Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arthroscopy Day 2 and 3 - Some survivor tips for living alone

Living alone can be a real bitch when you are on crutches.

Days 1, 2 and 3 are arguably the most crucial to the recovery of the knee. The ICE - ice, compress, and elevate - 30min/30min will reduce swelling and the flexing of the foot will improve blood circulation. You don't want to be moving around too much but the occasional call to nature and for meals, will help against blood clots.

But these are all nice if you have somebody to tend to you. Staying alone prevents you from such a luxury, and you want to be really cautious about the knee.

**WARNING: you are going to need your good knee very much during these 2 days. I would recommend training up a bit LOLX

I would recommend staying off showers for Days 2 and 3, since you are staying at home and it really doesn't stink up very much, especially if you have done so on Day 1 and your house is properly ventilated. I chose this easiest option.

Alternatively, you have several options:
1) Cleanse with wet cloth + shampoo hair using sink -- cover bad knee with plastic/polystyrene bag taped with masking tape
2) Dry bath, what we do when we are out in the jungle in military, where we powder ourselves with talcum powder/'snake' powder

Get a chair in your toilet before the op. I am assuming your toilet is not wheelchair-friendly, so it wouldn't have those bars for you to hold. The chair acts as one of those for additional support to get up and down the toilet bowl. Remember, your crutches always on your bad side to support your bad side.

Before this week, I would have stocked up on groceries for 2 weeks at least. Have some prepared food available in the freezer too.

The main difficulty comes with cooking the food and washing up. In both cases, you need to be carrying things around. But this time, you can only do it ONE AT A TIME. So it requires A LOT of back and forth (especially if you forget something).... But the important thing is to maintain your composure and tell yourself to relax and that this is only temporary.

You would need to have a steady arm the side of your bad knee. As 'luck' as it, I am a left-hander (my left knee is injured). A very simple trick I do as you are moving around on crutches with ONLY A SINGLE DISH in your hand a time please -
1) hold your crutch of the good side as per normal, but the one on the bad bad side, squeeze your crutch under your armpit while you hold the dish.
2) Then to bring the crutch forward, lean on your good side a little, simultaneously rotate your shoulder and swing it forward a small distance, not very wide at all. Try with short distances to gauge how much you need to swing.
3) Next, lean on that swung crutch. Coordinate to bring your bad foot with your right crutch forward together at the same time.

This takes some practice, but it worked quite well for me and got really easy with more practice.

If you have prepared food, make sure to use a plate to hold your microwaved food for easy handling. My other small trick is to get a rice cooker. Get one of those you can steam extra food on top. Put in enough rice for 2 meals, lunch and dinner. Dump in the meat and vegetables on top to steam with the rice. After 1 hour, you would get entire meals very easily.

**You will still have to be extremely slow and extremely cautious. Look out for obstacles and try to clear them before your op, in your kitchen. I took an hour or more for each meal. 'Slow and steady' is the mantra.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Thai cart couple, P and A, for driving all the way to deliver the food I ordered!!! They are such a wonderfully sweet couple!! Always willing to lend a hand =)



You will get frustrated on how slow you have become and vexed with having to do things so many times. When that happens, I always stop and then reflect that this is only temporary and that I should consider if you have more haste, you would go with less speed. Frustration leads to more mistakes and accidents, e.g. breaking plates, which only serve to make matters worse.

So always maintain a calm composure as you move about your meals especially. Whistle if you must or sing a bit. This is only temporary, but if you hurt your injured knee under such vulnerable circumstances, it will be permanent. So 'more speed, less haste'.

I never realized how much depend on 2 knees until you lose one. I relied so much on my right knee, I could swear it grew much more muscular after this whole ordeal. But it is also with such thoughts that you will be more mindful to not take things for granted.

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