Miscellany

by tim1bgdpo

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

Sliders

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.

See here for sheet pans.  A quarter sheet pan is 9″ by 13″ by 1″, literally one-fourth the size of a full sheet pan.  These are standardized pans and sizes used in the restaurant industry.  We kept all of our wound dressing and cleansing supplies on one.  Another corralled my cell phone, the TV remote, the DVD remote, and other electronics.

The real tip here is organization.  You could use almost any pan, plastic bin, or shoe box.  These are just very convenient sizes.

Prices vary widely, so shop around.  We found the best prices in restaurant supply stores.  I’m not talking “Sur la Table” here.  Think more like Costco, but much smaller, more crowded, not as neat, and filled with restaurant owners pushing huge carts of supplies.  That’s the store that will have the best prices.  Call ahead.  Not all restaurant supply stores sell retail.  Many only sell wholesale and require tax ID numbers.

Flashlights

Put a flashlight (with fresh batteries) at each recovery venue, in the basket of your walker and wheel chair, and anywhere else you might be when the lights go off.

If you have not purchased a flashlight in a few years, the world has changed.  Light Emitting Diode (LED) “bulbs” in small flashlights are now readily available, remarkably bright, and efficient.  High efficiency means the batteries will last for a long time.  There are fancier models that use special batteries and they can be quite expensive, but those are not needed for this application.

At Home Depot or Lowe’s, try looking for blister packs of multiple small LED flashlights in the sale bins in the long aisle just in front of the cash registers.  If you have a choice, get flashlights that use AA or AAA batteries so it’s easy to obtain replacement batteries.

I’m a recovering flashlight junkie.  (Well, OK, I’m not actually in recovery yet, but I’ve been thinking about getting some help.)  If you want to add a brighter, higher quality flashlight to your collection, you could get a tactical flashlight that uses two lithium CR123 batteries.   Surefire is one of the popular brands and they have many models.  Think of the night scenes from old CSI or NCIS TV shows.  If you want to spend about $5 per CR123 battery, buy them at a local store.  Otherwise, shop on-line.  You should be able to find them for under $2 apiece in quantity.

I can’t help myself … you need to see this … if you want to bump up your performance by 10 dB (literally, 10 dB), see this.  Think light saber, but without the cool sound effects.

Light bulbs

If the surgery patient is the ladder climber of the household, get that person up on the ladder to change out all of the light bulbs in high places before the surgery.  I’m talking about changing bulbs that have not yet burned out.  Keep the old bulbs for future use, but buy yourself a little lighting insurance by starting out with fresh bulbs.

It’s OK to use common sense.  If you have a chandelier with ten bulbs, losing one bulb is not a big deal.  But if your bathroom only has a couple bulbs and they are up high, your bathroom trips could be pretty dark after a few weeks.

Rugs and mats

… and anything else on the floor that you can get rid of.  Pick them up and store them out of the way before they trip you.

They are not just tripping hazards.  It’s much harder to push a wheel chair or scooter over a rug than on a hard floor surface.  Make it easy on yourself!

Sleeping sounds

My Wife and I grew up in the Mid-West and we both enjoy falling asleep to the sound of a gentle rain and thunder, so we decided to try a little psychological warfare on our post-op pain and discomfort.  We purchased a CD of recorded rain and thunder sounds, I ripped the recording from the CD into my PC using iTunes, and then used iTunes to load the recording onto my iPod.  We have a clock-radio on our bedside stand that accepts the iPod into a jack on the top of the radio and it plays the recording over the radio’s speakers.  We set the iPod to repeat continuously and listen to the rain all night.  It really works for us.

The above procedure is complex.  If you have not done it yourself, get your TSK* to help.

You don’t have to settle for rain and thunder;  there are many other background sound themes available.

Read the description of the recordings carefully.  We ordered three CDs to have variety.  One had a-tonal new age music periodically playing during the rain, the other had no thunder, just fake rain that sounded more like radio static.  Caveat emptor.

*TSK:  Tech-Savvy Kid(s)

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