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Rosemary146
06-13-2015, 04:02 PM
I have a spinal fusion pending. I am looking for practical advice, and things to anticipate such as equipment I might need and other helpful tips.
I live alone, and am fearful about going ahead with the surgery.
Thanks in advance.

teteri66
06-15-2015, 05:57 AM
Are you having a cervical or lumbar fusion, and how many levels?

Rosemary146
06-15-2015, 06:41 AM
I am have a lumbar fusion, L4, L5

teteri66
06-15-2015, 03:06 PM
Do you have someone that can stay with you for a couple days when you first get home? In most cases, the hospital will not discharge you to home unless you are able to care for yourself, or have help. Sometimes people go to a rehab facility for a few days until they can meet the criteria for discharge to home.

I have had three lumbar surgeries, including two fusions. Each experience was quite different which makes me conclude that it is difficult to predict how any individual will do post surgery. You will most likely be on round-the-clock pain Meds and possibly muscle relaxers....so you need a small notebook to record which meds you take and when. It is easy to get confused and not remember when you took something.

I found a raised toilet seat a great help. I am tall so I do not know if this is the case for most! Also, I suggest getting a satin-type bottom sheet for your bed. It can be difficult to reposition yourself in the bed and this will make it easier to move.

Pain meds are constipating so stock up on high fiber foods and snacks and juices like prune or blueberry. It will be important to drink LOTS of fluids post surgery. Buy a stool softener to have an hand just in case.

Arrange your kitchen, bed and bath so things you use every day will be available without bending. Buy things like milk, etc. in smaller containers that you will not have trouble lifting.

Rosemary146
06-15-2015, 05:59 PM
It's good to hear from someone who has been though it - I would have never thought of the satin bedsheets, and the suggestion about a notebook to record pain meds is invaluable. Thanks!
The plan is for me to go to rehab after surgery.

teteri66
06-15-2015, 07:00 PM
If you look up near the top of the heading on the "back problems" section of the board, there is a stickie note entitled something like "post surgery must haves." It is suggestions from members who have been through surgery detailing what each person found to be necessary or nice to have.

Do not let the ideas scare you! Most of the things are not necessary, but it does get you thinking about what life will be like for a few weeks or months post surgery. Also, on that board you can find lots of old posts about lumbar fusions. And more people post there who have lumbar issues....