View Full Version : Hospital wear, washing hair, recliners... surgery in 3 months!

03-18-2012, 10:00 AM
Hi everyone. I'm having surgery in 3 months and am trying to get all I need prepared. I have a few questions:

1. It seems that a recliner would be very helpful, but when trying them out, you really have to push with your feet and abs to get them to close. We saw some electric ones that seemed like they would be much easier to use, and then saw electric lift chairs. Just wondering what type of recliner you needed post op. I'll be fused to pelvis and am thinking that standing up from sitting might be difficult, so am leaning toward a lift chair.... any thoughts?

2. Has anyone been to Hospital for Joint Diseases in NYC? Is is generally cold or hot in there? I'm trying to figure out what clothes to bring, or do you just wear the gown for the entire week?

3. Do you take a bath in the hospital? Does anyone help you? Do you shampoo your hair? I tried the no rinse poo, but it is awful on my thin hair. Do you wear a cap to cover it?

THanks so much!

03-18-2012, 10:18 AM
You really need to wait until after your surgery to buy a chair so you can see what is comfortable.

I was able to take a shower several days after surgery with the help from nurses.


03-18-2012, 10:34 AM
Absolutely! Wait until after surgery before investing in a chair. The electric lift ones are pretty pricey. I ended up with and electric recline only to find out post-op that it was very uncomfortable. Had to put a straight backed cushion in it so I could sit on it. Then it was super comfortable.

I let my hair go for a week until I could shower. It wasn't a big deal. My hair was the least of my concerns post op. I can recommend braiding it or somehow tying it back if you have longer hair. Mine was all over the place and I couldn't lift my head to get my hair out of my face. It was so tangled up after a couple of days. Not pleasant.

03-18-2012, 10:58 AM
Since everyone is so different, I think the best advice would be to ďrentĒ not buy. Sitting after surgery is difficult, and it takes a long time to adjust to. I have a lazy boy that I do not use.

They will get you up pretty quickly after your surgery, and after a few times, after you get the technique down, it does get easier.(log rolling out of bed) there are videos on you tube.

They will let you take a shower after a few days, and you will be able to negotiate alone slowly. I washed my hair with my left hand since my right shoulder was broken. If both shoulders were broken, I still would have washed my hair with a long handled brush. (smiley face) You will be surprised how well you figure these things out.

Opoidís can make you cold.....always request the heated blankets in the hospital! Thatís the best thing since sliced bread.

The one thing I will recommend is heated seats in the car. Surgery or no surgery, Scoliosis or no scoliosis.....I just leased a new car, of course, with heated seats! If fact it has heated seats in the rear, this is how strongly I feel about this. LOL

If it makes you feel any better, I didnít plan at all....I had no idea what was going to happen and tackled things as they came. A guy thing, you know, the Mars Venus thing.....I guess Iím a fused Martian. lol

03-18-2012, 06:47 PM
I agree with Marina. You are not going to really care about your hair or anything for quite a few days after your surgery.

I had an early setback because I didn't have enough blood, so that may have prolonged my "not carrying" too.

When you do get home, be sure you have a shower chair to sit in and a hand held shower head. You won't be able to bend to wash your lower legs and feet. I bought one of these long handled bath brushes:


With it I could wash bottom of legs and feet without bending over. Still use it.

My two cents worth.

03-19-2012, 11:01 AM
The shower chair is a very good point. I don't know what I would've done without one. It was so helpful. And it was a while before I could take a shower on my own, but like everyone has been saying, I didn't really care. My mom helped me wash everyday, and we tried the shower caps with shampoo in them, but my hair is very thick and didn't work too well. We did buy a really cool hair-washing thing that has a small inflatable "pool" with a bag that holds water with a little spray nozzle to wash your hair with. So I could lie down and my mom could wash my hair. But keeping your hair braided will really help, if it's long enough.

We happened to have an electric recliner from my grandma's heart surgery, and it was perfect for my needs. It lifted me up, so standing up was much easier.

As for clothes, I had my surgery in Chicago in late November. I was expecting it to be really cold, but I was pretty hot throughout the week there, especially when I had a fever. So I would really recommend bringing a variety of clothes. I brought stretchy tank tops with zip up jackets, which worked well.

Hope this helps somewhat. : ) And I hope your surgery goes very well and you have as quick and easy of a recovery as possible!

03-19-2012, 03:47 PM

I agree with others, that you should wait until after surgery to buy something. Renting something in the meantime, isn't a bad idea.

If you find yourself worrying about what to wear while you're actually in the hospital, it's probably time to be discharged. :) Believe me when I tell you that you will not care what you're wearing, and a hospital gown is easiest, in that you won't have to take anything off for the frequent wound checks. I came into the hospital wearing a warmup set, and left wearing the same thing. In between, I wore only hospital gowns. You should definitely bring a robe.

