View Full Version : August 1: 23 days and counting - gathering needed stuff and questions

08-01-2011, 07:10 PM
Hi Everyone,

Well, today is August 1st and surgery is scheduled for the 23rd. Seems weird to now be in the same month as the surgery. It makes it seem closer.

Today I did all of the preliminary tests: doctor visit, MRI, Chest xray, blood test and other output testing. I think everything is okay.

Since we needed a new bed, we splurged and bought a Sleep Number with bases that raises and lowers both ends. Keep threatening to put both ends up so my husband will wake up looking like a taco. Hmmm...everyone has to have a goal.

Got an over the bed table that tilts. Still need to buy some grabbers and a long shoe horn. Hmmm...a sock aid too. That will require some search

What else?

In the meantime, I plan on walking outside when I feel well enough, but when weather is bad, what about an eliptical machine? Has anyone used one of those in the first six months? I wasn't thinking of using the part where your arms move--there are grab bars you can keep your arms stationary and just move your legs. Any thoughts?

Another question: Will I be able to put on t-shirts (loose fitting) or will it be button down shirts for a while?

Okay, enough questions.

Once again, I cannot thank everyone enough for your help and guidance as I approach the surgery date.

08-01-2011, 07:24 PM
How do you feel at this point: excited, nervous, both? My surgery is set for Aug 30. Ask your doc if the hospital will provide a take home kit for you (raised toilet seat, grabber, walker, etc.). How many nights does your husband plan to spend at the hospital, if any? We, too, had a new bed delivered and it is such a blessing! We live in a hilly neighborhood; I wonder if it will be ok to walk the neighborhood on an incline.

Keep us posted on your countdown.


08-01-2011, 08:51 PM
When I went down to college last year, I decided to try an elliptical. That was about 8 months after surgery, and it was awesome. They are so much better than running, both on your knees and your back. So I would strongly recommend that, but at what point in your recovery, I'm not sure. I know for a fact that I would have been able to do it a few months earlier than 8, but I didn't have one at home. But you'll be able to tell.

It seems like I've heard of lots of people who can raise their arms above their head without much of a problem even during the week at the hospital, but I couldn't without a lot of pain. So I avoided t-shirts for quite a while.

I hope your surgery goes really well and that you're extremely happy with the results!

08-01-2011, 09:22 PM
On the day of my preliminary testing, the reality of actually going through with the surgery hit me. I tried really hard to focus on all of the positives of having the surgery during the month (not that I wasn't a nervous wreck!) and made all of the preparations for the house. You will definitely need an elevated toilet. Dr. Lenke's office had a spine kit that I purchased which included a grabber, sock aide, and tongs (I couldn't believe I would need them for wiping, but I did for several months) I added a cushion from another couch to our family room couch to make it higher. My husband taped a razor to a long plastic handle so that I was able to shave my legs. I had no problem getting shirts over my head but I know some do. Your new bed sounds perfect! I would think you would have to be at least 6 months post op before using the eliptical, but it probably depends on the length of your fusion and maybe your age. Be sure to check with your surgeon. Dr. Lenke mainly stressed walking. I am allowed to do water aerobics at six months post op and some exercises at home. Best of luck to both of you ladies.

08-01-2011, 09:41 PM
I am SO jealous! I would have LOVED to have a bed that propped up! I think you'll really appreciate that, especially for when you need to eat in bed. I can't tell you how many meals I wore! =) I didn't have any trouble getting shirts on/off...socks, pants were a little tough in the beginning. But everyone's different, so just have both options if you're worried about it. I have found as far as recovery goes, it's better to have too many options that you don't end up needing/using, than needing something and not having the energy/time/etc to get it.

Here is a list I made that came from my other experiences with back surgery/recovery, other's suggestions, and so forth. Hopefully you'll find it helpful!

Blessings on your surgery!

08-02-2011, 04:32 AM

I feel nervous and try not to think about the surgery too much. I know that I have to have it as my curves are pretty bad and if I don't, not sure how much longer I'd live after retirement age (organs will get smushed together and will have trouble functioning).

I try to think positively that I will be "taller and look thinner". I am going to do my best to keep my sense of humor.

I have my pre-surgery meeting with surgeon on the 12th. Will ask about a hospital provided package then. The hospital I am going to has a dedicated spinal surgery wing/area.

