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oakleygirl 10-17-2003 05:05 PM

Post Surgery Tips
I was searching for this today for my benefit, and realized others may be able to use it also. It was originally posted by LCMiller, who had a four level fusion. I have not seen her on the boards for a long time. And, it's also been posted by another friend who is no longer on the boards. However, I don't think either would mind a re-posting!


Here it is:

Post op surgery tips:
-raised toilet seat
-shower chair
-long handled reachers/grabbers
-handicap rails put in shower
-long handled back brush for showering
-shower mat so you don't slip
-soap on a rope, or liquid soap for showering
-extra bed pillows to prop your back up when side lying and for between your knees and down to ankle
-remove all throw rugs so you don't slip or trip on them
-elastic shoelaces for shoes that tie, or slip ons
-straws for drinking while laying down
-a stack of good books, magazines,or small crafts to keep you busy
-go to movie rental store and/or library and make a list of what you will want to watch/read during your recovery
-if you have cable, get a couple of movie channels
-put new batteries in the remote control
-a walkman with your favorite music
-have all your clothes and pjs easily accessible
-prepare meal ahead of time and keep in the freezer
-get paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware so you have less clean up to worry about
-list of emergency phone numbers close by
-keep prescriptions close by
-check your drawers around the house, and if they stick, use a bar of soap to make them glide easier
-re-arrange cabinets, refrigertor etc. to have the things you will need to use at a height that won't cause you to bend
-if you'll be wearing a brace, wear it for a while pre-op to get used to what it's like to get around in it
-raise your bed on blocks for ease in getting in and out of bed
-move your computer to your bedside so you can keep in touch with all your cyber friends
-have lots of extra cotton t-shirts or tank tops to wear under your brace.
-make sure your clothes will fit over a brace
-teach your significant other, or kids to work the washer and dryer
-build a platform for the clothes dryer. It has been raised up approx. 2ft. I can just reach in and pull out with no strain, when I am more healed.
-Make sure that all the liquids you drink are in light weight containers.
-Also make sure if you have pets that you have help in feeding them or walking them if you have a dog that requires such. You should not bend over to feed and water your pets. I used a very low computer chair with
wheels and very carefully leaned over to feed my cat. I didn't bend, I leaned. It was quite a trick, but I figured out how to safely do it.

20 years intermittent back pain - no treatment sought
Nov 2001 - herniated disk - Right leg radiculopathy
Jan 2002 - Chiropractic care
Mar 2002 - MRI, X-Rays, Oral steroids
Apr 2002 - L4/L5 Microdiskectomy
Sept 2002 - PT, Oral steroids
Oct 2002 - MRI, Xrays - Failed Back Syndrome
Apr 2003 - TFESI, EMG, MRI
Diagnosis - DDD - foraminal narrowing, disk bulges, osteophytes, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, active marrow edema, levoscoliosis, retrolisthesis, scar tissue encompassing L5 nerve root, disk height diminished, abnormal EMG results for left leg
Sept 2003 - Discogram with Xrays, CT Scan.
Tentative date: Nov.18 - 2 level 360 degree fusion surgery

acme 10-17-2003 05:42 PM

And have someone who will get you out of the house when you are ready & go for a ride! You need to get out or you'll go nuts!!JMO

isillyme 10-18-2003 09:59 AM

Hi Acme:
I totally agree with having someone take you for a drive out of the house, or you will very likely go nuts just for being cooped up to long. Thanks for the reminder. :)

1/9/95 injured my back at work while lifting a 200 pound box.
10/02 found I have herniated disc at L4-5, as well as having tears at L3-4 and at L5-S1
Had the IDET in January 2000 at
L4-5 level. Have nerve blocks under sedation at C5-6 and C6-7 also have swelling in the nerve that supplies down both arms and hands. May have 3 buldging discs in the cervical region as well.
**tried everything under the sun to help my back including losing over 90 pounds, nothing helped.
Had the prodisc surgery at level L4-5 on October 9,2003. It's still to soon to know how the surgery went. Not sure how the L3-4 disc or the L5-S1 discs are doing as they had tears at those levels, will be finding that out in November.

[This message has been edited by isillyme (edited 10-18-2003).]

davidc 10-18-2003 11:03 AM

Thanks for posting these tips.
Some of them on the list I never would have thought of.
Especially about the one to raise the toilet seat.
Luckily I have a 'Back Specialty' store only a few blocks from where I live, right across the street from the hospital where I will be having my surgery on November 12th.
I will have to drop by there later today to see if they have rentals on some of these items.

mokita 10-20-2003 04:39 AM

Thanks Oakleygirl!:up:

I am checking w/ friends and family to see who have any of these items Before purchasing/renting them. I know my sister has the grabbers...and a raised toilet as a friend of hers stayed there after back surgery and left these items.

