Author Topic: Lessons learned from my recent surgery  (Read 3258 times)

Offline Artos

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Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« on: January 05, 2011, 10:52:19 AM »
So, over Christmas break I had a tendon in my right ankle replaced with a strip taken from my Achilles.  Not a major surgery, I was under for 3 hours and home that afternoon.  My leg is in a boot, no weight on the foot for 3 weeks, then 3 more in the boot with a cane.  This has exposed some lessons I would like to pass on to yall.

1.  Practice doing things you normally do, with your "off" hand.  I drive 20 minutes to school with my right foot in the passenger side and working the peddles with my left foot.  This took about 10 minutes driving around my neighboorhood to get the hang of.  If my truck was a manual, I couldnt pull it off.  I will definatly be spending some of each dirt time I get in the future practicing a skill with a "handicap",such as a splinted arm or blindfolded or cant stand up.

2.  Keep things around to help you reach things.  I use my toes to pull the stopper in my bath water.  I cant reach the floor cabinets in the kitchen, so a grippy thing with magnetized tip is useful.  If I had to be in a wheelchair, I would need something to reach upper cabinets.

3.  Keep up your physical regimen.  I have been focusing for the last 3 months on doing a lot of squats.  Good thing as hopping up to my 2nd floor classroom up 2 flights of stairs with my 40 lb backpack requires a strong thigh.  When you have to use one part of the body to compensate for the loss of another, the strain is incredible.

4.  Know how to limit and pace yourself.  Measure twice, cut once is a good axiom.  If your injured, its more important than ever to conserve energy, as everything you do will be twice as hard.

5.  I have gained a profound respect for those who face mobility limitations.  Just being in a bed for 4 days after the surgery left me stiff, sore and unable to relax and rest.  Those who face these challenges daily, with no releif in sight, deserve RESPECT (not sympathy) for their perserverance and attitude.

More later as it comes to me.

Artos

OldManSchmidt

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 06:38:39 PM »
Ah, Artos, please don't practice driving with simulated blindness. ;D  Sorry, I couldn't resist.

There is a lot of truth in what you have said.  This is one "what if" game it pays to play and play often.
If anybody really wants to know how much such a thing can affect your everyday life, try using a spoon with your off hand.  Twice in my life I have spent a three week stint without the use of my strong hand due to injury.  I can do everything right handed that I can do left handed... except use a spoon.  For those two 3 week periods, I drank my soup from a coffee cup.

Eye surgery when I was in my teens also left me without sight for a 24 hour period.  The good news, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and well my other senses took up the slack.  I couldn't read or watch TV, but had no trouble getting around the house or feeding, bathing, or dressing myself.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 06:49:27 PM by OldManSchmidt »

Offline Artos

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 06:45:22 PM »
Dang it!  How am I supposed to develop my Spidey senses!

A couple more points:
1. Drove my truck to work today. That was a small victory that was significant motivationally. Dont overlook the small victories.

2. I will be adding a boot and crutches to my preps, in several sizes. They are specific med equipment that is relatively difficult to fabricate and is relatively cheap

3. When using crutches, you are supposed to support your weight on your hands, not your armpits (I didnt know this till I got the brief with them). Use weight lifting gloves for any long hauls. I parked in the absolute best spot possible today and it was still a quarter mile level hump. My hands are bruised.


OldManSchmidt

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 06:53:21 PM »
Good for you Artos!  Take your victories where you can get them.

Yes, the only time the tops of crutches are supposed to come into weight bearing contact with you are when you are repositioning the crutches or leaning on them while standing still.  During walking, the armpit rests are only there to keep you from flinging your crutch away or having it fall out from under you.  And it is hard on the hands.

I actually prefer, and do better with, a cane.  Then again, I have to use one from time to time as a matter of course.  Too much mileage on the knees and ankles.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 10:26:19 PM »
...3. When using crutches, you are supposed to support your weight on your hands, not your armpits (I didnt know this till I got the brief with them)...
This reminded me. I used to work with a lady who had polio as a child. Her crutches were almost part of her. Once, when I had an injury and had to use crutches she helped me get them set up correctly. She told me that while you were walking on them, the top of the crutches should be about even to where your bra strap is.  :D I have never forgotten her advice, and when my oldest son had to use them for a while, that is what I told him.

Offline jimbrtxva

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 09:48:15 PM »
Glad to hear you are getting around.  Adapt and overcome were the two word I kept in mind with 2 broken feet at the same time, knee surgery, dislocated shoulder and recovering from rugby games.

Don't make things complicated and keep movements simple.  I was amazed each time how normal situations became big hurdles with lose of mobility.

Offline Artos

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 09:51:50 PM »
Yep, the simple just aint anymore.

1.  tape the grips

2.  wear weight lifting gloves for longer trips

Offline upnorth

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2011, 10:14:56 PM »
Timely thread for me......... I have to get a double hernia (they arent super bad) fixed in the next month or so and I've been thinking about what I can do while I recover. I know I'll be laid-up for a week or two and then have to take it easy for a while after that. I'm saving all my reolading, fly tying, soap making, dehydating and PS3 playing until then. I'm not very good at sitting still so it should be interesting!

Good luck with the recovery Artos.

Offline Artos

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2011, 01:07:33 PM »
You too!  I spent a lot of time the first 2 days after in bed, planning future excursions on google maps and updating our important papers go bag.  Im also going through and cleaning up my hard drive and making a backup for the fire box.

Offline ChEng

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Re: Lessons learned from my recent surgery
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 03:26:56 PM »
Yep, me too.  I have long had a bad back, but just about a month ago, I started getting neuropathy (nerve damage) resulting in loss of control, and strength, in my right hand.  I am right-handed, and having a very weak (as well as not well-controlled) prime hand is tough.  Things that you would never think about (like cleaning yourself after using the toilet, or brushing your teeth) become difficult or impossible.

Two is one and one is none (applies to your one strong hand too, if you do not practice to make your weak hand a decent backup)