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View Full Version : Driving.....how soon are you able to?



Marcia
04-22-2006, 03:02 PM
I am wondering how long it will take before I can feel comfortable after my surgery to drive. Mostly I drive close to home, but I do live in the Houston area and it can be scary on the freeways if changing lanes in such.....and that is before surgery. What were your time tables for driving near home, in the city, and traveling for long trips?

sweetness514
04-22-2006, 03:11 PM
Again that is unique to everybody. I had a long recovery and didn't "need" or even wanted or cared to drive, and so it was maybe a year(could be before or after, don't remember exactly), but I could have driven earlier, if it was necessary. You just have to get comfortable and use extra pillows and see how far you can get, but my orthos told me that it's best to wait at least three months, b/c of the getting in and out of the car, and safety(for others as well). The potholes are a pain :eek: It differs, as some orthos are more careful than others, but I agree with them that if there is pain or drowsiness(from the pain meds and/or just naturally being very tired), it's best not to. The first months are more crucial to the fusion, and so they always tell to not do "much" and take it easy during those.

Suzy
04-22-2006, 06:13 PM
Hi Marcia, I drove at around 4 weeks. My car is easy to get into and out of (The seat height is right at my bottom height.) no twisting nessary. I have great visability with mirrors and back up camera. Checking blind spots was the thing I found tough so I checked over and over if I needed to change lanes. Then later could turn my head better to see. It felt good to relieve my husband of some of the shuttling around of my daughter. I didn't need to get out of the car and that helped. Plus, getting out of the house is always a plus. good luck, Suzy

Gail
04-22-2006, 06:41 PM
Drove for the first time at 7 weeks, not because my doctor gave me that time frame, but simply because I had an appt. and my husband was out of town. I was very scared about backing out of parking spaces, so I would always try to find a space that I could pull through and park and just pull out when I was ready to go. As time went on, I learned to pull myself up towards the steering wheel to look back when changing lanes. It is amazing how much better you can see when you aren't looking over the side of your seat. I have never been one to soley look in my mirror when changing lanes. Merging into traffic is still scary for me...I find it easier to look over my right side than to look over my left.

Kindest Regards,
Gail

green m&m
04-23-2006, 10:51 AM
I haven't had surgery yet, but those little cicrular mirrors you can glue on to the lower outer coners of your sideview mirrors help a LOT with blind spots. those things allow you to see your blind spots without turning your body around to see.. (i still do... cause i'm paranoid :p)

I got mine for .99 each at walmart.

Pips
04-23-2006, 11:50 AM
I have been told that I cannot drive until my fusion is solid and have been quoted 4-6 months for that. It is driving me mad at the moment (I am 3 months post op) as I feel ready to do so.

The mirrors sound a good idea though.

Cakedec
04-23-2006, 08:46 PM
Wow, Pips, 4-6 months sounds really excessively cautious for driving! I haven't had my surgery yet, but the surgeon said 2-3 months as long as you are off narcotics is the usual for driving.

Will you also have to wait that long to go back to work?

Deb

Marcia
04-23-2006, 10:11 PM
Wow....it is different for everyone in what the doctors say! I'm wondering if you are wearing a brace or not whether that makes a difference since you would be protecting your fusion more with the brace. Or is it impossible to drive and wear a brace?

Pips
04-24-2006, 05:31 AM
My surgeon doesn't believe in braces so this may be why he's put such a long time on it. They are also considering extending my fusion upwards (this was always the original plan, but because of complications, they had to stop the fusion at a certain level and wait for that to heal before going any further) and are concerned that the point of end of my lower fusion may be a lever point so this might be the reason.

Whatever it is, I think its excessive and am now really starting to miss it as at nearly 11 weeks post op I am starting to feel quite human!

Just as a matter of interest, before my op I was told 3 months to start back to normal activity including driving.

Oh yes, and by the way, I know that it is highly unusual to do 'half a fusion' and wait for it to heal before doing the rest, but I do have some added complications by way of spina bifida and a very long spilt in my spinal cord - yet again we are back to every case being different!

