PREP What I learned being alone after surgery

Signwatcher

Veteran Member
Getting old sucks. Getting old, being alone AND injured REALLY sucks!

That is kind of the down fall of our independent American lifestyle. Our families tend to spread to the winds. Even if you have kids they're rarely around to help as you get older. I've got six kids (his, hers, ours) and they are spread out across the globe, literally! Two are in Europe, one in the Midwest-East of the Mississippi, one in the Pacific Northwest, two here in SoCal but hours away and rarely seen. And I'm getting to the age where I just can't do everything myself. Totally sucks!

I'm getting VERY CAUTIOUS about getting injured as I get older. Things I would have done just a few years ago without thinking I totally avoid and if necessary get help, even if I have to pay for it. I'm EXTREMELY protective of my back and have come close in the past to seriously messing it up....knock on wood. Backs are too precious to take lightly and extremely agonizing when injured.

"They" say these are the Golden Years.....I'm calling it the Rusty Years. Take care and heal fast my friends. We've still got a long road to travel.
My Mom called them the tarnished years. Yep. It's not fun anymore.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
My Mom called them the tarnished years. Yep. It's not fun anymore.
That's why I'm taking some steps now. I want to enjoy my remaining time. I know every day won't be wonderful, but I can take steps to increase my quality of life. I can't believe how much my outlook improved when I cut out seeing the MSM nightly news and going on a semi-news fast (not total!)

Downsizing my house helped, too. I like things neat and clean, and larger living spaces take too much energy to maintain when one is older.
 

Nowski

Veteran Member
My Mom called them the tarnished years. Yep. It's not fun anymore.
That is exactly what they are. Always dropping things, knocking things over,
like I did this morning while making some coffee. Lucky the cup didn't
go over as well. None of this ever occurred in previous years.

It really ramped up when I turned 65. I noticed it, just not on the same
level as previously. Now I know why, they put retirement age at 65.

Just slow down, and be more precise about what you do.

Please be safe everyone.

Regards to all.

Nowski
 

seraphima

Veteran Member
I keep small flashlights in several places in the house, plus have nightlights of various brightness in the bathroom, hallway, etc. Long handled grabbers in a couple of areas as well. More kleenex boxes in various areas, as well as scissors, pen or pencil, sticky notes. if there is something I keep forgetting, like getting my hand lotion from the bathroom before going to bed, another bottle will be put next to the bed.
A lot of things have been routinized more- when and where i keep and take my meds, where in the house certain exercises are done, always putting certain objects in the same place so I can find and use them.
Oh, and i have to pick up all the dog and grandchild toys every evening, and ALWAYS WEAR SHOES OR SLIPPERS AT NIGHT lest i step on some nasty object in the dark.
It actually feels good, and my home feels cosy.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
That is exactly what they are. Always dropping things, knocking things over,
like I did this morning while making some coffee. Lucky the cup didn't
go over as well. None of this ever occurred in previous years.
You might also try two things: is your kitchen "set up for success"? Look at where you are
storing things. If, for example, you store coffee cups higher up and have to reach around
glasses or plates to get at them, you increase the chances of them falling out if you are hurting
and trying to get things done quickly. I moved my cups onto a lower shelf, and that's all that is on that
shelf.

Second -- and don't over-do! -- when I first get up, I visit the bathroom, and then I either sit
in a chair or on my bed and do some light, gentle stretches. I extend my arms, roll my head around, and
extend and flex my legs. I might also massage any muscles that I can reach that hurt. Do this for 3 - 5
minutes and then get up and start your day. If you're like me, you'll be a lot less likely to drop things
because you are fully awake and have the blood circulating.

This is just something I do, but I try to take a shower the night before so that after I stretch, I get
fully dressed down to house shoes. That helps decrease falls!

I didn't do any of this when I was younger or even think along these lines, but these things have greatly
helped, plus the downsizing. I don't have trip hazards, like I did in my house in Columbus -- there's
just a lot less "stuff" to have to walk around.
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
At one time I did a lot of baking, and still do from time to time. Flour, sugar, cornmeal, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, etc are all kept on the bottom shelf of one of the cabinets (Only space large enough to hold all that, and grouped for convenience). When I found out how difficult it was to get back up after reaching those items from the back of the lower cabinet, I found some discarded freezer baskets; the kind used in chest freezers. They hold a lot, and with the handle on the end, it's much easier to pull out and get at what I need.
 

Loretta Van Riet

Trying to hang out with the cool kids.
I keep small flashlights in several places in the house, plus have nightlights of various brightness in the bathroom, hallway, etc. Long handled grabbers in a couple of areas as well. More kleenex boxes in various areas, as well as scissors, pen or pencil, sticky notes. if there is something I keep forgetting, like getting my hand lotion from the bathroom before going to bed, another bottle will be put next to the bed.
A lot of things have been routinized more- when and where i keep and take my meds, where in the house certain exercises are done, always putting certain objects in the same place so I can find and use them.
Oh, and i have to pick up all the dog and grandchild toys every evening, and ALWAYS WEAR SHOES OR SLIPPERS AT NIGHT lest i step on some nasty object in the dark.
It actually feels good, and my home feels cosy.
Routines are a good thing.
 

