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    Old 09-18-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
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    List of items to have at home after ACDF

    my wife is going in tuesday (9/23) of next week to have a fusion of C5/C6. im trying to put together a list of things to have ready at the house so im not constantly running to the store for things (we live about 20 minutes from the nearest store that actually carries anything)
    so far all ive been able to come up with is:
    1: bendy straws
    2: a recliner (which if you dont already have isnt much use)
    3: smaller jugs of milk (gallons and maybe even 1/2 gallons a bit too heavy)

    thanks in advance for the help. even the smallest things you can think of to help make it easier on my wifes recovery will be appreciated. ill post updates on here as well on how it goes. she's already trying to talk her way out of it as it is, but she knows that in the long run its the right thing to do.


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    Old 09-18-2008, 11:05 PM   #2
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    -Handle bar for the bathtub if theres none already
    -sticky pads for the bottom of the bath
    -make sure the floors around the house are even, remove any non-fixed carpets
    -make sure, if you got kids, that they keep toys out of the way
    -have ramps for all your staircases
    -winter is coming, non slip pads for the staircases might also be a good idea

    Last edited by HBMod07; 09-19-2008 at 06:16 AM. Reason: Peer Sharing Only

    Old 09-19-2008, 06:10 AM   #3
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Well.....I have a DRAFT in my e-mail I've been cutting and pasting for the past two weeks of before/after ACDF or any kind of cervical spine surgery. It's all kind of out of order, but have at it! I think some of them might be for lumbar surgery - but pick and choose what'd would apply to your situation GOOD LUCK to you!


    place your telephone next to your bed;
    if you do the cooking, prepare a week of meals in advance and freeze them;
    select someone to do your chores;
    pick someone to change your dressing;
    place frequently used items at waist level to minimize bending;
    remove things which may cause you to trip;
    if your bedroom is upstairs, and your bathroom is downstairs, consider moving downstairs for a few days;
    select someone to drive you to appointments for a few weeks; and,
    pick someone to drive your children to school.
    Rent a LAPTOP with Wireless Access.

    Things to Buy:
    Stool Softener
    Bottled Water
    Bendy Straws
    Chloraseptic Spray/Lozenges
    Soft foods - pudding, soups, mashed potatoes(butter-sour ream), V8 Juice, Ensure. Yogurt, ice cream, popsicles, jello cups, pre-made puddings & tapioca, protein bars, cereal, microwave oatmeal, bananas, chicken stock, Lean Cuisines, pre-made mashed potatoes, cookies, chocolate, lettuce, salad dressing, cheese, lunch meat, hot dogs, bread, bakery items, Tuna.

    Frozen fruit for blending smoothies.
    Protein Powder [will assist with bone fusion, particularly if you cannot chew much]
    Bag of ice – small cubes
    Ice chips to help dry or sore throat
    Paper plates and plastic cups
    Candy, sugarless gum
    Non-slip mat for shower
    Hand shower
    Toilet riser with or without side handles - $15-$25 (if needed)
    Bedpan if necessary
    Walker and/or cane per doctor
    Personal Items
    Deodorant body wipes / wet wipes for freshening up (Drug Store has near the Depends. They are a large size.)
    Pre-moistened facial cleansing cloths
    Dry shampoo $5 from specialty beauty store
    Powder – Shower to Shower or other
    Face cream (I would suggest small sizes)
    Hand cream
    Body lotion for itchy skin
    Lip balm, Chapstick
    Throat lozenges / Chloraseptic Spray
    Wound dressings per doctor
    Thermometer to check temp after surgery
    Prune Juice taken with a dose of Milk of Magnesia for dire cases of constipation - it takes about 2 hours, then you are good to go (pun intended).

