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Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:23 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 366
marshrose HB User
Exclamation Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?

I am facing a one level fusion, probably within a month.
Can all those fused tell me how you were what you did when you got home from the hospital and such? I am a single mom of 2 my kids are 11 and 16.

Meds? Pain?
Stay on neurontin before surgery??- what did you do?
Help at home?
Canes? Walkers?
Toilet raisers?
Going up steps? -I have 4 flights here.
2 weeks post op??
x-rays post op?
When are you fused?
Restrictions immediate after surgery?

They said I could leave the hardware in there forever if I wanted to so I don't have any other surgeries- do people do that if they're pain free?

Can I get a MRI or not anymore if I have 'metal' or whatever its mae from in my back?

Yes. I have alot of questions..... sorry I don't know anyone that had a fusion and I've got so many questions my Dr does not go so indepth for me to understand/prepare. I've been in the confines of my home for 6 months already. Don't know how much more I can take.
Thanks for your input and experiences.

Last edited by marshrose; 01-28-2009 at 05:06 AM.

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Old 01-28-2009, 06:17 AM   #2
Back Ache
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Re: Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?


I'm sure we have all had different experiences. Read the tips about recovery. It will help. You will hear a lot of great tips. Here are a few of mine. I had a 1 level fusion, L3-L4 about 4 months ago. I spent 5 days in the hospital. That is a long stay. I had some complications. While at the hospital I had the PT teach me to do stairs and feel comfortable on them. It never hurt to climb stairs or come down, just very unsteady and took a long time. I had 1 1/2 flights to get into my house. Once in my house, life is better. You learn to adapt simple things so you can do them. Like brushing your teeth. I could not bend over to "spit" anything out. So I used dixie cups to "spit and rinse". In the shower the hand head shower was the best! Also use a nylon and put soap in the toe and tie the other end to something fixed in the shower, you will drop the soap and this way you can get it. The raised toilet seat was vital. Get one. I used a walker only to get in and out of my recliner. Without it I would have been helpless. I did not use it to walk. The hardware stays inside of you, enless it breaks or you choose to remove it. Don't worry about it. You can have an MRI with the hardware, they just do it different I'm told. I was told no BLT = Bending, lifting or twisting. Listen. All of us have done things we are told not to do and then we pay for it with pain. Your kids will help you out more than you will ever know. Let them. You will need some help at home at first. I had a lot of help that came in and out because I did not want someone here while I was sleeping etc.
Take the time to organize your home and get things where you can "reach" them. Make some meals for the freezer. Read the boards, they help too.
Goodluck and keep us all posted!

Old 01-28-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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lynn1961 HB User
Re: Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?

Hi Roaepetal,

Backache has offered some great advice. I didnt know the advice about the nylon/soap deal. That is great advice. And others will also chime in as well and give you some great idea's.

As far as meds go......all docs do that differently. All people have differnt pain tolerances. My doc sent me home with percocets and flexeril and that was sufficient enough for me. It kept my pain under control. I did however end up on stronger meds after a severe nerve inflammation ordeal. But I am now in the process of weaning off all pain meds. So many of those meds cause terrible side effects and to me,, this is my own opinion, its better to get off all medication as soon as you feel no bad pain. Take it as long as you feel a need and then wean off.....ask your doc about the neurontin. I wasnt taking a nerve medication prior to surgery myself. As far as the incision, well, I can tell you what mine is, mine is about 4 inches long and it is on my lower abdomen. It depends on if its your back or abdomen as to what the incision will be. And also how many levels the doc is fusing. Help at home, well, I am married so my husband is here to help and also I have my mother and daughetr to assist. I needed help into the shower at will need assistance with things at first. I didnt need help too long myself. Everyone is so different though. I used a walker in the hospital to walk. I came home with 1 but I never used it. That too is an individual thing. I didnot have a toilet raiser. I just took my time sitting down and did ok. Some people need that but I just took my time and was ok. I, too, have several flights of starirs in my home. My doc said it was ok but to not go up and down stairs all day. I didnt really consider myself homebound. My doc said it was ok to ride in a car, ex. to go to walmart, that was ok. I think its best to get out as much as you can. Just dont over do it.Walking is the best thing in the world. WALK as much as you possibly can. i wished it wasnt snowing here cause I would be outside walking. My doc told me to walkkkkkkkk.....and so did my pain doc. It will help everything, the soreness, the circulation to the surgical sight. I was up the first night of my surgery. I had a xray shortly after surgery but I dont remember how many weeks post op I was. I just had an xray a couple days ago which was 6 weeks post op. Driving restriction, I was just released to drive and its been 6 weeks. So, I think thats pretty average but all docs restrictions are different. As far as when does your fusion fully fuse......all people are different on that as well. I think it could take up to a year to fully fuse on some people. The common restrictions after a fusion are no bending, lifting or twisting. My weight limit was nothing over 5 pounds. Again., all docs are different. But that is the common restrictions. And no driving of course.At 6 weeks post op, I was told to slowly increase the weight amount. I still cannot vacumm or mop. I will be so happy to have that 1 lifted ugh. As far as the hardware. I surely have no intentions of having mine removed unless it is medically necessary. I had a neck fusion years ago with the same hardware <plate,cages, screws> in my back and it is still there. Has caused me no probs at all. You can still have MRI's with the hardware. They mostly use titanium. Ive had a MRI since Ive had my back fusion due to the nerve flare up.

You can ask any question on this forum....many people will answer. No question is a silly or dumb question. It is much better to ask and get a good understanding on what you are fixing to go through. Of course, as i have said, it is so individual. But many of us that have been through it, can give our own experiences. Things such as the restrictions is pretty much the same. But some doctors are different. Just have a positive attitude If you have any more question, I will be glad to answer the best I can......


Old 01-28-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
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Re: Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?

Hi Rosespetal,
The others have already touched on most of your questions. As far as when you're fused, it doesn't usually even start to be seen on x-rays until at least 3 months. You could be fully fused by 6 months, or it could take a year or a bit longer. You can help it along by walking, walking, walking, and by eating a sensible diet, not bending, lifting, or twisting, and getting lots of rest. If your doctor gives you a bone growth stimulator, use it exactly as ordered.

Get yourself some good movies, books, magazines, etc. to keep yourself occupied. If you have a laptop, you can put in on top of a pillow on your stomach and use it lying down. I hung out here on the back board a lot after my surgery!

You'll do fine! You're getting prepared, and that's the best thing you can do for yourself to help make your recovery easier. Other questions? Ask away! We'll try to help!


Old 01-29-2009, 11:37 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 366
marshrose HB User
Re: Fusions and canes and toilet raisers? Oh MY- Help understanding?

I dun know where my post went?

But anyway-
THANK YOU THANK YOU It's very helpful and easier on my mind to read and re-read what you've posted. Im going for another opinion soon and see where that takes me and to ask alot of other questions as they pass through my odd thinking process of being homebound and desperatly bored yet again. I am so stir crazy it's ridiculous and the pain is worse by the nights end. Don't know how much more I can take after what I've already been through. My legs aren't wobbling and buckling yet like they did last time so so far I'm ahead of the game. ~yippie~

I am in bed already with the laptop lol I should just have my kids draw stitches on my back and pretend I'm post-op already.

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