View Full Version : Driving

05-26-2010, 04:23 PM
I was just wondering how the decision on driving was made.

Is it a certain amount of weeks past your surgery or is there other reasons for getting the green light for driving?


05-26-2010, 07:43 PM
I was told to wait for a while....but I can't remember how long it was. A couple of months, I believe, maybe 2-3. It was a rough adjustment at first - I still felt really stiff, so it was hard to twist/turn and view things the way I used to. Not painful, just different.

05-26-2010, 09:26 PM
I hope my doctor (whoever that may be) doesn't get sticky about mixing pain meds and driving - maybe for liability reasons. If I couldn't combine them safely, I wouldn't have set foot in the drivers seat for most of the last decade! :p Some of us really accommodate! OTOH pain be dangerous and distracting.

For those used to taking any of the many meds that carry driving, heavy equipment warnings, it's not at all like DUI. Yet I can remember hearing here from posters whose docs told them they couldn't drive until off the meds. :eek:

05-26-2010, 10:22 PM
Ya. driving is definitely "different" at the beginning. The blind spots get a bit bigger, but it's nothing extended mirrors can't fix.

On another note about driving, I find that my butt gets sore after a few hours because all the pressure goes right to it. I say "all the pressure goes right to it" because without my back acting as a shock absorber (fused together) the entire load is put right on my bottom.

05-26-2010, 11:20 PM
I have found it difficult to drive with my brace on for anything longer than short distances. My brace tends to dig into my groin and up into my armpits which makes it hard to turn the wheel and generally makes me uncomfortable. Also, I noticed that being a passenger takes some getting used to for awhile while recovering too.

05-27-2010, 06:55 AM
I know that being a passenger the last week or so has been a different experience. The brace is most definitely not a very car friendly item but my 17 year old DD has been great about driving myself and her 15 year old DB where ever we have to go. I was just wondering when I go to see my surgeon on June 9 , my first post-op operation appointment , what he is going to say about driving.


05-27-2010, 08:00 AM
Melissa - my primary care doctor told me that so long as I felt with it enough to drive, I could drive whenever I felt fit. I was quite surprised to hear her say that, however, because I needed to get behind the wheel fairly quickly to take care of my little ones, I started to drive at four weeks post op. I just kept my brace on which helped - even though it's uncomfortable, just short journeys mind you. I now drive with a pillow behind me instead. I also hate driving as a passenger, not only because of my surgery, but it's a control thing :). Since my major car wreck five years ago where my mother almost died, and she and I had to be helicoptered to hospital, I have a fear of other people driving me. Unless it's someone like my brother, who I know to be a very good safe driver.

05-27-2010, 08:10 AM
I see my PCP on June 3 which happens to be my birthday and my surgeon on June 9 so hopefully one of the will give me the go ahead to drive as I hate to keep bothering my DD
Before my surgery, I was driving with pain pills , so now the only difference is the brace

05-27-2010, 08:34 AM
I was given the oK at my 6 week app't. and was off all narcotics at that point. I started out with just short trips and yeah, the brace is kind of annoying but it didn't bother me all that much. You do have to watch twisting around for blind spots and really use those mirrors. My understanding is (at least in this state) if you're stopped and found to have narcotics in your system, it's like a DUI! Like a lot of things in this process, you'll know when you're ready.

05-27-2010, 08:47 AM
yup..most states consider driving under influence of prescription drugs to be like DUI...i think that is what the Kennedy guy...the one in Congress...got caught in D.C. for...doesnt matter if you're taking the meds for good reason or for recreation...the law doesnt want anyone driving that way..


05-27-2010, 05:44 PM
I was told not to drive until I was off all narcotics. I suspect that's born of the "negligence" aspect.

Melissa, is your daughter protesting about driving you? If not, let her do this for you. It's good for her to feel useful and know that she's helping you. It's hard I know, to relinquish your independence, but this is one time I think you need to give others the opportunity to help you. It may very well be her pleasure to help you.

05-27-2010, 09:33 PM
DUI in Nevada becomes a felony upon substantial bodily harm. Alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescription, are what they look for. I donít know the legalities of the word "impaired", but it essentially means that you are responsible for your own actions behind the wheel.

The fine here is $2000-$5000 and 2-20 years in prison.

If you injure someone while impaired, like a relative in your passenger seat, then it becomes State vs You.

So before your Doctor says that you can drive, please remember that jurys will deliberate and enforce the law.

I figured Id mention this as I have seen some pretty hefty sentences here in our state. Las Vegas is probably the toughest city regarding DUI enforcement. Reno is in 2nd place.

Its not a good idea to drive on meds...unless youíre a Kennedy,
then its ok....


05-27-2010, 09:44 PM
Haha Ed! You are too funny!!! I love your sense of humor!

