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CHRIS WBS
06-13-2006, 11:36 AM
Hi All,

I recently spoke with a patient referral who is fused from T10 to L4. She told me that she can no longer get in and out of a car and has had to switch to a SUV. Is this another item to put on your checklist of things to do beforehand? Swap your sedan for a SUV? I drive a 4-passenger mid-size car and will require a long fusion to the sacrum. For those of you with long fusions, is it impossible to get in and out of a car after surgery?

Thanks for any replies.

Chris

LindaRacine
06-13-2006, 11:57 AM
Hi Chris...

When I was leaving the hospital, the physical therapist came out to the car with me and showed me how to get in and out by myself. I'm sure some car seats are easier than others, but I've never seen any concensus on the subject.

Regards,
Linda

HGD24
06-13-2006, 01:03 PM
Chris,
Difficulty getting in and out of the car depends on the type of car you have and how low it is to the ground. At the time of my surgery, we had 3 vehicles; a Ford Ranger pick-up truck, a Ford Focus and a newer Ford Escort (can you tell we're a Ford family or what?). The Ranger was by far the easiest to get in and out of for me, but the seat backs became uncomfortable. I could get in and out of the Focus too but it did take some effort in the first few weeks because my lower back muscles weren't strong enough. I needed to hold my hubby's arm to get in and out. As for the Escort...forget it! To this day, I have to really take my time getting in and out of it and it takes real effort.

2 months after surgery, hubby traded in the Focus for a Mazda Tribute (small SUV) and I drive this almost exclusively now. The seat is at the same height as my bum, so I just slide right in! I miss my pick-up though and if the seatback were more comfortable and the gas prices weren't so high...I would be right back in it!

I don't think you need to trade in your car though unless it sits really low to the ground...your body will adjust.

Suzy
06-13-2006, 02:21 PM
Chris, I am fused from T10 to L4 and can get in and out of anything! I went to my 1st post-op check up in our corvette because it was a beautiful day (top down) and it had a smoother ride then my Lexus 330! (small SUV) I did need a hand up to get out but I was only 2 weeks out of surgery. I would be more concerned with the seat backs of different vehicles. We have a Denali truck with the hardest lumbar support seats! Even if I deflate it all the way it still pushes hard into where I am still swollen. Ouch. I do agree the seat right at the leval of your butt is best, however I can do all different heights. You learn to turn your whole body out the door and stand or sit and turn in (I used the steering wheel if ness to pull my body around and in.). This might be tough with cloth seats I just thought of, But a dry cleaning bag or plastic bag on cloth would slide...............

SandyC
06-13-2006, 02:25 PM
Chris,
I'm fused from T4-S1 and drive a small 4 door Hondi. Like Linda my PT showed me how to get in and out of the car. I actually have more trouble getting in and out of SUV's and trucks because I'm short and have to practically pole vault in and out. :D

summer
06-13-2006, 02:38 PM
I can get into most of my family's cars at this point. I still need a little hand getting out.

LindaRacine
06-13-2006, 03:12 PM
Hi Suzy...

I'm wondering if you were told not to break the 90 degree barrier (the degree of plane difference between your torso and your legs) during the early postop period. It seems to me that sitting in the seat of a sports car would definitely break that barrier.

Regards,
Linda

Karen Ocker
06-13-2006, 03:41 PM
The PTs at the rehab hospital showed me how to get into our Suburu Legacy.
I now have absolutely no problem in my small Mazda protege or our new Prius.

I do NOT suggest buying a new car. It's really not necessary. Putting some slippery plastic over a cushion is helpful in any car.

I am concerned that people on the forum think that surgery is causing MORE disability. It's only temporary. Healing and normal life DO follow.

Singer
06-13-2006, 04:12 PM
Thank you Karen for that much-needed reassurance. The posts have been on the alarming side lately...

But to ask another question about the car issue: I drive a Honda Civic stick-shift -- wouldn't that be tricky after surgery? Actually, it hurts me some days even now...pushing in the clutch particularly. Since my car is as old as dirt, I'm thinking about trading it in anyway.. ;)

Karen Ocker
06-13-2006, 05:30 PM
Both of my cars after surgery were stick shift 5 speed. No problem.

