View Full Version : wife having surgery

07-28-2004, 12:09 PM
Hi all,
I'm glad theses forums are here, thanks to all who participate. My wife of is having surgery in sept. she has a 72 degree thoracic curve that has caused the lower lobe of her right lung to colapse. all of your posts have helped, still, i would appreciate any thoughts, insights, sage advice from you veterans on what i can do to ease her journey. we live in the country and don't have many to call on for help, it will be we two for the most part, so i want to prepare as much as i can for her before and be prepared as much as possible for her recovery.
thank you for your input.

07-28-2004, 12:46 PM
Hi Paul,

I had my surgery Apr 9th &13th of April 2004. I am 48. I had a 79 degree thorasic curve and a 44 degree lumbar curve. I had anterior/posterior surgery done. It took 22 hours in all. My lungs were also involved before the surgery. The things that I found that have helped the most are: shower chair with a hand held shower head, shea butter (it's a very good cream for dry skin), I used a wheel chair and a walker (still using a cane), we bought a gel mattress pad to put on the bed and it's wonderful (it's about $125. for a queen, totally worth it), flexible straws for her drinks, some small TV dinners that can just be popped in the microwave. She'll want to eat only small amounts. I also used a toliet seat raiser for about 2 1/2 months. I also found the soft cotton nightgowns were best for me. Lots of short reading material at first, it seems like you don't have a long enough attention span for reading books for a while. Movies are very good. Pillow for under her knees. My husband stayed with me the whole time in the hospital and about 2 weeks at home. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I hope this helps some. The best thing is your presence. I was much more relaxed just knowing that he was there. Theresa

07-28-2004, 01:21 PM
Thank you. This is very helpful. Sounds like I should realistically expect to be off work for a month? From some of what I've read, having someone in the hospital 24/7 is important, not relying on hospital care alone. Then a couple of weeks at home?
I see you had two procedures, was that expected? How is your recovery going?

07-28-2004, 09:34 PM
Hey Paul,

Yes, I knew about the two procedures going in. Actually though, I had three procedures. I had 22 hours of surgery, it was only suppose to take 15 hours. The first was the anterior procedure where the doctor goes in on the side of your body and removes a rib and deflates your lung. My doctor removed six discs and installed some screws through this incision. That part of the surgery took about 4 to 5 hours. That incision was closed up and he proceeded to the posterior portion of the surgery. My incision goes from my neck bone all the way to my tail bone. The type of rods that the hospital used my doctor could not get them to form to my body. At 10:30 that night they closed me up and kept me very sedated over the Easter weekend and on Monday morning about 8 am surgery was started again with a different type of rod. This second type of rod is more flexible. When that was done they closed that incision and made an incision on the left side of my belly to put a plate in for the fusion to the sacrum. The doctor said in adults sometimes it hard to get the fusion to take completely to the sacrum so he uses a plate. I also have an incision on my right hip with they took bone for the bone graphs. They also used my rib for the bone graphs. The 5th and last incision is only an inch long from the chest tube that they put in. At my 2 month check up the doctor saw bone growth starting already. He doesn't want me doing anything but walking until there is more growth. Then I'll start physical theraphy. I have a little trouble standing straight up for very long. After I have rested I can stand straight very well but my muscles aren't strong enough to hold myself straight for very long. I have been on three of my husband's business trip after my 2 month checkup. They were car trips of 3 and 4 hour drives. I was also allowed to start driving after 2 months. In 2 weeks we are flying to Sedona, Arizona for our daughter's wedding. When we get back I see the doctor to discuss going back to work on the 23rd of Aug. That will be about 41/2 months. I work in an elementary library, so it's not to hard. I can sit alot. Most of my story is under the Adult Surgery section entitled "Just had surgery". My curves have been corrected quite well. The 79 degree thorasic curve is now 22, and the 44 lumbar curve is 18. I no longer have the sharp pain in my lungs from my ribs. Also just about all of my hump is gone. Feel free to ask more questions if you have some. So glad that I can help someone else. Oh yeah, also lost about 17 pounds. Theresa

07-29-2004, 04:33 AM
Just curious do you have any kids (ie still at home under age 18), if you do, that would probably have to be factored into how much time you had off work.

My opinion is after two weeks (ish, you would probably have to play it by ear a bit), you are pretty Ok to be on your own during the day. Your pain is a lot better and moving is a bit easier.

Just a suggestion, once you go back to work, is there perhaps a neighbour/relative who could pop in during the day, to see if your wife needed anything, to "check" on her, for a chat etc.

If there is no neighbours nearby (you might have neighbours far away), you might want to stay home another week (ie three weeks or perhaps even the whole month). By then you are quite mobile, and able to "do" a bit more stuff.

My other piece of advice is try and have the house in as much an "organised" state as possible before the surgery. What I mean by this is such as the lawns mowed, bills up to date, ironing up to date etc. Why I suggest this is that whilst your wife is in the hospital and the first couple of weeks at home you will be tired and you will be focused on your wife. And the last thing you need is having to think about the bills on the fridge :-)

08-02-2004, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the input. Sorry i'm so long getting back, we're finishing restoring a house, want to get it done before the big event. we get alot of different info about this. doctor says my wife will want to sleep for 3 months, that's usually when you turn the first corner and start feeling human again. i'm scrambling because i feel she'll need someone there longer than she thinks she will. she's very independent and rests better when no one is about. i think i just need to be prepared and play it by ear, kind of a balancing act at this point.

thanks. yes, the doctor and my wife seem to think two weeks is the mark. cept i've read otherwise from others. not sure the information age is always a blessing. the kids are grown and not local so we cannot call on them for help, still, they will not be ther to be cared for either. i can cook and clean. have taken care of her when she's been ill before. i really am trying to figure/plan for time off. gotta keep my job of course, employers are not always so understanding and i do run a business. we'll see.


08-02-2004, 09:18 AM

I just reached the 5 week mark and i'm doing great....i had posterior fusion and although my back is still numb and painful i can drive short distances and get some errans done....i nap once a day and even thats not happening lately...so good luck..hope all goes well.

08-02-2004, 11:00 AM
Thank you for the good wishes and encouragement. My wife and I have been together...all our lives. We've known each other since high school, so i'm more than a little concerned. she's a trooper. She have lived with pain her whole life, i hate to see her endure more. the hope is that this will improve her lot.
thanks again

08-02-2004, 12:20 PM

Alot of it is take a wait and see attitude. My husband's original plans were to take two weeks off. A week for the hospital and a week for when I came home. But sometimes things happen a little different than what was planned as in my case. Being as I was under so much anesthisa I really don't remember much of the hospital or the first week home. Do you know what your wife is going to have done and how much of a fusion she is having? It makes a big difference in recovering time. Hope this helps you some what. Don't work to hard on the house. Theresa

Karen Ocker
08-02-2004, 05:01 PM
I had no one to help me at home after my 2 stage revision because my husband could not take off from work. I spent 2 weeks in a rehab facility. It was the best thing I did. It freed my family, I got excellent help getting used to being taller and straighter, advice about taking care of myself at home, excellent pain management.

When we got home I hired a lady during the day from the Polish Church. We did interview her before the surgery. She was wonderful. Took me out for walks, etc.
I hasten to add that I was in the Hospital for 2 weeks for the surgery and 2 weeks in the rehab hospital. It was paid by my medical insurance. I also had private duty nurses when out of the step-down unit.

I was 60 when I had this done 2 years ago.