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leahdragonfly
11-15-2015, 06:22 PM
Hi all,

I am wondering how all of you, especially those fused to the sacrum, have adapted to doing household chores that require bending. Examples of things I have no idea how to do safely are changing sheets on beds, getting stuff out of the back of low cabinets, and cleaning the tub and shower. Since I am very early post-op I have some hired cleaning help, but I will eventually need to do these things myself.

Any suggestions?

LindaRacine
11-15-2015, 07:20 PM
Hi all,

I am wondering how all of you, especially those fused to the sacrum, have adapted to doing household chores that require bending. Examples of things I have no idea how to do safely are changing sheets on beds, getting stuff out of the back of low cabinets, and cleaning the tub and shower. Since I am very early post-op I have some hired cleaning help, but I will eventually need to do these things myself.

Any suggestions?

Gayle... Glad to hear that you've hired help for the time being. I wouldn't consider doing most of those things you mention until I was at least 6 months postop. And, because you've already experienced a pseudoarthrosis, you might want to consider going to 12 months. I've found ways to do most things, but can't really do anything that requires me to work from the floor, and things that require balance. (I can balance, but I can't balance AND do another task at the same time.) I know some people who feel like their fusions don't restrict them, so we're all different. I think it depends on lots of things including age, general conditioning, and length of fusion.

To clean the tub and shower, I need to hang onto something with one hand and work with the other. To change sheets, I bend my knees slightly, and pick up the final corner of the mattress with one hand while slipping the sheet on with the other hand. I had slide out drawers put in all my lower kitchen cabinets. When I'm getting something from the back of one of my bathroom cabinets, I often use a grabber.

Hang in there. You'll get it all figured out. In the meantime, enjoy that someone else is doing it for you!

--Linda

Susie*Bee
11-16-2015, 08:32 AM
Linda is correct-- we are all different. I am not fused to the sacrum but have to be cautious of my lower two vertebrae (fused T2 to L4). I still cannot clean the tub without it literally (almost) killing me. I am in pain after trying to do that. We just do not bend and there is no way to scrub the whole tub w/o bending, so it's a trade off of trying to reach with it not working out very well. I have tried purchasing scrubbing tools with handles but the scrubber part does not conform to the rounded corners, as it is flat. (sad face). I hate this part and it doesn't get cleaned that often. Hubby doesn't see it as needing cleaning... Oh well!

I CAN put sheets on the bed (but not easily, and big queen mattresses are heavy!) but my husband does it 99% of the time. Likewise with the vacuuming. He thinks I will twist too much. (Why try to argue him out of that one?) I have a difficult time dusting things down low, but have again purchased items with handles to help. Re: the cabinets- I will try to squat or push a chair over and maneuver things around. If you can get it to the front, then you can probably lift the lighter things up. You can set the front things on the floor if need be, and then using a reacher, draw your pan forward that you need. For those "half shelfs" that are above the bottom shelf, I know where things are located and just feel for them. i.e. I know where the colander is so just reach without bending or seeing it and grab it. I also have many lower cupboards with the slide-forward mechanism for the shelves. Places like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Menard's carry some of those, but then they would need to be installed. I fortunately have a small pantry where I can put some heavier items on shelves that are easy to reach-- glass baking pans, electric frying pan, etc. It's just a tiny room but a lifesaver with some items.

I have found that it simplifies things for me to have a chair in my kitchen that has sliding pads on the bottom (that felt stuff). I can scoot it to the frig, (those lower crispers!) to the stove for the oven, and to cabinets. My husband even uses the chair! (And he is healthy...) it just makes it easier. And of course I can use reachers to move things forward or back and to get at items up high.

Because I am fused just to L4, I have slightly more flexibility, but the trade off is in taking care not to overuse those verts. and cause the need for further surgery. Plus I still cannot handle more than about 20-25 lbs., and only when held in a correct way. (Squat, hold next to you, lift.) Again, much easier with the chair! Because of my Charcot Marie Tooth disease, my legs are getting weaker anyway.

I know that many of us don't have the luxury of having a husband to do some of the chores. My drawback is that he has different priorities from me, but you win some battles and you certainly don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Ha ha. Is it possible you might be able to have someone clean once/month and get by the rest of the time?

titaniumed
11-16-2015, 11:41 PM
Hubby doesn't see it as needing cleaning...


