Day 1 (surgery) and day 2 (hospital discharge day) have been allotted their own blog page.
I set an alarm on my phone for every 4 hours. It is important to take meds on time. I also set an alarm for an anti-inflammatory twice a day and a blood thinner in the morning.
I am sore, my body hurts and I know when the 4 hours is coming up for the pain killer because I feel it. The incision site is tender and sore but exercises are important despite how you feel. Timing exercises after pain meds kick in is a good idea.
This is important to get into a routine, not only with meds but also in daily activity. My routine was to do the lying down exercises first thing in the morning and last thing at night. As I learnt to tackle the stairs better I incorporated going upstairs during the day to do an extra set.
Getting in and out of bed was a challenge initially. I needed my husband to help lift my legs onto the bed. I can get so far but then cannot lift my legs up. I also need help to position my legs on the bed. I was aware that the operated leg would feel heavy but it feels like a deadweight. This was exacerbated for me due to still feeling numb in the same foot. I did buy a leg lifter but initially needed personal help but planned to advance to this.
My morning routine would be to exercise and then, using the walker, take clean clothes to the bathroom. I found it was easiest to dress whilst sitting on the raised toilet seat (with handles). Don’t forget to use a reacher to be able to dress without breaking hip precautions. I also found it was indispensable to have a toilet self care cleaning wand used with Cottonelle wet wipes. In fact, I bought a 2nd one for the washroom on the main floor.
Equipment wise I had a loaned walker (no wheels) upstairs which was sufficient for bathroom runs during the night. The walker I had downstairs was a 2 wheeled one, to which I fixed 2 glides for smoother walking.
My routine for coming downstairs was to walk with the walker to the top of the stairs, get the crutch that I had left there in order to come down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs I changed to the 2 wheeled walker.
Remember to follow the rules as follows – up with the good, down with the bad.
I had my husband walk in front of me going down and behind me going up, just in case I was unsteady. Don’t forget that you are tackling ONE step at a time, like being a child learning the stairs.
Once downstairs I made sure I did my standing and chair exercises.
This is my set-up in the small living room we have on the main level.
I have an executive office chair, set to the correct height so my feet are flat on the floor but I have it high enough to keep hip precautions.The wheels have been removed (which is VERY important) and have been swapped out for static feet. It did not work just taking the wheels off because it was both wobbly and scratching the floor. I have a small side table (right of photo) with water, remote controls, Kindle and phone. At my left side of the chair, on the couch I have a cushion, a small blanket and my laptop tucked in at the side. To my right I have an extension cord looped around the dining chair with my laptop cord and also reacher easy to hand. The laptop table is on wheels and will tilt or flatten depending on what I need the table for. The reacher has a hole in it and I would advise putting in a string that is long enough to put over your arm and anywhere else it needs to go. I loop mine around the bathroom door handle, the bottom stair rail and the dining room chair. I have since moved the walker closer to the chair and table, since I am becoming more self sufficient.
Dressing after surgery. They also paint something pink on almost your whole leg which wears off more than washes off.
The incision site is very tender but pain killers are helping. The pain in my buttock is easing a little bit but sitting is quite painful. Ensure to keep moving and doing exercises despite how uncomfortable it is. Ice for (15-20 minutes a time) also eases the pain to some extent. I have a couple of ice packs that need a cover so I used the idea from hospital and used a pillowcase.
I am feeling the staples and it is just a discomfort that I know will go better. Today was the first day I noticed some swelling in my operated leg, although it was not bad.
My appetite was somewhat improved, although I was still only able to eat small amounts at a time. I was trying to eat healthily.
A big help during this time was the use of our Amazon Echo devices as an intercom. I could be asleep early and need help to the bathroom and tell Alexa that I needed him. When we purchased these devices it was purely for entertainment but has now become a practical help.
I seem to feel constantly tired and in pain but I know there will be relief and things will get better. Mentally I am the type of person to be strong. To me, there is no other option.
I am posting to Facebook, writing notes for this blog in a notebook because it seemed too much to want to switch my laptop on. I am texting friends and managing to keep my spirits up. I strongly feel that a positive attitude is the key.
I have no patience for reading a book, which is weird to me because I am an avid reader. It’s all to do with how you personally feel and I’m sure we will all be different on this journey.