    Handy Items
    -Grabber/picker – preferably 36” long. Perhaps one in bedroom and one in living room. $10-$25
    -Long handled shoe horn. $5
    -Grabber-like thing to pull on socks with, or think about wearing flip flops or open-backed shoes.
    -Pill Organizer or notepad to keep track of what you need to take when and to make notations of when you take your meds.
    -Bell, cell phone or walkie talkies to contact caregivers
    -Microwaveable hot packs –great for aching shoulders, etc.
    -Satin sheets for easy sliding in and of bed. Or satin PJ's.
    -"Turning sheet" strip of heavy fabric that you put under you so that you can have a signficant other pull to turn you over as needed, particularly good for those first few days.
    -Cold packs in freezer prior to surgery
    -Phone near the bed. Get a wireless or wireless adapter from Radio Shack o Cellphone and charger o Blackberry, Treo and chargers
    -IPod, headphones, charger o Update your playlists
    -Books, magazines, audio books, crosswords, Sudoku o Booklight
    -Plastic containers to hold and organize items you will use while confined to bed. Also to use after mouthwash or for small trash.
    -Put all the reading materials, crosswords, pencils, etc. in one. Put personal cleansing items in another.
    -Small, lightweight pitcher for water next to bed
    -Paper towels near bed
    -Small wash basin near bed
    -Small bucket for nausea next to bed
    -Small garbage bags nearby
    -Towel that lies flat on the bed beside you. Put items you may use on top then just pull the towel toward you to retrieve items you can’t reach.
    -Extra pillows to help with comfortable positions
    -Additional sheets, blankets, pillows near recliner, sofa, chair in living room
    -Recliner, if possible. Some find recliners work, others don't - they can be hard to get out of.
    -Think about placing every day items at waist height even if it means storing on counters.
    -Slippers - not too loose with good soles
    -Front buttoned shirts or zipper tops for trips to PT and doctor
    -Sweat pants
    -Yoga pants
    -Front button pajamas – numerous sets

    Comfort Items
    Lots of pillows, body, small, wedge, cervical, etc.
    If you are planning on much reading or computer (laptop) work post-op, consider a stand that adjusts in position and height like a hospital bed tray –Brookstone. $150; There are less expensive ones around $60-70. Make sure they fit under your favorite chair.
    Books to read.
    To Do Prior To Surgery
    • Shave, wax, pedicure, manicure, etc. right before surgery.
    • Hair cut
    • Give all doctor names and numbers to caregiver(s) as well as next to your bed
    • Put together phone numbers of all concerned family members and friends on one sheet
    • Check with your doctor for handicap sticker
    • All grooming/personal supplies waist high to avoid reaching/bending
    • Organize essential items at home to be within reach, e.g. telephone, shoes, etc.
    • Arrange for care - someone to be with you for most of the first week post-discharge
    • Give blood prior to surgery and/or family members
    • Checks made out for bills, stamped envelopes ready or online payments done in advance
    • Have some cash handy for family members to run errands.
    • Car keys and house keys given to appropriate caregivers

    Boredom Relievers
    • Laptop
    • Magazines, books
    • Audio books
    • Crosswords
    • Sudoku
    • DVDs o Order prior to surgery if belong to Netflix or other service

    Take to Hospital
    (check with hospital in case you receive items during stay)
    • Button up pajamas
    • Bathrobe to cover up if use a Johnny
    • Hairbrush/Comb
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Mouthwash
    • Facial wipes
    • Body wipes
    • Hand Cream
    • Facial Cream
    • Lip Balm
    • Loose clothing to come home in o Underwear o Front button top o Socks o Comfortable, safe shoes
    • Magazine, crosswords, notepad, pencil
    • Glasses
    • Laptop, if you want - a lot of hospitals have wireless access in the rooms

    On the day you come home:

    Make sure you put a plastic trash bag on the car seat for easy sliding in and out of the vehicle. Pillows and a careful, slow driver are also great suggestions!

    Its a bit tricky when you come home as you cannot turn your head. Its a bit hard to dress. Make sure you have some loose fitting T's to wear.

