First Full Day Home – Spinal Fusion Recovery

Day 7 – Monday First Full Day Home  This was a good day but an early day.  I say an early day because I woke up at 2:00 am and could not get back to sleep until 3:35 am or so.  At least that was the last time I looked at the clock.  My wife was scheduled to get out of bed about 5:15 am to head to work but she was exhausted from watching over me most of the week before.  She decided to take off one more day just to get some rest for herself.  I got up at 5:00 am and she slept until 7:00 am.  My time was spent in 15 to 20 minute increments moving from the chair at the kitchen table to the tall Elizabethan recliner and then back to the bed to lay on my side for awhile.  Luckily we have one of those beds that you can jump on and not spill wine.  You can also do  the “Log Roll” after surgery and not wake up your spouse.  See the Page on Week One if you forgot how to “Log Roll”.  Why keep moving chair to chair to bed?  As part of the precautions a person is not supposed to stay in one place more than 20 minutes.  I had a relative who operated like that but I think it was because he owed people money.  You will be changing places frequently so that you are not putting too much pressure on the spine and so that you do not get bed sores by just lying or sitting in one position all the time.  You will want to get up because the brace is uncomfortable. 

 Our tall breakfast chairs at the kitche table (padded with a pillow) and the Elizabethan recliner (21 yrs old!) were the most comfortable for me.  Have some books ready to read or an I-pad or something to do to occupy your mind.  You can work on a laptop if you observe TRULY excellent posture – but it will only be for 10-15 minutes at a time and will only  be once every 2 hours or so.  But reading books or online articles via an i-phone, or an i-pad or just reading the bible and taking notes in prep for sermons to come will help you to take your mind off of your brace.  Don’t do rocket science or your taxes as your mind will wander due to the medications and you will not be on your best game.  But be prepared to stay mentally active for short periods of time.  Perhaps that is just the codeine talking or perhaps it is due to the fact that I am the adult poster child for ADD.  

 Here is a picture of our living room.   

The light blue chair (the Elizabethan I mentioned earlier) is my favorite because of the tall straight back.  It is padded but is still firm.  It reclines and goes into a position very similar to a hospital bed.  It is comfortable.  The seat is not too deep or too low as opposed to the dark navy rocker recliner which is also very comfortable but somewhat hard to exit.  The couch also has recliners on the end but they are hard to UNrecline when one is ready to exit.  One must use their legs to push the recliner portion back into place and YOU SHOULD NOT DO THAT FOLLOWING A SPINAL FUSION.  One note; be careful with blankets.  On this day, the doctor’s office called me back and I did not have my phone beside me at that time.  I became tangled up in the blanket trying to exit the chair.  That could have been bad news.  I did not worry about answering the phone. My wife was outside for a few minutes and she trusted me not to hurt myself.  I could not let her down on the first day!  Be careful with your blankets, pets, and anything else that may trip you.  RULE #1 for RECOVERING from SPINAL FUSION – DON’T FALL!

 Here is a picture of one more chair that can be helpful for some people.  


Yes, it is the potty chair.  It elevates you so that you do not have to squat down so much.  It has handles to help you stand up and is very helpful.  

 My Complications from SPINAL FUSION:  During the 3.5 hour surgery I was lying face down.  Apparently there was some pressure and this aggravated a groin injury from the prior year.  Let me say that where I don’t sound so old or feeble.  In early 2010, I was jammin’ some hoops and scoring like a fool and some young dude got upset and took me out when I was on my way to yet another layup – and I ended up with a severe groin injury.  I had major tears in that area and it took about 8 months to go away.  It was back.  I could walk fine but lifting my right leg sideways to put on my jeans, etc was “No Bueno”.  

 The “Gopher” a grabber and Reacher tool from Walgreens, available for $9.99 was a fantastic help for getting dressed.

The Gopher was also great for picking up things from the floor, adjusting the blanket over my toes, and a myriad of over things.  My wife who is 5’2” even used it to adjust the speed level of the ceiling fan!  

 On this day, I made my own walking chart.  I had one from the Physical Therapist office but the squares were too small.  I entitled it “My Patience and Obedience Chart”.  I did not call it “My Victory Chart” or my “How do you like me now?!” chart because for me the main thing will be not to OVER DO it.  I called it my patience and obedience chart because I am planning to limit myself to 45 minutes per day the first five days – IF that feels good to my body.  I will not do more than that.  I am not capturing the various 2-3 minute walks between chair rotations.  I set the microwave timer for 10 minutes and walked in the house twice in the morning.  I did two walks outside for 12 and 13 minutes respectively.  My wife went with me on the outside walks.  I did not have to use a walker following my TLIF and Spinal Fusion. 

  Medications during day 7:  Tylenol #3 at 5:00 pm with a Robaxin.  Tylenol #3 at 11:30 am, again at 4:30 pm and then at 9:30 pm.  

 About 5:00 pm another person from the church brought by a complete dinner and some words of encouragement.  They let us know that we were missed and that they were still praying for us.  Let me tell you that is so encouraging.  If you don’t have friends that will pray for you, find a bible believing church in your neighborhood.  Put that on your list of things to do.  Because they are a bible believing church, they will pray for you.  If you cannot get out to do that, send me a reply, tell me what is on your heart and I will pray for you.  I believe in prayer.  The bible says in Psalm 116:1-2

  I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications.  Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.  Psalm 116:1-2

Those are words of truth.   It is not that there is anything special about me or my voice; the simple fact is that God hears our prayers.  God is good, He has your back.

About pastorpstephens

I have been blessed to have served as a pastor, a chaplain and to have been involved in other ministries throughout the years. My wife Marta and I have been blessed with a wonderful family that includes our daughter, her husband and their two daughters and our son and his wife and their son. Each of them are very special to us so please keep them all in your prayers. One truth that I always try to share with people I meet is that anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do. God has your back.
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