Sunday, 29 April 2012

Suppositories and showers :) 1-6 weeks post op.

As I am due for my 6 week post op X-ray this Monday I thought I should get a move on and do an update.
I was discharged from hospital on Weds March 21st after an eventful 5 day stay. My discharge was rather a surprise as up unto the previous evening I was not going home until the Friday!! There had been a lack of communication between the physio and O.T department throughout my stay with neither seeming to know what aids I needed for support, did I need to measure the height of my furniture, could I get up the stairs?
It was eventually my consultant who agreed to let me go home and I have never been happier.
Slight problem though. My husband was at work, he wasn't expecting me back til Friday and I had no door key.
Quick military operation and I was showered, packed and ready to go with my friend Jen patiently waiting. Actually Jen was on the verge of having a coronary after carrying a commode and raised toilet seat down several flights of stairs after being told there was no one available to help her!!!
One hour later I was safely at home, and started my first challenge of the week.
The stairs..........
As I suspected you might have well have asked me to climb Everest. I struggled getting to top hopping with one crutch but eventually did it. The problem though was the lack of bannister at the top then another few steps to the landing and the bathroom. This was impossible and needed the help of 2 people to get me up and down. I have never been in so much pain or felt so helpless. :(
I contacted the physio and O.T people who suggested that I was exaggerating and with time would be able to manage it! They did eventually arrange for grab rails to be fitted which I still use 6 weeks on despite being a lot fitter and more confident.
One of the less dignified parts of my recovery was as my son called, 'toilet corner.'
Due to the steepness of my staircase it was recommended that I ventured up and down as little as possible, therefore I had a commode along with gloves, loo roll and air freshner in a corner of my lounge! I detested it and down to pure determination only used it downstairs until the weekend and in my bedroom for about a week.
Love is emptying your wife's commode.
For those of you reading who have had a general anaesthetic or codeine based drugs you will know what they do to your digestive system. Although I hadn't eaten a great deal since going into hospital I also hadn't been to the loo and had a tummy like a Buddha.
I won't go into great detail but decided to take drastic measures which involved a rubber glove, glycerine suppositories and Jen nearly peeing herself laughing at the end of my bed threatening me with 'nurses soapy glove,' if I didn't do the deed.
For the first week at home I spent a lot of time in bed or laying on the sofa. I needed to have everything around me that I required with easy reach, with the help of hubby. He has been a star.
Kev has been great constantly fetching and carrying, helping me with dressing and undressing, getting in an out of the shower, but he has a habit of moving things!!
Whilst in bed early one evening I was desperate for the loo. Not a problem I thought as I still had the commode in my room. Unfortunately the commode was at the opposite end of the bedroom, along with my crutches and mobile phone!! Thankfully I had my iPad so sent a message on Facebook to a friend who then phoned Kev to tell him I needed the loo!!!
The weekend of my 'release' was busy with lots of visits from friends and Doctors. My foot and ankle had swollen up quite badly so GP recommended I use blood thinning injections as I was at risk of a blood clot. At first the district nurse would come out but I eventually injected myself until they stopped 2 weeks later.

My fat foot!!

A highlight was removal of my staples on day 9. There were 21 in total and it was bliss to have the dressings removed and feel warm water on the wound. Heaven.

By week two I was physically a lot stronger but still unable to move around much. Kev had gone back to work so I was relying on the good nature of friends to help me and still am. I honestly do not know what I would have done without this help.
One person in particular I have a lot to thank for is Jen. I am bloody lucky to have not just a good friend but one who works part time and also fits me in around her work calls. I do feel slightly guilty that I am taking up too much of her time and try not to ask too much.
I have appreciated all my visits from all my friends and calls from my Sister more than they could imagine. The trips into town, hanging out my washing, bringing home made soup and bread, cooking up dinners,trips to the supermarket, feeding the cat, bringing me cakes, lunch invites, holding belated birthday parties,stripping the bed, hoovering, texting.......
I have spent some days sat on my own until my family are home feeling at times quite helpless and miserable. It is amazing how a bit of human contact however small can have a positive affect on your day.
I would like to think that I am as good a friend to all those who have helped me.
I have gained a lot of empathy with the people I support at work whilst I have been incapacitated. I support adults with a learning disability and pride myself on a high standard of care respect and dignity.
I now have a understanding of how someone may feel when they are relying on others for their basic needs. I have hated not being able to go out when I have wanted and not to be in total control of my daily life. Even simple things like not having a shower until someone Is ready to help you,not being able to put your socks on, shave your legs or paint your nails. When out in a wheelchair it is alien to me to not be able to get up and socialise, or on the other extreme to not be able to get away from someone you may not want to talk to!
Going back to showering, I laugh whenever I think of this incident.
Kev would usually help me in the evenings but on one particular day Jen was round and offered to help me as I was feeling a bit yucky.
I'm not usually up for friends seeing me completely starkers but as Jen saw nakedness on a daily basis in her work (that's got you guessing ) I would make an exception.
So there I am sat on the loo seat trying to cover my modesty with my little vest top, Jen takes the shower hose off the wall and drapes it around the taps so I can access it easily. The plan was for Jen to help me onto the bath seat then support my legs over the side of the bath. From there I could shower myself,
Oh no, Jen had to be different. The next I knew someone had turned what was like garden sprinklers on in the bathroom!!! Jen had turned the shower on whilst hanging over the taps which had twirled around soaking up and the floor. Miss wet tshirt eat your heart out.
Now that is what I call an ice-breaker.
Ooh I can now get in the bath! I still need to use the seat but with a bit of patience I can lower myself up and down and relax in a haven of bubbles again. Simple pleasures.
One of my favourite pastimes has always been shopping. I am never happier than with a basket or trolley in my hands. Even more so when I'm actually eating. Imagine the frustration of not being able to get to the shops when you want, and when a kind friend takes you she wheels you away from the niceties( only joking.)
My first proper big shopping trip was fun. I so wanted to go around Asda on a mobility scooter but no amount of sulking was going to make Jen back down!! Meany. I had to resort to the clip on wheelchair trolley which was a bit like manoeuvring a tank round the aisles. I suddenly lost my ability to speak and constantly pointed at things just to annoy her :)
On one particular shopping spree before Easter Jen was beginning to lose patience with the very slow checkout lady. I suggested that Jen left me for a moment and popped outside for a ciggie, the queue probably wouldn't have moved by the time she came back! I had a plan. I got a lively employee of Asda to take pity on me and before you could say 'put that fag out its a dirty habit,' I had nearly all my shopping through the self service checkout and packed.

It is quite amazing how resourceful you become when in my position and how the being able to do the smallest thing gives you a huge sense of achievement.
Yes there are days when I would rather have someone help me as I'm tired, but most of the time if I can attempt something I will try.
Crutches are great for throwing laundry down the stairs. Walking frames are good for hanging wet laundry over and moving from machine to drier. Wheelchair is brilliant for pushing shopping from door to kitchen and even better when sitting in and pushing Hoover along the floor.
A lot of things I can now do sat down, washing up, ironing, cooking, food prep, although it takes me twice as long. I get frustrated at times, hop off to my room and cry. I hate night time when I can't sleep because of the pain and Lie there on my back listening to audio books.
I miss not being at work and having a purpose. I miss my friends and things we used to do together. I miss wearing high heels and dancing. I miss not being able to cuddle my Husband in bed. I am thankful that this is only short term and have the utmost respect for people who face these challenges on a daily basis.
Be back on Monday after my X-ray.

Me at the 80,s themed belated party thrown by Friends Deb and Glyn. Thank you. X

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