    LOTS of re-usable gel ice packs.I used them to lay on my shoulders and the sides of my neck.
    Lots of pillows. It is very hard for everyone to find the perfect postion to sleep in. We are all different. I slept in a reliner for the first few days, then migrated to the couch piled high with quilts underneath the cushions so I was up high. I used the coffee table or something that was close by to log roll so that I could get up.

    One big help to me was a pick things up or reach things (as long as they don't weigh more than five pounds!)
    Also bought button down shirts and pj's since putting things over your head is impossible.

    Prepare as much as you can ahead of time..figure out what needs to be moved..lightened up, etc and it will make recovery much easier.
    I find sleeping in the recliner better for me than the wedge, as I keep slipping down!

    Other things that'll take you by surprise:

    1. Burping --- OWWWWWWWWWWW
    2. Sneezing -- OWWWWWWWWWWW
    3. Coughing -- OWWWWWWWWWWW

    Last edited by greenacres; 09-19-2008 at 06:37 AM.

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    Old 09-22-2008, 03:26 PM   #4
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    I had ACDF in November 2006, two level. If she is going to be in a hard collar a men's silk hankie feels wonderful next to the skin inside the collar. And when they say pillows, have multiple kinds, all shapes and sizes. I still have to change pillows around. Talcum powder also feels good inside the collar. If you live in a hot climate or she has hot flashes a small fan would be wise also. And lots of patience from family. She has to take it very slow for a lot of weeks and she MUST walk, walk, walk as much as possible. Believe it or not walking helps condition the neck muscles and keeps her strength up. You may also need a pill cutter if she has a hard time swallowing her meds.
    Good Luck and God bless... She will do fine.

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    Old 10-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #5
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    After cervical spine fusion, you will be told not to lift anything over 5 pounds for a few weeks, and long after those weeks have passed, you may feel uncomfortable lifting anything heavier than just a few pounds -- going several weeks without lifting seems to weaken your arms.

    Not everyone has somebody to wait on them hand and foot, nor will everyone want that. After the first few days, you might be surprised at the number of things you feel well enough to do without help. So prior to surgery, prepare your environment so that things are light weight and easily within your reach.

    If you're a woman and you carry a purse, switch it out to a lightweight nylon purse or small nylon backpack before surgery and fill it with only the most necessary of items. The lighter the better. The same goes for a makeup bag, briefcase, or anything else you may need to pick up or carry after surgery, even several weeks after surgery.

    Pare things down to the lightest weight possible. Buy milk, juice, bottled water, coffee, sodas, laundry soap, etc. in smaller containers for a while, not the family sized, 3-liter, or gallon versions. Consider getting a 4-cup coffee pot rather than a 12-cup pot. Use light weight pots and pans if you cook anything,

    If you have pets, buy your heavy bags of dog and cat food prior to surgery and then put some of it in smaller containers for dispensing. Dipping out the food with a long-handled soup ladle will prevent having to bend forward and downward very far.

    It will be hard or impossible to tilt your head backwards and drink from a glass or soda can. Buy some straws -- the "bendy" type are the best.

    When you become well enough to do some grocery shopping, tell the cashiers and baggers to separate your items into a large number of small bags to distribute the weight. Always use a grocery cart, even if you're just picking up a half-gallon of milk. If you have nobody to help unload the groceries from the car, try using a small wire-frame shopping dolly and making many trips back and forth.

    Make sure there is plenty of room beside and above your bed because you will have to "log-roll" yourself in and out of bed and you need room to do that (the nurses or somebody will tell you how to log-roll).

    For me, some things were extremely uncomfortable to do, such as bending forward or tilting my head downward. So rather than (or in addition to) stocking up on books and puzzles, I suggest stocking up on movies (DVDs or VCR) and getting cable TV if you don't already have it.

    Helpful items include soft foods in case your throat hurts after surgery (mine didn't) and foods that are easy and fast to prepare, including things your family can cook themselves. Get some comfort foods and snacks, to pamper yourself. Getting paper plates and cups avoids generating a lot of dirty dishes. I also suggest you place a garbage bin close to your bed or favorite chair, for easy cleanup.

