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Thread: The $64,000 question....just ow does one wipe themselves after fusion to sacrum?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    You can also buy an inexpensive bidet toilet seat. They're easy to install and work fairly well. The first one I had was cold water only. The second one used heated water. I actually didn't think the heat added much. Here's an example:

    Bidet Toilet Seat
    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    170
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    It's temporary for some, but not for others. It depends on one's length of fusion, weight, age, residual curve(s), etc. If you're fused C2-Sacrum, you have a very high likelihood of not being able to wipe without an aid.

    I've never asked before, but can anyone with a long fusion (i.e., T10 or higher to the sacrum) wipe from the back?

    --Linda
    Linda, this is the beginning of week nine status post fusion from T10 to the sacrum with pelvic fixation, and I can't wipe from the back standing or sitting. I can wipe from front to back, but I can't get as far back as I need to go to get "clean."

    One of the major reasons I never wanted this surgery was this particular issue. I didn't want the tongs for the rest of my life (no one ever indicated that this might be a temporary problem - I assumed it was forever). I also didn't want anyone else having to help me or do it for me. So, my husband came to the brilliant conclusion that, since I needed the surgery and this was my biggest reason for not doing what I needed to do, we would invest in a bidet. We did a lot of research and ended up buying an expensive Japanese bidet (they can't be returned, so really do your research if you are thinking about this option), and I've got to say, it has been worth every penny so far. It was especially helpful when I had the fecal impaction and had feces "stuck" in my anus - I used the bidet to blast it out of there piece by piece. Sorry if that is too graphic.

    Anyway, after I've learned to use it (there is some leaning a bit left and right, front and back, plus "slouching" and sitting up straight changes the position of the jets), we couldn't be happier with it. At first, we were both completely unhappy because we spent so much money and both were coming back with "residue" on the baby wipes. Ours has a function on it where you can change the position of the jets like five or six clicks...three toward the "rear" and three toward the girl parts. Again, manipulating the position plus manipulating the position of your body, to me, has been worth every penny. The damn thing was nearly $1,000, and again, we took a heck of a chance because it cannot be returned if it has been used.

    There are cheaper ones out there...FYI. This is a bidet attachment that replaces your regular toilet seat. Get one that has a water heater in it so you can have an unlimited supply of hot water. I've heard the ones with the "tank" only lasts about three or four minutes, and I use mine MUCH longer than that.

    Sorry if I grossed anyone out. (poopy frown)

    Fifa
    Last edited by fifa; 01-12-2015 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Neurontin

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    You can also buy an inexpensive bidet toilet seat. They're easy to install and work fairly well. The first one I had was cold water only. The second one used heated water. I actually didn't think the heat added much. Here's an example:

    Bidet Toilet Seat
    Sorry, Linda, I didn't see your excellent answer before I posted my own "I Love My Bidet" response. Sorry!

    Fifa

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    170
    Quote Originally Posted by ksmom0611 View Post
    I've had the same question. My surgery is in 13 days (gulp). I've told myself that I will have to figure it out When the time comes, but I am concerned about it too.

    Here is another question...for women who still have their periods, what do you do? Do you just have to use pads? I'm nervous about how I will have to handle this. What about cramps? Are they better,worse,the same? I do know that many women get a period right after surgery in the hospital...I'm not looking forward to that. I am just so annoyed to have to deal with this on top of everything else!
    Hi,

    I'm 51 years old and peri-menopausal. When I came out of surgery nine weeks ago today, they lifted my gown to check my catheter (or get it to drain or unkink or something) and anyway, the nurse remarked that I had started my period. I hadn't had one in a couple of months - at my age, they just kind of sneak up on you with no warning and certainly no regularity. They cleaned me up and put me in some hideous papery-plastic too-small undies (one size fits "most," I'm certain LOL) and I used a pad the whole time I was there. The period wasn't heavy and didn't last too long, but that's probably my age.

    As far as cramps, there were none. You'll be on so many drugs that cramps will be unnoticed (or at least mine were). I was on a morphine PCA plus oral muscle relaxants, so cramps were no issue whatsoever.