So....further suggestion - hit people up that may have these things available to borrow! :) Also,... Successtory suggested a large calendar (dry erase w/b great ;)) of the time you'll need help...then, fill it up w/ those who owe favors or are simply angels waiting to help :angel:

Thanks again, OG. Hope you're doing ok! [img][/img]


9/00 24 hour labor, baby post,tailbone hurts
12/00 MRI -normal,still hurt - begin vicodin
2/8/02 2nd girl,C-Sec
'00-'02 PT + meds
11/02 Referred to Neuro
3/03 MRI bulge L3-L4, neural foramen,Sup aspect S1 and L5 Nerve root involvement-Neuro Refers to PM
3 ESI's - little help
5/9 - Discogram - Tear L4 Oversedated, False Negative
PMDoc wants consult
7/8- Dept Head ClCl cnslt-order Coccyx Xray
Displaced Coccyx
7/28 Caudal Epidural xray & coccygeal manip
8/12 - 2nd caudal inj
8/14 -coccyx manip AGAIN
9/25 ReEval @ Clinic 10/6 Discogram Positive L4-L5 fissure
Scheduling Nucleoplasty & Decompression

MarianJ 10-22-2003 06:25 AM

Good Morning :wave: Everyone,

It is great that O'Girl has started this thread as their are a few members with upcoming surgery dates.

I just wanted to point out that the raised toilet seat, shower chair & walker are usually covered by insurance companies. So please check with your doctor's first as for me the walker and toilet seat was sent home with me from the hospital. After I was home, I had a home nurse come and check up on me and she ordered the shower chair which was delivered and my insurance had also covered that cost.

After my fusion surgery I had so much pain while trying to sit. Of course you are only allowed to sit for a very short period of time and your doctor's will give you all your specifications. But as time went by I still could not find relief and I had finally came up with a silly idea that actually worked. I had used an inflatable tube (since I had a pool) and sat on it and was much more comfortable. They do sell doughnut shaped pillow seats in medical supply stores. Just a suggestion.

I wish you all the best of luck.

debbiel 10-22-2003 07:15 AM

I wanted to add a plastic trash bag to the list for the car,so when you get it you can turn facing forward ,it really helped me. I think it was brooke who told me about it. and also. I had my bed raised when I went to the hosp. as soon as I got home, I had my husband put it back down. I liked being able to sit futher back in the bed, and with it raised I couldn't do that. so he built me a rail for my bed to help me get in and out of bed. and also a flashlight by the bed in case the lights go out. Best of luck to all the ones with up comming surgery. Debbie

spondylolysis, Grade I spondylolisthesis,L5-S1 bulging dehydrated disc, nerve damage in both legs.
Sept. 25th 2003 Tyler, Texas had Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion with peek cages.

oakleygirl 10-22-2003 09:35 AM

Keep those tips coming! They're great!

Successtory posted the following thread quite awhile ago. Successtory - hope you don't mind, but these 'Tips for Success' are great and I'm sure many of us can benefit from these. I guess you could sue me...(Please don't)!!

