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Back and leg problems while traversing the world

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by cnfdrate1, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. cnfdrate1

    cnfdrate1 Premium Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Here's my situation:

    I recently (2 mos. ago) had back surgery to fix a severely herniated disc in my lower back (for those of you medical folks it was at the L5-S1 level on the left side). Needless to say it got me out of most of my pain. No more radiating pain down the leg or pain in the back.

    HOWEVER, there is still a lot of pain when I walk. So much, in fact, that I can't walk but about a mile and then I am in big trouble.

    It seems that I will eventually need a spinal fusion :eek: . Which I really don't want.

    Anyhow, I am going to the World at the end of this year, and want to be able to enjoy myself and not drag my wife and our friends down. What is the best way I can do this?

    I am hesitant to rent a wheelchair or motorized scooter, because:

    1) those are for people who really need them, not an idiot like me

    2) I have never used one before, and don't want to hurt people or run into them, etc.

    3) I don't want people to think less of me when I get out of the scooter/wheelchair to ride a ride (some people think you are only faking/cutting the line/or don't really need it)

    4) I don't want people to treat me special because I am having trouble getting around...I want CMs and other guests to help (as they should) other people who deserve the help and need the help, and not waste time on an idiot like me.

    5) I don't want to slow up my wife and friends

    What the heck should I do? We're going to be there from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1. What is it like to rent one then?

    Sorry for the long post. I'm just nervous and a little frustrated with myself.

    Thanks, as always,

    Johnny
     
  2. barnum42

    barnum42 New Member

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    I've made a couple of trips with my mother, who is in a similar position to you - she has had spinal surgery and whilst able to get out of her wheelchair she can't stay on her feet for long.

    I am hesitant to rent a wheelchair or motorized scooter, because:

    1) those are for people who really need them, not an idiot like me

    Spinal surgery is a big deal, it's safe to say you need it.

    2) I have never used one before, and don't want to hurt people or run into them, etc.

    A manual chair is far more manoeuvrable than the electric scooters. Most of Disney is fairly flat and so there should be no problems with members of your party pushing the chair.

    3) I don't want people to think less of me when I get out of the scooter/wheelchair to ride a ride (some people think you are only faking/cutting the line/or don't really need it)

    Stuff them. There are unpleasant people wherever you go. I've never been approached on this matter. If you are tell them all about your surgery in as much gory detail as possible in order to make them loose their lunch and see if they have any conscience ;)

    4) I don't want people to treat me special because I am having trouble getting around...I want CMs and other guests to help (as they should) other people who deserve the help and need the help, and not waste time on an idiot like me.

    You won't get any extra help or be able to cut the lines. With few exceptions you and your chair will wait in the same lines as everyone else.

    5) I don't want to slow up my wife and friends

    You won't. I've gone many times solo and a couple of times with my Mother and her chair. There are only a couple of times we had to wait longer than if the chair was not there - the animation tour (which has limited wheelchair access) and the Safari, where it's a bit of a lottery as to how long you have to wait at the separate loading station with the wheelchair park (It's right next to the regular loading station, so you wait in the same queue as everyone else)

    We've never rented a chair - she bought her own one as it's needed at home now. If you are staying on-site, I think you can rent for the resort, which will be easier as you get to keep the chair when you hop from park to park. Rentals made at the parks have to be handed in at that park when you head to another one. At that time of year they may run out of them when you reach the second park

    Alternatively, there are places locally that rent chairs (delivered to your hotel), that may be cheaper and better quality with padded cushions. Google for them and see what the deals are.

    For more details on my experiences pushing a wheelchair 'round the parks check out this thread:

    http://forums.wdwmagic.com/showthread.php?t=42507

    You won't be denying anyone who needs a chair more than you and you won't be getting a free ticket to jump the lines

    Take your surgeon's advice as to what types of ride you will have to avoid - lots of them have warnings. If you friends wish to ride them you can still wait with them in many of the lines then take the bypass route at the end, or just relax outside whilst they do the back crunching ride
     
  3. tigsmom

    tigsmom Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I can add much to Barnum's advice (I was going to suggest you contact him anyway :lol: ).

    At this point in time you DO need to use a chair as you are still healing from surgery and are having some mobility/standing problems. Who really care what others think? You know your need is real and thats all that matters.
    Do what needs to be done, go and enjoy your trip and hopefully next time you
    will be fully mobile.

    As for the spinal fusion, I know a few people who have had it done (mostly cervical) and they are happy with the results. ((HUGS))
     
  4. luna99

    luna99 New Member

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    :eek: you sound just like my dad.

