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Thread: devices/aids to be used in period immediately following surgery

  1. #1
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    Dec 2013
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    devices/aids to be used in period immediately following surgery

    I'm "getting ready". The question I have (or, rather, my wife asks on my behalf) is what need I assemble in preparation for my return home immediately following surgery? I'm male, age 66, perfectly comfortable going without socks at this time of year, and, luckily, do have a wife to pick up after me (at least for a while). Things that "she who must be obeyed (or at least humored) suggests include: shower seat, bathroom chair (to sit on while applying make-up, I presume) toilet seat "riser", pick-up aid, bottom buddy (gross), and cane (with which to ward off those who get too close when I go out for a walk). I agree with the cane suggestion but wonder if the others are needed.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Hi,

    This is a frequent question, and it always depends on how the person is doing after surgery. I personally used my shower chair once then never again. I never needed a bottom buddy, but a tub of baby wipes came in handy. I never used a cane, and I used a walker in the house for balance for about 2 days, then ditched it. A toilet seat raiser was optional for me, possibly helpful for the first week or so, but also a nuisance for others in the house, and required special, frequent cleaning due to it's construction.

    The one thing I did use for months was a long-handled grabber, for picking stuff up off the floor. It is so annoying to drop things and then have almost no way to get to it.

    One suggestion is to wait and see how you are doing when you are getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, then they can arrange to have any needed devices/aids delivered to your house through a durable medical equipment company.

    If I was having surgery again and could only buy one thing, it would be to stock up on laxatives: Miralax and Senokot-S are both good ones, with an insurance bottle of Magnesium Citrate for urgent constipation troubles. Nearly all of us who have these major surgeries and take heavy narcotics afterward end up constipated, which can be very unpleasant and painful. It is something to strive to avoid!

    Good luck,
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 05-27-2014 at 08:00 AM.
    Gayle, age 46
    Boston brace as a teen for AIS
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation, TLIF at L4/5.
    Feb 2012 major A/P revision for broken rods


    mom of Leah, 12 y/o, diagnosed Jan '08 with 26* thoracic JIS (age 6)
    4/08 26 degrees, brace 16 hrs/day
    9/08 17 deg. OOB - brace discontinued
    9/09 30 deg, resuming brace
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/14 stable 4 yrs post-op, 14* T

    also mom of Torrey, 9 y/o son, 12* T, decreasing spontaneously (from 19*)

  3. #3
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkatz View Post
    I'm "getting ready". The question I have (or, rather, my wife asks on my behalf) is what need I assemble in preparation for my return home immediately following surgery? I'm male, age 66, perfectly comfortable going without socks at this time of year, and, luckily, do have a wife to pick up after me (at least for a while). Things that "she who must be obeyed (or at least humored) suggests include: shower seat, bathroom chair (to sit on while applying make-up, I presume) toilet seat "riser", pick-up aid, bottom buddy (gross), and cane (with which to ward off those who get too close when I go out for a walk). I agree with the cane suggestion but wonder if the others are needed.
    Hi...

    I would definitely wait until after surgery to buy most medical devices. I don't know about all insurance companies, but most pay for at least some tools. At UCSF, every patient receives a package of tools to take home with them.

    Over the years, I've developed a list to help in preparation for major spine surgery. See attached.

    --Linda
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    Indiana
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    Also, at least at my hospital, they sent me home with many items that insurance paid for... such as the raised toilet seat with the arms (which I did use-- I needed to push myself up, as my legs were too weak), and they gave me things like a sock aid, a reacher, a long shoe horn, and some other things that I can't remember off the top of my head. We purchased a shower seat which I did use for quite awhile as I was very weak-- but you need to have a hand-held shower nozzle if you do that. I also did NOT use the tongs. I figured I could get by. Best wishes. BTW-- a lot of us have had two reachers: one to pick up the one we dropped. (smile) I have a few different kinds and they are handy for a lot of things-- and my grandsons think they are the neatest toys-- and that my shoe horn is the coolest sword. It's all in the eye of the beholder, you know.
    63, and feeling better with each year-- Life is good!
    2007 major curve @ 52į w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shiftt
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15į-- and Tickled Pink!!!


