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Thread: Simple Things Post-Surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, TX
    Posts
    142

    Simple Things Post-Surgery

    I haven't had surgery yet, but this morning I was bending over at the hips to get something out of the refrigerator and it really hurt a lot. I know everyone says to relocate things to a reachable level for post-op, but how can you do that with a refrigerator? Also, I'm 5'8" now and they say I will probably be 5'10" to 5'11" post-op. How can anything be in easy reach at that height? Any suggestions? Do you have to store everything from your lower counters on the counter top - I'm not trying to be facetious, just wondering how to do this.

    Also, when can you take a hot bath again? This is something I really rely on for my comfort now and giving it up for any length of time just seems impossible to me. Thanks everyone. I appreciate all of your help. You guys have just been so wonderful....

    Ann
    44 year old female
    Surgery on Nov. 1, 2010
    Dr. Darrell Hanson, Methodist Hospital
    Posterior Only, 9 hours
    Presurgical: T 61 Degrees, L 58 degrees, with 15 degrees of thoracolumbar rotation
    Postsurgical: T 26, L 25

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    323
    Hi,
    After surgery you kind of feel like herman monster/from the adams family..lol...real stiff ...and kind of afraid to move....You can get things from the lower half of the frig if you swat or bend at the knees(U can practice now)but taking a bath was scary for me...First it feels weird to lean back on anything after surgery so the back of the tub can be uncofortable , but the thought of slipping while getting in and out of the bath was to risky for me to take. Its a hard recovery, dont let anyone tell u different. Its also painful...You just need to know that every day you'll get a little better, !!!!
    CONNIE


    Surgery June 28th 2004
    fused T4 -L3
    Hip graft
    Grown 1 1/2 inches
    25/o upper T 15/o
    53/o T 15/o
    37/o L 6/o
    Dr. Micheal Nuewirth
    New York City

    August 6, 2004
    Pulmonary Embolism
    complication from surgery

    January 2007 currently
    increasing pain at the T4/5
    point irratation heardwear

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    323
    Hi,
    Just thought of something else....when I used to play tennis and didnt want to pick up the tennis ball, I would situate the ball by the side of my foot ,take the racquet on the other side,hold the ball firm and lift my leg with the ball and grabbing it with my hands......So after surgery you can do something like that...find a racquet and just lifts things like that ..or they even have a make shift hand that can grab things ..but that didnt work for me...lol...good luck
    CONNIE


    Surgery June 28th 2004
    fused T4 -L3
    Hip graft
    Grown 1 1/2 inches
    25/o upper T 15/o
    53/o T 15/o
    37/o L 6/o
    Dr. Micheal Nuewirth
    New York City

    August 6, 2004
    Pulmonary Embolism
    complication from surgery

    January 2007 currently
    increasing pain at the T4/5
    point irratation heardwear

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sacramento,Calif.
    Posts
    420
    Hi Ann,

    First off you shouldn't be bending at the waist to pick up anything! (Especially in a skirt.) Whether someone has back trouble or not. It really puts a lot of stress on the lower back. Practice bending your knees to bend down this will be how you will pick up everything. I didn't relocate anything in my kitchen. The only things that I wasn't able to reach was stuff way in the back of lower cupboards and if it is way in back I wasn't using it that much anyway. Try not to over analyze everything it will drive you crazy, this advice from one who knows!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Suffolk, UK
    Posts
    67
    Hi

    I was told by my physio that I am not allowed to have a normal bath for at least 6 months post op. I have to use a bath board. I can tell you, I am yearning for a nice hot relaxing bath.
    Anterior surgery 18th Jan 07
    Fused from T8 to T12 with 2 ribs removed
    Surgery was done by Mr Harrison and his team at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, England
    Revision posterior surgery on 26th April 07 to remove protruding rib stumps
    No longer wearing a Stanmore custom hard backed brace
    Posterior surgery on 18th August 08 due to non fusion of first op and further kyphosis. Two rods from T2 to T12

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    269
    After surgery I was ordered a grabber by my physician and a rehab compay delivered it to the hospital before I was discharged. I also got a couple other things as well (walker, ice machine, etc.), these were GOD SENDS!!! My grabber is still being used at 3 months post op and I forsee using it forever. As long as something isnt too big or heavy you can easily pick it up with a grabber, the only things that I can't really get with it are tupperware, and pots/pans (because of the weight distrobution). As far as arranging things in the refridgerator, It is best to put the things that are heaviest or you use the most on the top shelf so that you limit your bending and lifting as much as possible. Things that you will only need every once in a while are okay to go on lower shelves. At first it might be painful to lift a gallon of milk/juice/etc, so it might help to have a loved one or friend to pour a little milk/juice/etc into a smaller container that you can lift when you want to pour yourself a glass. Getting things that are prepackaged and frozen, or making a few meals to freeze for when you first come home from the hospital (or are first left alone) might be helpful so that you dont get too tired trying to prepare things, and then have no energy left to eat.
    You will figure things out and adapt as you go along...it becomes second nature. Good luck with our surgery.
    Mandy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    Hi Ann,

    I didn't change anything in my kitchen or house for that matter. I also didn't do it for the 2nd surgery and I won't for this surgery either. Instead of a gallon of milk we bought half gallons for awhile. Even to this day a whole gallon is still a little to heavy for me when it is full. The thing that helped the most (beside the shower bench and the raised toliet seat) was the wheelchair. When I would go out to walk I had my walker but we also took the wheelchair. I would walk some and then sit some. Then when I was ready to try it again I used the walker again, of course someone is with you when you do this. You know our heat and humidity in the summer can zap your strength more than the actually exercise.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    1,105
    I didn't change anything in my kitchen either. But anything that was low I didn't use.

