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Thread: What auto to drive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    74

    What auto to drive

    While I am only four weeks post op today, I am trying to plan ahead to those days where I will start driving again.


    My family and friends are worried that my car sits too low to the ground and that I will not be able to drive it. My husband drives a truck so I have been able to get in and out of his truck with no problem.

    Since I am fused T-2 to pelvis and have three vertebrae in my neck fused, my range of motion is limited.


    I drive a Mazda 626, which is a small car that sits low to the ground. While I really don't want to have to buy another car, is it realistic to think I can drive my Mazda? I have trouble getting up from sitting on the couch and instead, sit in a straight back chair with arms at home.

    Ed, since you have this long fusion, did you find driving to be an issue? Will I gain enough flexibility in a year or so to drive my Mazda? I did fine driving my Mazda after my neck surgery......just used the mirrors a lot. I know it will be a different story with the back.
    Chris, Austin, TX
    age:58
    80 degree thoracic/36 degree lumbar curves
    Surgery 8/2/10, Anterior Cervical Decompression/Fusion
    C4/5, C5/6, C6/7
    New Surgery date 10/25/2010, T-2 to Pelvis, posterior
    Dr. Matthew Geck, Seton Spine and Scoliosis Center

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,180
    I personally would recommend trading in for a Lamborghini Murcielago. When your in pain, this unit will get you there fast.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborg...urci%C3%A9lago

    Just kidding. You will be fine with your car.

    I started driving at 6 weeks post. My first trips were very short ones, maybe a mile or so. Take a soft pillow. Be careful and move slow getting in and out as hitting your head is an issue. I had to have someone lower my seat in my car.

    I wouldn’t recommend driving on medications. Vehicular manslaughter in Nevada is 2-20 years.

    Drive slow. An accident can crack your construct, put you back into surgery. Make sure your headrest is set properly.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves 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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    225
    I think when my time comes I will get one of those "lazy susan"-like little things you put on the seat that allow you to spin 90 degrees without effort.
    Stephanie, age 56
    Diagnosed age 8
    Milwaukee brace 9 years, no further treatment, symptom free and clueless until my 40s that curves could progress.
    Thoracolumbar curve 39 degrees at age 17
    Now somewhere around 58 degrees thoracic, 70 degrees thoracolumbar
    Surgeon Dr. Michael S. O'Brien, Baylor's Southwest Scoliosis Center, Dallas TX
    Bilateral laminectomies at L3 to L4, L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 on April 4, 2012
    Foramenotomies L3 through S1 in August 2014

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA area
    Posts
    189
    Stephanie,

    My doctor suggested to me that I put a plastic garbage bag on the drivers seat which would allow me to turn around easier. I haven't tried this yet since my seats are leather and I seem to move around on the seat fairly well. I'm only 7 weeks postop so only doing around town driving, close to home. No freeway driving for me yet!

    I can't drive my car yet because its a 2 door sports car. No way could I get in & out of it or handle the heavy door. I'm driving instead our SUV which is much easier to drive and get in/out right now.
    Laurie
    Age 57
    Posterior fusion w/thoracoplasty T2-L3 Oct 1, 2010
    Thoracic curve corrected from 61* to 16*
    Lumbar curve, unknown measurement
    Disfiguring back hump GONE!!
    Dr Munish Gupta
    UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    360
    Hi Chris,

    I'm fused T1 to L2 and I drove a Mazda Protege after my surgery. I did not have a problem getting in and out of my car, except that I was extremely slow at both. The main issue was (and still is) turning my body to back up the car. I've learned to rely on mirrors a lot more.

    I hope you can keep your current car.

    Shell
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    74
    Thanks for the encouraging news. Sounds like I can make my Mazda work with some careful practice. We shall see in a few weeks,months.
    Chris, Austin, TX
    age:58
    80 degree thoracic/36 degree lumbar curves
    Surgery 8/2/10, Anterior Cervical Decompression/Fusion
    C4/5, C5/6, C6/7
    New Surgery date 10/25/2010, T-2 to Pelvis, posterior
    Dr. Matthew Geck, Seton Spine and Scoliosis Center

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink

    Chris,
    I am fused T4 to the pelvis and drive a Honda Accord and do fine. At first driving was not comfortable at all in my lumbar area but now its alot better. I do still have some limited range of motion in looking behind me, but that is true no matter what vehicle you drive. I think your Mazda will serve you just fine...just give it some time. Good luck ;-)
    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Bakersfield
    Posts
    80
    I drive a camaro and it sits low to the ground.It takes me a while to get in and out but I make it work.
    Aug.17,09 Anterior
    Aug.20,09 Posterior
    Fused T-10 to Sacral Pelvis
    Cedars-Sinai
    Dr.Pashman

    Sheri 47 years young
    Husband married 30 years
    3 kids 29,28,25
    4 grandkids 10,8,5,3

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,180

    personal notes on cars

    Chris

    I want to add a few more specifics on vehicles...