    Click to view my pics: [url=http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg25/SusieB1951/pics%20of%20scoli%20x-rays/,[/url] digital x-rays, and pics of me

  5. #5
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    Dec 2013
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    Thanks, all!

    I appreciated particularly the suggestions for laxatives and for a retriever for the dropped retriever. I also appreciated all suggestions that I wait until I know more about what I will need.

    At this point it appears that my surgery will be scheduled to occur in the latter half of July. About surgery I have no fears/concerns. My only disappointment is that I will not be permitted to watch (seriously). (yes, I understand that I will be "out" and that kibitzing during the surgical event is probably not helpful.)

  6. #6
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    Mark, your sense of humor will see you through. I asked to walk to the operating room....a request that was countered with "we have never had that request" and "our insurance doesn't cover it". I did ask for no sedation until i checked out the OR which was Oked. Very interesting place with tons of activity. i agree about the being awake during surgery might have been a neat idea. Since my PO2 dropped so much during surgery, I doubt that I would have maintained consciousness. Would have been interesting to hear, "Looks like we are losing her". And "I cannot get this IV started (still have bruising on inner arm for proof a year later and my derm told me that the bruising would be permanent)".

    Best of luck and keep us posted.

    Susan
    Dxed 8/2011: Degenerative Adult-Onset Scoliosis age 65
    XRAY 1/2012: 25* T levoscoliosis/ 36* L dexroscoliosis w/ 4.1 cm coronal & 3.5 cm sagittal balance
    XRAY: 12/2012: Scoliosis curve same, Coronal Balance increased to 11.2 cm. T kyphosis 90 degrees
    Severe disc degeneration thoracic & lumbar, stenosis esp L4
    Surgery: T3 to S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries,
    19 & 22 March 2013, Dr. Serena Hu @ UCSF
    Postop incisional hernia @ ALIF incision, repaired 3/2014

  7. #7
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    May 2010
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    Indianapolis area
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    Susan, that's just frightening.

    I bought everything before hand and it made me feel better going into surgery. I also used it all afterward for close to a year. Except I didn't need the bathroom buddy. I used the shower seat because I was on so many meds I was afraid I would slip or fall in the shower. It was a safety thing. I used and still use a chair in my closet to help put on socks.

    My best friend post-op was my i-phone because I could read, surf the web, even watch movies without having to sit up or hold something heavy. (Even an iPad would have been heavy for me at that point.)

    I used a walker for a couple of weeks, no cane. I didn't need the walker, but just felt more secure with it.

    Good luck!
    age 41
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confusedmom View Post
    Susan, that's just frightening.

    I bought everything before hand and it made me feel better going into surgery. I also used it all afterward for close to a year. Except I didn't need the bathroom buddy. I used the shower seat because I was on so many meds I was afraid I would slip or fall in the shower. It was a safety thing. I used and still use a chair in my closet to help put on socks.

    My best friend post-op was my i-phone because I could read, surf the web, even watch movies without having to sit up or hold something heavy. (Even an iPad would have been heavy for me at that point.)

    I used a walker for a couple of weeks, no cane. I didn't need the walker, but just felt more secure with it.

    Good luck!
    Confusedmom: having a PO2 of 78 and trying to blow into a breathing device for an hour before the anesthesiologist would agree to give me anesthesia, that is frightening! Meanwhile, my surgeon was standing there wondering if we would even do surgery that day (that was the second day of surgery).
    Susan
    Dxed 8/2011: Degenerative Adult-Onset Scoliosis age 65
    XRAY 1/2012: 25* T levoscoliosis/ 36* L dexroscoliosis w/ 4.1 cm coronal & 3.5 cm sagittal balance
    XRAY: 12/2012: Scoliosis curve same, Coronal Balance increased to 11.2 cm. T kyphosis 90 degrees
    Severe disc degeneration thoracic & lumbar, stenosis esp L4
    Surgery: T3 to S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries,
    19 & 22 March 2013, Dr. Serena Hu @ UCSF
    Postop incisional hernia @ ALIF incision, repaired 3/2014

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    10

    Unhappy and, do I need these?

