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Old 03-10-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
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Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

I'm a 34 year old male in pretty good shape going in for a single level fusion April 2nd. Not sure what numbers to throw out there (S-number, L-whatever) but it's the lowest fusion you can have. They are going in only from the back, and I'm getting some hardware with screws. I had a micro-diskectomy last October, and was back to work in 8 days. I am an IT manager, so I sit at my desk a majority of the time.

I do feel good about the neuro surgeon. He's Dr. Harold Young of the Dr Harold Young Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). But there are still so many unknowns, which is what bothers me the most. Hopefully some folks here may be able to provide some answers. Obviously, I know that everyone is different, but I'm just looking for opinions and experiences.

Time spent in bed - After surgery, how long, usually, do most people have to spend the majority of their day in bed? Is it horribly uncomfortable to try and sit on the couch right after surgery? If I end up bed-ridden for a length of time, does anyone know of an inexpensive stand/table top to use in bed with the laptop? Got to have my World Of Warcraft time.

Time out of work - For those of you that have mainly desk jobs, how long was it before you went back to work?

Things to make life easy during recovery - I've read the sticky, but does anyone else have any other tips? Gadgets or whatnot?

Getting around during recovery - How soon should I expect before I can make it around the house with any type of ease?

Thanks to anyone taking the time to read and comment. I'm just looking to fill some voids in knowledge I have concerning all this.

 
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Old 03-10-2007, 02:46 PM   #2
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hi twoworms,

Sorry that you have to go through this. I haven't had fusion surgery but there are a lot of people on here that will be able to fill in the gaps for you. Just wanted to say hey ho from another fellow Virginian, you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Usta

 
Old 03-10-2007, 02:52 PM   #3
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Thanks for keeping me in mind. It does seem to make things easier knowing there are people in your corner.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 02:55 PM   #4
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hi twoworms,
I am Brenda. Nice to "almost" meet you. I had what sounds like the same surgery as you 10 months ago, did well and I am a lot older than you, 52 to be exact.
Ok, to try to answer some of your ??'s. Was up, walked to the bathroom and down the hall the next day, sat up for a few minutes at a time. After getting home wanted to spend a lot of time lying around, resting. Recliner is MUCH more comfortable that sitting on the couch. I rigged a way to use my laptop and liked it so much, I'm still using it, threw an afghan over me for comfort, placed a throw pillow in my lap and set my laptop on it. Tah-dah! Perfect, spent many hours on these boards.
As for work, I too have an office job, went back full time at 11 weeks out, had planned to go back earlier, but no go.
For the first month, you are probably just going to want to hang out around the house for lots of R&R, tv, movies, sleep, sleep and did I say sleep? LOL.
Seriously, you won't be ready for a marathon for at least a few weeks.
If I can answer any questions for you, I'll be glad to, my surgery and recovery is an open book. Which after reading these boards you will see everyone is different, and I'm sure you being a lot younger will definitely be in your favor. I know when I had surgery, I wished so bad that there was someone that I could ask questions, just to see if what I was feeling was somewhat the norm. I did meet some very....nice folks on here. Everyone is very nice and helpful. Take care. Hugs, Bren

 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:06 PM   #5
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Wow, I'm glad I decided to post here. I get such quick responses. Glad to hear you were only out 11 weeks. Sounds like you had great success with your surgery.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:25 PM   #6
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

I think it was a great success! I had an MRI a couple of months ago, the report said solid fusion shown! Woo=-hoo. Rode the 4 wheeler with my 9 year old grandson a couple weeks ago for the first time, felt so good to be doing normal "stuff" again. I have had some pain today in my butt, hip area, could not figure out what the deal was, couldn't think of anything different, until my friend reminded me a few minutes ago, that we had a staff development training yesterday, and I sat on a molded plastic chair for 4 hours, not my usual cushy office chair. I'm hoping and betting that was why I'm achy today. Sure hope so. Anyhoo, good luck, we're here if you need us. Bren

 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:25 PM   #7
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hi Two worms: Good luck on the surgery... As far as the laptop goes, I had trouble keeping it on my lap, so I used a hospital table I had purchased years ago after a fusion surgery, for some reason the weight of the laptop hurt even though it didn't weigh much. The table is the same kind they have in the hospital that cranks up and has rollers on it so it can go right over the bed. Also, have you seen those folding trays that are used for eating in bed? Those work too for all sorts of things, like reading too, because you can adjust it to a slant for that purpose. I also used one of those cool pads under the laptop so it wouldn't overheat.

I had a lot of trouble sitting after my fusions, but you may be different. I agree a recliner is probably best, but I don't have one of those. You may find that using your desktop with comp chair works just as good, because my problem was that I had a hard time keeping my legs straight out while sitting. It felt better to have them in the usual sitting position with your feet on the ground. I had to really watch the amount of time I sat because of sciatic, and tail bone pain, so sitting wasn't something I wanted to do right away, and only for short periods at first. But everyone is different on these things, and it depends on the level of the surgery as well.

