It can be a bit of a shock when you arrive home after surgery and no longer have all those willing hands helping you to get around.
There is so much activity focused upon you during the surgical procedure, that going home might be quite a lonely experience.
This video will give you some coping strategies.
For today’s challenge, let’s imagine that the big day of surgery is over and you have been judged sufficiently recovered to go home.
Suddenly all the hospital support vanishes. You may be lucky enough to be taken to the front door by wheelchair but then you are on your own.
If your leg is out straight, with swelling, bulky dressings, or a fixed brace, then you will need to work out how to get into the vehicle that will take you home. If it is a car, you will need to ask the driver to allow you in the front seat, and to push the seat as far back as possible. Then rack the backrest right back, position yourself to sit sideways on the seat, lean right back and assist your legs into the car.
If you have planned well, you will know the best approach to your front door - perhaps with a ramp if you have a wheelchair, or assistance if you are going to be on crutches.
Now your challenge for today to think about what is going to happen once you get inside the front door. Have you arranged for the dogs to be shut away? Are the kids being cared for? Is your bed downstairs and near a toilet? Are bedraisers in place, tipping up the foot of the bed, and is your foam backrest ready?
Perhaps you have thought to buy or make a frame to keep the blankets up off your leg, and perhaps make room for your rented cryotherapy or CPM unit? Are the instructions nearby? Is a sheepskin ready to take the pressure off your heels?
Is the phone near the bed? Where are the battery chargers for your smartphone, tablet or computer? What is the internet signal like where you will be sleeping? Do you have your doctor’s number handy?
Did you put that bag of medication by your bed? Is an umbrella stand ready for your crutches? Is there a jug of water and a glass about? What about books within reach? Where is the reading lamp with a flexible arm, and can you reach its switch? Would it help to have a plastic urinal within reach? Do you need any paper tissues or wet wipes?
You see, you won’t easily be able to resolve all this once you are home and in discomfort. Even if you can make it to the toilet, do you have a grab bar near the seat, or a toilet over-seat with arms? Did you remember the office chair with wheels for scooting about? What happens if someone rings the bell? Is there a key with a neighbour and a note on the door?
If you live on your own, did you remember to arrange meals? Are the freezer and microwave handy?
I know this all sounds dramatic, but think how much easier it would be if all these things were already in place… Well, they could be - if you take this challenge in the right spirit.
Checklist for planning the trip home from knee surgery - to download and print