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Thread: Am I being overprotective?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Perth, Western Australia

    Am I being overprotective?

    Hi all,

    For those of you who know me, you'll know my 15yo daughter, Tahlia had posterior surgery exactly 4 weeks ago. Well, we're now at a point we're she's starting to want to go out and spend time with friends and I'm scared she's going to do something to her back. How did others handle this with their kids? At what point should i let her start socialising with her friends and should i impose restrictions/limitations,etc? She is wearing a brace so i feel somewhat better about that if she's wearing it, but at night she doesn't have to wear the brace (only when sitting or standing) and she's just been invited to a sleepover, that of course, she MUST go to. I've said no and now I am the worst mother in the world. I've told her she can go for the evening and I'll pick her up around 10 or 11, but she's not happy about that. So am I being overprotective? Should I let her go? I just don't know if (or when) she'll be ready. We've already been told (before she left hospital) that she has to be careful, but i don't know exactly how careful is 'careful'?? How long should i be worried for? How have other parents managed this at this time post-op?

    Any advice would be apreciated.

    Thanks so much


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    You are the worst, most terrible mom in the world! lol Okay, that's just your daughter's opinion.

    When someone asks me to describe fusion recovery, I always describe it in phases, with this being one of the hardest phases. The teen feels good and wants to jump back into being a full-time teenager and we moms have to keep pulling them back, slowing them down and restricting their activities so they don't do damage to their backs.

    Having said all that, Jamie was back to school, part-time, at about 4 1/2 weeks. If Tahlia is off pain meds, I think I'd let her go with certain rules in place---she must wear her brace as prescribed, you get to talk to the mom and explain all Tahlia's restrictions/rules, and make sure Tahlia agrees that if she gets too tired, or just doesn't feel ready for the whole night that she will either tell the friend's mom and together they can decide if she just needs a break or needs to go home.

    Good luck with your decision and no, you are not being overprotective. It's our job to keep our kids safe and if that makes us "horrible mom's" in our teen's mind, oh well, they'll get over it.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    That's a tough call.

    Per our surgeon, 95% of kids need no physical restrictions to avoid fusion problems. But that may only apply to the kids who don't need temporary bracing after surgery. And they don't know who those 5% who do need restrictions are ahead of time.

    In either case, brace or no, I think kids need to be careful because, as our surgeon thinks, a revision on a kid is a catastrophic situation.

    A sleepover doesn't sound too taxing but you never know. I would imagine the activities prior to bedtime (dancing?) which you will let Tahlia attend will be potentially more strenuous than those afterward.

    I think I would let my daughter attend if I thought she would take it easy.

    Last edited by Pooka1; 12-16-2008 at 04:08 PM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine

    "We are all African."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Hi Lisa,

    I agree - you are the MOM! It's your job to worry that she's not taking care of herself like she should. You know her best. You probably know which rules she'll try to "bend" most. Maybe talk with her about the rules and let her know you are willing to negotiate the activities... then have her help you come up with the "plan".

    Most orthos' rules are "no Bending, Lifting or Twisting (BLT)". That means she still needs to log-roll to get in and out of bed. When sitting in a chair, don't twist and bend to reach something (stand up and use her legs to squat to reach something). No reaching into things like a dishwasher (like any teenager would voluntarily do that in the first place) or clothes dryer or anything that will put her back in a less-than-straight position. Using her hips to bend over the sink to brush her teeth is usually ok. With her history and the potential complications she had, she needs to be one of those patients who needs to be ultra-careful to make sure her fusion becomes solid.

    Good luck making these decisions. Hopefully she'll be an unusual teenager for a minute and acknowledge she understands the rules and knows the risks if she breaks the rules (it only takes one time to make a mistake). Keep us posted.
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    I'd just mention what Sharon said: our surgeon thinks, a revision on a kid is a catastrophic situation.

    I suspect that might be enough to rein her in a little?

    You're being the best Mum you can. You're looking after your daughter, so no guilts please!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I no it's a little late, but u r a mother, and it's normal to worry, she will understand, if not now, eventually. I no my mother wont let me go skating even though the surgeon said i could if i was careful.

    I no i had sleepovers when i was not even aloud to bend or twist, but my friend knew all the rules, and of coarse my mom was constantly reminding me of them. It does get a tad bit annoying for us teens, afterall it is nagging to us But your just doing what you feel is best, and sometimes we have to remind ourselves of this fact. It's a major thing, and even though we feel well we still have to be constatly reminded that we have restrictions. I expecially no how frustrating it can be that i still can't do things that i want to, but it'll get better eventually.

    Hang in there
    I'm 19 years old, had surgery 5 years ago
    3 curves Middle curve - 65 fused to 13 Bottom curve 35- fixed on it's own to 16!
    Fused from C7 to L1

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Currently living in Chicago, raised in Burlington, VT, and had both surgery's by Dr. Arronson at Fletcher Allen
    I know im not going to be popular by saying this, but trying to hard to protect your kids won't help them in the long run. I was 15 when I had my first surgery, and remember how trapped I felt during recovery. I remember being so frustrated and bored by the restricions, and threw a couple tantrums in the first couple months post op.

    Your kids understand what's going on with their backs, and the reason for all the restrictions better than they probably let on. Apathy is what teenagers do best. I remember spending the first 4-5 months after my surgery terrified about something breaking or coming unhooked, while telling everyone I was fine.

    If your daughter is anything like I was, she would probably be just as happy sitting on the sidelines watching her friends dance. Being able to spend time with friends and away from your parents (sorry, but it's true) is a big deal at that age, even if she can't fully participate. The girls at this sleep over are probably the same ones who will be helping her when she goes back to school, and the ones who will be celebrating with her when restrictions get dropped and she can dance at a future sleepover. Teenagers need support from friends just as much as parents to make it through this. High school would have been a lot harder if I didn't have friends who were willing help carry my books and hang back with me when I was hurting and walking slow, or a cross country team who was there to cheer me on while I ran my first lap around the track after getting the ok from my doctor to start training again.

    Your daughter knows her body, and how everything feels way better than you, and she knows what feels wrong. And the thought of revision surgery when something starts to feel wrong is more than enough motivation to stop and sit or lie down.

    //I know the sleep over was a month ago, but I'm guessing there's other people reading this with similar concerns.

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