    He had back surgery a few years ago and when we bring up going to disneyworld as a family he says he'll stay home and I know it's because he has too much pride to sit in a wheelchair. My sister says he should come so we can cut the line! (although I guess that doesn't happen).

    anyway..... I just want to say.. along with all that good, practical advice you've already gotten.... that I'm sure your family WANTS you to go along on the trip and will not care even if you do slow them down. Disney is about being together and experiencing things with the ones you love.... so don't worry about slowing anyone down or being a bother.

    back surgery is HUGE! and you deserve to have just as much fun as anyone else.. I hope you have a great time and you (and my dad) can learn to live with your back issues with as little pain as possible. :wave:
     
  5. shoppingnut

    shoppingnut Active Member

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    I would definitely rent the scooter, we got one for my mom on this last trip in September and without it she wouldn't have been able to do a tenth of what we did. She had open heart surgery at the beginning of the year and while she has recovered nicely, still has trouble walking long distances, well then again she is 74. Just remember that walking around the resorts or from your room to the bus stop can be a very long walk many times. Everyone was saying how difficult the scooter was, but I didn't find it to be much trouble at all, however, there were a few times I would have to walk in front of her to clear a path to get out of the parks after fireworks and such, but otherwise it worked fine.

    There was NO cutting the line like everyone seems to think. The only exception was the safari ride in AK where they do let you into the FP lane and then take you to the wheelchair section for a separate truck, but even that did take a while since they only have a few trucks for it, so time wise there was no line cutting like everyone seems to think.

    Kingdom Konsultants checked out the scooter rental places and the one that they found for us that Disney recommends, can't recall the name, but the phone number is 1-888-726-6837 and we were very happy with it. We picked it up at the resort's luggage services and returned it there when we were done, very easy and convenient.

    You can rent a regular push chair from them, so then you have it for around the resort too.

     
  6. hokielutz

    hokielutz Well-Known Member

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    You really won't be slowing anyone down by taking a wheelchair and don't worry about what other guests may think. You've had spinal surgery, and if you go to the park and get rundown because you decided to walk the entire time... that's when the family is slowed down. Plus you obviously won't have a good time if you push your surgically repaired back too far.

    So, listen to barnum, save your strength and your back by getting a manual chair. You will have more fun if you stay rested and relaxed.
     
  7. MommytoMJM

    MommytoMJM New Member

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    I would echo Joe and shoppingnut. I would rent a chair offsite during that time period, it will be cheaper and you will be assured no problems renting one. That is the busiest time of the year and they often run out. Also if you are very used to your independence I would rent an ECV, it makes life a lot easier when you feel you have the ability to do things yourself.
     
  8. cnfdrate1

    cnfdrate1 Original Poster Premium Member

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    Thank you all for the great advice and kind words.

    I'm really leaning towards renting a wheelchair from one of the outside companies. However, my fear is that another guest will take the wheelchair, and I will have to pay for it. Has that ever been a problem for someone?
     
  9. barnum42

    barnum42 New Member

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    Nobody has ever taken Mother's chair. In most instances, it's left in a loading bay. Ask the wheelchair rental company what their policy is.

    Alternatively - check the prices of buying one as opposed to renting. Or check the used adverts / ebay as you will find quite a few available there. Even the good one Mother bought was not that expensive at British prices, and we always have to pay more for stuff than Americans. It will then be there for you at home. With the possibility of more surgery down the line it may be required again during that period of convalescing.

    Taking your own to the parks is no problem - Airlines take them free of charge, so it won't come out of your luggage allowance. You can be wheeled right up to the plane's entrance before you wave goodbye to the chair and they but it in the hold. so even at the airport you won't be on your feet much. Only down side is that you will be the last person off at the other end as you wait for them to return the chair to you.
     
  10. barnum42

    barnum42 New Member

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    You must have smiled sweetly at them - we never got to use the fastpass lane without a fastpasses in our sticky mitts :lol:
     
  11. mrtoad

    mrtoad Well-Known Member

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    I agree totally except Stuff Them is too light but get where you are coming from. :)

    Don't worry about what other's think because they have no clue as to your situation. Use it because you will be sorry if you don't. Not worth ruining your vacation dealing with pain the whole trip.

    My daugther has leg issues where if she does any sort of major activity she will have pain all night. We wind up giving her motrin which helps but it is not good to take every day. On our trips to WDW she uses a stroller and we get tons of nasty looks because she is too old (turns 6 tomorrow), well as Barnum said, Stuff Them. None of their business, they have no clue what she is going through.

    So bottom line, do what is best for you. It will mean the difference of having a great time and having a bad time.

     
  12. monorailguy01

    monorailguy01 New Member

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    Wheelchair = No wait in lines. IF you do rides I would think about getting a motorised wheelchair. not just for no lines on rides, because they take you up the exit on most rides, and so you dont have to have someone push you thoughout the parks.
     