I don't know about elsewhere, but at UCSF, patients aren't generally in the hospital long enough to take a shower. I was told I should wait until I was about 2 weeks out to take one. (I won't tell you how soon I actually took a shower, as that would have been against doctor's orders, which of course, I would never do. ;-)


03-19-2012, 07:34 PM
Our recliner was difficult for me to move at first but I was able to move it myself after a few days. I wouldn't worry about what to wear in the hospital. A hospital gown is best because it's easy to get in and out of and in case something gets on it (and something will) you won't worry about it. I took a robe with me that zipped all the way down and would fit over the brace and wore that home and for several days after. I was able to shower and wash my hair the day I went home from the hospital. The nurse covered my incision with plastic and even sent some home with me. Just wash your hair, shave your legs and get a nice pedicure before you go to the hospital and don't worry about how you look. The nurses have seen everything! If you have longer hair you might take a headband with you.

I would definitely recommend having a shower chair, a handheld shower head, a grabber, a shower scrubber on a long handle and a long handled body lotion applicator. You can find the last two items at Bed Bath and Beyond. Also, several thin cotton t-shirts or camisoles to wear under your brace will help you be more comfortable. Best of luck to you!

03-19-2012, 07:39 PM
I would also suggest getting your legs waxed before you go to the hospital. This way you will not have to worry about them while you are first home

03-21-2012, 07:00 PM
these are very interesting ideas, so on the subject of a recliner...would you recommend one over a bed to sleep after surgery?

03-22-2012, 07:17 AM
Ann, do you have a memory foam bed, or a memfoam topper? Those were huge for our son, the topper on the long ride home, & he took over the Tempurped bed, Esp since it has frame that you can raise the head, etc. also, there are some extralarge triangular pillows which elevate your upper body. Just a thought. Showers once we were home, using a chair & handheld, from day one. The gave us these large Tegaderm Films, which covered the wound for the first 10-14 days.

03-24-2012, 10:22 AM
I found that what I THOUGHT would be comfortable prior to surgery, was not comfortable afterwards. I agree with whoever said to wait on buying the perfect char. Right after I came home from the hospital, the best chairs were straight backed chairs, with a pillow or two cushioning my back. I couldn't stay in any one chair or position for very long. Sometimes after I'd take a pain pill during the night I'd go down on the chair to watch TV in the living room, and then back to bed after an hour or so. Also, I'm sure someone else mentioned, I couldn't have managed without my memory foam bed topper. I still love it and cannot be comfortable without it at night.


I think I got the 3" Serta at overstock.

As far as hair washing, I got some packaged dry shampoo caps that we used in the hospital http://www.amazon.com/oneofkindgiftsmall-No-Rinse-Shampoo-Cap/dp/B006LTF1G2
Yes I know they look nasty but at least I wasn't so horrible. And my private nurse (paid for her extra at night) gave me sponge baths.

03-24-2012, 12:45 PM
these are very interesting ideas, so on the subject of a recliner...would you recommend one over a bed to sleep after surgery?

A bed with a foam topper is a much better idea than sleeping in a recliner.....the bed should also be dead flat without any hammocking. If the bed sags 1 inch in the center holding a straight edge over the bed, its hammocked. You will feel this, and it makes sleeping difficult. A harder mattress that isnít hammocked with a 3 inch latex foam topper would be my choice. (Debbeís overstock.com selection)

I donít know how people sleep in recliners. I cannot do this. There is essentially only one position, where in a bed you have both sides and the back, 3 positions.....stomach sleeping is probably the hardest position to adjust to after surgery.

When I was in the hospital a nurse came by and lifted my bed up and of course that sent off big alarms. That did not feel good. Even though the hardware is stable, why do a surgery and bend the patientís back? Thatís like throwing a cast on an arm that been broken and then trying to bend it.

I went with a 2Ē foam topper bought at Kohlís and it was adequate....I struggled for 3 weeks trying to get some sleep till I finally figured this one out.....


03-24-2012, 02:52 PM
All of this makes me even happier that I have a Tempurpedic. It sounds like it'll be helpful post-op.

Even after my XLIF last year, I wasn't able to sleep in bed for the first week or so - a big surprise. I found myself switching back between a recliner and the couch. Something I'd suggest is a bed wedge like this: http://www.amazon.com/Bed-Wedge-Pillow-Comes-pillow/dp/B000EOR99C/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1332618621&sr=1-3

My parents actually bought it after my first fusion in 1992, and it's survived! It was extremely helpful, especially for the first few weeks once I started sleeping in bed again.


03-24-2012, 04:25 PM
I have a Tempurpedic in a medium and it wasnít soft enough......I removed my foam from that bed about 9 months after my surgeries.

The Tempurpedic is still the best bed I have ever owned, and they stay dead flat! We as scolis deserve the best beds, its just mandatory.

Soft down pillows are a must also....they need to be really soft. I own about 15 of them. LOL


03-27-2012, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the replies and great suggestions everyone! I'll probably wait on the chair and get the foam topper. Feels like I should be doing things in preparation - but I guess there is really not much to do but anxiously wait! Thanks again!