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Scared for my surgery due to living alone.

LisaRachelLLisaRachel Posts: 283
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone.. I have so many fears about bending lifting and twisting. How do you not? I think about it all the time now . I usually bend like 20x a day! I have a cat and her litter is on the floor am I going to be able to clean it? I scope it once a day. Our normal reaction is to bend I'm worried I'll forget!! and screw my fusion up Has that happend to any one? My back has been so sore cause I have been working so many hours but I still bend! even if I'm sore..




  • You will not forget, because the pain will help you remember not to do things that you should not. The grabber remains my favorite fusion accessory.

    I had a month before my surgery to get my house in order. I have outlet strips on a table in my family room and bedroom, and my kitchen has most items that I need at waist height.

    Is there anyone staying with you when you come home from your surgery? I had to stay with my parents for 3 weeks, and I needed every day of that. I was healthy and fairly active until a few months before my surgery, and was not prepared that I would need a walker, or could not bend my legs up in the bed. You will need help getting out of bed for a week or so, and then there are the little things like not being able to put your socks on.

    It is important that you don't try to cheat and bend over. I still have difficulty squating, and need help getting back up from that position. I just avoid it.

    Take care, and good luck,

  • Thanks Lisa, I was thinking of putting the litter on a bench so, I did not have to bend and I wil be bying the grabber. I guess I just can't my head around not bending but as you say I'm sure the pain won't let me forget. I will have someone here full days for 2 weeks.

    How are you now? When you were at home were you afraid at night?


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  • My doctor insists I won't be able to go home from the hospital until I can take care of myself, and I will get physical therapy in the hospital. It so doesn't mesh with everything I read here!

    What did your doctor say about recovery?
  • Hey there...yes put the litter on a bench.
    If you can, it's worth hiring the kid nearby to come by to change that for you daily.

    OR put out 3 litter boxes and have the neighborhood kid or someone from church (if you belong) come over every other day.

    You can do it! But be mindful not to bend.
    If needed ask your vet for a reference on someone that can come help with the kitty.
  • Put it up on a bench or you might try one of the long handle dog popper scoopers. A friend of mine uses that to clean her litter box. Best would be to have someone if possible to come by and clean the litter box for a while.

    I also live alone and after 2 weeks I was on my own at home. Night time scared me for a couple of days. I made sure the cell phone was charged and I actually clipped it to my pj's so if I fell I had it with me. I gave a neighbor a key to my place "just in case". I think what also scared me as a live "aloner", was the shower and that's because I fell once and the second time the shower chair collapsed. I learned to get everything ready that I would need after the shower and put it in arms reach of the shower and that includes a phone. I also learned to have a good shower mat so I wouldn't slip. Shower chairs still scare me as the one I had collapsed, but I found one that is made of all plastic and there is no chance of the aluminum legs bending.

    Like others have said in the kitchen, put things you may use on the counter (pot, skillet), use paper plates so you don't have to wash as many dishes. Also if you have a refrigerator where the fridge is on the bottom (freezer is on top), move as much as you can to the upper shelves in the fridge. The pain will remind you not to bend.

    Hang in there, I'll be thinking of you.
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  • They're right - it's going to be really painful to bend, so you are unlikely to forget. Lisa - you might want to look into getting a kneeler bench. I bought one for outside in the garden (I think I got if from Gardener's Supply). If you use it as a kneeler, the legs become handles you can grab onto to lower yourself down and help you get up. When you flip it over, it's a bench you an sit on when you can't stand any more. I found it very handy for scooping the cat box. I live alone too, so I had to be able to do it myself.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • hi lisa,

    i guess i don't need to say put your litter box on a bench since it's been said many times already, lol.

    i'm on the "other side" of fusion surgery and these things you're worried about are things i'm still dealing with. for the first week or so post-op there was no way i was going to bend. nature prevented that by making it too painful to bend, as has already been pointed out. you will get past that acutely painful time and then you simply must remember to bend at the hips while keeping your back straight, or i guess i should say you need to squat while keeping your back straight, if you must get down that low. the only problem with squatting is that if you're having posterior fusion (sorry, i can't remember at the moment and i don't see it in your signature line) your thigh muscles are going to be very sore for at least two weeks, from lying face down on the special surgical table. my upper thighs were apparently the only high pressure points because i wasn't sore anywhere else. i have to say that those sore thigh muscles, along with the sore back muscles, were what i took the pain meds for--it wasn't for pain in my back where the surgery was done. that area never has had much pain although i'm beginning to feel aches in that region now that i'm cutting way back on my pain meds.

    if you can arrange to move things like the litterbox onto a bench, with the help you'll have with you the first two weeks, you're going to be just fine. if they are not going to be with you 24/7, i would strongly suggest you keep your cell phone by your side or on you whenever you're up walking. i used a cane, as well, to steady myself in case i lost my balance. you don't want to fall. sure, having your cell phone on you will make it easy to call for help if you fall, but you want to do everything you can to make sure that doesn't happen. if it helps, i never even came close to losing my balance during those first acute post-op weeks. :) now, at over 4 weeks post-op, i feel so good that i have trouble remembering i've had back surgery! that's nice, for obvious reasons, but not so good because i can too easily bend over without thinking and i no longer have pain to make me remember not to do that.

    twisting is another thing i have to keep reminding myself not to do. that's why i came home in a rigid brace, to keep me from twisting, but i don't wear it in the house--only when i'm "out and about" shopping or running errands in town. by the way, i started driving a week and a half after surgery. i wasn't ever told not to drive and i made sure i didn't have a lot of pain med in my system when i did drive. never had a problem, except for it being painful trying to adjust myself in the car seat while wearing the brace, lol. i go everywhere now and if i didn't have to wear this brace nobody would know i'd just had major back surgery! i'm betting you're going to do as well, lisa. it's scary looking this major surgery in the face but once you're on the other side i think you're going to be pleasantly surprised--at least i hope it works that way for you! image

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Lisa is getting the same surgery I'm getting except that she is not getting a cage and her vertebrectomy will be done through the posterior incision (by the way, my surgeon did mention this, and said that the reason he can't do a full posterior on me is that my spine is so far out of alignment. He needs to be anterior to be able to really get my spine back into alignment, apparently).

  • I'm in agreement with what others here have said.

    I was on my own and had two large dogs to look after. I was able to squat down to put their bowls on the floor and used a grabber to pick them up. It wasn't easy, but I managed ok.

    Everything else, I had at waist height. My grabber was my best friend, and also a dressing stick which has a hook on the end to pull up my pants.

    I had friends call in to help me with heavier things and a domestic service once a week.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thank you all for your great advice! Julie, Linda, Linda and Trish It's nice to know that you guys were fine doing this alone.I decided to get that neclace "I've fallen and can't get up" for the first month. But I will also have my phone right beside me. I live in a apartment and my bathroom is not far from my bedroom. I will have someone here from 8-4 everyday for 2 weeks. My grabber is on order..

    Trish, how did you manage with the dogs? I' sure they kept you company. Do you have a backyard?

    Linda, I'll keep you posted if my thighs bothers me. I'm so happy that your doing so well after 4 weeks. fingers crossed :) :-) :smile:" alt=":smile:" height="20" />

    Julie, I won't try to bath alone for the first 2 weeks when I first had my injury I also broke my ankle and 25 staples as 24 in my back. I was not allowed to get them wet. so, I sat on the toilet and used a wash cloth. I will use the hand held shower to wash my hair. I also orderd a toilet raiser.

    If you guys can think of anything else let me know.. Thank you so much for you posts!! >:D< >:-D<
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