This was my first week at home on my own which was progress in itself. Before I had my operation, we had planted tubs in the garden with geraniums, aubretia, cosmos and nasturtiums. It was cheering to be able to look out onto it when the rest of the garden was becoming faded and parched from the hot summer.
GETTING INTO A ROUTINE
By now, I could wash and dress myself easily and my husband could be on hand when I had a shower in the evening. I could walk around the house and get up and down the stairs on my crutches.
This is what helped me.
-Each morning, my husband put out some clean mugs by the kettle so if anyone came round to visit, it was easy for them or me to make a drink.
-He went and bought me ‘The Times’ each day before going to work
-I was the lady with the phone which I managed to carry around with me in a pocket. This was a lifeline as I could arrange for visitors to come round, order the food shopping, buy a book, sort out a cinema visit, etc
-I spent most of my time in the kitchen, (which is big and has a sofa in it) but otherwise I would have needed a flask and/or water bottle and shoulder bag or little rucksack to carry food and drinks around
-He put out a selection of bowls, dishes and plates on the work top so I didn’t have to look in cupboards for anything
-We moved jars of ingredients onto the worktop such as olive oil, pasta and sugar to make them easily accessible as well as the ingredients I picked from each day to make my breakfast muesli.
This is what I used each day in my rehabilitation.
-A rolled up towel for the knee exercises
-A family sized packet of frozen peas for icing my knee. When not using it, I wrapped it in a large plastic bag with a handle so that I could carry it around the house and put back in the freezer. I also had some tea towels to put between my skin and either the heat or the ice
-a small hot water bottle to ease my low back pain
-a spiky plastic ball which I bought from John Lewis online to massage my back
I knew I had to do exercises but what should I have been doing? I had been told to carry on doing the pre-operative sheet of exercises from the hospital but was I doing too much, too little, the wrong ones? I had no idea but my lower back started to hurt and was keeping me awake at night. A week after I had come home, I saw a physiotherapist who explained that my back muscles had gone into spasm because I was now walking in a completely different way. He eased my back and showed me what to do in the future.
There’s more information here on exercises to do from a patient leaflet from Guys and St Thomas’ and on an enhanced recovery programme here which is from a Southampton hospital but it includes information of relevance to all patients.
GETTING OUT THE HOUSE
I managed to walk up the road from my friend’s house after visiting the physiotherapist and down to the end of the road with my husband in the evening to practise going bit further on my crutches.