    Hope that helps. Seems like I'm just echoing Linda today. (smiley)

    One addition to this post - don't worry about not having anything with you if you do start your period. They provided me with everything I needed. The pads were giant but not uncomfortable (again, I was on a morphine PCA so could have cared less) plus those GORGEOUS "panties." They'll clean you up and take care of it if you start your period. (smiley)


    Good luck!
    Fifa
    Last edited by fifa; 01-12-2015 at 09:35 AM. Reason: added the part about the "supplies"

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by fifa View Post
    Linda, this is the beginning of week nine status post fusion from T10 to the sacrum with pelvic fixation, and I can't wipe from the back standing or sitting. I can wipe from front to back, but I can't get as far back as I need to go to get "clean."

    One of the major reasons I never wanted this surgery was this particular issue. I didn't want the tongs for the rest of my life (no one ever indicated that this might be a temporary problem - I assumed it was forever). I also didn't want anyone else having to help me or do it for me. So, my husband came to the brilliant conclusion that, since I needed the surgery and this was my biggest reason for not doing what I needed to do, we would invest in a bidet. We did a lot of research and ended up buying an expensive Japanese bidet (they can't be returned, so really do your research if you are thinking about this option), and I've got to say, it has been worth every penny so far. It was especially helpful when I had the fecal impaction and had feces "stuck" in my anus - I used the bidet to blast it out of there piece by piece. Sorry if that is too graphic.

    Anyway, after I've learned to use it (there is some leaning a bit left and right, front and back, plus "slouching" and sitting up straight changes the position of the jets, we couldn't be happier with it. At first, we were both completely unhappy because we spent so much money and both were coming back with "residue" on the baby wipes. Ours has a function on it where you can change the position of the jets like five or six clicks...three toward the "rear" and three toward the girl parts. Again, manipulating the position plus manipulating the position of your body, to me, has been worth every penny. The damn thing was nearly $1,000, and again, we took a heck of a chance because it cannot be returned if it has been used.

    There are cheaper ones out there...FYI. This is a bidet attachment that replaces your regular toilet seat. Get one that has a water heater in it so you can have an unlimited supply of hot water. I've heard the ones with the "tank" only lasts about three or four minutes, and I use mine MUCH longer than that.

    Sorry if I grossed anyone out. (poopy frown)

    Fifa

    Also, I would add, I wouldn't shoot room temperature water at my bits, but that's just me. Especially in the wintertime at the temperature my water comes out of my faucet. Just food for thought....

    Also, we opted for a bidet with a remote on it. Neither of us could envision how on earth to use the side-mounted controls without twisting. I'm very happy we made these decisions.

    Fifa

  6. #21
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    Oct 2007
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    Indiana
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    1,974
    Fifa and anyone having problems -- I was fused T2-L4 and it was a really long reach for me plus I wore a brace. I never used tongs-- just figured I could manage somehow. I still cannot wipe from the back (I'll be 8 years in May) so I don't think that's ever going to happen. I know this is all gross, but that goes out the window, kind of like how you lose your sense of modesty when you have a baby. Who cares??? Anyway, for quite awhile what I did was after I tried my best wiping from the front (being careful), I'd get off the toilet and do a very slight partial squat and reach from the front again and use the tips of my fingers to hold onto that baby of a wad of TP. It worked. Fortunately, I don't have to think about it anymore at all. (smile) The thing that irks me is when (especially in "handicap stalls!) they have the TP dispensers so you can't reach them without being a contortionist. I learned quickly to 'case the joint out' first and grab the TP ahead of time if needed. Some of them don't comply at all with the specs-- and some have ridiculously low toilet seats as well. Just one of my pet peeves, as I remember panicking back when I was fresh out of surgery... It sounds like you have a really nice bidet, but I know you can't take it with you shopping! Best wishes.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    New York
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    Thanks Fifa! You always have the most informative answers! And the poop, bidet posts...well, what can I say?

    I, too, have hesitated with surgery because of the bathroom issue. I remember when I wore a brace as an adolescent that it was hard to wipe in the back. I remember being so upset about it every time I had to go, that no one else understood, that it was a constant reminder of my back, that it was painful because my body would push against the brace, that it felt so unfair. I really hope I can reach back there after surgery. It's something everyone takes for granted when it's not an issue. It's something that pervades your life if you have to deal with it.

