! If you are like me, you knew recovery would be hard,  but not as hard as it really is. My first surgery was on my cervical spine-fusion c3-c5 and I compared my recent lumbar to that and I was so wrong! 2 weeks ago I had a fusion and laminectomy of l4-s1 and its just a different ballgame.  I am finally getting to where I can stand without my husband helping and you will get there too. Until then, rest and try and try to enjoy this time with your family. If the tables were turned, you would help them. It's never a burden to care for someone you love. Best wishes on a speedy recovery!
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    I think that it is human nature to need to be independent, but now is the time to accept that you need assistance.  It is not weakness, but instead it is simply smart.

    As a parent, I wouldn't miss giving my children the kind of assistance that you parents are giving you now - so sit back and let them.

    My best advice is to practice the following, and use it often: Thank you.

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • Drerea
    I think you would do the same exact action for them no?
    Its out of Love and kinship that they do this...its no burden on a person if they are doing exactly what they Want to do.
    Ime pretty sure that you matter that much ro them
    That you cant do right now is of no consequence..
    Love and be loved, your are a joyful burden to them!
    Its sad though to be stuck inside!

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod
    erator

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 645
    All great advice given!

    The only thing I will add is from my own experience from my lumbar fusion after care, generously given by my Mom. I was so thankful and appreciative too, but I had to relay that affirmation delicately to her because she was 76 at the time, I was 57, and I know the years are coming along sooner to where she could feel like others taking care of her would be a burden to them. And I wouldn't want my bad feelings of myself feeling like being a burden to get her to thinking she would be a burden on down the road. 

    I recently had to move in with my parents because I'm still unable able to work over a year after my fusion. I still struggle at times with feeling like a burden, but I try to make the best of it, help out as much as I can, and show my appreciation in ways I know they feel appreciated. 

    I must be doing fairly well, because today my Mom called me Jarvis, from the comic strip about an attentive butler that was asked to do funny things from his well to do employer....the funniest one she said was when the rich man asked Jarvis to bite his (the employers) nails because he was nervous. 

    The comic memory was brought on from having to wake my Mom up from a nap, reminding her she and my Dad had to take their dog to the vet to get his stitches out (had a lipoma removed). She was a bit rattled cause she had napped so hard, and was rushing to get herself ready, while I was helping her, handing her some of the things I knew she was going to need all the way to the door, even opening the garage with the remote....was kind of funny, and when she got home she hugged me for being so helpful. 

    And I think making good memories, ones you carry in your heart, makes life seem a bit on the lighter side...
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  • twindhamttwindham Tennessee Posts: 28
    Thanks for sharing.... I'm a lot older well 50's and my Mom flew in to be with me to help and between my husband and her I had Awesome Help. I know its tough to receive the help - I was on the other side as a Caregiver and now I needed help. 
    I am 4 weeks post op and Mom went home last weekend but I can do so much more once I had Staples removed. 
    I think those loved ones helping us brings a even stronger bond. I am so Thankful For that support. 
    Please update and let us know how your doing. 
    I still have nerve pain but hopeful up ahead that this surgery is gonna help me enjoy life. Recovery isn't fun but I'm sure worth it!! :)

  • michaelrchmmichaelrch Bern, SwitzerlandPosts: 36
    edited 09/02/2016 - 9:47 AM
    Hi drerae
    First off, you have nothing to feel guilty about. I am a parent of young kids of 9. One of them broke his arm last year. It is second nature to respond unthinkingly with all the help you can. Your parents may be hassled or busy or whatever, but I am sure they do not begrudge you the care they are giving 1 bit. I think many parents actually value the opportunity to reconnect with their grown up kids. Besides, you will find yourself returning the favour one day :)

    Re being couped up in the house, that may be a mistake, maybe. My surgery was L5 S1 but afaik surgeons like patients to walk every day to maintain and build musculature in the back. It does not help recovery to have all your back muscles turn to mush. What advice did you get from your surgeon on this?
    Walking up and down does need to be done carefully for sure, and maybe avoided if you are feeling weak, but walking on grass should be ok, no? I have been couped up for a few weeks and walking barefoot on the lawn in the sun is basically the best thing that happens to me at the moment!
  • Lainey1967Lainey1967 Bishopbriggs Posts: 35
    It is quite a rude awakening when you can hardly do anything for yourself, especially when you been so independent. I've even had to ask my Fiancé to clean my bottom after emptying my bowel, doesn't get any more undignified than that? Anyway both my mum & Fiance realise I need help, and lots of it, but they also know this will hopefully only be short term and that I would do the same for either of them, should they unfortunately be faced with surgery. Hopefully everyone on the road to recovery is doing well.
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