Comfortability* – Your recovery venues

by tim1bgdpo

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?  Because you will have limited mobility during recovery, we found it very useful to stock up each recovery venue with the items you want and need during your stay.  This minimizes the stuff you have to carry from one location to the next when you change.

I tended to rotate between our bed and a lift chair in the family room.  I needed to keep my “toes above my nose” to keep the swelling down, but my Wife was able to sit at her computer desk during her recovery, giving her a third venue.  We replicated supplies at all locations as much as possible.  We included items such as:  phone, books, tissue, water, TV and remote controls, cushions, pillows, blankets, etc.  Set up each location as completely as possible before the surgery while you are still mobile and then fine-tune the supplies and locations during recovery as you learn what works for you and your situation.

BED

Bedding and mattress preferences are very personal so I would not venture to make a recommendation for anyone else.  However, I’ll recount what we have and what we have learned.  Our mattress is a memory foam TempurPedic.  We have had it for several years, well before our surgeries, and have been very pleased with it for normal sleeping.  It has also served us very well during recovery from surgery.  Getting into a comfortable position in bed to be able to fall asleep is tough after surgery, but the TempurPedic does not add to the problem.  I count it as part of the solution.

Our previous bedding was a good quality inner spring box and mattress set to which we added a four-inch thick memory foam pad.  This, too, was a very comfortable sleeping combination but I am sure that it would not have been as good as the TempurPedic mattress for surgery recovery due to the thinner layer of compliant memory foam present in the add-on pad.

We have traveled and stayed in quite a few different hotels over the past five years.  I don’t think we ever encountered a hotel mattress combination that we preferred to our old mattress/pad combination, and certainly nothing that we preferred over the TempurPedic.  I know that there are other brands and manufacturers of memory foam mattresses, but we only have experience with one.

RENTAL HOSPITAL BED

Don’t bother.  It seemed like a good idea leading up to my Wife’s knee surgery due to the independent adjustment of the height of the head and foot of the bed, the bed rails, and the ability to raise and lower the entire bed.

Regular hospital beds (in the hospital), while not necessarily super comfortable, at least are substantial and have convenient controls and fold-down bed rails.  The rental beds available were flimsy, knock-down versions with thin mattress pads and exposed flat springs like the cot in my tent at my last Boy Scout camp.  The bed rails did not fold down and were unusable as aids for getting in and out of the bed.  We sat on it once and then sent it back.

LIFT CHAIR

Highly recommended.  It has proven useful both for my Wife’s knee surgery and for my ankle surgery.

The kind of chair I’m talking about is similar to a recliner, but it has an electric motor that powers the reclining motion in one direction.  In the other direction, it folds up the footrest and raises the seat of the chair until the user is close to a standing position before you actually have to leave the chair.  If you only need to get your feet up, a regular recliner could be sufficient, but the powered ability to lift you up and out of the chair is very welcome if your surgery limits your ability to stand up on your own power.

We actually bought the chair several years ago when my Wife started to have serious knee problems.  Lift chairs are a bit expensive, but we took our time, shopped on Craig’s List, and found several available for about one-third of their retail prices.  They are also available for rent on a monthly basis from many medical equipment suppliers.

Now for the really important nugget of information in this section.  These chairs are really appealing to your granddaughters.  They will love to drive them up and down all day long for the novelty of the ride.  Because of this universal appeal, and because the mechanism could injure a child if not used under proper adult supervision, some manufacturers install a little safety key on the chair controller that can be removed to disable the chair.  So, if your Wife is just home from her surgery, and if she is using the chair, and if she gets stuck half way up because the chair stops working suddenly … resist the urge to fly into action, rescue your Wife, start taking the chair apart, research replacement parts, make an emergency call to a medical rental supplier, rent a replacement chair for $200 per month, and have it delivered … don’t do any of that stuff until you have checked to see if the little safety key has fallen out.  Don’t ask me how I know this, just trust me.

COMPUTER DESK

There is not a lot more to say about this recovery venue except that we purchased a combination memory foam and gel seat cushion that definitely made it easier to sit long hours at the desk.

*No, I’m not sure “comfortability” has earned its way into the OED … but I’m rhyming!

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