Guest Blog by Kathi Watkins – Part 2
If you joined our shoulder replacement journey, you know from my first blog that my husband and I prepped for his surgery. Although his surgery was more extensive than expected, our first few days following surgery have gone well. No, we didn’t hit the mark on everything. Here’s what went well and a few opportunities for improvement.
- At the last minute, we looked at our high bed. Oops, he’ll need a step to get in when he can jostle for position. He built a step since we had extra materials on hand, but you can purchase steps for accessing the bed as well.
- His surgery wasn’t completed until late afternoon, so physical therapy started the following morning. This included a walk down the hall – not something that he wanted to do in a hospital gown. We snapped his Patient Scrubs™ on. Perfect! They are the only garment that he can wear since he can’t raise his arm. They were ideal for the doctors and nurses to care for his incision. Plus, they go everywhere he wants to go. TIP: He finds them most comfortable when all the snaps are closed, which I didn’t do the first time under his injured arm.
- Baby, it’s cold outside! So, we bought a couple of extra-large flannel shirts to go over his Patient Scrubs™ when he went to physical therapy so he wouldn’t have dress and redress. The larger shirts buttoned over his arm while it was in a sling, so this was perfect for outings when the weather was chilly or to wear under a coat for colder weather.
- He loves the convenience of the electric razor because it’s so quick and easy to shave. He was too weak to stand long enough to take care of his morning toilette without the electric razor. It’s easy to clean too.
- Pain and medications can make some people dizzy and/or nauseous. We don’t typically drink Ginger Ale or Sprite—thus, a quick trip to the store was needed. It would have been helpful if we had thought of this earlier.
- While he appeared to be coherent when talking to him, medications made it difficult for him to recall details. One of the most important things we learned is that patients need someone to listen to the doctor’s orders, talk with the therapist, etc. Fortunately, the doctor told me that he was taking a very conservative approach to physical therapy in the beginning to allow time for tissues to heal and prevent the joint from popping out of place. If I hadn’t been listening, traditional therapy could have sent him back to surgery.
- It’s amazing what you can’t do for yourself with one hand, especially in the beginning when you’re weak from surgery. Food is a biggie for him – he needs help in preparing it to eat, i.e., fixing baked potatoes, cutting meats, opening a container, etc. If you ever take someone a meal after surgery on an upper extremity, remember to prep it so that you can open the container and eat it with one hand.
The idea behind Nancy asking me to do a guest blog is that she wants to create helpful resources for others. So, let us know if this helps you or shoot us an email if you have something to add. Stick around: A comprehensive list of “Things To Do” for shoulder surgery is coming soon.