At first I could get around the house for the necessities, but found that sitting, standing, and walking hurt a lot at first. Walking was the least painful, but after you've healed some you should be able to get around pretty good. My dr let me start driving when I felt I could and think that was at 6 weeks, but I had a lot of problems. PLIF with rods and screws, fusion, etc etc. 7 times. Hope it goes really well!!!

Last edited by DesertBloom; 03-10-2007 at 03:38 PM.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Welcome to the boards!! I had a fusion 22 years ago and recently had the one above it fused 5 weeks ago. So here are my responses for whatever they are worth.

Time spent in bed - After surgery, how long, usually, do most people have to spend the majority of their day in bed? Is it horribly uncomfortable to try and sit on the couch right after surgery? If I end up bed-ridden for a length of time, does anyone know of an inexpensive stand/table top to use in bed with the laptop? Got to have my World Of Warcraft time.

[COLOR="Blue"]Pretty much the first week you are bed ridden; however, be prepared the nurses will get you out of bed the second day after surgery whether you are ready or not. After the first week you can begin to sit more but truthfully don't plan on doing alot of sitting until week 3.

As far as a stand, I used a folding lap tray that one might use to eat dinner on. I tilted the stand on the side and my table had a little bit of a lip which holds the laptop and my mouse perfectly. I purchased mine at Target a little under 5 weeks ago.

You can also lay flat, 2 pillows under the head, 2 pillows under the legs, knees will be slightly bent and you can rest your laptop on your legs. [/COLOR]

Time out of work - For those of you that have mainly desk jobs, how long was it before you went back to work?

[COLOR="Blue"]I would estimate at least 6 to 12 weeks -- maybe more.[/COLOR]

Things to make life easy during recovery - I've read the sticky, but does anyone else have any other tips? Gadgets or whatnot?

[COLOR="blue"]Defintely get the toliet, definitely get the grabber, definitely use plastic on your bed/couch (helps you slide). I put a twin size bed in my living room so that I could be near the family and be near the big screen TV. Itoo use a recliner and a computer chair when sitting.

I also ordered Netflix and I watch tons of CD's.[/COLOR]

Getting around during recovery - How soon should I expect before I can make it around the house with any type of ease?

[COLOR="blue"]I go up the stairs once a day to shower - started this around 2nd week. I had a walker and got around my main floor with no real problems on Day 5. Each week gets better and this week, my week 5, I have seen a major change. Everything is getting easier.[/COLOR]

Don't hesitate to ask any questions, you will find we all love to chat here!!

Last edited by ms_west; 03-10-2007 at 03:39 PM.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:55 PM   #9
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hi neighbor! I had a 360 fusion done at St. Mary's last September with Dr. Jed Vanichkachorn (known as Dr. Van for the obvious reason). Great doctor, horrible hospital. MCV has a good reputation. I'd bet you'll get great nursing care there.

The sticky has some wonderful tips. The most useful is, I think, the grabber. Mine was worth what I paid for it ($30) the first day I was home. You can get a cheap one for about $10, but the difference in quality is dramatic. The cheaper one isn't able to grasp and pick up as much.

Slippery sheets and slippery pj's will make turning in bed much easier and less painful. Same thing with a plastic garbage bag for the seat of the car for your ride home, so you can slide on it and not have to shift yourself. A little notebook to record your meds, appts, notes to yourself, etc., is a good idea.

Getting into and out of bed will be hard at first. For me, everytime I got up to use the bathroom, I took advantage of already being up and walked. In the beginning, I walked back and forth in the bedroom for 10 minutes. Gradually, I increased it to 15 minutes, then 20, then 30, etc. (I had low blood pressure issues and wasn't able to safely walk outside.) Walking is very important, as it increased blood flow to the fusion area, which is essential for healing. Do as much walking as you can, letting your pain be your guide. I didn't let myself stop because of being tired. I only stopped when the pain told me to. Everyone is different, though, so listen to what others have done/are doing, but then you need to do what your own body tells you.

Sitting is the hardest part. I was told to sit for no more than 20 minutes at a time at first. It was increased to an hour after about 2 months. But sitting is a matter of convenience. If you're able to lie down and rest, alternated with walking, that's what's important. Most people are out of work for roughly 3 months. Some are out much longer, some have gone back in only a few weeks, but because they had no choice rather than because they were actually ready.

I got a hospital table through one of those online auction sites, but it was hard to move it after my surgery. I ended up just leaving it close to the bed to hold all my stuff (meds, bendy straws, notebook, remotes, books, etc.). I found that with two pillows under my knees and another pillow on my stomach, I could use my laptop well with it on top of the stomach pillow.