Here is the "long-awaited" (yeah, right) TIPS FOR SUCCESS I promised. I first want to iterate these tips are suggestions to try to make your lives easier. Nothing here will "directly" lessen your pain (like a pill)...but it will help in your need to be useful, and will help keep your stamina up to keep going through your day. These suggestions may even help uplift your spirits a little, knowing all is not a lost cause. I encourage others to add to the TIPS I will only be hitting on those things I came in contact with every day.
(1) Get reachers or Grabbers. There is the kind I call "the hook" and is 'spring-loaded' -- good for picking up after the kids. Then there is the "scissors" kind. Made of wood w/rubber ends and is extra long. Good for picking up cups on floor, bowls, etc. Much sturdier to pick up heavier things (like wet towels and such).
(2) Get a push-sweeper. Non-electric variety. Uses nothing but your arm to push and pull it--EXTREMELY light weight. Bissel sells the only one I know of -- not that great (I use a Dirt ***** model that is now discontinued)...but will keep your living space presentable. You still have to have someone else vacuum, but you can at least keep the "top dirt" to a minimum!
(3) Putting velcro on the bottom of things that keep sliding is a terrific and cheap idea. I used it for my computer keyboard and mouse. It can be used for any hardback you choose to use.
(4) Hardbacks: These are materials that are hard enough to write on, etc. I have used cardboard box tops to the cardboard inside photo paper boxes (that keep the paper straight). You can write letters, etc. upright by using a hardback and a grease pen(pencil)-- doesn't run out of 'ink' while writing.
(5) Styrofoam slats or pieces: These can be purchased at a store like Home Depot. Used "normally" for inexpensive insulation. Can be used to sort things, to put on top of countertops as work areas for you (that are high enough), is a GREAT 'moveable' work space while convalescing in bed.
(6) Boxes...all sizes. Small ones are good to keep your pens and pencils, tape, staplers, etc. Larger ones good for keeping files and larger items (extra socks when your feet are cold, etc.) Standing a box on it's side or end may be beneficial for writing too.
(7) Keep a small igloo ice chest by your bed with your ice packs, fruit, water, etc. Good for those times when you must lay down, but are hungry.
(8) Get an 'arm' lamp. One that can hook onto your bedside table and moves (and stays) wherever you move it to. These are WONDERFUL and cost less than $15.
(9) A wipe-on/wipe-off (or white board) is great to keep bedside. I found during major bouts of pain everything in my head just went out the window. Using the wo-wo board, I was able to forget less things (always made me feel better!)
(10) A cut-out pillow. The donuts are good, but they seem a bit small for me. I used a pillow designed for hemmeroid sufferers. It is square with a triable cut out from one side (so the tailbone is supported on each side--but nothing to bother it in the middle).
(11) Massage units. Do your research. A massage unit is great for those injuries where the vibration will not harm you. I didn't use mine until about 4-5 months post IDET (just in case).
(12) TENS unit. I have found this to be good ONLY when your back is stabilized. It doesn't really take the pain away...what it DOES do is help double or triple my stamina. I can sit longer with it on, walk longer, etc. This is one item you WILL need a doctor to prescribe, but it's a thought I'd include it in this posting.
(13) Pain-relieving Gel. This isn't quite a gadget, but I sure like this one. I use a product called "BIOFREEZE". It has Ilex in it and it really helped me when I had achy pain (not sharp). It is a hot/cold gel therapy and will literally take away some of your pain. (OK...this IS one gadget that will take some pain away). I highly recommend this product.
(14) Walking Aids: I find using an aluminum cane while walking around has been extremely helpful, especially after I have over-done it. I tend to lose my balance when my back is tired (as well as drop things a lot!). Having the cane helps me feel a little more I stop tripping and dropping things. I don't use it every day...only on an as-needed basis.
OK...those are some of the gadgets that have helped me get through my pain and move on. I have probably forgotten a few, but I think you all get the idea. Whatever is around the house has potential. Step out of your box and look around. Help is all around you, be CAN be kinda fun to find your own solutions to your comfort problems! My hubby laughs at me all the time when I come up with some fluey ideas, but it keeps me off HIS back and me effectively dealing with mine! hehe )
I hope you are able to find something here that will make a difference in your life. Good luck to all and I look forward to seeing some other suggested TIPS too!
Enjoy All!

zappe 10-22-2003 06:28 PM

Hey oakleygirl thanks for the tips very hlpful [img][/img]

Alagal 10-22-2003 06:39 PM

I go to our local Salvation Army Store looking for exercise equipment just about once a week. They always have potty chairs, walkers, canes, and last week I was surprised to see three wheelchairs. As a last resort and insurance doesn't cover these items.

MarianJ 10-29-2003 06:02 PM

Bump Up for LmvLmv

lucyvanpelt3 10-29-2003 06:14 PM

debbie1, that trash bag, please elaborate.

Do you mean that it will serve as a washer to help you turn easily? That is, it is a washer and your butt is tne nut on top of it, turning?

My father had surgery Sept. 12, 2003, and I'm trying to help him as much as I can.

From what I understand of my own condition, I will have to have two surgeries for my stenosis, as both my neck (T2 Signal in the cord, not good) and my lower back (mild to moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis, also not good)have got me in a lot of pain.

This bulletin board's members are just great. God bless your hearts. I intend to be a regular.

[This message has been edited by lucyvanpelt3 (edited 10-29-2003).]

MarkE 10-29-2003 07:24 PM

Great list guys,

I have a surgery comeing up and all these tips will certainly come in use. However I am particurally concerned with bathing. Oakleygirl had mentioned a shower chair, can someone explain how a shower chair works. Also is it possible to use a show chair after an extensive spinal surgery? If anyone has any other tips or stories regarding bathing I would love to hear them.

Thanks for all tips,


debbiel 10-29-2003 08:18 PM

Hello lucyvanpelt3,
Yes the Trash bag is like the washer, it really helped me to be able to turn in the seat. Best of luck, Debbie

spondylolysis, Grade I spondylolisthesis,L5-S1 bulging dehydrated disc, nerve damage in both legs.
Sept. 25th 2003 Tyler, Texas had Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion with peek cages.

MarianJ 10-30-2003 07:00 PM

Hello :wave: Mark,

I had a two level lumbar fusion. My neuro surgeon said that I was able to shower but to try and keep the incision dry as possible. So my husband would wrap plastic wrap around me and then put tape on it. At first I did try standing to take a shower but it was impossible for me as the room was spinning from all the meds. I was very weak and the steam from the shower just made matters worse. My husband had brought in an outside chair to use but it did feel very unstable. The hospital had sent a nurse to visit me at home and she had ordered me a shower bench. It looks just like a shower chair but the back rest is removable. This chair just stands up in the bathtub and is very sturdy. Also keep in mind that you should have a removable shower head installed in your bath tub as this is a must. I don't know if this was previously posted or not. Your doctor will give you post op instructions as to weather or not you can shower or if you will need a bed bath the first week or so.

I do wish you a very successful surgery and recovery.

Have a good night.

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