In the weeks following back surgery, most patients will be recovering from home with some form of doctor’s restrictions against bending, stooping, or arching.
I spent six weeks at home while healing from an ALIF procedure at L5/S1 and found the following items to be “must haves” for anybody recovering from back surgery.
5. Long Handle Shower Brush
It is not easy to scrub your legs, feet, and back in the shower without bending your back. A long handle shower brush comes in handy in cleansing those hard-to-reach places. This is especially important for keeping the incision site clean.
Picking up items from off the ground is a no-no after back surgery, so having a grabber is essential. A grabber allows you to pick up your socks, magazines, and anything else you may drop throughout the day. It also allows you the irony of accidentally dropping your grabber and to then being powerless to pick it back up.
Daytime television is trash. You need viewing options when you are homebound for weeks at a time.
2. Bedside Toilet
The bedside toilet was a huge help during my recovery. No, I did not actually use the toilet at my bedside. Rather, I placed the seat above the toilet in the bathroom to reduce the distance I had to sit when using the commode. Toilets are very low to the ground, so having an elevated seat greatly reduces the strain of sitting down. Plus, the handles on the bedside toilet allow you to use your upper-body strength when standing back up. Yes, this piece of equipment can be somewhat expensive, but it is well worth the expense, especially in the days immediately following surgery.
1. A Purpose
What helped me the most during my recovery was having a purpose that extended beyond just my healing process. With six weeks at home and unable to work, I had free time on my hands for the first time in years. I made a resolution to use that down time to make phone calls to a number of church friends whom I had not seen in years. They felt good to be remembered, and I felt good being the giver of service instead of the recipient.
Following back surgery, it is easy to become too focused on yourself. You may feel like you are a burden to others. You may feel yourself becoming unproductive or lazy.
Having a purpose to use your recovery time to also serve others does wonders emotionally and mentally, which is why it was the number one “must have” for me.