    The grabber was great for me, but I also used my toes to pick things up.

    All your questions are valid before surgery, we all wonder the same things, but for me, right after my surgery I didn't really care. If I couldn't get to something then I just didn't use it.

    And I understand your need to know about a nice hot bath!!! I was told not to take a bath for quite some time. Not only for safety issues, but because of the stitches. For me it was shower only with tape over my incisions at first.

    It was many months before my first soak in the bath tub, and I loved every second of it.

    Shari

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, TX
    Posts
    142

    Thank you!

    Thank you all so much!! I just love this site as everyone is just so helpful and nice. I really appreciate the info too. It's a scarey process. So, if I can take my mind off the actual surgery for a while by getting things in order as much as I can, then I think that will help me ... I have a very long wait as the surgery schedule is booked until September at the earliest, and I can;t even get on the schedule until after my pre-surgical office visit on 4/2.

    Thanks again, you have all given me such WONDERFUL advice!!! There are a LOT of gems of info on this thread!!!

    Ann
    44 year old female
    Surgery on Nov. 1, 2010
    Dr. Darrell Hanson, Methodist Hospital
    Posterior Only, 9 hours
    Presurgical: T 61 Degrees, L 58 degrees, with 15 degrees of thoracolumbar rotation
    Postsurgical: T 26, L 25

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    96
    whenever I need to get in my lower cabinets for more than just a second, I still sit on the floor to do what I need then stand back up. I am also pretty good at picking up stuff with my toes!...not from the fridge though
    Harrington Rods in 1991 at age 15
    Surgery at Scottish Rite in Dallas, TX

    Fused from T-4 to L-3

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    850
    what spincon said(connie) is so right...you do feel like herman Monster when you first come home from back surgery....stiff as a board & tall. Then by 4-5 mths or so you start to relax a bit & your body loosens up... Now at 8 mos post-op I have to make a conscious effort to push my shoulders back & stay up straight....
    I still take showers only...still feel too stiff to sit on the ground(bottom of tub) & doubt I could get out....maybe still scared...
    I just recently started to get clothes out of the bottom drawer..I kept the most needed items up top...& I still don't clean the Refrig like I used to...sorry but that's life after back surgery....one other thing-- what goes on the floor, stays on the floor. At 8 mos post-op, there is still a lot of stuff on my bedroom floor. I'll get there, just not in a rush anymore!!!!! Lynne
    http://lynnebackattack.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    388
    I haven't had a bath in almost 18 months!! Peeeuuuuuuu!!


    Only showers .... But i do love to get into the hot tub at the gym. Sure helps those sore muscles.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    19

    bath

    hey i got my recovery plan thingy from my surgeon and on it it says baths 3 months after the op
    x

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    Hi JoAnn and Lynne,

    I too was afraid to take a bath a first. I think I was about 5 or 6 months post-op before I had my first bath. We have a really long, deep jetted tub. I did practice runs at first in my clothes to see if I could get in and out by myself. When I tried for the first time my husband was by my side. I put one hand on the tub to steady myself, lifted my left leg up and over and then brought the right leg up and over. I kinda squatted down to get all the way down to a sitting position then slide my legs out in front of me. I use a bath pillow for my back to rest on the tub. The trick is getting out. I usually first get to a kneeling...squat... position, put my hands on the edge of the tub and slowly stand up. Stand still for a few minutes, especially if the water was really hot, then get out of the tub. It is definitely much easier now than when I had my first bath after surgery. It feels so good after a hard session of therapy. I put some special bath stuff in for sore muscles, turn on the jets, and just lay there. Give it a try!
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    1,105
    I have to agree with a lot being said here. And I think for me the fear of trying certain things was overwhelming.

    I was never a "chicken" before, but I was after my surgery. I slept in my brace for about 4 1/2 months, and the first time I went to lie down without it, I was so scared, I was in tears. For me, the fear came from a strong feeling of not wanting to do anything to cause me any kind of pain. And I didn't want to do anything that could hurt my fusion process, if that makes sense.

    But I came to realize that if I was going to try something, I did it slow and carefully the first time. A practice run, like Theresa said, is a very good idea!!! Making sure someone is with you, just in case.

    Before I tried to drive, I made sure I could get in and out of the car by myself. I feel like I had to learn how to do some things, in a new way. But for me, once I knew I could do something without hurting myself, it was a go!!!

    This is a great thread, for many reasons!!! The "Herman Munster" reference makes me smile, because it it so true!!! I didn't even know that I was keeping my shoulders in a certain position, and then one day they dropped down to the normal position and everyone was commenting on it. Now when I look at pictures, I know what they were talking about.

    Sorry I rambled!!!
    Shari

    Shari

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