    I have a wife. The wife has friends. The friends are insistent that I will need an elevated toilet seat and toilet grab/support bars. Is this true? requiring such aids smacks of growing older (which better than growing deader, I suppose). Have you found that you needed those two items (elevated seat and support bars)?

    The utility/necessity of grabbers (one to be used to puck up the other), walker (just in case, on a very temporary basis), cane (to fend off crowds) and drugs () I appreciate.

    Surgery is scheduled for July 11. Psychologically I am ready!

  10. #10
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    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkatz View Post
    I have a wife. The wife has friends. The friends are insistent that I will need an elevated toilet seat and toilet grab/support bars. Is this true? requiring such aids smacks of growing older (which better than growing deader, I suppose). Have you found that you needed those two items (elevated seat and support bars)?

    The utility/necessity of grabbers (one to be used to puck up the other), walker (just in case, on a very temporary basis), cane (to fend off crowds) and drugs () I appreciate.

    Surgery is scheduled for July 11. Psychologically I am ready!
    On the elevated toilet seat, wait until you are postop and see of you need it. You may not, so don't spend the money now. The hospital can have the aids delivered if you want it once you figure out if it really helps. If you like the grab bars in the hospital and want them at home, you can have them installed, or if you want a raised toilet seat, it can have support bars on the raised seat (it sits over the toilet and rolls out if not needed). Then, you don't need to drill holes in the wall for grab bars. If you need a seat in the shower, you can use a lawn chair with webbing. They fold up if not needed.

    Older, not deader, I like that!

    Other suggestions: lots of soft pillows, friends to spell your wife so she gets a break. My husband slept on a mattress on the floor for a month after surgery so he did not wake me up. Got lots of constipation remedies? I also gave my husband and daughter a book to write down what happened in the hospital, especially what the surgeon said.

    Miscellaneous thoughts: healing happens in irregular spurts with some regression, you will not heal as fast as you want to, us "older folks" are generally on the 2 year recovery plan for pretty much full recovery, get outside and smell the fresh air as often as you can!

    I will send healing thoughts your way on July 11th. You have a great attitude! Susan
    Last edited by susancook; 06-30-2014 at 02:00 AM.
    Dxed 8/2011: Degenerative Adult-Onset Scoliosis age 65
    XRAY 1/2012: 25* T levoscoliosis/ 36* L dexroscoliosis w/ 4.1 cm coronal & 3.5 cm sagittal balance
    XRAY: 12/2012: Scoliosis curve same, Coronal Balance increased to 11.2 cm. T kyphosis 90 degrees
    Severe disc degeneration thoracic & lumbar, stenosis esp L4
    Surgery: T3 to S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries,
    19 & 22 March 2013, Dr. Serena Hu @ UCSF
    Postop incisional hernia @ ALIF incision, repaired 3/2014

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    498
    How tall are you and what levels are going to be fused? If you are a tall man and having fusion to sacrum, an elevated toilet seat would be helpful. It is not really needed for shorter people. I am 5'9 fused to sacrum and my doctor did not want me to sit on any low chairs. I was told that my knees should not be higher than my hips when sitting (during first few months). That meant no low toilets, chairs etc. I hated the idea of a raised toilet seat, but understood why it was necessary for me and actually liked it in the end.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    10
    Irina,

    I'm 5'3"... used to be 5'7"... and apparently would have been 5'9" if I'd not ever had scoliosis: almost pro basketball player territory (not). Fusion intended T4-sacrum with pelvic fixation (a description that now flows slickly past my lips).

    Regarding the soft pillow suggestions, I suggested to my wife that she might volunteer to be my soft pillow: she avoided responding to that suggestion; oh, well. We will look into getting a "body pillow" (perhaps 4' length) for me to use as I am a "side sleeper".