ShyGirl

Veteran Member
Wow, some great ideas. It's hard when you really can't move around easily and my knees are shot. I don't know why I ever bought a tri- level house. Everything is upstairs or down stairs and the stairs are always cluttered with things going upstairs or things going downstairs. Just bought a chair for the shower because I am increasingly afraid of falling. I think longingly of the days I could glide across the ice or ski down a mountain in the rockies. Now I just hope I can make it to the bathroom which, like everything else is either upstairs or downstairs.
 

Tennessee gal

Veteran Member
I think organizing is the key as we get older and trying to keep out of trouble. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
I keep dishes on a lower shelf, food on the bottom two shelves of the refrigerator, pantry with most used items on two lowest shelves, hospital tray table next to my lift chair with scissors, pens, markers, etc in a small container, two plastic hospital mugs with water and a basket for odds and ends under the tray table.
I think the best advice is asking the Lord for safety throughout the day and to think and take your time before doing something.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Yeah, a lot of people have trouble with opiates. For preventing constipation, buy some pitted prunes, and eat one every time you take a pain pill. It works!

As far as your increases pain today... first, I don't know when your surgery was, but the third day is often the worst. If you are several days beyond that... you may want to talk to your doctor (or even get to the ER if you get worse) complications can happen, and are best handled as early as possible.

Summerthyme
Those opioid painkillers do exactly the same thing to me. I’ll either take them about 4 hours before bed (which allows the insomnia effects to peak and begin to abate by bed time), or I wake up at about 2 am and take them then. By the time the insomnia kicks in, it’s time to get up. As for the constipation, when I take the pills I take a laxative at the same time. They counterbalance each other.
 

Signwatcher

Veteran Member
That is exactly what they are. Always dropping things, knocking things over,
like I did this morning while making some coffee. Lucky the cup didn't
go over as well. None of this ever occurred in previous years.

It really ramped up when I turned 65. I noticed it, just not on the same
level as previously. Now I know why, they put retirement age at 65.

Just slow down, and be more precise about what you do.

Please be safe everyone.

Regards to all.

Nowski
HAHAHAHA! Welcome to the clumsy club. I'm a life time member.

When I get groceries I ALWAYS ask the person bagging to double bag my order because a sharp cornered pouch or box will puncture a bag or two and the contents will fall out all over the ground with an item or two magically rolling under the car just out of reach of my cane. It's an amazing occurrence of dynamic frustration!

I get all tangled up in the vacuum cord while pushing it around the house. DD saw this once recently and asked how that happened. I told her it happens all the time and it's just a clumsy person thing. She just shook her head.

Once I dropped the same small object 12, (YES, THAT'S CORRECT: TWELVE) times in a row. I don't recall if I uttered an oath of two, but I definitely recall the level of frustration.

Like the day I got my belongings from my then soon-to-be ex wasn't frustrating enough, I dropped not one, but TWO ceramic mugs during transport in two separate events, smashing them to smitherines. My Mom had given them to me. I cried about that. There are days I nickname myself idiot for good reason.

Some days my uncoordinated life is like a long running comedy of clumsiness.

I OFTEN tell people, "Clumsy people lead different lives." Some laugh and others tell me they understand because it's their lot too.

I couldn't have lasted as a waitress for long. Fact.

I once burned myself making jello. My ex used to bring that one up a lot. Guess he couldn't fathom it? IDK.

Wonder how I've survived this long and conclude it's because of the grace of God.
 
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summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
My grandfather worked 40 years for a railroad. He retired at 65. Got the gold watch and send-off party. Died seven days later of a stroke.
I was a weird kid, and I heard stories like this over and over... dad was a high level executive with the phone company knack when there was only one!) and it was shocking how many of his coworkers retired at 65... and died before seeing 66.

I think its the same type thing as when you take a thoroughbred race horse off the track and turn them out to pasture...it damned near kills them (and I suspect if they were the equivalent age as a 65 year old human, it WOULD kill some of them.

The crash from high stress to low is *extremely * hard on your body. The racehorses lose weight, their coats lost all shine... they essentially go into an adrenal crash. In humans, I think sometimes the stress was the only thing keeping them going.

One thing I observed was most of the men (because at that time, all the upper level executives were men) didn't have anything in their life they were really looking forward to... except "retirement"... but few of them had any hobbies or interests that could provide them with a reason to get up in the morning.

Summerthyme
 

marsh

TB Fanatic
I used my grabber quite a bit when I had my knee surgeries. I should find it again.

I noticed when I started gardening again this year, I was getting winded. Didn't help that I had developed a bone spur in my heal. I have gotten some of those portable garden benches and placed them strategically around the garden. That way I can take a breather as I rotate around the back yard from sector to sector.

