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Hopping on one foot.

January 21, 2015

The last twelve days have been a steep learning curve for me.

On the 9th I had minor orthopaedic surgery. This involved a very short operation – I’m told it only took 16 minutes – where a surgeon aka the Great Doctor removed a centimetre of extraneous bone and a large amount of fluid from my right heel. I am at least now sure it was the right decision because virtually the first thing I was told when I came round was that surgery was the only thing that would have helped.

I’ve been lucky. I barely noticed the GA in fact I woke up and asked for tea then consumed every bite of my post op meal. It also has not hurt as much as I anticipated or as much as I was warned it would. It hurts less than the spike of bone did. Frankly I laughed when they offered me morphine after surgery I needed it before not after.

Tragically I am not one of those people whose appetite is affected by a GA I hoped I would go off my food. Sadly it didn’t happen. I dread to think what the scales will say when I am finally released from my confinement on the sofa.

All this means at least a fortnight on crutches which is not so much fun when you live in a first and second floor maisonette and have two flights of stairs. However I’ve learned many useful things (some are just common sense) and now I share them to help anyone else who might end up with the horror of non weight bearing.

If like me you have advanced warning that you are going to be incapacitated, cook extra every time you make a meal and freeze it. I’m so glad I did this as it’s making my life so much easier now.

I now understand why people might buy pre-prepared fruit, vegetables and salads. I’m going for the quickest and easiest solution while still trying to eat properly as I’m sure proper nutrition will help me recover faster. M&S do excellent cook in the microwave bags of veggies in one person portions. You just nuke them and eat them.

If you can possibly squeeze one in put a stool or chair in the kitchen as close to the kettle as possible. It’s the only way you’ll get to enjoy a relaxing hot drink. You try using crutches and carrying a hot spillable drink and you’ll see what I mean. I’m really feeling the lack of tea.

Beg, borrow or steal a large table and place it right next to your sofa of convalescence. Put everything you might need on it within easy reach: Medication, tissues, mobile, remotes, chargers, large bottle of water, pen etc. I have a 4 gang extension lead on my table (purple plastic borrowed from big niece) so I can charge things as and when I need to without getting up.

Keep your waste paper basket close at hand so you can deal with rubbish promptly and not have to look at a big pile of it.

Baby wipes are your friend. Your very best friend. When a hot bath becomes impossible and a shower is an epic exercise, baby wipes at least make you feel clean and remove surface grime.

Your mobile phone can be safely carried inside your bra thus it is always to hand should you fall but not in your hand making you more likely to fall.

The easiest way to transport anything else is in a cloth bag either over your shoulder or hooked over the handle of your crutches.

Small cartons of juice and water are also your friend. They are easy to transport and don’t leak until you open them.

Invite all your friends to visit. When they offer to help accept the offer, ask them to do whatever you need and let them do it. In my case all visitors are asked to make tea the minute they enter.

Be organised: Collect everything you need to get dressed and put it where you intend to dress to save trips around the room. Ideally keep things as close to where you dress as possible. I have temporarily put all my frequently used cosmetics on my bedside table as I’m dressing sitting on my bed.

If I ever have to do this again I’m either installing an intercom system or getting a key safe so I don’t have to crawl downstairs to let people in.

Elinor Brent Dyer was right you really do feel so much better if you can manage to wash your hair. If that’s impossible even just washing your face and hands, brushing your hair and teeth and moisturising your face helps. I add a quick spritz of scent to make me feel like me.

I believe Cousin Helen also recommended trying to be an attractive invalid in as pleasant surroundings as possible. If people kindly bring you flowers have them arranged where you can see them and try to keep things as tidy as you can. Apart from anything else the fewer things to fall over the better.

Accept it’s only temporary and try to enjoy guilt free lounging. So far I’ve read 20 books, knitted lots and watched about thirty hours of TV. I’d never normally be able to do that.

I’m consoling myself that if one must be more or less housebound and compelled to rest on the sofa there are worse months to do it in than January.

Roll on Saturday when hopefully I will be set free. I am looking forward to putting my foot flat on the floor without pain even if that does take a few more weeks.

I may ceremonially burn my compression stockings.


From → Uncategorized

  1. I will file all your tips – I suspect I may have to have things done to my knees at some point in the future!

    I have been meaning to snail-mail you but I have run out of pretty writing paper. A feeble excuse I know but it’s just not the same on boring white and I can’t find anywhere in this remote outpost that stocks anything aceptable!!!

  2. Dorian permalink

    I hope I will never need all of your very sensible advice, but I’m glad you provided it in case I do!

    Glad the op was the right choice and successful, too.

  3. When my husband was on crutches when he broke a small bone in his foot a couple of years ago, we found the best thing for tea was for him to fill a small Thermos flask – one cup’s worth – which he could then carry back into the front room and pour out once he had sat down again. He also found cycling gloves helpful to relieve the pressure on his hands from the crutches. And he used a rucksack to carry things from room to room, as and when he needed to do that.

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