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Home Alone After Surgery

Ceegee

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Apr 20, 2018
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Quebec, Canada
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I did outpatient surgery (no overnight stay at the hospital) and live in a 2-storey house: bedroom and bathroom upstairs, living area and kitchen downstairs. Before the operation, I installed grab bars and raised toilet seats in the bathrooms, plus a chair near the shower, and I put away all our rugs and mats and cleared the areas I would be using to move around (removed small tables and lamps, etc.).

When I came home, although my husband was also home, I didn't need help to move around. I was able to manage the stairs alone with no problem, from the first day (they wouldn't let me out of the hospital until I'd been up and down a staircase). He hovered the first few times, but once he saw I didn't need help, he left me to it. For clothes, I had shorts, stretchy tracksuit bottoms, polo shirts and fleece jackets. A friend loaned me a device to help put on socks, but I didn't need it and was able to dress/undress alone from the beginning, including shoes and socks. I had prepared a backpack that I kept with me at all times. It contained my medication, my electronics (iPad, laptop and phone), spare chargers, a bottle of water and a couple of small snacks. I had installed charging wires by my chair in the living room and by my bed. I had two walkers, one upstairs and one downstairs, plus a walking stick with a tripod end that I used for stability on the stairs. For the downstairs walker, I cut a piece of wooden shelving and attached it to the structure, and was able to transport drinks, plates of food, etc., from the kitchen to the table or living room. I used a sealed water bottle for cold drinks and a thermos cup for hot drinks that had to be transported, in case they fell over. For food, I had pre-made and frozen a lot of meals, which my husband ended up eating. Virtually all I wanted for the first few weeks was scrambled eggs, toast, fruit and orange juice, with the occasional bowl of soup. I was able to make this for myself from the second day onwards, and transport it on my walker shelf.

My husband had to go away a few days after my operation (working abroad), and I managed perfectly well. A friend called me every week and brought groceries if I needed them. I have two dogs, but have a fenced yard, so I could just let them out when they needed to go, and feeding them was easy. They seemed to know I wasn't firing on all cylinders, and they were very good about not running into me or knocking me over. I watched a lot of TV in the early weeks (had recorded a ton of stuff beforehand). I actually preferred to be alone at first. The opioid medication prescribed by the surgeon made me feel weepy and depressed, so I ditched it after about a week and managed with Tramodol and Tylenol. The pain was worse but I felt better without the medication and became a bit more sociable. The health system sent a nurse to my home daily for the first week, to check the wound and monitor my blood, and also sent a physiotherapist twice a week for the first three weeks, to help with exercises. After that, a friend drove me to physiotherapy until I was able to drive myself.

If I were to do this again (over my dead body), I wouldn't worry about being alone if it was necessary. With a bit of prior planning, it's very doable, even with stairs.
 

Josephine

NURSE DIRECTOR EMERITUS
Nurse Director
Joined
Jun 8, 2007
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I was able to manage the stairs alone with no problem, from the first day (they wouldn't let me out of the hospital until I'd been up and down a staircase).
That's the usual routine, @Ceegee. Most well run hospitals have a list of activities that we have to accomplish before they can list us as fit for discharge.
If I were to do this again (over my dead body), I wouldn't worry about being alone if it was necessary. With a bit of prior planning, it's very doable, even with stairs.
An excellent piece if advice. Well said
 

Polarbear

new member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
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14
Age
74
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United States United States
Concerning catboxes: Before my first hip replacement surgery, I hired my handyman guy to make two 24" tall platforms out of plywood, mounted on lockable casters, Each one capable of holding 2 standard sized catboxes up at a comfortable height. That meant I didn't have to bend down to scoop or lift a heavy box to dump the stuff. I still lean a 13 gallon kitchen trash can, lined in a garbage bag under the lip of each platform and after gathering the solid stuff sort of just scoop it over the edge into the trash can with a catbox scooper. Back when it was only the HIPS, I didn't need to sit down, I just sort of LEANED against the platforms and did the dumping with one hand while holding to my walker with the other hand. It was challenging but do-able. (If you are doing the whole DUMPING operation, when it gets bad enough, helps also to have a putty knife to scrape anything off the bottom.) That took care of the 4 catboxes in the cats' room.

I think, before my first knee replacement, I'll hire someone to make somewhat narrower platforms of the same type for the 2 overflow cat boxes I have in the nasty narrow hall that I don't use for anything else. The only problem then will be the one I have in the laundry room, stuck on the floor in the space between a cabinet and the washing machine.

I plan to drag in a nice sturdy chair next to the 4 catboxes in their own room so that I can sit down, since I've heard knee replacement recovery is far worse than hip replacements. Also, since the lighter scoopable litter doesn't really work for me (sticks to the bottom after cats have peed on it and turns to almost-cement! And is VERY nasty-messy to dump out since the chunks go all over the floor instead of in the can) and I use the classic, non-clumping Johnny Cat litter, I'll probably hire someone to come in to do the actual dumping, lifting the 20-pound bags and replacing old with new for awhile. Can probably get by with once a week for that. I know a cat sitter who promised she'd get someone to do it for me. I suspect someone who DOES pet-sitting could find someone for you.
 

pattiann

new member
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
1
Age
77
Gender
Female
Country
New Zealand New Zealand
I have been waiting 2 years for knee replacement surgery. The first year was just waiting to hear something, the second was covid !! so now its coming around again I have notice that I,m good to go.. I am absolutely terrified I don,t mind telling you.. I keep waiting for a reason to pull out of this, but the paain now is unbearable.. so reading all your comments on here has been really helpful..I think I will probably bite the bullet and go for it..I am 77 have previously had hip replacement which went really well, but I believe knees are another matter..Thanks for listening
 

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