If you're going to be in a brace, they'll probably tell you that you should be wearing it unless you're lying in bed. A sofa doesn't have the same support as a bed, so they generally want you to wear it if you're on your sofa. Unfortunately, it doesn't work so well. I wasn't able to sit anywhere downstairs except the kitchen chairs for a long time. I finally was able to perch on the wooden rocking chair, not rocking of course. Sitting anyplace "poofy" is hard in a brace, as you tend to sink in and the brace gets pushed up.

Before you're discharged, they'll make sure you're able to get around in your house. They'll make sure you can go up and down stairs, and if you're going to have a walker, they'll show you how to properly haul it with you up and down the stairs. I was able to do that with no problem from day 1, although it was slow and painful and I didn't want to do it often.

You've probably read some of the recent posts on bathroom issues, etc. Just prepare as much as you can ahead of time, and you'll be much more comfortable. The biggie is to take your pain meds on schedule in the beginning, even if you feel like you can miss a dose. You want to keep your pain well controlled so you'll be able to rest well and heal well.

I wish you the best. I hope you'll post if you have other questions, concerns, or fears. The board is a wonderful source of help and encouragement from others who are experiencing similar issues.

Blessings,
Emily

Last edited by BlueAtlas; 03-10-2007 at 04:03 PM.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 04:31 PM   #10
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Thanks everyone for all this great information. I really hope I won't be out too long from work, since I get cabin fever pretty quickly!

 
Old 03-10-2007, 04:54 PM   #11
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hello Two Worms,

All I can add to the posts so far is welcome and that the people here are the best of the best. I have not heard of any of the people hooking up later and getting married though.

There seems to be a lot of talk about going to the beach and having a drink or two after surgery and recovery. I am in the miswest and we do not have beaches here however and I am out of luck on that one. LOL

WE learn so much from each other each day, as well as support each other as well. This is key if you ask me. We are very open and please do not afraid to aske questions. IT is a very adult at times and some questions are very open and honest as I am sure from some of the recent postings.

Welcome aboard,
Roy 47

 
Old 03-10-2007, 07:22 PM   #12
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

The beach sounds great. I'm just really looking forward to the day where there is little to no pain in the back. More to the point, I want to be able to lean down and hold my 3 year old son. Nothing in life has hurt as much as when my son looked up at me and said "Daddy, pick me up." and I just wasn't able to do it.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 07:44 PM   #13
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hey neighbor! Where did you have your surgery? I know you just had it recently as I've been checking out some of your posts. I plan on doing a similar thing once I've had mine. How are YOU feeling at this point in your recovery?

 
Old 03-10-2007, 07:47 PM   #14
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Twoworms
Welcome You will find a lot of wonderful supportive people here. Don't be shy about asking questions as alot of us have been thru one thing our another with our back issues.

I had surgery Feb 26th. Mine was kind of different. They called it a fusion plif however they put in rods and fusion material and cleaned everything up. They left the disc.

I was walking stairs in the hospital the 2nd day because I have stairs at home. I came home without a walker but I have a devoted husband that for days would not let me even think of getting up that he wasn't there to help.

I am out and about quite a bit now and sleeping thru the night. I am pretty sore in the morning but a full night sleep is worth it.

I think I use my grabbers the most. Seems like since I can not bend at the waist I drop everything.

I only wear my brace when I am up and walking. I do not have to wear it if I am sitting or lying down.

I am in Wyoming and we do not have any beachs either but the thought was nice. To recovery on the beach.

Feel free to join us on the beach anytime.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 08:01 PM   #15
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Re: Fusion April 2nd - Slightly Freaked Out

Hi TwoWorms and welcome to the boards.

I had my 2 lvl fusion in November and I am still not working yet. Saw doc yesterday and was told it will be at least another 2 months before I can.

As far as the brace, I was finally able to put that blue monster in the closet yesterday. No more brace..but only had it off while in bed up until yesterday. I still spend most of my time in bed, I am still not able to sit on the couch, my computer chair is about the only thing I can sit on. I was sent home with a walker and I still use it at times, it is beside my bed and it really helps with getting out of the bed in the mornings when you are all stiff.

As far as the laptop, I have a pillow on my lap or lay on my side with laptop beside me. I can understand your wanting to get you WoW time in, I myself play Everquest..and it a great way to keep from getting bored, bless the person who created wireless networks!

And just to agree with everyone else...the grabbers are a must!!! Workers Comp refused to pay for them, and I was not happy about spending 30 bucks, but it was the best 30 bucks I spent in long time and I will use them forever and ever.

Best of luck with your upcoming surgery!!!

~hugs Niki

 
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