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mbeckett
08-15-2012, 02:20 PM
I am almost a full three months post-op and am interested in what folks have to say about their driving experiences after spinal surgery. I have a compact car which has posed a problem getting in and out of easily now that I've gained an inch and a half in height. I did manage to get in the seat okay but had an issue with my legs not quite fitting in as smoothly as I would have liked. I had to keep reminding myself that it is okay to bend my legs just not the rest of my body. I have to admit that I am very fearful (which I know doesn't help the situation) that I will injure myself if I keep wiggling around in the seat.

I forgot to bring a pillow in the car so when I first leaned back, I didn't like what I felt. My granddaughter ran upstairs to get my pillow and said she thinks it was just my shoulder blade that I must have felt but it felt more than that. Because I have no clue half the time what I am feeling in my back, it has a tendency to creep me out and then I get scared.

I placed the pillow behind my back and it felt much better. Then I realized the door was opened so far that I couldn't just reach out and close it shut. Out jumped my granddaughter to run around the side of the car and shut the car door. As she buckled up her seat belt, I realized I couldn't reach the seat belt because my right shoulder has the frozen shoulder syndrome right now. So once again, my granddaugther came to the rescue and pulled the seat belt to where I could reach it and snap it closed.

Having gotten this far, I was curious to see how driving would be. I started the car, put it in reverse and then as I suspected, had to rely on the review mirrors to check behind me. Knowing the area behind me was safe, I pulled out of the drive and started to turn the wheel. The steering wheel felt very hard to turn and I don't know if that is because I've not been driving for three months and my muscles are not as strong as well as this frozen shoulder syndrome. I also noticed as I turned the steering wheel, I could feel all the muscles in my back pulling and tugging which made me nervous. I proceeded to drive around the small block I live on and did okay but was anxious to get the car back into the driveway and get out of the car. Needless to say, I did not feel good about this experience and was rather depressed afterwards.

My daughter tried to reassure me that it will be okay and it is like a small child learning how to walk, you have to do it in baby steps. That each time you do it, it will get easier. I felt relieved for the moment but am still scared. I've never felt this way about driving before, not even when I was 15 and first learning how to drive. I will eventually buy a larger car but right now I need to make this car work because I have to go back to work soon.

One last thing, has anyone else felt their muscles in their back pull and feel tight when you do certain things like brush your hair for instance or raise your arm up to a certain height? I've also had little tingles and sensations going on in my back. They don't last for long and I was told it was the nerves growing back. Also, this is going to sound crazy but sometimes I'm afraid my back is going to rip open. My daugther and the doctor have both said that my stitches are all healed and that everything is fine but I can't seem to get past this crazy fear.

Marjorie

Doreen1
08-15-2012, 02:31 PM
Hi Marjorie,

You are not alone with your driving experience. I still bump my head since regaining 4 inches and need to be mindful to not open my door all the way because I am unable to reach it to close it. The first time I tried turning the steering wheel like I normally would made me realize, at that time of 7 weeks postop, my muscles were not cooperating, but have since loosened up. It took a while for the driving to feel normal again, but I am still a bit restricted on how far I can turn my head. You will find that the more your drive, the better you will feel. I can relate about your comment of your incision opening up. I cannot tell you how many times my hubby reassured me that everything was healed.

You are doing great. Have you attempted the escalators yet?

Warmly,
Doreen

Irina
08-15-2012, 03:22 PM
I remember reading somewhere on this forum that people use a cane to close car's door. They just pull the handle with the cane and it seemed to work.

titaniumed
08-15-2012, 07:33 PM
Marjorie

Sounds familiar....I hit my head everytime I entered my car for about a month.

Soon you will be ready for more horsepower....and will need it if late for the next scoliosis conference in San Francisco. (smiley face)

This is special for those that know the city.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuDN2bCIyus

Ed

djkinkead
08-15-2012, 08:51 PM
Hey Marjorie,

You're pretty much going through what all of us have gone through with the first drive. Lessons learned as you go forward.

I ended putting comdex mirrors on the outside upper corner of my side view mirrors as I couldn't turn my head much when I did start driving. At one year, it is much better, but still use them.

Yep, as you drive you will feel yourself pulling muscles--which I think is a good thing...you're making them work! :-)

The one thing I noticed when I use cars without a leather interior that it takes a lot of effort to get in against the fabric grain of a car. If you feel like you are having to push and pull yourself too much along the seat to get in, use a plastic bag on the seat--you can slide better without having to move your body around with lifting yourself and moving over.

Continue to practice--yes, I was terrified when I first drove, but it does get better...first the neighborhood and then a nearby store.

Best wishes and prayers for you! You have a great granddaughter to help you so much!

mbeckett
08-21-2012, 08:08 PM
Hi Marjorie,

You are not alone with your driving experience. I still bump my head since regaining 4 inches and need to be mindful to not open my door all the way because I am unable to reach it to close it. The first time I tried turning the steering wheel like I normally would made me realize, at that time of 7 weeks postop, my muscles were not cooperating, but have since loosened up. It took a while for the driving to feel normal again, but I am still a bit restricted on how far I can turn my head. You will find that the more your drive, the better you will feel. I can relate about your comment of your incision opening up. I cannot tell you how many times my hubby reassured me that everything was healed.

You are doing great. Have you attempted the escalators yet?

Warmly,
Doreen

Thank you Doreen for your response to my driving question. It is good to hear that within time it will be easier and eventually get back to feeling normal.

No, I haven't tried the escalators yet. Maybe after I gain some confidence with the driving. LOL

Marjorie

mbeckett
08-21-2012, 08:17 PM
Hey Marjorie,

You're pretty much going through what all of us have gone through with the first drive. Lessons learned as you go forward.

I ended putting comdex mirrors on the outside upper corner of my side view mirrors as I couldn't turn my head much when I did start driving. At one year, it is much better, but still use them.

Yep, as you drive you will feel yourself pulling muscles--which I think is a good thing...you're making them work! :-)

The one thing I noticed when I use cars without a leather interior that it takes a lot of effort to get in against the fabric grain of a car. If you feel like you are having to push and pull yourself too much along the seat to get in, use a plastic bag on the seat--you can slide better without having to move your body around with lifting yourself and moving over.

Continue to practice--yes, I was terrified when I first drove, but it does get better...first the neighborhood and then a nearby store.

Best wishes and prayers for you! You have a great granddaughter to help you so much!


Thank you for your post. I had just asked my daughter about the little mirrors she had on her review mirrors so I know what you are talking about. That is a good idea. Also, I tried your plastic bag suggestion on the fabric seat and it worked great. Thank you for that idea as well.

One of my daughter's let me drive her Camry in the parking lot yesterday and it was so much easier to drive her car than mine. It gave me the confidence I needed to get behind the wheel of my car today and give it another go. I was able to drive my car around the neighborhood while everyone was at work and school so no one was around. It felt much better today than the first time I drove my car so that was a relief. I still can't figure out what I am feeling in my upper back when I press against the pillow. It feels more than my shoulder blades and it drives me nuts that I have no clue what it is that I am feeling.

I have to say that if it weren't for my daughters and my granddaughters, I would have had a hard time getting through this recuperation period.

Best wishes to you as well.

Marjorie