Friday, March 15, 2013

HOSPITAL STAY? Closet salvation before you go

 Will your closets and cabinets leave you helpless when you get home? Or just frustrate you? . . .

If you've been in a lot of pain, you probably didn't make many changes to  closets or kitchen cabinets, or the rest of home to save wear and tear on your spine or leg or . . . Someone may have "helped" by handing you things or lifting them.  But the game for me is:  How soon can I be independent?

Like some of you, I was diagnosed two years before surgery was inevitable.   I'm sure I was careless.  I did make an effort not to twist at the waist, and I had slip-on shoes that I just kept on the floor so I didn't have to reach down.  But I did bend and reach for other things too often.

                            Getting to the hints
After the emergency trip to the hospital last July, I kept one pan and four dishes on the counter top to avoid bending. In the market, people would usually get bulky things I needed off the bottom shelf.  I bought a lot of prepared food from the salad bar in my favorite market.  Other days I took my walker and walked to the corner upscale market; they put a bag on each handle of the walker.  But when I got home, I was limited to the top two shelves in my folding four-shelf unit.  Can you get one delivered? 

Then came surgery.  Since then,  I regret every bend I made after diagnosis.  And I regret years of lousy posture. 

 I remember some things I did for arthritic storage clients, and cabinet plans I drew for chair users.   The bottom line is:  the closer the shelf is to your waist or armpit, the safer, even for some chair users.  You may find some things must be kept in the kitchen or pantry, wherever you can reach.

                                             Shoes and safety
If you wear shoes that lace, a shelf at waist height (can someone put one in for you?) for everyday walking shoes really beats trying to lift one shoe at a time with the "grabber."  (If the hospital did not order a grabber for you, you can order one on line and insist that the delivery person ring the doorbell, not throw the box on the step.)  If no reasonable shelf is available anywhere, remember you are healing and you deserve cooperation, so keep your walking shoes on the bed or the sofa arm or wherever you can reach safely.  I don't have the pedicure thing down pat yet.

                                           Danger at night
Rather than rummage in the closet or on a shelf, at night I rolled a desk chair to the bed for phone, flashlight, water bottle, ear plugs, and acetamenophen.  The walker (later cane) was handy at the foot of the bed for bathroom trips.  And NO barefoot trips to anywhere. 

More later if I think of it . . .


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SPINE SURGERY fall prevention at home

Protecting yourself when you get home:  This is my newer, more intellignet plan.

Going to the bathroom and going to the bathroom at night: 
How much medicine at night?  Minimum
I don't lock the bathroom door
I don't take any medicine that ever made me wonky even for an instant
Take my cane at night even if I rarely use it by day
Take the phone with me

Friday, March 1, 2013

SPINE FUSION - A Cane? Never

Four speed, five speeds, cane?  I was never, never going to have a cane.  But the doctor repeatedly said Walk.  Then the spine didn't get well on its own, and my brake pedal leg was not reliable.  Didn't dare drive.  The walker was about as elegant as a donkey, and as much trouble. 

After surgery, the cane would let me out of the courtyard and over to a friend in a waiting car.   I did the math. 

It's industrial looking and falls on the floor too often, but it works for me.