Try no to go crazy over these things; it's not necessary.

Singer
06-13-2006, 05:54 PM
Crazy?? who's going crazy??? :D :eek: :D :D

Not me !!! Calm and cool as a cucumber!! :eek: ;)

Theresa
06-13-2006, 10:56 PM
Chris, I have no problem getting in and out of cars due to the surgery. I do have problems though because of being height challenged!

CHRIS WBS
06-14-2006, 10:40 AM
Thanks for all your responses. It's reassuring to know that I will not have to sell my car if I decide on surgery. And with the way my back feels today, surgery is looking more and more like a future event for me.

Chris

Suzy
06-14-2006, 12:35 PM
Hey Chris, If you really want a new car you could use surgerey as an excuse to hubby! LOL!

Linda, never heard of the 90* barrier. Sitting in that car was more like a recliner with the leg rest up. Not an ussue any more a 83 y o man ran a red light and broadsided it and totaled it. Family was ok due to titaniun steel bar in door plus air bags. I was not in the car.

LindaRacine
06-14-2006, 01:15 PM
Hi Suzy...

I drove an XK8 until about a year ago, so I'm pretty familiar with the posture. I think the problem is that one's butt is lower than one's knees.

Regards,
Linda

CHRIS WBS
06-14-2006, 01:28 PM
Suzy,

'cept there's no hubby and I'd have to spring for the car myself.

Chris

CorkScrew
06-14-2006, 01:52 PM
It took about a week after I left the hospital, but I was able to get into our Explorer just fine. Last weekend I finally got into our Focus. Just take it slow and easy and hold on to anything you can to give yourself extra stability. I've been going in butt first. Once I'm seated, I slowly pivot my back and legs into a proper sitting position, using my arms to do most of the work. So far, so good. Best of luck.

sweetness514
06-14-2006, 02:10 PM
I actually have sold two cars due to these surgeries-BUT they were sporstcars.

The first I sold was years after my first surgery. It was my car, a Honda Civic Del Sol and it's literally one of the smallest lowest cars there has been made. The seats were really round too-and now I have to sit straight so that was a real bummer for me and we had to sell it. Before surgery maybe b/c of my hump it was comfortable, after surgery I tried to ride and get into it and it was nearly impossible.

Second car we just sold last month. Again a sporstcar(Honda Accord, two door, not as low as the other one but roof still too low) AND I could get into it and be really comfy before THIS last surgery. I know that after this first year I could bend again to get into, but was fed up of waiting and using mom's car so we sold for a four door Sedan, Honda Civic, it's SO comfortable and I put a cushion for lumbar support.

So the problem is sportscars, but even then the not too low ones are ok after the healing. If you're a sportscar lover like me, it's a bummer for sure.

mattie
06-14-2006, 06:44 PM
When I had my surgery I could not drive for 3 months afterwards. My husband drove me everywhere I needed to go. My Dr. said I could ride but absolutely no driving.
When I came home from the hospital I rode in the back seat. I tried the front seat but the jarring of the bumpy Illinois highways was to much for me.
I had to travel about 1 hour and a half home. About 15 minutes from the hospital he had to pull over and let me get in the back.
I mostly layed down all the way home. We had a Oldsmobile Royal at that time.
I sure was glad when he did let me drive, which was for short trips to start with. For the first 6 months after surgery I had to wear a brace. So everytime I was in a vehicle I was protected by it.
Wanted to share my experience.
Mattie

sweetness514
06-15-2006, 02:11 PM
Hi Suzy...

I'm wondering if you were told not to break the 90 degree barrier (the degree of plane difference between your torso and your legs) during the early postop period. It seems to me that sitting in the seat of a sports car would definitely break that barrier.

