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    Old 07-19-2006, 03:55 PM   #1
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    laranol HB User
    How to prepare for ACDF

    Thanks so much for the responses to my questions about travel after ACDF. It sounds like I need to be prepared to step things back a notch. Since it sounds like there is more to this than I had initially hoped, is there anything I should do ahead of time to prepare? Things you wish you had on hand for comfort or pain relief or entertainment? Will I be able to eat normally once I'm home? With 2 kids and their busy schedules, I am suddenly realizing I'd better try to get things in line now.

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    Old 07-19-2006, 05:04 PM   #2
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    i think i saw a list somewhere in the board.

    For sure:
    applesauce or pudding to help swallow pills if your throat swells (most do)
    a variety of pillows
    i used a recliner to sleep for weeks (had a hard collar)
    movies for entertainment
    a book or two in case you actually do/can feel like reading
    pretty much stuff that makes you comfy

    if you are getting a collar get fitted prior to surgery day and get spare pads, and if you have sensitive skin think about getting a little piece of of soft fabric/thin fur to line where you might get sore spots,

    A spare pkg of gauze bandages to change when you are allowed on the incisiion and protect it from your clothing/sun while it heals up. This was trick from dr. so scar would heal invisible - keep it out of sun.

    Help for you and the kids if they are little for first couple days. Otherwise make those teens pamper you!

    Old 07-20-2006, 06:53 AM   #3
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    I had great success with Lime Sherbert...The first thing you will notice is that you will have the most heinous sore throat you have ever had...much of that will subside in the days that follow...You just need to find something that will be easy to swallow and soothe your throat if possible...take care...HTF

    Old 07-20-2006, 07:25 AM   #4
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    dennisgb HB User
    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    You won't be able to eat normally when you get home from the hospital.

    Basically it will be soft foods for a while. You will have trouble swallowing.

    You might want to get some throat spray (Cloresceptic), and cough drops.

    I really like the idea of contour foam pillows. They support the neck really well. I bought two of them, and still use them I like them so much. Support your lower back with a pillow if you end up in recliner. My lumbar went to hell after a short while, because most recliners have crappy lumbar support.

    A heating pad and hot and cold packs, as well as muscle rubs, as most get muscle spasms in the shoulders from this surgery. It might feel as bad as the pain before surgery, but most times it is spasms. Alternating hot and cold will help relieve the spasms.

    Old 07-21-2006, 07:29 AM   #5
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    I also found that putting ice on the front of my neck helped alot, especially while I was in the hospital and my throat hurt so bad. It helped to keep the swelling down. When I was home and resting I would have my head supported by leaning back on a stack of pillows and loosen my collar and put the ice right there in front.

    The other thing that helped once I was sleeping in my bed was to make sure I had enough pillows to create a step of sorts to accomodate for the bulkiness of the collar, I would also put a pillow behind my back just in case I might roll over onto my back in my sleep.

    Good luck!!


    Old 07-21-2006, 08:56 PM   #6
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    Originally Posted by laranol
    Since it sounds like there is more to this than I had initially hoped, is there anything I should do ahead of time to prepare?
    Aside from the physical issues, there can be very real emotional challenges. Medications and hormonal changes due to surgery can have an effect on emotional equilibrium. Life is interrupted and additional stressors can appear.

    Normal frustrations during a recovery can result in a temporary, downward spiral of one's emotions. If and when this occurs, do not hesitate to voice your frustrations or fears -- vent! And vent some more, if need be.

    Find as many positive emotional anchors as possible. Books by a favorite author, DVDs, photo albums, soothing music, or a videotape of a child's school play -- anything to help you remain in a positive state of mind. Also, looking forward to pleasureable future activities can help.

    Maintaining a positive attitude and frame of mind cannot be overstated.
    "Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for." George Bernard Shaw

    Last edited by ThoreauFan; 07-21-2006 at 11:00 PM.

    Old 07-21-2006, 10:13 PM   #7
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    I just wanted to let you know that while I did have throat irritation while in the hospital (2 nights) by the time I got home my throat was not very tender and I could eat most anything (the second night in the hospital I had small pieces of steak!). So just know that the level of throat discomfort varies, I had less than I had imagined - just felt like I had to keep my throat wet for 48 hours.
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Old 07-23-2006, 06:39 PM   #8
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    My biggest difficulty was in trying to sleep at night. You will almost certainly want to sleep in a reclining position rather than laying down for the first week or so.

    For the sore throat, I relied on Jello, fruit smoothies and a few of those supplemental drinks (Boost, Ensure) for the first couple of days.

    If you don't already have a couple of the soft gel-type ice packs, you might want to get some. I found those much more comfortable than, say, a bag of ice cubes. Of course, the standard bag of peas works well, too.

    I am an avid reader and had hoped to be able to spend the first week or so catching up on my pile of books. However, I soon discovered that I could not find any comfortable way to do so. I ended up listening to audio books (checked out from the library) and that really helped pass the time.

    Depression and anxiety are both very common after a surgery like this. If you start experiencing those kinds of feelings, remember that they are NORMAL. Apparently many surgeons routinely prescribe anti-anxiety medication along with other post-procedure meds, and that may be something to ask your doctor about.

    Hope all goes well with your surgery. Read through some of posts here on the board and you will probably get a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    Old 07-24-2006, 07:13 AM   #9
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    Re: How to prepare for ACDF

    Get cans of soda vs. a 2 liter bottle, quarts of milk vs. gallons. Easier to pick up lighter things. Put things you'll need to use between nipple and waist level. It will be hard to reach up and you won't like to bend down to grab stuff.

    Another thing that helped me was to pay double on as many bills as I could, that way I didn't have to write many checks that next month. Didn't have to take the time to sit down and write them.

    As for treats, I liked scrambled eggs, and I took the Yoplait Gogurts and put them in the freezer overnight. They were fantastic.


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