    I would recommend an automatic transmission. I didn’t drive my truck much in my first year. (It has a stick) Pushing on a clutch will be uncomfortable on your lower back till things “toughen up” or heal.

    When entering your (lower level) car, its imperative that you position your height first(squat), before sitting down on the seat, or you could hit your head. I grew 4 inches, and it took me awhile to adjust.

    I did have leather seats, that explains me not needing a trash bag for ease of rotation upon sitting down. Heated seats are very nice to have. Surgery or not. Scoliosis or not.

    When exiting the car, I would use my left leg and hook under the door to use as a lever to help rotate on the seat. After I was facing the driver side mirror, I would then use my right leg under the door to complete the turn facing out the door. I would then hang on the door and stand up.

    I have found that high vehicles, trucks, suv’s are a challenge, take a bit of thought before getting in and out of. Its nice to have a handle to grab on to up by the ceiling.

    Large vehicles with heavy doors are also a burden sometimes, especially if the car is on a hill. Its best to not attempt this right after a surgery, you will have battle keeping the door open, and you need your legs positioned under to help with the rotation. I found and adapted to this method of rotation since lifting or unweighting your bum is difficult.

    My vote for the vehicle with the most comfortable seat is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The heated seats will scramble an egg in 60 seconds.

    I think that’s it. After time, things do get easier dealing with cars.

    Believe it or not, there are no special notes I can offer for riding a motorcycle other than the fact that I have read that vibration is no good for the back per Dr Moe’s textbook of spinal deformities.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves 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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    265
    Ed-I have a cheaper alternative to a Lamborghini for anyone who cannot afford THAT option...I have a little red hard-top convertible Volvo that I figure I can just have the hubby put down the top so I don't hit my head! Then I can close the top back up. Might be a little drafty in the winter, but hey-that is a small price to pay to feel somewhat cool-to balance out the comical maneuvering of my butt into the seat!!!
    Jenee'-52
    Bend, Oregon

    Braced 3 years in high school
    Lumbar 70'+ Thoracic 70'+
    I had 3" shrinkage in 6 months...

    Surgery Jan 10, 2011
    9 hours
    T3 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Both curves now 35'

    Possible revison for Flatback Syndrome
    Non-fusion
    Loose/broken hardware-awaiting CT results

    Here is the link to my before and after pics..
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt......&highlight=

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,180
    Jenee

    That option sounds a little cold this time of season...

    Kirkwood reported 108” this morning. That’s 9 feet in 3 days. Expecting another 3-4 feet by tomorrow night.

    Not bad. I will take my snorkel.
    Hoo hoo
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves 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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    265
    Not too cold if you have a garage.... And 9 feet.....OMG!!!!!!!!!!! We only have 3 feet, and 15" in the last 24 hours. I WANNA go NOW...... Snorkel and ski...my two favorite things to do.
    Jenee'-52
    Bend, Oregon

    Braced 3 years in high school
    Lumbar 70'+ Thoracic 70'+
    I had 3" shrinkage in 6 months...

    Surgery Jan 10, 2011
    9 hours
    T3 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Both curves now 35'

    Possible revison for Flatback Syndrome
    Non-fusion
    Loose/broken hardware-awaiting CT results

    Here is the link to my before and after pics..
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt......&highlight=

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    hey Ed
    good gosh...9 feet...how many inches?!!

    we hate 2 inches here in the northeast...especially those of us who are non skiers...

    hope you enjoy that...white stuff...and voluntary outdoor activities, flying down mountains!

    by the way, we don't need any right now...so you go ahead and keep all that white stuff out there...
    wouldn't want to deprive you, especially with your bday coming up!

    jess

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    112
    It was 80˚ here in Austin today .... what's this "white stuff" y'all are talking about?
    Juliet, age 57
    37˚ lumbar and 35˚ thoracic with rotation
    Diagnosed at age 11 and untreated.
    Total degeneration of disc at L4-5, spondylolisthesis at L4, L5 sacralized.
    Surgery on 10/26/10
    Dr. Matthew Geck, Seton Spine & Scoliosis, Center, Austin, TX.
    University Medical Center @ Brackenridge Hospital.
    Posterior fusion of T11-S1, part minimally invasive; TLIF at L4-5.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    As I have said on a previous thread about cars - pick me, pick me.............
    the 'Toyota RAV4'
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

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