Advice before surgery

Anne - awheeler586@comcast.net

Posted 2007-07-22

I had the last two sections of my tailbone and two bone chips removed 11 weeks ago (May 8, 2007). I have been recovering well. At this point, I believe that surgery was the right choice for me. The only medication I take now is ibuprofen at bedtime.

Here are some things I did before and after surgery that were helpful. I cannot take credit for all of this as I got tips from the website.

Live in a one story house with your laundry room on the first floor. We already lived in a one story home, but having everything on one level made me self sufficient very quickly.

Raised toilet seat with arms to help you get up. We already had one from my husband's prior surgery. Or, if you are not too tall, you can just purchase arm rails that attach to the back of the toilet/seat. When our home was built ten years ago, we had a higher toilet installed. We just then attached the arm rails which are not too expensive.

Stool softener. I had never needed them before, but the pain medications were very constipating. I only needed it for the first week home from the hospital. I had to send my husband out for them. Have them in the house in advance to save a trip.

Sleep alone if possible. We have a spare bedroom so it was not a problem. Someone else on the website recommended sleeping alone while your stitches were healing. That way your significant other won't bump you. I slept in the spare bedroom for about two and a half weeks. It also worked out well because I was sleeping a lot during the day I would have times in the middle of the night while I was wide awake and would wander the house. This allowed me to watch TV at 3:00 a.m. without disturbing my husband.

Satin sheets. I never liked them, but it made it very easy to roll over without putting weight on my tailbone. I put the fitted sheet on the bed and the flat sheet on my living room sofa. I used them for about the first two or three weeks. The only place I could find them in the Detroit area was Linens N Things.

A grabber to help you pick things up without bending too much. I could pick up a coin off the floor with this.

Hospital tray with wheels. This is something we had in the house from my husband's prior surgery. It was a gift, so I have no idea how much they cost. I put an empty clothes basket on it and could fill the basket with dirty laundry and then wheel it to the laundry room. I used my grabber to get laundry in and out of the washer and dryer. I was doing laundry pretty quickly without lifting weight any heavier than a pair of jeans. I would then have my son take the basket of clean clothes wherever I wanted it. I also set my laptop on it right after surgery. It is higher than a desk and my kitchen counters which made working on the computer more comfortable.

Comfortable shorts and t-shirts. For the first few weeks, I mostly wore stretchy athletic shorts and loose t-shirts. I spent most of my waking time on the sofa. Most of my post op pain came from sore shoulders and hips from lying. I have never been comfortable lying on my stomach.

I rode home from the hospital (35 minutes or so) in the front seat of our GMC Envoy with the seat reclined. I had to switch from side to side. Fortunately there was a handle that I could use to grab on to and flip myself. I took a few pillows and propped myself up against them. I could not wear my seat belt as it locked up. That is how I rode to the hospital for my first few post-op visits.

Buy some of the flushable butt wipes.

Listen to your doctor. I have read stories on the website where I feel like my recovery was way ahead of some and way behind others. Each case must be different and I quit worrying that I was not sitting as long as someone else at each week post op.

Anne

Update 2009-04-19

It has been nearly two years since I had my surgery. I do not regret it for one minute. I only wish I had done it sooner. I had no infections, complications or any problems. My doctor’s advice seemed more conservative than some of the other stories I have read here, but I listened to him very carefully.

I have not thought to post for a long time as I no longer think about my backside. I still occasionally sit on my tush cush on my desk chair at home (it is not that comfortable), but I rarely even use that anymore.

I have had only some slight discomfort when caught in traffic jams. I use the word discomfort and not pain. There have been about three for four instances when I have been caught in traffic where I have had to keep my foot on the break for more than an hour and just inch along. This only has occurred when we had snow storms and I had to drive home in rush hour traffic. I would experience mild discomfort but nothing I would even consider pain. It clears up after I have been out of my car for a short period of time. I don't even take anything over the counter for pain. I don't experience this discomfort when driving with my foot on the accelerator. It must have something to do with the way my foot is flexed driving vs. breaking. When I replaced my car last year, I leased one with power seats. That seems to help by moving it up/down/back forth when caught in these traffic jams

If I can offer any new advice now:

-Consider a power seat if you are replacing your car. I never cared before, but I think it is worth the money.

-Get a sit/stand xray if you have not already had one. It would have saved me pain, time and money

-If your doctor recommends surgery and is pretty confident it will eliminate the pain (my doctor was very confident) go for it. In my case, the pain of surgery was much less than the tailbone pain.

Good luck to all of you fellow tailbone sufferers. For me, surgery was the way to go.

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