A friend is scheduled to have surgery later in the year. (Waves hi!). They will be on injured reserve for a while. We got to talking about post-surgical logistics. After the conversation, I had thoughts. Many, many thoughts. I decide to make them into a post.
One. You know how I hate to waste text. [Horse Sports I Have Known]
Two. I won’t flood their inbox as I think of things.
Three. As an appeal to the hive mind. Any advice to add? Tips? Words of solace?
My grandmother lived on her own in a different state from any other family member. She had several surgeries. While she was rehabbing, we would visit in shifts. First, my mother would go. (Waves hi!) She would take care of the bed-bound days. Making meals. Tempting a post-surgical appetite. Then, other family members would take a turn. Finally, I would go down. I was the one who set her up for being on her own again. What do you need to get on with your life? That part I’m good at.
Food? I can’t even feed myself.
Clever solutions? I’m your gal. Woman. Person. Widget-maker.
As an adult, my medical crises tend to be dental. Draining, painful, and requiring emergency room visits (yes, plural), but not affecting one’s ability to manipulate the activities of daily living.
Once, I had a dislocated finger from being kicked. My hand was in front of my face at the time, so it was quite dramatic. Total exposure was a bruise on my forearm and my pointer finger in a splint for a few weeks. Imagine throwing your arm up to protect your face. That’s why pointer finger got shoved sideways. It was my non-dominant hand, so my biggest problem was barnwork without a glove.
Then, I broke my ankle foxhunting. Crutches & casts for weeks. That’s why my advice tends toward foot-related.
Get info from doc ahead of time. How long? Probable abilities? Need for attendant?
Will you be able to bend over? If not, get a picker-upper. Also good if you won’t be able to reach up.
What will the weather be? Cold? Hot? Rain? Will your fingers/toes get cold? Will you need oversized sox? Will you sweat under the cast?
Will you be able bend over to tie your shoes? Will you need slip-ons?
Will you be able to pull pants or shirts over the cast? Will you need stretchy sweats? If presenting as female, consider skirts/dresses/sundresses. If male, consider taking up kilts for the duration.
How will you carry a glass/mug of liquid? Thermos or travel mug.
How will you carry a plate of food? I made my Grandmother a plate carrier from a shallow bin & string.
Move pans, plates, & food to counter/top shelf of fridge. Lifting is not your friend right now. If the injuries is in an upper extremity, grasping & carrying & such will be the issue. If in a lower extremity, you don’t want to risk overbalancing & falling.
Consider smaller, light-weight, single-serve items, for the duration.
Shower chair. I suspect people rent these things.
Handrail if you have a step-in.
Extra bags & tape for waterproofing relevant area.
Small box for a tent to keep covers off whatever. I was surprised how much of a production rolling over turned out to be.
My grandmother couldn’t bend over. Hence the picker upper. For her mail, I bolted a tray under the flap so she didn’t have to bend over. She liked it so much that it stayed.
Does anyone get mail through the door anymore?
Despite what seems obvious, one does not hang from one’s armpits when on crutches. I was told that upper ends should be braced on the sides of the chest as a counterbalance for the hands. The Internet, which didn’t exist when I was hobbling around, is full of advice on how to fit, use, & move around with crutches. Also, ask doc &/or PT person.
My injury was to my left foot, so I was able to borrow my then-boss’s automatic automobile. When it came to switching back to my manual shift, they made me wait. Really, really wait. Wanted to be sure I would stomp the clutch without hesitating.
Knee scooter. I wish these had been around when I was on crutches. Add a basket to the front & your carrying issues are solved. More useful for city living than out in the boonies. I wonder if they make an all-terrain version.
Other Things to Do Before
As you go thru your day beforehand, consider how you will do this task when you will be limited.
Lay in books, movies, puzzles, whatever entertains you.
Pay bills ahead of time, if feasible. One less thing on your mind.
Lay in food, both prepared and treats. Now is not the time to start a diet.
Get up to date on laundry.
Clear the decks. When I was on crutches, I was amazed at how much crap was on the floor and therefore in my way. Stuff I hadn’t even seen when I was able-footed.
One Thing I Learned
As you might expect, I was excited to go from crutches to walking cast. I quickly learned that just because they say you CAN walk on your foot, doesn’t mean you WANT to. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
To my friend, (waves hi again!) good luck, be well, & thank you for the blog post.
Useful tips moved here from comments. Thank you.
– Do you need in home PT? How will that be arranged?
– Plans for getting places if needed before you are allowed to drive
– Pets? How will you take care of them? For my knee replacement, I placed my youngest dog in a home boarding situation for a variety of reasons. The older 2 stayed at home. Another thought with pets depending on the type of surgery, how will you keep them from interfering with your recovery (jumping on you, tripping you, etc).
– Will you be icing and how, do you need wraps or machines or ice ready
– What kind of medication regiment will you be on? If it’s as complicated as mine was, consider making a chart with times/days on it.
… arriving early to become acquainted with his pets.