    Plus...we have a cesspool, so that makes it doubly hard because you have to be careful what you flush (no wipes).

    I'm not very good with 3D object visualization...I just can't picture how to wipe any other way than I know (reaching around back then wiping from front to back). This is so crazy that it is even a topic that I am writing about!

    We are potty training my son, so the talk of bathroom issues is all too common around my house...this will fit right in! We sing a song when he goes, maybe we'll all sing when I go to! Fifa, that's what you needed in your life to get you going after surgery! A potty song!

    The period issue didn't occur to me until after I had booked surgery. It's not even the first time it happens that I'm that concerned about. It's every time after that! The joys of being a woman....

  8. #23
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    Location
    New York
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    Don't you get an infection if you reach down in between the legs and wipe from back to front?

  9. #24
    Join Date
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    Location
    Indiana
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    You will only get an infection if the fecal matter actually gets past the labium (protective 'lips') and enters into the vagina. At least that is my understanding. That is why little girls are taught to wipe from the back. If you are CAREFUL, it's not going to happen. As I said, I'm approaching 8 years and I'm fine.

    I'm old enough that I didn't have to worry about periods (yay!) but you couldn't have scheduled around yours, as the trauma of the surgery usually 'brings it on' right away. There are lots of posts/threads that talk about it. In the hospital it is one of those "don't really care about this" things for most people, as by that time modesty has departed... Best wishes, ksmom!
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  10. #25
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    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksmom0611 View Post
    Don't you get an infection if you reach down in between the legs and wipe from back to front?
    The problem is that fecal matter contains E. Coli that can result in a bladder infection if you poo gets up the urethra [the tube whose opening is just above, North of the vagina] and into the bladder. The urine that is normally in the bladder is somewhat sterile.....but it is just waiting for E. Coli! THUS, if you wipe from front to back and then thrown that toilet paper away.....get another piece and wipe from front to back, there is minimal chance that you will contract an E. Coli bladder infection.

    Women, unfortunately have a gender disadvantage since anatomically, the urethral opening and the anus [butt hole] are close together and even with the best hygiene, some poo from undies can migrate to the urethra.

    Probably this is TMI, but this explains it.

    Susan.....a North to South wiper
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
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    I have not read this entire thread....because I am overwhelmed with just being ME and all of my problems....however, I will make a video of how to assemble my wiper and use it if this thread did not answer your questions.

    Please send me a PM if you would like this video.

    Susan

    Promise that it will not be R rated
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Thanks for the info. Yes, always north to south. I should have said that. (big smile). I may not have had the info all there, but you don't change the direction of wiping from when you had wiped from the good ol' days. Thanks, Susan.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  13. #28
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    169
    Hi all, I honestly have never ever worried about this, I have just gone on my merry way. I just thought gee that is right I do do this differently. Cant wipe from front to back never have, so wipe just a little bit from back to front but not anywhere near my vagina. I have had only 2 infections and never a problem with tampons or pads, just as i got older did not like the tampons.

    Strange what I just took for granted and never thought about. This subject bought it to the fore so to say, thank you.

    Lorraine.
    Operated on in 1966, harrington rods inserted from T4 to L3, here in Australia. Fusion of the said vertebrae as well. Problems for the last 14 years with pain.
    Something I feel deeply,"Life is like money,you can spend it anyway you wish, but can only spend it once.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    15
    Amazon sells a personal bidet for less than $10. It can be filled with warm water before using the bathroom and then the spray is directed from the front as needed after. A light drying pat with tp generally shows cleanliness has been achieved! These are similar but more carefully designed versions of the peri bottles used after childbirth. It also comes in a little tote bag so it is quite portable.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by gardener View Post
    Amazon sells a personal bidet for less than $10. It can be filled with warm water before using the bathroom and then the spray is directed from the front as needed after. A light drying pat with tp generally shows cleanliness has been achieved! These are similar but more carefully designed versions of the peri bottles used after childbirth. It also comes in a little tote bag so it is quite portable.
    I have one of these as well, but feel a little less positive about it. While I think it's a little more effective than the tissue aids, it was less effective than I would like. The good news, however, is that they're pretty inexpensive, so probably worth a try.

    http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Bidet-BB-...personal+bidet

    --Linda
    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

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