    Reaching for things can be painful. Having a "grabber" stick is probably a godsend, but I didn't have one after my surgery.

    I was told to do a lot of walking after my surgery. So make sure you have some comfortable, non-skid walking shoes that are easy to get on and off without bending forward too much. Don't take your dog on the walks unless it is very well leash trained. You won't feel like struggling with a dog pulling on the leash.

    In the first 3 weeks, or possibly more, you need help with driving, grocery shopping, the laundry, yard work, lifting things over 5 pounds, doing some types of house work, etc. If you live alone, make arrangements for someone to help with this.

    Put your personal caretaker on speed dial, and don't make any plans to hold a garage sale in the near future. Ha. And in the first few weeks or months, don't plan on preparing foods that weigh a lot, such as a holiday turkey, a big pot of soup, or a large pot roast, unless somebody else does all the lifting and perhaps most of the cooking.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by gotparrots; 10-24-2008 at 12:14 PM. Reason: adding something

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    Old 04-07-2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    I am new to this forum, just found it while searching for info on acdf surgery since I had it done on 3/30.

    One thing my surgeon's assistant told me to get was Glad Press'n Seal. Why? It sticks to the skin. They recommend using it for keeping your incision dry while you shower. It would not work for immersion in water, but it does a great job of keeping my dressing dry when I shower.

    Last edited by moderator2; 04-13-2009 at 05:36 PM. Reason: posted disallowed website(s) - please read the posting rules

    Old 04-23-2009, 12:27 PM   #7
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Newbie here, but read the forum before surgery and all these were so helpful.

    Additionally, I had easy to wear clothes put up at waist level(easy reach--no going up in closets, or down in drawers).

    Put dishes and glasses in top shelf of dishwasher--can do light cleaning and put it back there for storage--easier than reaching up in cupboards.

    A 12 in foam wedge and soft pillows for my bed--easy to log roll in and out of bed, and able to sleep the night. Also reduces acid reflux, keeps airway clear, sleep better--****** and others sell for about $20.

    Hand held shower attachment--especially good when the dressing is still on--I got a light plastic one.

    Disnfectant swipes and Baby wipes at reachable areas. Lots of wash cloths--especially if live at home alone.

    Ricola cough drops

    Soft squish pillow for car rides--my friends don't realize how that short stopping and speed bumps feel while riding--tend to avoid rides anyway

    Walk down stairs sideways--safer than front, since you can't bend to see

    I have a cane when I walk since my balance is off and it alerts people to keep clear of me

    Pill crusher for my larger vitamins

    Stack food in cupboards and refrigerator only on easy to reach shelves

    A PT friend who can kinesiotape you--reduces swelling, increases sitting tolerance without pain

    Slowly build your tolerance to activity--anything where you use your arms, including reading and computer puts a stress

    Mederma or other scar ointments--some of us keloid

    Once incision is closed a warm wash cloth over the back of your neck feels so good--I do it prior to my shower.

    2 collars (they gave me the wrong size first)--one to wear all day, one for the shower--the pads are pretty much the same size, so can clean

    thank you all for all this wonderful information

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    Old 11-10-2009, 09:34 AM   #8
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    I was so glad I had this list to refer to. It has been really helpful.

    I have a couple of things to add.

    long handled brush from walgreens $7
    shop for soft foods BEFORE your surgery.
    if your hospital has disposable sick bags, nab a few, if not, buy some for home. I had a hard time with nausea. My digestive system was on lockdown.
    don't wait for problems (see above) before starting the stool softner. just go ahead and start them when you start the narcotics. You'll thank yourself later. LOL!
    to wash my hair we used a low beach chair that reclined my head over the tub. Hubby got in the tub and washed my hair and we managed all this without getting the incision wet.

    I'm only 6 days post op and this is the first time I've been able to tolerate the computer. So don't push yourself. There can be some rough days early on.