JoAnn5
04-24-2006, 09:32 AM
I started driving a little around 2 months after i think... but i started back to work at 3 months and drove myself 25 miles each way.... Thought i was doing ok because i changed from my low car into a pick-up truck which was easier to get in and out and easier to see more of the road from its higher viewpoint... But it's harder to see your son's brand new little Mustang when it's parked right behind you if you can't turn your head well... and it's too low to see from the rearview mirror over the tailgate... :( ... U guessed it.. But son took it very well.... bless his heart... I was torn all to pieces, but he was very calm, even called me at work mid-day to see if i was ok. Damage was minimal thank goodness...

sweetness514
04-24-2006, 03:10 PM
My surgeon doesn't believe in braces so this may be why he's put such a long time on it. They are also considering extending my fusion upwards (this was always the original plan, but because of complications, they had to stop the fusion at a certain level and wait for that to heal before going any further) and are concerned that the point of end of my lower fusion may be a lever point so this might be the reason.

Whatever it is, I think its excessive and am now really starting to miss it as at nearly 11 weeks post op I am starting to feel quite human!

Just as a matter of interest, before my op I was told 3 months to start back to normal activity including driving.

Oh yes, and by the way, I know that it is highly unusual to do 'half a fusion' and wait for it to heal before doing the rest, but I do have some added complications by way of spina bifida and a very long spilt in my spinal cord - yet again we are back to every case being different!

I have to disagree about waiting so many months and it being excessive. I have talked to many surgeons and they all tell me that the first three months are best to not to much of anything except walking and very light housework, and rest. Then after the 3 months, to start doing a bit more like getting in the car and if a person feels up to it, drive a bit. But like all my doctors said it is a big surgery and even people who have not had any type of surgery and have major back problems shouldn't be driving, heck they highly recommend people who have insomnia and are very tired and don't get enough sleep to not drive, an I highly agree. I think that it differs from surgeon to surgeon, and maybe in different countries. I'm from Canada. Maybe some surgeons are more careful like my orthos have said and they do it for security reasons. Just like the difference between wearing a brace vs not or a soft one. But at the end of the day I think it's for us to judge what we think we're capable of and believe that the limitations they give us are for our own good, wether it's entirely different than what another surgeon would recommend.

At any rate, you wanting to drive at 11 weeks post op and doing so well physically is amazing. I know I didn't even think about it, the first three to five post op months were a blur to me, LOL. Hang in there.

Pips
04-25-2006, 04:17 AM
Thanks Sweetness.

I sometimes think i am doing really badly compared to other people and have to keep reminding myself that getting this done really is a big deal. I am going to listen to the surgeons advice and not do anything silly - I think its just the lack of choice that I find hardest - the situation of 'even if I don't feel up to it I would like to be allowed to'. Still I'll get there - it's just a shame that I may also have to go through a posterior surgery the Autumn/Winter (as soon as this fusion is solid).

I do have the chance of going away for a weekend in 1 months time (I will be about 14 weeks by then) and someone has offered to drive me. So far I have been driven short distances (doctor etc) and don't know what to do. I really would like to go but don't know if I should and it takes weeks to get any kind of advice out of my sugeon! It would mean about 120 mile trip (each way).

I have to say to anyone reading this that I am really glad I had the surgery done even though not all things turned out the way I expected. It's a quality of life issue and I can already see how much improved my future is going to be (once all the post op stuff is over).

Theresa
04-25-2006, 09:20 PM
Hi Marcia,

I also live in Houston. We live off the the North Beltway between I-10 and Hwy. 59 near Lake Houston. I started driving around 2 months. I only drove in the local area. I didn't drive on the freeways until I had to pick my husband up late one night on the southwest side of Houston because of a car accident. It was very scary even though there was little traffic at that time of night. That was around 6 or 7 months post op. After that I ventured onto the freeway a little more often.

always smilin'
04-25-2006, 09:53 PM
My goodness...at age 12 I thought my life was ending (having surgery that is). I think I had it easy compared to all y'all are going through. I couldn't even fathom being an adult (I'm 34 now) going through what y'all are doing! WOW! I sure hope I don't have to endure what you are all enduring. Driving never entered my mind. Hang in there and keep searching for answers...this is definitely the place to learn. :)

Marcia
04-26-2006, 01:01 PM
Thanks for all your varied replies. I see it will be different for each of us depending on our individual surgery and where we live (it is tough to drive in Houston anytime on the freeways...right Theresa?) I am getting a new car....a small SUV that is short, narrow, and easy to drive so backing in and out of parking spaces will be easier for me. Hopefully after surgery and a few month's recovery I can enjoy it.