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upcoming surgery apprehensions!

I have spondylolistheses, degenerative bone disease, spinal stenosis and arthritis.  In September I am having spinal fusion at L3-4 and L4-5.  I am very nervous about it but am so ready to get rid of the pain.  I have  a great support team at home but am still concerned about the recovery phase.  Also I will be traveling 6 hours by car and would like suggestions for the ride home after the surgery.

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,416

    Hello mtcornette!

    Welcome to Veritas Health Forum
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    When I had my lumbar surgery, I had a 2 hr. ride home, not quite as much as yours. I sat in the front seat so I could position the seat like I wanted. We took about 5 pillows and a blanket. My husband put a pillow on each side of me and under my knees. That was comfortable for me but it may not be for you. I got as comfortable as I could before he took off. You may not need that many pillows but just in case.
    Below is a link for September Surgery Buddies if you would like to join. This is where members that are having surgery and then recovery, to help each other out. Also, a link regarding recovery.
    September 2019 Surgery Buddies 
    Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery

    Take care and keep us posted.

  • mtcornette

    Welcome to Veritas Health Forum

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    Being nervous before surgery is normal, if you weren't you wouldn't be human, I have had 2 lumbar fusion surgeries and 1 cervical fusion surgery. Having a good support team at home is a very good thing, you will need them, especially for the first few days, recovery is not as bad as you fear, the first 2 weeks were the worst for me, for me making sure that I stayed on top of my pain regiment was key, take them as prescribed, don't get behind, it is hard to catch up.

    As far as the car ride goes, mine was not nearly that long, but I took a travel pillow with me to put behind me, we also stopped and I stood up for a few minutes, if it were me, I would talk to the PT while in the hospital and let them give me a plan for the ride home.

    I have posted a couple of links below that should be helpful.

    How to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery Video

    Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery

    Essential Items for Back Surgery Recovery

    Good luck and keep us posted

    Chip

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  • Had the exact same surgery on May 6th.  Fusion of  L3-4 and L4-5 for severe stenosis and spondylolistheses. The first 2 weeks were rough. Walked as much as I could first around the house(first week), then in the driveway, then to the local park. After about 5 weeks I could walk for 30-45 minutes with NO PAIN! Went back to work as a nurse(light duty) at 8 weeks with minimal pain.I am now 3 months out and do have some back spasms after a 12 hour shift, but nothing like the pain before, and its still getting better week by week. Good luck! PS I am in my 60's.

  • Same surgery on June 17 - fusion L3, L4, L5 (stenosis, spondylolisthesis, synovial cysts). 

    I didn't need to travel very far either, but I wholeheartedly agree with everyone about pillows. I had one behind my back, one under my behind, and one on either side. I felt a little like the "Princess & the Pea," but it definitely helped. I also had the seat back adjusted to a very upright angle.

    You've probably noticed that everyone's recovery is different in spite of "the same" surgery. Please know that the common denominator seems to be a very difficult first two weeks. After that, a lot of variables come into play. 

    As Chip said, of course you are nervous! On my surgery day, every time anyone asked, "How are you?" or something similar, I replied, "Terrified!" I don't remember much about the day of surgery beyond being wheeled into the operating room; the entire hospital stay is VERY foggy. Having good help after discharge is very important, and it sounds like you have that in place. Good luck!

  • Agree with the pillows! Better to have too many than not enough! Every time I have surgery I also have a garbage bag for the front seat to sit on. It makes getting in/out easier. You can swivel/slide so much easier to get situated in/out of the car, even with leather seats. Next, time your pain medication so that it is right before you are ready to leave, and stay ahead of your pain for your ride home. Your doctor/nurses will be able to advise you and come up with a plan for your ride home, it should be part of your discharge conversation. And, taking a break to get out and move around a little every hour or so is good too, there will be a lot of bumping and jarring over 6 hours. Think about investing in some really good ice packs...have your driver bring a cooler with ice (and a towel to wrap them in) so you can swap the ice packs out with cold ones on your drive. Finally, ask your PT person in the hospital what they recommend too...they have a lot of wisdom they should be able to share with you! Best of luck to you!! You can do this! 

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