    I've borrowed a walker from a friend (who won't need it until she breaks something else) but expect not to need it. The lawn chair idea sounds interesting but I fear that its seat would be too low. I purchased a high tech carbon-fiber folding cane (I'm basically a nerd with time on my hands and too-easy access to amazon on my laptop) with which to ward off potentially destabilizing friends, neighbors and dogs. (Wow! I just realized that I will have difficulties bending over to pet the dogs I see on my walking rounds. For me that will be a major loss!) For now, with the exception of stocking up on anti-constipation substances (to accompany prescribed narcotics) and a "pick-up", I'm done.

    two years: hmmmmm. I'm not looking forward to that! Oh, well.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
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    I also had a folding cane. It was very handy when I was weaning off this device - when I was still afraid to leave the house without a cane, I would fold it and carry it in my hand for the safety sake.

    I would suggest buying several types of grabbers - the traditional one for dressing up and another type with round suction cups on the ends. The second type of grabber will let you pick round objects - cans, potatoes etc. And practice with it now. Drop a few potatoes on the floor and try to pick it up so that when the time comes you can have a little independence. Loss of independence was so frightening to me that I spent quite a bit of time before the surgery practicing my grabbers techniques :-) No bragging, but there was not a single time when I could not pick up something or asked for help dressing up. Asking for help putting my pants on would make me depressed, practicing it before hand made me feel in charge.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  14. #14
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    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    2,780
    Mark

    At some point you will sit on a toilet in the hospital, and thatís when you find out.....Until then, donít worry about it.

    I basically didnít plan at all....I brought my cell phone and a change of clothes since the hospital didnít want me bringing valuables as they didnít want to be responsible for theft. Now what does happen is that ďsomeoneĒ ALWAYS moves your phone out of reach when your asleep. Be prepared for this. (smiley face)

    My grabbers were never around when I needed them....and if your like me, your not going to look for them. So, thatís when the big toe grab gets perfected and the squats start. To pick up a shirt, grab with big toe, bend knee, grab from behind. My squats started in the kitchen with one hand on the counter. (spine ERECT always) This starts with emptying the dishwasher.

    My insurance company provided my walker and sock installer on my last day in the hospital.

    Your going to do fine since you have an understanding

    Post when you can

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 55, the new 39...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    A/P 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

  15. #15
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    Jun 2013
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    NYC
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    mkatz, I love your sense of humor! Regarding the toilet seat, you know, I know it's lame and gross, and you could probably live without it, but I have to say, it was nice to have. Why struggle to sit down and get up when you don't have to? That being said, (a) I was so happy when I was able to pitch the damn thing at about 5 months, although I spent several weeks forgetting it was no longer there and bruising my poor sits bones, and (b) I will almost always, given the choice, even now at 13 months, choose the handicapped staff with the raised toilet. Because hey, why make things harder on myself?

    Re "if I could only choose one recovery item, what would it be?" It would be darn hard to choose between the grabber, the sock tool, and the shoe horn. In fact I purchased multiples of each and stashed them all over NYC should I need them. The shoe horn really came in handy come winter when putting on boots became an olympic sport for me. I am finally now weaning myself off of grabbers, so I can be prepared to pick things up using the sheer force of my thunder thighs doing unassisted deep knee bends if I drop something while out and about in the mean city streets.

    Also, yes, Ed is right, the development of prehensile toes is a most. I still use my toes for many things around the house such as opening drawers and picking up dropped items. And this is a skill I think I will rely on for the rest of my life.

    And I see you said your surgery date was July 11, so you're well in it by now. I wish you the best of recoveries! Thank all the powers in the universe for your wife, she sounds great. I don't know how I would have survived without my husband taking care of me. Hooray for spouses and family members and friends!
    Surgery June 18 by Dr. Errico at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases at age 41.
    Fused T10-Pelvis.
    "Ask me about my brand new lordosis!"

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