Since I use a walker to get around during this non weight bearing period I can’t really sit down into chairs that move at all. Yet this is what my desk chair is, being that it turns and has wheels. So we came up with the idea of using the lower drawer of my desk drawers as a mechanism to stop my desk chair from moving that much, to make it possible for me to get into it all on my own (also with the help of a grabber-like thing we keep on my walker to open the drawer with). I then have a stool with a pillow for my right foot under my desk, although realistically a chunk of the time I’m sitting my right foot is down like normal (and my left foot) because that is a bit more comfortable, neither foot bears weight when I’m sitting anyhow, and it doesn’t help to keep either foot/leg in one position for too long anyway (regardless of the recovery).
I’ve decided that I’ll add some posts describing aspects of how I’ve adapted my daily life during recovery, in the hopes that they (along with this entire blog) may help others facing this or similar surgeries in the future. This is the first in that occasional series.
I have changed the default face I use to one set up for surgery recovery. That is, my normal watch face has weather, activity, and such. All things that to be honest I won’t need much during a non weight bearing recovery where I’m going to stay on the second floor of our house save for trips to Gillette for follow-up appointments. I’ve even disabled all Activity and Stand notifications, since my physical movement will be far less for the next few weeks. Instead, I’m using a face that has both the digital time and date large and prominent, so as to be easier to read. Further, along the bottom are quick access to calling or texting my parents, who are my caretakers during the recovery, as well as access to Messages in general. This way, the watch can act as a quick alert system to get in touch with my parents (both of whom also have Apple Watches, and have promised to also keep their phones nearby if ever their watches aren’t on them) whenever needed, even though I’ve asked that at least one of them be home with me at all times (a bit easier with my dad and I working together from home anyway).
I have also put the Breathe app on my watch face. It can guide me through mindful meditation, urging to breath in and out with both soothing animation and rhythmic tapping on the wrist. I read how careful breathing can help reduce pain and anxiety during recovery, and know from past experience how helpful mindfulness can be, so wanted to have easy access to that anytime.
I may even change the watch face colors to match the cast color I have over time…
This morning I went in to the hospital to get the Robert Jones Dressing from surgery removed and a cast put on. Dr. Koop helped with both and between the two examined my foot’s progress and answered many questions we had. Everything is looking as it should for a week out from surgery, the incisions are looking fine, swelling is as they expected, and my foot is much flatter than before surgery. I’ll have my cast changed in 3 weeks, when I will next check in with Koop.
Been a while since you’ve heard directly from me… I’m home, although still learning the ropes of the non-weight bearing on my right foot. I can get around with a walker quite well, but it is still taking time to also get used to all the help I’ll consistently need to get around and do regular things during these next 8-12 weeks. But my parents are helpful with all that and intend to help wherever, whenever, and as needed. I have a great support system here. I have determined that I really shouldn’t be alone in the house at all during this time.
With a dining/living room upstairs, and having figured out how to use the bathroom and how to sit at my desk many bases are covered. Granted I should not spend much energy on professional work for a while yet. But there are still things easier on a Mac than an iPad, so desk use is important. But my iPad will be getting more use if I’m in bed more, at least at this start of the long haul of recovery. My phone will see less use, my other devices can reach it and are better for my direct interaction at this time. My watch has become more of a way to quickly reach my parents than its usual activity tracking for this time period.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime and we’ll see if I’m up to responding or not. But mostly I’m really glad to be home, in my own normal spaces, and sleeping in my own more comfortable and larger bed. I’ve already gotten more sleep here than I did the whole time I was in the hospital. This next phase of recovery is very much underway.
Coming home from surgery brings home the task of tracking meds. Alex has done a wonderful job of tracking his regular medications over the years, but when opiates and pain meds get in the mix and his mom and dad have to alternate overnight administrations of drugs, things get a bit more complicated. We tried tracking on paper for a while, but found that confusing enough that it led to at least one (minor) error. So we’ve started something new: an AirTable base for tracking meds.
AirTable lets you create simple bases like this for free. They can be shared with a group of collaborators (like our little family) so that everyone is on the same page. We have created a base where we can plan out the coming medication times noting exactly how many of each pill Alex is supposed to get. We have a space for notes (like how bad his pain is) and a check box to check off when we actually give this dose.
Since everyone can see it from any phone or other device, we all can easily answer questions like “was this dose given?” We can also plan ahead, agreeing on how we taper certain meds (like Oxycodone) and then easily sticking to the plan. And when we talk to nurses, this gives us a very good record of what we have done.
This is just one of many uses for AirTable. We also use it to track our car’s milage and to sign up participants in our faith formation group. Check it out some time!
We are getting through the snowstorm with some pizza and a call from Joanne and Thatcher. This is the sitting room we have set up on the second floor for Alex.
Well, we made it! We still have to get up the stairs after dinner, but we made it home. We are all a bit weary and Nate is cooking Lemon Chicken Rice for us. Thanks, Nate!
Alex had a really good night. He has his appetite back and is eating a nice breakfast this morning. Dr. Koop says he is a “ahead of schedule” and has some hope that Alex will get home today! We are lining up a wheelchair and walker, but signs are good we can beat the blizzard home. The only downside with this speedy return to the home front is that he would be coming home in the Robert Jones Dressing and will have to return next week for casting, but we’ll take that if we can get it!
Mary and I have been trading off nighttime duty. She took the first night, I will be here tonight. Of course, sleep is hard to come by in a hospital inpatient ward, but we give it a go. Right now I am pleased to hear Alex snoring away. Hm, someday we may have to send him to Cornelia for an evaluation, but for tonight I count each snore as a victory.
The overnight nurses were amazing. Carolyn and Meg would glide in every two hours with a whisper and tiny flashlights, get their work done quickly and quietly, and glide out again. I was impressed at how well they worked with Alex and how quickly he would fall back asleep. He got a lot of sleep, though not quite as much as he can get at home.
Nate stopped by for a visit after work today. The room was filled with laughter as we commiserated with WordPress nightmares he is having at work and the terrible junk food his dad is imbibing at the hospital. Mary can’t drive at night, so Nate was also getting Mary home for some well deserved rest.