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Thread: Driving

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791

    Driving

    I was just wondering how the decision on driving was made.

    Is it a certain amount of weeks past your surgery or is there other reasons for getting the green light for driving?

    Melissa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    41
    I was told to wait for a while....but I can't remember how long it was. A couple of months, I believe, maybe 2-3. It was a rough adjustment at first - I still felt really stiff, so it was hard to twist/turn and view things the way I used to. Not painful, just different.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    I hope my doctor (whoever that may be) doesn't get sticky about mixing pain meds and driving - maybe for liability reasons. If I couldn't combine them safely, I wouldn't have set foot in the drivers seat for most of the last decade! Some of us really accommodate! OTOH pain be dangerous and distracting.

    For those used to taking any of the many meds that carry driving, heavy equipment warnings, it's not at all like DUI. Yet I can remember hearing here from posters whose docs told them they couldn't drive until off the meds.
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2
    Ya. driving is definitely "different" at the beginning. The blind spots get a bit bigger, but it's nothing extended mirrors can't fix.

    On another note about driving, I find that my butt gets sore after a few hours because all the pressure goes right to it. I say "all the pressure goes right to it" because without my back acting as a shock absorber (fused together) the entire load is put right on my bottom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink Driving

    I have found it difficult to drive with my brace on for anything longer than short distances. My brace tends to dig into my groin and up into my armpits which makes it hard to turn the wheel and generally makes me uncomfortable. Also, I noticed that being a passenger takes some getting used to for awhile while recovering too.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791
    I know that being a passenger the last week or so has been a different experience. The brace is most definitely not a very car friendly item but my 17 year old DD has been great about driving myself and her 15 year old DB where ever we have to go. I was just wondering when I go to see my surgeon on June 9 , my first post-op operation appointment , what he is going to say about driving.

    Melissa

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    460
    Melissa - my primary care doctor told me that so long as I felt with it enough to drive, I could drive whenever I felt fit. I was quite surprised to hear her say that, however, because I needed to get behind the wheel fairly quickly to take care of my little ones, I started to drive at four weeks post op. I just kept my brace on which helped - even though it's uncomfortable, just short journeys mind you. I now drive with a pillow behind me instead. I also hate driving as a passenger, not only because of my surgery, but it's a control thing . Since my major car wreck five years ago where my mother almost died, and she and I had to be helicoptered to hospital, I have a fear of other people driving me. Unless it's someone like my brother, who I know to be a very good safe driver.
    Lynette - 44 years old.

    Pre-surgery thoracic 55 degrees
    Pre-surgery lumbar 85 degrees

    Post-surgery thoracic 19 degrees
    Post-surgery lumbar 27 degrees

    Surgery April 1st 2010.

    Posterior spinal fusion from T9 to sacrum.
    Dr. Cronen at University Community Hospital - Tampa, FL.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791
    I see my PCP on June 3 which happens to be my birthday and my surgeon on June 9 so hopefully one of the will give me the go ahead to drive as I hate to keep bothering my DD
    Before my surgery, I was driving with pain pills , so now the only difference is the brace
    Melissa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    332
    I was given the oK at my 6 week app't. and was off all narcotics at that point. I started out with just short trips and yeah, the brace is kind of annoying but it didn't bother me all that much. You do have to watch twisting around for blind spots and really use those mirrors. My understanding is (at least in this state) if you're stopped and found to have narcotics in your system, it's like a DUI! Like a lot of things in this process, you'll know when you're ready.


    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    yup..most states consider driving under influence of prescription drugs to be like DUI...i think that is what the Kennedy guy...the one in Congress...got caught in D.C. for...doesnt matter if you're taking the meds for good reason or for recreation...the law doesnt want anyone driving that way..

    jess

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I was told not to drive until I was off all narcotics. I suspect that's born of the "negligence" aspect.

    Melissa, is your daughter protesting about driving you? If not, let her do this for you. It's good for her to feel useful and know that she's helping you. It's hard I know, to relinquish your independence, but this is one time I think you need to give others the opportunity to help you. It may very well be her pleasure to help you.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,959
    DUI in Nevada becomes a felony upon substantial bodily harm. Alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescription, are what they look for. I donít know the legalities of the word "impaired", but it essentially means that you are responsible for your own actions behind the wheel.

    The fine here is $2000-$5000 and 2-20 years in prison.

    If you injure someone while impaired, like a relative in your passenger seat, then it becomes State vs You.

    So before your Doctor says that you can drive, please remember that jurys will deliberate and enforce the law.

    I figured Id mention this as I have seen some pretty hefty sentences here in our state. Las Vegas is probably the toughest city regarding DUI enforcement. Reno is in 2nd place.

    Its not a good idea to drive on meds...unless youíre a Kennedy,
    then its ok....

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    244
    Haha Ed! You are too funny!!! I love your sense of humor!
    Laura
    62 degrees
    49 yrs. young
    Surgery 3/31/10 with Lenke

    Before and After pics
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13749126@N06/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    156

    Solo road trip

    I didn't drive until 3 1/2 months after surgery #2 - It wasn't so much a time after surgery thing as a being off pain meds thing. At the end I had weened myself down to nearly nothing but I was still taking a controlled substance and even though I didn't feel impaired, I didn't want to take any chances. (just in case)

    Those first couple of times felt so foreign and it was really hard to turn in my car seat and I was fearful of blind spots, and backing out of parking spots was (and still is) a challenge, so I just pull into them. I have to park farther away from the entrance to do that but the walking is an extra bonus!

    I just returned from a solo trip to Indianapolis! 575 miles that I drove by myself. I admit I was apprehensive about the distance and traveling by myself but my sister was having knee surgery and I wanted to reciprocate the excellent care she gave me last year after my surgery. I was very tired and my back was completely numb after 400 miles but I was able to do it with 2 20 minute stops, both coming and going. Yea!

    It seemed like this huge hurdle and I was nervous when I left our house but I did it and I am proud of myself! Yea!
    Julie - 51 yrs old

    Dx'd 1973 - 43* thoracic curve / rotation
    Wore Milwaukee brace 1973 - 1979
    Pre-surgery: 63* thoracic / 52* lumbar curves


    Surgeries: P - March 16, 2009 - Fused T3-S2 with pelvic fixation
    A -April 14, 2009 - Fused L5-S1
    Achieved +70% Correction
    Dr. Khaled Kebaish, (and team) Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore


    Standing x-ray
    New Spine 03/19/2009
    New Spine Lateral 03/19/2009

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,959
    Julie

    Congrats on the trip.

    One of the things that has happened to me after surgery is that fact that I donít drive the car as much anymore. I think that after my surgeries, I became used to the sedentary lifestyle.

    I'm only driving about 8000 miles per year now. Usually, I group up errands, and always kill a few birds with one stone. The old days of joy riding in the car are over....

    I will be taking my RV up to Glacier National park in Montana right after the 4th of July. Itís a 1000 miles from here.
    The captains chairs are the way to go, and itís a smooth ride. I transferred my "foam" out to the rv, so now that bed is great. It really is the way to travel with scoliosis. I can lay down when I want.

    Now backing a large rv up is fun. Everybody freaks out and I get a kick out of it. "Ed you almost took that tree out!" If you have ever seen the movie "RV" with Robin Williams, well, my vacations are similar. There is some learning curve involved....Not everything is in the manual. LOL
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

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