Regards,
Linda

I was thinking about that, and I did a test. In my car-Honda Civic 4 door Sedan- I noticed that my legs are not straight and they bend a bit, and I'm actually SITTING in it . Checked out my mom's car-Mercedes 4 door Sedan- and I saw that my knees were higher than my butt, and the car is not even really low. I think that a lot of cars are made that way, wich is surprising. I can't imagine people who have long legs and who are tall, and how much of a pain it is to get in smaller cars. Just a thought and some rambling on my part.

JoAnn5
06-15-2006, 02:31 PM
I have a Mercury Grand Marquis which is a good-sized, smooth-riding vehicle, but it is an absolute horror to get into and out!!! The seats are uncomfortable as well, i could never find an angle that was suitable on the ride home from the hospital... i finally had my hubby stop at daughter's house because i could go no farther.. she only lives about 20 minutes from the hospital, while we live 2 hrs. away. Now I drive a Ford F150 pick-up and absolutely love it! I'm tall and long-legged tho, i guess that's why i have so much trouble with the car seats.
Daughter has just gotten a new Lamborghini :eek: .... I stand along side it and smile and admire it... but there is no way i'd EVER be able to get down and into it... and if i ever DID manage to get into it, they'd just have to bury me in the car, because i'd be stuck there for life...lol ;)

LindaRacine
06-15-2006, 03:28 PM
I was thinking about that, and I did a test. In my car-Honda Civic 4 door Sedan- I noticed that my legs are not straight and they bend a bit, and I'm actually SITTING in it . Checked out my mom's car-Mercedes 4 door Sedan- and I saw that my knees were higher than my butt, and the car is not even really low. I think that a lot of cars are made that way, wich is surprising. I can't imagine people who have long legs and who are tall, and how much of a pain it is to get in smaller cars. Just a thought and some rambling on my part.
I agree. I don't think I've ever ridden in a car seat where my knees weren't higher than my butt. In my current car, which has fully adjustable seats, I have raised the back of the seat to be almost level with the front. With my XK8, I had to fold up to get in, which I think might be very detrimental in the early post-op stage.

--Linda

sweetness514
06-16-2006, 02:18 PM
Daughter has just gotten a new Lamborghini :eek: .... I stand along side it and smile and admire it... but there is no way i'd EVER be able to get down and into it... and if i ever DID manage to get into it, they'd just have to bury me in the car, because i'd be stuck there for life...lol ;)

Nice, and congrats to her on the new car, is it the one where the doors open up in the air(don't know how to describe it)? I love cars. If you have long legs as well I don't know if that would be comfy to get into :eek: ...My dad used to own a Lamborghini and it was so low but it wasn't as bad as my small Honda. Then he had a Ferrari and he has not many back problems and sold it for many reasons but he wasn't comfy in it as well. I think sometimes aging gets us as well and we just want to be more comfortable :cool:

JoAnn5
06-21-2006, 07:44 PM
Yes, sweetness.. the doors open upwards.... You'd think it would be easier to get in and out...but the seats are still less than a foot off the ground... so i'd be permanently bent if i ever got into it...lol...

fitiani33
06-21-2006, 08:23 PM
just back from surgery ( 2 weeks ago ) and i have NO PROBLEM getting in or out of the car. I am fused T11 to L3 ( 5 screws ) and was able to do the car with no problem the day i left the hospital. ( was there for one week ). Whlie i was there i had a couple therapy sessions to get familiar with the right way to get in or out of the car. They had a small fake car thing to practice with. I took a picture of it just have to learn how to get it online. I went to the Dr. today for my 2-3week post op. visit and the ride was not to bad. I put a pillow behind my back and another like hugging it on my chest and stomach and then put the seat belt. Bumps still bother but i just held the handle by the window for some extra support. And believe it or not my Dr. said i was recovering very well could not tell i just had the op. and actually said i could drive now if i needed to. I had anterior 4 hr. surgery 6-5-06. I am still in A LOT of pain. Mainly rib, hip and thigh pain. But about the car, its no problem for me. I have a Toyota Avalon and its fine.
Stephanie T11 to L3 ( 6-5-06 )
45 to about 10 degrees