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  • Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

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    Old 08-11-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
    backpaingirl
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    Question Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Hi,

    I'm new here and need some advice I'm 31 yrs old and need a L4/L5 and L5/S1 TLIF spinal fusion (I've now had 3 opinions).

    I do not have friends and family in my area and do not want to relocate to another state for my surgery.

    For those of you who have had a spinal fusion, do you think it will be possible for me to recover at home, by myself, with only visiting nurses? I would have a faimly member for the first week and, most likely, on weekends.

    I've been in extreme pain for 5 years and have a very modified lifestyle already. I can only walk or stand for 30 seconds at a time and never bend over or lift anything heavier than 8 pounds. I work from home and seldom leave my apartment except for dr. visits, grocieries, and the library.

    I would appreciate any opinions or advice. I read the post-op tips thread, and that was great.
    __________________
    31 years old
    Grade 2 Spodylolisthesis L5/S1
    PLIF for L4/L5, L5/S1 scheduled for Sept. 2010
    pulmonary embolism history (vena cava filter needed)

     
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    Old 08-12-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
    Pebble Beach
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Hi. I read your post. I too have been in the position where I had no one to be with me after surgery. While I have a sister that lived 1/2 hour or more away from me she wasn't always available in the event that I needed someone.
    While I did take the risk of recovery of being alone most of the time I would recommend having someone there if possible.
    Is there a neighbor that you are close enough too in the even that you needed some assistance right away?
    I am personally concerned you doing this alone for at least the first few weeks.

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 07:38 AM   #3
    backpaingirl
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    hi Pebble Beach,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I do have neighbors who could come over in an emergency, but as with my few other friends in the area, they work during the day. I'm going to talk more with the doctor abot the option of having extended visits from home health, as they mentioned they usually send someone anyway. I, too, think that the first 2 weeks will be the worst. I'm hoping I could get a realtive from 4 hours away to come for the first two weeks, but it's a problem of the relative not being able to leave work/be without a paycheck for that amount of time. Based on your experience, were the first two weeks harder because of pain, immobility, or generally being out-of-it due to pain meds? I'm looking for any information I can get.
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    31 years old
    Grade 2 Spodylolisthesis L5/S1
    PLIF for L4/L5, L5/S1 scheduled for Sept. 2010
    pulmonary embolism history (vena cava filter needed)

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 08:08 AM   #4
    Pebble Beach
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Its been a while since I've had surgery. Some of my surgeries were MAJOR surgeries so the recovery time was long.
    My last surgery was for cervical kyphosis. The surgery was 12 hours long and I was in a neck brace for 4 to 5 months. So my being alone was a problem.
    My 1st surgery was a laminectomy. Which was done in 1994. I am not sure if I would say 2 weeks was sufficient time for my being able to do things on my own.
    I can understand the problem of people being away from work. that certainly is an issue.
    Best is to talk to your doctor about your concenrs and being alone. See what he feels should be realistic as to what you can and cannot do and the time frame too.
    Good luck and keep us posted.

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 12:39 PM   #5
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    I needed help my first week after I got home from the hospital but from then on did quite well during the day when my husband was gone. The two items that made everyday tasks more viable were the toilet seat riser and a 36" grabber so I could reach things I dropped, get things beyond my reach, etc. If you set up your home before surgery that will help as well. Take anything from under the bathroom sink you may need and put it on the counter (toilet paper, extra toiletries, etc). You can also see if you can get a visiting home aide as needed. You may have to pay for this, but maybe someone who can come do some basic cleaning and pick up items you may need. Maybe a friend or neighbor has a kid/friend/relative looking for a little extra income. I know we've had a friend of my husband doing our house cleaning (hubby is able but his standards aren't what mine are). She's more than happy to do any extra tasks, pick up items for me, etc
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    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 08-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
    backpaingirl
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Thank you SpineAZ (and other posters)--looks like you've had a lot of work done. I'm trying to get as much info from the doctor ahead of time so I will be prepared. I know I may have to pay for visiting nurses, so I'm trying to figure out how to finance it. I don't have any credit card debt, so I guess it's time to start!

    I had surgery last year that was supposed to be fairly minor (out-patient), but the anesthesia and the narcotics did a real number on me. That's what I'm most scared about. I have lived with extreme, life-limiting pain for many years (as I'm sure everyone has here), so I'm not as scared of being alone when I'm hurting as I am about being alone and having complications--passing out and nobody noticing, adverse reactions to medications, etc. I spend most of the day in bed as it is (or in the one chair that I like--it's a lift chair). I can't cook for myself at all and never even open the cabinets in the kitchen--everything is microwave or a sandwich. At this point, I'm trying to figure out how much more limiting my already limited life will be during recovery.

    Would anyone be willing to share how limited their life was before surgery compared to during recovery?
    I can walk across a room, but cannot stand for more than 30 seconds.
    There's only one chair I can sit in comfortably.
    I can't cook or do laundry.
    I can drive, but I can only shop at places that have electric carts for shopping.
    I can't pick up anything that weighs over 8lbs (I judge that by my cat's weight!).
    I'v consciously avoided bending for years, though I may be bending more than I relaize.
    I can't stand up in the shower or to brush my teeth, etc.
    I can only wear certain shoes and clothes.
    I can't really climb stairs without the risk of falling or tripping.