  13. Teddy1

    Teddy1 New Member

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    Just a thought from someone who has been there. Being able to walk a mile without pain should take you some time. But if your pain is not lessening day by day, make sure you get another opinion before going under the knife again. I had my surgery 12 years ago L-5, S-1, and still have some bad days. However, walk a little more each day. I was put on a walking schedule. I had no other therapy, and within three months or so I could walk a good distance without pain. You still have some time to get yourself in shape. If need be, use the scooter. Although I fully understand where you are coming from (people can't see back pain) there are many people in the same situation as you. It runs in my family - 4 of us have blown out the same disc. My surgery turned out the best. I did not go to therapy - just walking. (My surgeon felt that sometimes therapy is not always good for all patients. He wants everything to heal internally first.) Also, you don't have to use the scooter all the time. Listen to your body. You will have good, better and bad days for quite some time. I wish you all the best, and please enjoy your trip. You are going to the happiest place on earth!
     
  14. I,Walt

    I,Walt Guest

    Hope this helps

    :xmas:
    Get the electric cart they work you do need to watch where you are going it is hard to sight see and drive. Get one from an outside company the front desk can and will help You can use it all over the resort not just in the parks that way. Dont worry they are easy to use. I had never used one before mothers day Just do not try to back one onto a bus. If the driver ask you to tell him to call his supervisor. Backing is a hard thing to do. The driver can be a pain about help.
     
  15. Ciciwoowoo

    Ciciwoowoo Active Member

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    Last time we were there, my dad had terrible back trouble on the second day of the trip, so we ended up pushing the wheelchair the whole time. I suspect you sound like he did!

    We didn't mind though, because we wanted him to have a good time too. I think that is what everyone in your party will be feeling as well. No one will look at you funny when you get out to ride rides. But be careful! Stay off the Mountain rides, etc...Anything that is less than smooth. No sense hurting yourself just to keep everyone happy!

    Just grab your camera and have them park you in the shade while they go on something. You can take interesting pics and keep from hurting yourself, and your party can go on the ride.

    I wish I could post the pic we took of my dad on the trip in his chair, but its much too obcene for this family site. (The "bird" was involved!):lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  16. davinakb

    davinakb Member

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    Ha. My grandfather looked so cool on his ECV. We made his nametag "Crash" even though he drove it pretty well.

    cnfdrate1, you've already gotten some good advice. I've been on several trips with people who've rented ECVs for a variety of reasons (knees, backs, etc.). Yes they do take a little practice to drive, but it's not that hard.
    • TIP: just show patience and drive around rather than through the crowds when you can. You shouldn't hold up your family. And with the basket and extra room on an ECV you can help everyone carry stuff like backpacks, coolers, shopping bags.
    • TIP: get a disabilities guide map! While yes, many rides you'll enter from the exit and have a shorter wait, some attractions still require you to go through the normal line. In that case, get a fastpass.
    • TIP: there is reserved seating for wheelchair groups and their parties for parades and such. Check the guidemaps for locations, and still get there a bit early, but you should get some nice viewing spots.
    Bottom line: the wheelchairs and ECVs are there for the comfort of the guests, and it seems like you'll benefit from using one. So I vote for "Stuff Them" (love that, barnum42) and have a nice time.
     
  17. hakunamatata

    hakunamatata churro vigilante Premium Member

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    I agree that given your medical condition that you should feel comfortable renting one and not worry about anyone else. Plus, if you dont, and you pass out while at the park, causing another "Someone Passed Out at Disney" article in the Orlando Sintinal and the multiple threads here that would result, we will be mad at you. :lol:
     
  18. barnum42

    barnum42 New Member

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    With very few exceptions, just having a wheelchair does not mean get to skip the lines. This is the myth that causes much animosity with other people thinking dishonest visitors fake a need for a wheelchair just to skip the lines.

    For my experience of how various attractions deal with wheelchairs see http://forums.wdwmagic.com/showthread.php?t=42507
     
  19. shoppingnut

    shoppingnut Active Member

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    Definitely agree go with an outside vendor, we did and it was less costly and we had it for use around the resorts. Disney resorts are very spread out.

    The backing up of the ECV to get on the bus is a piece of cake, after the first time. First, you have to move the speed of it down to the slowest point and just align yourself up to go directly backwards onto the bus. If you drive a car and can parallel park, you shouldn't have a problem. The one thing I noticed was that the ECV will move quicker or slower depending upon the ground even if kept at the same speed all the time, for instance the hotel lobby the thing would zip along, so you just need to be aware of that.
     
  20. Tigggrl

    Tigggrl Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have some great advice, so I will just tell you from my experience....
    I had spinal fusion at the end of september. (cervical). It has made a HUGE difference in how I feel, and recovery has been quite a challenge, but so extremely worth it!. I rented an ECV about 2 weeks ago, and it makes a huge difference in how I felt by the end of the day, and I tried a Wheelchair, but the ride was bumpy and painful.
    Rent the ECV....you will be glad you did!:wave:
     

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