Geeky preparations that helped our orthopedic surgery Post Op recovery


A collection of tips that didn’t fall neatly into any of the other categories:


Back to Lowe’s for your medical supplies!  This is the product we’re talking about, but there are many similar brands, manufacturers, shapes and sources.

What problem does this solve?  Right after my Wife’s knee surgery, it was very painful for her to bend the knee and it was almost impossible to lift the foot off the floor.  When she went to sit in a chair, she would use her good leg and arms to lower herself into the chair, but the foot on the surgery leg needed to “slide forward” to keep the knee straight.  If the foot didn’t slide, the pain was extreme.

The foot didn’t slide.  There was too much friction between her foot and the floor.  We tried a towel and a sock on the tile floors, but that was still too much friction.  Nothing worked if the chair was on carpet.

To solve the problem, I put furniture sliders on the floor beside each chair and toilet.  To sit down, my Wife would first put her surgery-side foot on the slider and then lower herself into the sitting position.  The slider allowed the foot to slide forward easily, thus keeping the knee straight.  It works in reverse on the way up, too.

P.S.  The sliders also work really, really well for moving furniture.

Quarter sheet pans

These are Goldilocks pans.  Not too big and not too small.  The size is just right to collect, corral, and carry your stuff during recovery. Read the rest of this entry »


Gravity – Tools to help mitigate the effects of

The rumor that we have invented an anti-gravity lift chair is, sadly, just that … a rumor.  Sorry to get your hopes up.  We are still working on it and also the knee scooter teleportation chamber.  In the mean time …

… we have some tips to make elevating your leg easier and more comfortable.

My doc prescribed “toes above my nose” for weeks during my recovery, including when I’m in bed at night and during the day when I spend most of my time in a lift chair.  My Wife received similar directions from her surgeon, except she is supposed to keep as much of her leg as possible above her heart.  In both situations, the purpose is to make gravity work in your favor to reduce swelling and pain in the elevated limb.

So, what’s the big deal?  Get some pillows and rolled up blankets and stuff them under your leg.  We tried this initially and decided that it was not a particularly comfortable or convenient solution for a weeks-long recovery.  It takes lots pillows to reach the necessary height.  I set up the stack but due to the shape of the pillows and lack of friction between the pillows, my foot always slid off the stack before too long.

My Wife came up with this solution:

Memory foam Read the rest of this entry »

Connectivity – More tools to enable sanity

The Electricity category suggestions apply to most of these items.

Cell phone

Of course.

Prior to your surgery would be a good time to program in phone numbers for family, friends, neighbors, docs, pharmacy, medical insurance company, your supervisor at work, and any phone numbers you might need for your company’s Human Relations department or short-term disability administrator. Read the rest of this entry »

Sanity – Tools to preserve

Of course, you know better than I what activities will help you pass the time at your recovery venues while guarding your sanity against the boredom assault.  The topics in this section are certainly not a complete list and clearly tend toward the geek side.  They are just activities that I like and a few tips on how to make them workable as I sit around with my foot up in the air.


No surprise here.  Connectivity and access to information help keep me happy.  The question is how?

Your old desk and PC

I have an office desk with a desktop PC as my primary computer at home, but I can’t keep my leg properly elevated at the desk, so the office is not one of my recovery venues.  I had to find a different way to get on-line.

Sitting at her desk and using her desktop PC has worked during my Wife’s recovery … different surgery and different post-op needs allow different solutions.  If you can use your desk, great.

The Wired or wireless Internet connection: Read the rest of this entry »

Electricity – Tools to enable sanity

Recall all those tools and toys in Sanity and Connectivity?  A whole bunch of them use electricity.


It’s not the electricity that is the potential problem, it’s the number of power outlets available to plug in your toys.

Let’s take an audit around my lift chair:

  • The lift chair
  • Laptop charger
  • Cell phone charger
  • Table lamp
  • Floor lamp
  • Heating pad

That’s six things that need to be plugged in, some of them have three-prong (grounded) plugs, and the chair is about eight feet from the nearest wall outlet (and that only has two sockets).  My bed recovery venue isn’t much better … take away the floor lamp and lift chair, but add back in a clock radio.

Our setup: Read the rest of this entry »

Toiletry – Bathroom accessibility

The Shower

Our master bath has a walk-in shower but it is small, there is a ledge that you must step over, and there are no grab bars.  I did a practice run before my surgery and rapidly figured out that the walk-in shower would not be usable.  There wasn’t enough room to maneuver with crutches or the knee scooter, and our shower chair would not fit.

My solution was to shower in the hall bath that has a shower in the tub.  I placed a non-skid rubber shower mat in the tub and then put the shower chair in the tub.  The clamp-on handle is on the edge of the tub.  I practiced knee-scootering up to the edge of the tub, getting undressed, and lowering myself, without the use of my surgery leg, into the shower chair prior to the surgery to make sure I could do it and also to work out the sequence of events. Read the rest of this entry »

Stability – Tools to prevent inadvertent mobility

Grab bars

Very useful and I highly recommend them.  We’re talking about those two-inch diameter metal bars that are mounted on the wall near your toilet, bathtub, or in your shower.  You can find them in many styles, finishes, and configurations.  See examples here (simple) , here (fancy), or here (complex).  Use your search engine;  you have many choices.

If you are in your dream home and your mobility limitations are long-term, purchase bars that you will be happy with for the long-term.  That is not our situation, so we use the simple, plain stainless steel finish bars.  They are readily available and less expensive.  Your local Home Depot, Lowe’s or hardware store should have them in stock.

Mounting grab bars Read the rest of this entry »

Mobility – Tools to get around

The mobility tools we used are durable medical equipment and readily available for sale or rent from a medical equipment supply store.  We live in a city with a population of about 200k and two major hospitals.  An Internet search brings up many sources for medical equipment within the city.


We purchased a used wheel chair on Read the rest of this entry »

Comfortability* – Your recovery venues

This is what we figured out:  There really was no place where we achieved true comfort.  It’s called recovery, for goodness sake!  We had a collection of places in our home that were more comfortable than others and, because no place was perfect, it was nice to be able to rotate from bed to chair to sofa and then back to the bed.  It really did feel good to get up and change position and our docs emphasized getting up and moving around periodically.

So, what does this statement of the obvious mean?  Read the rest of this entry »

Time to get ready for surgery

The following posts describe preparations we made to get ready for our post-surgery recovery at home.  See About for a few more background details.

There is no overarching order to these tips, but I’ll try to group and link items in a logical manner.  Browse and graze!