I had stomach pains today for a couple of hours and finally had my first bowel movement since surgery. To ease the pain I drank fizzy water. Had I not been on blood thinners and pain killers I would have taken Alka Seltzer but due to it containing aspirin this is not recommended.
Still taking painkillers every 4 hours including through the night. It is important to take pain killers regularly and to not leave it until you are feeling pain. My routine was to exercise in bed and then go to the bathroom with my sweatpants, T-shirt and undies and then dress whilst sitting on the raised toilet seat. I have a reacher by the side of the toilet roll holder that is wedged in place with the spare toilet roll holder.
Having left the self cleaning toilet wand upstairs yesterday instead of bringing it downstairs, today I ordered a second one so there was one in each level bathroom. Thank goodness for Amazon which is where I bought all my equipment needs from.
Today I noticed swollen legs and ankles today for the first time. This is normal and nothing to worry about. However with my right foot still being partially numb it was a very unpleasant feeling for me.
I had stomach ache again today in the early evening and then had another bowel movement. My body was getting back to normal.
The incision now had a little drainage but is still normal. If there is excessive drainage and bleeding then you must get it checked out immediately.
I also got into the habit of taking my temperature twice each day to ensure my temperature is normal as a heightened temperature is a sign of infection. Normal temperature is between 36°-38°C
Before getting out of bed I elevated (with help) my legs for 30 minutes. Whilst it helped a little, I was still swollen afterwards. The swelling was mostly in my ankles and feet.
Whilst doing daily exercises, today I was successfully able to straighten both legs and have both heels on the floor. It was a little difficult and felt a little strange but up until now when I straightened my right (operated) leg my left heel was off the floor and I was unable to get the heel to the floor.
I am moving throughout the day a little easier with the walker. I feel a little more fluid in my movements. I am still very slow but nonetheless things are progressing. I bought 2 glides to go on the back of the 2 wheeled walker. The glides help the walker move a little easier. Up until now I had not felt like doing anything other than watching TV.
I contemplated picking up on writing this blog but decided I did not have the patience or concentration.
My pain has now become a level 5, so is going less. /however my body is aware when it is coming time to take another pain killer. Whilst my pain is a little less it is still very uncomfortable to sit for too long or to lie in bed.
Today I showered, dried and dressed all on my own. My husband was close by in case I needed help. We had installed 2 grab bars in the shower stall. It is a stand alone shower stall and not an over bath shower. We had also changed the static showerhead to a detachable one. It also was magnetic and easy to put back up, or take down, without over stretching.
So, we have installed 2 grab bars, one to aid in getting in or out and another one on the wall opposite the showerhead for when I am able to stand to shower. I also have a shower care, courtesy of a thrift store. Thrift stores are great places to look for equipment. I also got a pair of crutches from a thrift store. Ensure that there is also a non-slip mat on the bottom of the bath or shower. Also, have the things you need (shampoo, conditioner, sponge, soap etc) within reach without stretching or twisting. I use a bath mop with the string around my wrist so that I don’t drop it and liquid soap. Also I have a bath mop on a long handle which helps somewhat.
I had my husband lift the shower chair out of the shower so I could sit on the chair whilst I dried my hair quickly. I dressed my top half and left the towel wrapped around my waist in order to dry the lower half of my body as well as ensure the dressing was as dry as possible before finishing getting dressed.
Getting in and out safely
I walked using the walker to the shower stall. From there I had the walker at my right side and holding onto the grab bar I bent my left knee backwards and stepped into the shower. I moved a little to the left and then followed in with my bent right leg. Once in I could carefully move to sit on the shower chair. Everything I needed was close at hand on a shelf unit that is in the shower cubicle. I have a bath mop as well as a long handled bath mop. I was conscious of looping the string around my wrist so I could not drop it. I sat on the chair and hand held the shower head. Not the fastest way of taking a shower but it certainly worked well considering I am only on the first week of recovery.
Today was not much different. I was still exercising and moving every hour to walk up and down the hallway a few times, depending on how I feel. Still feeling tired but I am aware everything I am feeling is normal.
Today I felt like writing and updating this blog. It has taken a week to feel like I could concentrate.