I agree. I agree with Linda, Suzie Bee and Suzie Bee’s husband. LOL

We shouldn’t be cleaning bathtubs.....or vacuuming. These are two things I avoid like the plague. And forget washing the car......These are killer activities.

Its just not worth it.....I can do these things, yes, but I wont......No more, I’m done.... Better to get a cleaning person in.

Gayle, I would lay low for a long time...... I wouldn’t be even "thinking" about this right now....

I walked on eggshells for a LONG time. No lifting, no bending, and no twisting. Squats with spine perfectly vertical, not even the slightest bit of leaning at all. Since I did my recovery solo, all food items were set on the kitchen counter.

Remember, No forces allowed......just healing.

Ed

Doreen1
11-17-2015, 10:28 PM
I'm 5'10" so there are some things that require me to get on my knees:

Changing sheets: on knees to tuck fitted sheet all the way around the mattress and then tuck end of top sheet under mattress.
Removing dishes from bottom of dishwasher: on knees
Have since moved all lower kitchen items to on top of counter. I cannot stand a cluttered countertop, but I'm more comfortable reaching items at waist height.
Purchased front mount washer and dryer. Recommend a hamper on wheels!
Clean tub/shower: daughter or hubby
Take trash out: daughter or hubby
Vaccum: what used to take me a couple of hours to finish preop now takes me two or three days. If I over do it, the pain is really bad.
Getting items out of refrigerator freezer drawers: If I see the item right away, either a deep squat or on knees, or daughter/hubby if they are nearby.
Grocery shopping: As the cart get full with groceries, manuvering the cart gets challenging and pain starts. Try to have daughter with me, especially to reach items on low shelves.


I had a cleaning lady for a while postop which helped.


Hi all,

I am wondering how all of you, especially those fused to the sacrum, have adapted to doing household chores that require bending. Examples of things I have no idea how to do safely are changing sheets on beds, getting stuff out of the back of low cabinets, and cleaning the tub and shower. Since I am very early post-op I have some hired cleaning help, but I will eventually need to do these things myself.

Any suggestions?

titaniumed
11-17-2015, 11:40 PM
I have attached a back safety photo below that shows the amount of force lifting a 10# object while bending. 1150# of force on the lower spine.

This is a good thing to have “etched” in our minds during recovery......We don’t want to exert these kinds of forces until we are healed.....

Bending and lifting can be dangerous activities! (For the lower spine)

Ed

jackieg412
11-18-2015, 07:27 AM
Over time things do get better, but some things never improve. Like cleaning under the bed. I can't lay on my stomach long enough to get the job done. I do have hard wood floors. The beds are big and mops don't reach all the way unless you are down. I manage most things like vacuuming I just walk the vacuum. I cut grass with a small electric lawn mower. It is not a problem. Now when it snows here, which may be this Friday, that is a problem unless I can sweep it or use the snow thrower. I do avoid the lift that Ed showed but squat and hug and stand up. I have painted the walls but not the ceilings because of the need to be on the latter and look up. My shoulder blade is still recovering so I won't be doing those things now.I manage grocery shopping by making sure I don't have a cart that pulls and putting things on the top baby seat. Every thing takes time because I can't keep doing so.e of these moves.

leahdragonfly
11-20-2015, 10:42 AM
Thanks everyone, and don't worry, I'm not considering doing any of those sort of cleaning chores! I just wonder how others manage after they are healed. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, hard-working husband who does all the laundry, cooking, shopping, cleans the kitchen, and vacuums. I have cleaning help right now who vacuum, mop and clean the bathrooms. I really was just looking to the future about some of these cleaning activities.

titaniumed
11-25-2015, 08:57 PM
Test...

I guess we are back up and breathing with some difficulty.......

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Ed

tae_tap
12-01-2015, 01:39 PM
Gayle,

It is a great thing to have that family support system. I know first hand how hard it is to rely on our families and to take the amount of time that our bodies need to heal. Use that support so that you can keep from having issues. Prayers for you.

Tamena.

P.S...Glad the forum is back up and running.