    I appreciate all of your advice. If anybody else is reading this--please let me know your thoughts!
    __________________
    31 years old
    Grade 2 Spodylolisthesis L5/S1
    PLIF for L4/L5, L5/S1 scheduled for Sept. 2010
    pulmonary embolism history (vena cava filter needed)

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    I was laying down for about 8 months before my last spine surgery. But I was able to drive, do minor shopping etc. Years ago when I'd go grocery shopping I'd load up the cart. Now I find myself going 2-3 times a week with smaller loads. When my hubby was out of work he helped with all that. Now that he's back at work he knows some stuff is unpredictable (will I get to the pharmacy to get his prescription? depends on the day).

    I am glad I've done each of my surgeries and would do them all again. I have a bunch of medical stuff (spine and knees) so I am better after the surgery but I don't know if I'll ever be back to a level where I can work. But luckily with proper pain management I can do some travel, go out with my friends, etc.
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    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 08-12-2010, 06:29 PM   #8
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Although mine is cervical, you sometimes have to what you have to do.

    I came home from a 6 vertebrae fusion on a Thursday after 8 days in the hospital and almost dying 4 days post-op as I stopped breathing. I woke up Friday morning and my husband had left for work.

    He was home for Saturday and Sunday and then left Monday morning for 5 days on the road in the middle of January. If I needed anything I had to wait for my son or daughter-in-law to come home from work at night if they could get down the driveway(snow country). I could barely walk and lost 25 pounds the first 6 weeks home. No one thought about how I would make food since I was paralyzed on the left side and needed a cane on the right to walk. So I nibbled at the fridge or shoved frozen food in my robe pocket and ate it uncooked in bed after it thawed.

    I started driving at 5 weeks post-op as no one would drive me to PT and I just had to get out of the house, snow, ice and all.

    Yes, my family were absolutely horrible to me and I now have a therapist who has threatened if they ever do that again, he will report them all. I just didn't have anyone on my side at that time. It was abuse, pure and simple and I won't ever let it happen again.

    But if you have to do it alone, you can.

    Jenny

    PS. and my insurance wouldn't pay for visiting nurses.

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 08:43 PM   #9
    backpaingirl
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Hi Jenny,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I know my family wants to help, but they can't or they will lose their jobs. I'm really worried about the first three weeks, so if I can't get something worked out, I guess I will use credit cards to pay for visiting nurses.
    __________________
    31 years old
    Grade 2 Spodylolisthesis L5/S1
    PLIF for L4/L5, L5/S1 scheduled for Sept. 2010
    pulmonary embolism history (vena cava filter needed)

     
    Old 08-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #10
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    If you have to fund assistance yourself get some resources together for agencies you can contact. It may cost less to have a home care aid vs a nurse which can cost more. Home care aids can do light cleaning, light assistance (maybe hair washing) but need not be LPN or RN.
    __________________
    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 08-18-2010, 07:34 AM   #11
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backpaingirl View Post
    Hi,

    I'm new here and need some advice I'm 31 yrs old and need a L4/L5 and L5/S1 TLIF spinal fusion (I've now had 3 opinions).

    I do not have friends and family in my area and do not want to relocate to another state for my surgery.

    For those of you who have had a spinal fusion, do you think it will be possible for me to recover at home, by myself, with only visiting nurses? I would have a faimly member for the first week and, most likely, on weekends.

    I've been in extreme pain for 5 years and have a very modified lifestyle already. I can only walk or stand for 30 seconds at a time and never bend over or lift anything heavier than 8 pounds. I work from home and seldom leave my apartment except for dr. visits, grocieries, and the library.

    I would appreciate any opinions or advice. I read the post-op tips thread, and that was great.

     
    Old 08-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    mine wasn't back, mine was neck c-6/7. i was really worried before my surgery, but i started feeling fine on the second day after my surgery, I had no problem eating ( they said i wouldn't be able to eat for 5 days or so) and I went back to work full time at 90 days, kind of funny looking back at it now, they never even gave me physical therapy after my fusion, just sent me home, and took the staples out of my neck 4 months later.

     
    Old 08-30-2010, 01:59 PM   #13
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    "I know my family wants to help, but they can't or they will lose their jobs."

    If they did lose their jobs they can report their employer because FMLA or The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law. Employers are required to post this information in their workplace also and know about this.

    Last edited by InNJ; 09-04-2010 at 02:38 AM.

     
    Old 08-30-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Dwayne is right. All any eligible employee has to do is show proof that you need assistance. The down side is small employers (where FMLA doesn't apply) or if someone hasn't worked at a company long enough for FMLA OR had to use their annual 12 week allotment for themselves or another persons care. My husbands last employer was 25 employees and thus FMLA didn't apply. However they were VERY understanding when it came to days he had to take me to appointments, etc.
    __________________
    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 08-30-2010, 02:44 PM   #15
    backpaingirl
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    Re: Can I recover from spinal fusion alone at home?

    Thanks to Dwayne and SpineAz.

    unfortunatel, my family members do not work at large enough companies to qualify for FMLA protection, and they break lots of other laws (like not paying minimum wage!), too. Thanks for the info, though. I'm sure it will help others.
    __________________
    31 years old
    Grade 2 Spodylolisthesis L5/S1
    PLIF for L4/L5, L5/S1 scheduled for Sept. 2010
    pulmonary embolism history (vena cava filter needed)

     
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