08-03-2011, 07:10 PM
I just returned from my two month post op appointment today, and am doing very well. It's such a great feeling to be over the surgery, after dreading it for a long time. It went well, and although it has been rough, it's been worth it. I wished in the hospital that I had a sheepskin or foam pad to put over their bed, which was pretty hard. The pain decreased markedly when I was transferred to rehab which had better beds. Also, take your own pillows, so you don't have to sleep on the ones with plastic under the case. I was able to put on tshirts even in the hospital without a problem. You might want to have some bras that don't close in back, but you'll probably not want to wear them for a few weeks. I'm still wearing my sports bras. I lost ten pounds in the first six weeks, and many people lose more, so don't invest too much in a new wardrobe. However, even though I had lost weight, my belly really bloated up for awhile, and a couple of friends had to go shopping for some big stretchy pants for me. I had taken some of my exercise pants to the hospital, and ended up not wearing anything but a gown there-- then when it was time to go home, I couldn't get the old pants up over my belly. But now, I'm wearing one size smaller pants, and two sizes smaller tops and dresses-- hurray! THat's partly because of my new waist-- I gained two inches in height and my waist is actually back. Also, partly because of the weight loss. Yoga pants still feel much better on the incision than jeans or dressy pants. I feel more like myself than I have in years, despite the restrictions and everything else. And, right now, for me, I have less pain than before the surgery, so that's something to look forward to. Good luck with everything. The bed sounds like a wonderful investment.

08-03-2011, 07:51 PM
I just thought of two other things:
These shoes are almost house slippers. They have warm fuzzy insides, and they slip on with no difficulty, and they have a good stable sole:
I have worn them almost constantly since the surgery, even though it's summer. (But not so hot here in San Diego as other places). However, you might have a hard time finding some this time of year. Merrells makes a shoe similar to this every fall, with just a little variation, so if you look at shoes.com or zappos.com, you might be able to find the model for this coming season on sale now.

Also, Spanx makes some front closure bras that are pretty comfortable in the back. They are also pretty pricey, but you might want to take a look. If you are wearing a brace after, you will probably not want underwires, and be assured that the brace will take care of any lifting problem you may have.

08-03-2011, 08:45 PM
Thank you Paula for all the wonderful information! I will bring my own pillow--plastic sounds pretty awful.

I liked your comments about a waist, that was one comment my surgeon said to me that I would have a waist. I guess I don't have much of one right now. I am wondering how much height I will gain. I tried to do a calculation from looking at a picture of my spine xray and I figured if I was totally straightened up (not possible, but still), I would be five inches taller! Talk about a new wardrobe. Well, I can dream.

I guess they will play it by ear if I go into a rehab facility or not. The surgeon says he doesn't do the brace--but I do need to purchase a Lumbosacral Corset--just to give me the feeling of more support as I get used to the new "fused" spine.

The one big difference from others getting this surgery is that they are in pain and I really am not in any big pain....but I do know its getting worse and my organs will get smushed in time and will, as the first doctor stated, fail.

Hey, what about foam? Do people use memory foam or someone had mentioned latex foam on their beds? The bed we bought had a little--like 1.5 inches...but I piled on a two inch thick memory foam topper for now....but am wondering what I should do when I get back.

Sigh. so many questions....

08-04-2011, 11:37 AM
Ugg slippers are find-able in all seasons...available on the internet
(as well as in stores)...some have good soles, and they are comfortable slippers...

Doreen, i am pretty sure you are supposed to stick to flat areas to walk in right after surgery....if i do have surgery, it would be a problem for me also, as the street our house is on is a hill...my surgeon said he would not even want me on any kind of machine for exercise for 3 months...which is why i would only have surgery in the spring...but that's just me...

best of luck

08-04-2011, 11:50 AM
You are correct, Jess. Doc confirmed to NOT walk on any type of incline, so glad I asked! She also said to stay off our treadmill too because if I'm on meds, I could easily lose balance and fall off. She said if I need to, have someone drive me to the mall to walk on flat ground. My daughter sure was excited to hear that! ;)

I'll ask my daughter if I can borrow her pedometer to gauge my walking progress when that time arrives.

I'm thinking of buy an overbed table like they have in hospitals. Does anyone know where to get on at a good price?


08-04-2011, 08:37 PM

Here is the table I bought:


Item UNV09396 if the above link doesn't show it.

It's a table that tilts--but it has an area that doesn't tilt--to put your drink.

The company above has free shippping and my table arrived in four days. I was impressed!

Regarding flat surfaces for walking, I am truly blessed: I think we live in the only area in WV that is flat! PTL!!!

Thank you Peachrush7 for your blog...that is very helpful. I hope I recoop as fast as you...but we both know God is in charge!

08-05-2011, 02:16 PM
Thank you Peachrush7 for your blog...that is very helpful. I hope I recoop as fast as you...but we both know God is in charge!

You're so welcome! I'm glad it's helpful! I've tried to add as much stuff as I can that I have learned from the great people here, and from my 4 spinal surgeries. The better prepared for a surgery I was, the better the recovery.

Hope you're able to stay calm and focus on the positives of the "other side" that are coming soon! =)