    Good Luck!

    ps,to the person asking about the pets. I've had a cat curled up on my lap pretty much 24/7 and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Your fur babies can help you heal too!

    Old 12-14-2009, 06:44 PM   #9
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Hi: I had trouble sleeping and finally ended up using a microfleece throw as a pillow (very soft, very fine fleece--if you can't find a throw try a microfleece baby blanket or two). You can easily adjust and squish the fleece to be thicker or thinner under various parts of your neck and head while you are lying down. The fleece feels much softer than a pillow and it "gives." If you are wearing a post-op collar, it tends to dig into your neck when you lie down on a pillow (which really is a pretty hard surface due to the outside cover which is usually a non-stretchy fabric). It took me a while to figure it out, but the microfleece throw saved me! Hope it helps!

    Old 03-19-2010, 09:13 AM   #10
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    slippers are nice but I found one thing that I was very happy to have.... slip on sandals (rubber type with closed toe and open back) that you don't have to lace up. I wore these home from the hospital and also have used them for walking out into the back yard to get some fresh air. I enjoyed having them and they helped me out. hopefully they will help someone else out too. Good luck everyone!

    Last edited by sly fox; 03-20-2010 at 11:23 PM. Reason: removed brand name

    Old 10-22-2010, 05:53 AM   #11
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    Talking Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Without question, have access to a recliner. Sleeping in bed was virtually impossible during the first week because of iliac pain, and still easier in the chair at this point, mainly due to the hard collar. If you are normally a back sleeper, sleeping in either place will be easier for you. Got waterproof dressings so I could shower. I read that Glad Press/Seal wrap works too, but I didn't know that before.

    In the early going, follow the hospital rules for ACDF patients - No BLT (bending, lifting, twisting). Good advice, and you'll know if you screw up.

    Last edited by moderator2; 11-04-2010 at 10:51 AM.

    Old 10-25-2010, 04:14 AM   #12
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Check with your physicians regarding the supplements you should be taking pre and post-procedure. From my normal list of supplements that I regularly take (Whey protein powder, Vitamin D, creatine (cycled 2 mo. on/1 off), triple strength fish oil, flaxseed oil, active men's multi-vitamin, low-dose aspirin), I was told to eliminate all but the whey protein and the vitamin D one week before surgery and until further notice afterward. Apparently the concern is the effect they may have on the healing/fusion process. Of course, there will be varied schools of thought on the issue, even from your professionals, so gather your information, digest it, pray about it, and reach an informed, faithful decision.

    Last edited by moderator2; 11-04-2010 at 10:51 AM.

    Old 11-04-2010, 07:29 PM   #13
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Some things that are invaluable to have... picker-uppers, pudding or applesauce to help swallow pills... a second brace (or a second set of brace pads) in order to take a shower or just to wash them... the protein smoothies work well for me in the morning... baggy clothes... little squishy pillows. And especially if you won't have a lot of help, do all the laundry before... remove all tripping hazards (sliding rugs, clutter etc) in your house. Good luck and God bless to those of you still waiting... and thanks to all for prayers.

    Last edited by moderator2; 11-04-2010 at 07:43 PM. Reason: remove off topic discussion - please stay on topic

    Old 11-12-2010, 06:02 PM   #14
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Lots of good stuff mentioned here, but #1, get yourself a real good stool softener. Maybe the MD can give you something super-powered, because you will need it.

    Between the after-effects of the anesthesia and the lack of ability to "push" (your head will feel like it's going to pop off, trust me), you will be miserable.

    Pillows, soft food and a nice chair with easy access to the TV remote are all very nice, but you will be miserable if you can't "go".

    Old 11-12-2010, 09:16 PM   #15
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    Re: List of items to have at home after ACDF

    Yes... the stool softener is necessary. I forgot to take it, and that first movement can be a doozie after surgery. But, it should settle down after that. My protein shakes have metamucil... which also helps... and I take a probiotic daily as well. The sooner you get back to normal bowel function... the better you feel.

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