06-07-2010, 08:49 AM
I didn't drive until 3 1/2 months after surgery #2 - It wasn't so much a time after surgery thing as a being off pain meds thing. At the end I had weened myself down to nearly nothing but I was still taking a controlled substance and even though I didn't feel impaired, I didn't want to take any chances. (just in case)

Those first couple of times felt so foreign and it was really hard to turn in my car seat and I was fearful of blind spots, and backing out of parking spots was (and still is) a challenge, so I just pull into them. I have to park farther away from the entrance to do that but the walking is an extra bonus!

I just returned from a solo trip to Indianapolis! 575 miles that I drove by myself. I admit I was apprehensive about the distance and traveling by myself but my sister was having knee surgery and I wanted to reciprocate the excellent care she gave me last year after my surgery. :) I was very tired and my back was completely numb after 400 miles but I was able to do it with 2 20 minute stops, both coming and going. Yea!

It seemed like this huge hurdle and I was nervous when I left our house but I did it and I am proud of myself! Yea!

06-07-2010, 07:14 PM

Congrats on the trip.

One of the things that has happened to me after surgery is that fact that I donít drive the car as much anymore. I think that after my surgeries, I became used to the sedentary lifestyle.

I'm only driving about 8000 miles per year now. Usually, I group up errands, and always kill a few birds with one stone. The old days of joy riding in the car are over....

I will be taking my RV up to Glacier National park in Montana right after the 4th of July. Itís a 1000 miles from here.
The captains chairs are the way to go, and itís a smooth ride. I transferred my "foam" out to the rv, so now that bed is great. It really is the way to travel with scoliosis. I can lay down when I want.

Now backing a large rv up is fun. Everybody freaks out and I get a kick out of it. "Ed you almost took that tree out!" If you have ever seen the movie "RV" with Robin Williams, well, my vacations are similar. There is some learning curve involved....Not everything is in the manual. LOL

06-07-2010, 09:17 PM
I was told by someone, not sure who, as soon as ALL the lines on the road went in one direction (Ha!) and I tell you at first it seemed they were all going different directions, sometimes more than one line in the middle too - and when I felt comfortable with the pain medicine I was taking - I could drive. Hydrocodone even states on the bottle to be aware of your feeling with taking the medicine before you drive. Heck - when will we ever be driving out there again - there are some CRAZY drivers out there! Do they not know we all have had major surgery - WE get the right away!! Zooooommm!!!!! hahahaha!!!!

06-10-2010, 08:21 PM
As I got the OK yesterday to drive , I took a short drive to the local shopping center . It is about 15 minutes from my house. It really tired me out. It was not painful.It was uncomfortable. I am in the brace which made it that way. It was weird to drive after 5 weeks of not driving


06-10-2010, 08:52 PM
I am just starting to drive w/o my brace. I am finding it difficult to get comfortable in my seat and am putting a small pillow behind my back in my newly created lordosis. Today I drove 25 min for a hair appt, sat for 2 hours getting beautified, then drove 25 min home and my back was exhausted when I got home. I get very nervous in traffic (I agree! They should know I've just had major back surgery!) After going through this twice, I am very afraid of anything ruining my back!

06-10-2010, 10:43 PM
I am just starting to drive w/o my brace. I am finding it difficult to get comfortable in my seat and am putting a small pillow behind my back in my newly created lordosis. Today I drove 25 min for a hair appt, sat for 2 hours getting beautified, then drove 25 min home and my back was exhausted when I got home. I get very nervous in traffic (I agree! They should know I've just had major back surgery!) After going through this twice, I am very afraid of anything ruining my back!

Forgive my ignorance but what is a lordosis?


06-11-2010, 07:38 AM
Ed -
I can't believe you have an RV! You ARE continually surprising! Just the thought of driving and backing up one of those things scares the you know what out of me! Maybe it's a 'man thing', like grilling! :p

But it sounds like a great trip. Glacier National Park is breathtaking, especially in July. As it happens my niece is working with the Montana Conservation Corp in Glacier National Park until December...bbrrr! No RV camping for those kids! But she's having a great time.

And yes, I did see the movie 'RV' - funny stuff! Before you leave on your trip you might need to re-watch that one and another classic called 'The Long, Long Trailer' with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It's a family favorite at our house. :D

Seriously, I hope you have safe travels - you'll have to send us 'picture post cards' from the road. Do you think there is Wi-Fi at these RV parks nowadays?

06-11-2010, 08:55 AM
Hi Melissa, My surgery was Apr 15 and I just started to drive this week. Head checks are still kind of hard, and I'm not overly comfortable sitting in the car. Learned to look for parking spots I can pull through with. Hard to back up and see clearly. My pain meds are reduced to 1/2 tablet every 7 hours. They do not impact my driving, as far as I know. :)

06-11-2010, 04:35 PM
Forgive my ignorance but what is a lordosis?



Lordosis is the inward curve at the lumbar area. I had none (flatback) after my original surgery and my revision created an inward curve so I can stand upright. I have to put a pillow in that space when I drive or sit for support....for now anyway...