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Old 10-24-2008, 12:23 PM   #5
gotparrots gotparrots is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

After cervical spine fusion, you will be told not to lift anything over 5 pounds for a few weeks, and long after those weeks have passed, you may feel uncomfortable lifting anything heavier than just a few pounds -- going several weeks without lifting seems to weaken your arms.

Not everyone has somebody to wait on them hand and foot, nor will everyone want that. After the first few days, you might be surprised at the number of things you feel well enough to do without help. So prior to surgery, prepare your environment so that things are light weight and easily within your reach.

If you're a woman and you carry a purse, switch it out to a lightweight nylon purse or small nylon backpack before surgery and fill it with only the most necessary of items. The lighter the better. The same goes for a makeup bag, briefcase, or anything else you may need to pick up or carry after surgery, even several weeks after surgery.

Pare things down to the lightest weight possible. Buy milk, juice, bottled water, coffee, sodas, laundry soap, etc. in smaller containers for a while, not the family sized, 3-liter, or gallon versions. Consider getting a 4-cup coffee pot rather than a 12-cup pot. Use light weight pots and pans if you cook anything,

If you have pets, buy your heavy bags of dog and cat food prior to surgery and then put some of it in smaller containers for dispensing. Dipping out the food with a long-handled soup ladle will prevent having to bend forward and downward very far.

It will be hard or impossible to tilt your head backwards and drink from a glass or soda can. Buy some straws -- the "bendy" type are the best.

When you become well enough to do some grocery shopping, tell the cashiers and baggers to separate your items into a large number of small bags to distribute the weight. Always use a grocery cart, even if you're just picking up a half-gallon of milk. If you have nobody to help unload the groceries from the car, try using a small wire-frame shopping dolly and making many trips back and forth.

Make sure there is plenty of room beside and above your bed because you will have to "log-roll" yourself in and out of bed and you need room to do that (the nurses or somebody will tell you how to log-roll).

For me, some things were extremely uncomfortable to do, such as bending forward or tilting my head downward. So rather than (or in addition to) stocking up on books and puzzles, I suggest stocking up on movies (DVDs or VCR) and getting cable TV if you don't already have it.

Helpful items include soft foods in case your throat hurts after surgery (mine didn't) and foods that are easy and fast to prepare, including things your family can cook themselves. Get some comfort foods and snacks, to pamper yourself. Getting paper plates and cups avoids generating a lot of dirty dishes. I also suggest you place a garbage bin close to your bed or favorite chair, for easy cleanup.

Reaching for things can be painful. Having a "grabber" stick is probably a godsend, but I didn't have one after my surgery.

I was told to do a lot of walking after my surgery. So make sure you have some comfortable, non-skid walking shoes that are easy to get on and off without bending forward too much. Don't take your dog on the walks unless it is very well leash trained. You won't feel like struggling with a dog pulling on the leash.

In the first 3 weeks, or possibly more, you need help with driving, grocery shopping, the laundry, yard work, lifting things over 5 pounds, doing some types of house work, etc. If you live alone, make arrangements for someone to help with this.

Put your personal caretaker on speed dial, and don't make any plans to hold a garage sale in the near future. Ha. And in the first few weeks or months, don't plan on preparing foods that weigh a lot, such as a holiday turkey, a big pot of soup, or a large pot roast, unless somebody else does all the lifting and perhaps most of the cooking.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by gotparrots; 10-24-2008 at 01:14 PM. Reason: adding something

 
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