Hi and welcome,
Lumbar Fusion was a very difficult surgery for me, so I wanted to add in a few things that I had issues with and needed or didn't need. The bathroom needs are very, very real for a lumbar fusion and I was in agony for help with urinating in the hospital. They used a catheter to start with, but that led to an infection and was improperly placed. Please don't feel ashamed to ask for help in this area and, when they take it out, start using the call button way before it is an emergency! It may take a long time for them to get to you! Make sure you have personal snacks for the hospital (if they will let you, because they forgot to feed me for several meals!) Also, make sure to take your cell phone into the hospital room and keep it charged at all times. It's important to have the phone number for the charge nurse....depending on your facility. My comfort level was NOT the best after surgery and I needed more meds than I was given.
After complaining too much to a nurse, she took it upon herself to contact the on-call Dr and have a shot of haldol given to me.....it made me INSANE for a while!!! Please refuse any meds you are not comfortable taking. I have never needed anything like that and I did not need it then! When I asked the Dr who ordered it, he told me it was to ease suffering (because the pain meds weren't getting it). I had complained about one nurse (who was NOT giving me my meds and was documenting that she had given to me). This doesn't happen everywhere and I don't mean to scare you, but please be sure you are never alone because they don't always believe you and you can never tell what you will need.
Most of my nurses were excellent, but that one was a NUT and needed some help! He documentation was so alarming that I was left with no choice but to complain and boy did it make her mad. She found a way to "get me back" by taking several hours to help me to the bathroom or the bedside commode and things like that. She also failed to report my UTI, so I didn't get the antibiotics I should have gotten until after I was discharged. I also never received the physical therapy I was supposed to have gotten and have no idea what they documented.
Waking up from fusion surgery is very hard. Again, not to scare you, but you should be prepared to feel intense pain at first. It is not the same pain as before the surgery and will likely be helped a great deal by the meds they prescribe. Don't be afraid to ask for meds in the hospital! Nausea meds are also important and should be arranged before surgery if you can.
A walker (and later a cane) can be wonderful. I also needed the seat for the shower and the commode lift seat. In addition, the grabber was essential and I needed help around the clock for while. Even putting on socks can be impossible. Someone will need to be responsible for laundry and for keeping your sheets changed since you won't be doing that for a while. Also, keep snacks on the bedside table and the remote, a phone, sealable drinks and straws and towels for draping over you when you try to eat. I don't mean to sound like you will be totally incapacitated, but you might feel like it for a while.
Someone will likely visit you after the procedure to check on you and help measure you for a back brace and possibly a bone stimulator. The brace measuring should be done beforehand (in my honest opinion). I had the wrong size sent and had to have another after the swelling went down because they measured after surgery. That brace is a Godsend when you need support for the bathroom or even for walking around the house.
Keeping grandkids away from the hospital is an excellent idea....my daughter was horrified to see her mother in such a state. It's very smart of you to consider this. I'd also ask anyone not very close to you to visit after you are released. It it so difficult to cover yourself or to maintain any level of conversation and people often feel uncomfortable asking for pain meds when people are visiting.....sometimes they don't get the hint and won't leave despite your need to get to the restroom NOW!
Lastly, have very loose, easy access bedclothes when you get home. You won't be able to stand anything on your back for a while and you want to be as covered as possible, while still having easy access to the bathroom facilities and causing as little irritation as possible.
I wish you all the best and hope your surgery will be smooth and as painless as possible.
Please keep in mind that mine was an emergency surgery so I wasn't prepared at all! I didn't know anything at all and I don't want anyone else to experience what I did with my surgery.
Good luck and God Bless!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, Vision Issues & much more.....