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Sissy
07-28-2004, 08:30 PM
My 18 year old son had an anterior spinal fusion on June 30. He was in the hospital for 8 days. 2 weeks after coming home, he began to wear a brace during the time he is up and around.

The brace is uncomfortable. He can't sit for long in a chair. It does seem to be helping him to "straighten up", but he stll leans toward his right (surgery side). He wakes up at least once during the night. He needs help getting in and out of bed. He has lost weight.

I am especially concerned because he is supposed to leave for college in 3 weeks. Will he be ready to go to class, live in the dorm, take care of himself???

We see the dr. next week. Can anyone relate similar experiences? Thank...

jennyc
07-29-2004, 12:38 PM
Of course you should ask the doctor, but until you have that opportunity I can tell you about my own experience:

I had two surgeries 9 weeks apart (the first was anterior, the second was to remove the anterior hardware and to re-do the procedure posteriorly). After my first surgery (5 days in the hospital) I was in a lot of pain and had a hard time sleeping for weeks (so waking up once during the night doesn't sound that bad based on my experience). I did not have a brace after either surgery. Sitting in a chair was the least comfortable position for me, too (I was most comfortable either flat on my back or walking around). I also lost quite a bit of weight after both surgeries. I was back to the office 6 weeks after the first surgery and 4 weeks after the second surgery.

Ask your son's surgeon about restrictions/limitations once he leaves for college (for example, he probably won't be able to carry a backpack; will the bed in the dorm be comfortable enough for him? etc.)

Alison
07-30-2004, 03:33 AM
Hi

: the brace definetly shouldn't hurt him and needs to be checked out
: Just curious, where was your son fused from?
:-->Just curious will he still be in the brace when he goes to college

How you will know he's ready to go? (this is just off the top of my head :-) but I'll try and think of some more for him)
--> Able to maneuvere in and out of bed himself (has he been taught to log roll), shower himself, generally look after himself
--> On less pain medication (ie not needing pain medication every four hours)
--> Check with your doctor for restrictions such as backpack carrying etc

Things that come to mind that could help your son at college

-->Pillows for lectures (to put behind his back to make it a bit more comfortable)
--> Is it possible for him to take his bed with him to college so he will have optimum comfortableness (I know that beds at residential colleges are not always perfect) or to replace the mattress on the bed in the dorm. Something which might help long term that a bed that is a bit "higher" than normal. It means that you don't have to sink into the bed and its easier to get on and off
-->Something to investigate may be an ergonomic chair (with seat and height adjustment) and a sloped writing board for in the dorm. As you can maneuvere the chair and writing on something sloped takes the pressure off the neck. It would probably be of help to allow him to be more comfortable to study,
--> Get in contact with the college to explain your son's situation, then his lecturers would be aware why your son might not be able to sit for whole lectures/classes etc and might get up and move around
--> Im not sure if there are such things in American Universities (i know in Australia there are and they probably similar) but to make contact with the Disability and Equity Unit in your son's college. They can help with lots of study related stuff such as keys to access shorter routes across college, rest areas, specialised study equiptment, help with photocopying, exam arrangements etc
--> For the first semester (whilst he is still recovering) could he perhaps take one less class. My thinking behind this is that it would take the stress off it a bit and to have less solid class time to have to sit in. And he'll also find that tiredness is the biggest factor for him, tiredness from having to concentrate and listen as well as sit for awhile (this gradually becomes easier but it does take time)

Hope some of this helps

Alison