Angus and Lilly 7, NEW–The ‘Clysm Wars | The Ramble Inn

Angus and Lilly 7, NEW–The ‘Clysm Wars | The Ramble Inn.  Here is where my fiction can be found!  

Getting Around After a Surgery for the Average Joe

For many, getting to the outside world for interaction and necessities is a major ordeal.  When you have had a major surgery, or are recovering from an illness that required a stint in the hospital, the effects and efforts needed are amplified.  More and more, safety policies are becoming standard practice in hospitals.  People evaluate potential trouble spots in a patient’s home and life coupled with an attempt at preemptive measures to ensure a timely, safe release home.  This article should help you anticipate some of the things you will come across, and help ease your way through the process in layman’s terms.

 

One of the things we look at when considering a discharge; mobility.  For time’s sake, I won’t go into all of the other types of things that factor into going home.  We’ll just focus on getting around safely.  That in itself can be a burdensome, brutal thing and is many times, the cause of a delayed discharge.  There are some steps you can take to help prevent this from happening to you.

 

First, ask your doctor about pre-surgical PT (physical therapy).  It will help shore up the muscle structure you already have.  Second, it gives the therapist time to get you an assistive device(s) (AD) that is/are right for you ahead of time and learn to use it in a non threatening environment in all the various scenarios you may need it at home.  Third, it gives you added confidence you aren’t going to be stuck anywhere you don’t want to be stuck!  

 

Once you’ve had the surgery, if you haven’t done the above, you will likely have PT ordered for you by your orthopedic doctor in charge (you will anyway, but it saves you steps and time having this pre-done).  We will get you up and fit you with the device you need.  We’ll do an evaluation based off of a report you have of your home.  Here are ways you can ease your way.

 

First, have the number of stairs into your home, within your home, and around your home that you HAVE to navigate to function.  Anything you don’t have to do, don’t until you’ve healed.  Second, how far are you from town?  What was your prior level of function (how far were you walking? Normal activities? Driving?  Do you have friends or family that can help you during the day (have this in place prior!)?  Do you have other adaptive equipment (shower chair, tub bench, hand held shower head, rails, bed side commode, grab bars…).  

 

Now comes the hardest part.  Your actual mobility when you’ve been under the knife.  Just getting in and out of bed is a chore at this phase.  You need to know any precautions and be able to apply them, be able to get in and out of bed in a reasonable time frame so you can toilet on time!  Walking with good gait pattern and balance within your limitations and consistently, safely using your assistive device is the next step.  To be reasonably sure you don’t have a fall, you need to practice these techniques each day until your discharge; more than once!  Finally, the big kahuna for most folks is stair navigation.  Your therapist will evaluate the safest means and devices to be used, and will carve out time to work with you to practice this.  If you have stairs, it can’t be skipped!  

 

I hope this article helps you in planning your elective (or not) surgery!  You should have a base understanding of what people look for when anticipating your discharge, and should be asking questions, and getting your equipment and training as much in advance as possible to ease your way and make you as safe as you can be with an impaired joint or limb.  Take care and next time we’ll talk about some ways disabilities can affect your life and the effects on those closest to you.

End of Life Issues Can Break a Family

I know it sounds morbid but you need to start early and have a plan, a public plan.  End of life issues and other hard topics like dealing with a loved one with severe dementia always is a heart breaking.  It is an emotional time for all involved.  For the person affected, it can be debilitating and emotionally crippling to the point that what little time they have can be robbed of joy and the remaining peace that could have been had.  Not all of this can be prevented.  A lot of it can be mitigated drastically by future planning and vocal, paper, and legal documentation in a wide dissemination of information.

As a health care worker, I see folks come into the various facilities all of the time and they are unprepared for what they face.  Decisions, finances, assistance, beliefs etc all come into play.  Their families are also unprepared, and emotions run high on all sides.  If you love your family, each of you should prepare as much ahead of time as you can.  This can be done in a variety of ways and over time if you start early.  I’ve listed some ideas to help you get started.

First, you should have a frank discussion with your significant other and other close family members and friends about your needs and wishes in various hypothetical situations (tubes, wires, measures to keep you alive if your brain works and if it doesn’t.  No one can read your mind, and fights always ensue over what is to happen if you haven’t made yourself clear.  Someone will always end up holding the bag you left behind.

Second, you each (adults) should have an advanced directive and someone named as an authority (POA) for medical permissions in the case you are incapacitated or no longer able to make informed decisions on your own.  These things should be updated at least annually, and if you’re in a precarious situation medically, or have been diagnosed with a cognitive impairment, probably more often like every six months to even quarterly if things change.  Have the paperwork and copies in more than one location, (home, office, medical records, and family members entrusted to make decisions for you if needed), and again ensure that your decisions are known to those who need to know.

The thing is, you don’t want others making your decisions for you.  You want to spend your time enjoying what you can, and allowing those around you the protections of knowing your wishes.  This does good things for a family as then they are free to be who they are supposed to be to you, it allows them to grieve instead of trying to make decisions that will be second guessed by others.  It allows you to still have some say in your life at a time when choices are severely curtailed due to impairments.

Thanks for listening!  Next time we’ll talk about the challenges that physical impairments can bring when trying to go home from the hospital.  Please note, the opinions stated here are just that, opinions.

 

My qualifications for the opinions stated are:  I work in a variety of hospital settings, I suffer from a sometimes debilitating set of my own medical issues, and I have family members who have to face these issues and have had to face these issues in  the past.  By no means is this article intended to take the place of legal or professional advice.  It is intended to get you thinking about what you would want, and make sure you are preparing financially, emotionally, and legally when you might have otherwise ignored the issue.  Image

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I guess I better put something other than the standard welcome to a new blog thing here huh?