I live a few blocks from my daughter, SIL and grands. They aren't used to me getting old as I have been very independent. After schlepping 24 bags of garden wood chips and 12 bags of large potting soil from car to cart to garden this year, I think it will be my last year. I even came right out and asked for help with the ladder cleaning the gutters this year, and they said sure, but never helped. Sad...
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
I have these scattered around. I can usually find them at a discount in the fall
at Home Depot and such. They are plastic, so the "scrappers" won't steal them.
I even left two at the community garden. They are still there! Nice and light, easy to
move around.

I usually gather them up in the fall, stack them, and store them in the garage, but I've
left them out all winter before. If they get bad-looking, there are special paints at the home
centers that will restore them.

1617493650396.png
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB
My Mom called them the tarnished years. Yep. It's not fun anymore.
The Golden years

"The golden years have come at last

I cannot see, I cannot pee,

I cannot chew, I cannot screw.

My memory shrinks, my hearing stinks,

No sense of smell, I look like hell!

My body's drooping, got trouble pooping.

The golden years have come at last...

The golden years can kiss my @ss.”
 

jward

passin' thru
I have help from my friends but it isn't 24/7. Luckily I had bought several frozen diners, I didn't feel like cooking and really couldn't besides pain I couldn't bend over or twist. Then there was the problem of my dog Ty, there were times I couldn't put him out at night so I bought the dog training pads and he is using them. The next problem was I can't bend over so a friend gave me a ride to Ace Hardware and I bought a Pik Stik. I can pick things up off the floor or off high shelves, this is the best tool I have right now, wish I had bought one sooner.
I often have a long handled spatula tucked in my waist band to compensate for only being tall on the inside.

I hope you heal quickly and well- and consider Meemur's often made recommendation to have at least two or three other folks in your "emergency circle" who expect to be part of the solution of any future surprises of this nature. . .
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Related:


"A's for arthritis;

B's the bad back,

C's the chest pains, perhaps car-di-ac?

D is for dental decay and decline,

E is for eyesight, can't read that top line!

F is for fissures and fluid retention,

G is for gas which I'd rather not mention.

H high blood pressure--I'd rather it low;

I for incisions with scars you can show.

J is for joints, out of the socket, won't mend,

K is for knees that crack when they bend.

L 'S for libido, what happened to sex?

M is for memory, I forget what comes next.

N is neuralgia, in nerves way down low;

O is for osteo, bones that don't grow!

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few, just give me a pill and I'll be good as new!

Q is for queasy, is it fatal or flu?

R is for reflux, one meal turns to two.

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears.

T is for Tinnitus; bells in my ears!

U is for urinary; troubles with flow;

V for vertigo, that's dizzy,' you know..

W for worry, now what's going 'round?

X is for X-ray, and what might be found.

Y another year I'm left here behind,

Z is for zest I still have-- in my mind!

I've survived all the symptoms, my body's deployed, And I'm keeping twenty-six doctors fully employed!"
 

dawgofwar10

Senior Member
You know your getting old when your dreams are dry and your farts are wet.
Also MIL gave me this one for the women folk, you know your getting old when the trash truck won’t honk its horn as they are passing you.
 

Josie

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Being short, I have those pick up sticks all over the house! Sometimes I can't even reach something at the bottom of the washing machine, so it's either a step stool or a pick up stick.

And this is the best item I have found for putting on socks if you can't bend over. My daughter and daughter-in-law have even gotten them to use when they were pregnant! You can even get compression socks on with it.
Amazon.com: Sock Aid Tool and Pants Assist for Elderly, Disabled,Pregnant, Diabetics - Pulling Assist Device - Socks Helper: Health & Personal Care
 

Bad Hand

Veteran Member
My family and friends say that I retired right after high school and in a way I did. I saw what happened to my family when they reached 65 and retired. I learned skills like welding, machinist, carpenter and diesel mechanic. This worked great because I spent the winters running trap lines and come summer I could get a good paying job which I quit Oct 1st (the beginning of trapping season). Then one year I just stayed in the mountains trapping, hunting, fishing and guiding. That was when I realized that most people spent 40 to 50 hours a week working at a job they hated so they could come up for 2 days on the week end to do what I did 24/7. Now I am writing about my adventures.
 

goosebeans

Veteran Member
I have a problem with pain pills. If I take one at night I can't sleep if I take what it as proscribed I get constipated. I don't know what I did this morning but I am having a real hard time walking.
Oh my, I do feel for you! Will be praying for your quick recovery! Can you eat prunes or drink the juice? It does help with the constipation. I love prunes but I know they're not to everyone's liking. :)
 

goosebeans

Veteran Member
Getting old really is the pits. When I wake up in the morning I'm so stiff and hurting that It's all I can do to pull my jeans on. Then I go out and start the farm chores and slowly but surely all my joints begin to loosen up. By about 3pm I'm feeling fine, ready to shear a sheep or move hay bales. I purposely make extra trips, walking to the barn and back for each scoop of feed in order to get lots of walking in. By bed time I feel fit as a fiddle, but I dread mornings. Well-meaning people make comments like, "Oh, you do SO much work, maybe you should get rid of some of those animals" I know that if I did that 'd be crippled up in no time.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
Getting old really is the pits. When I wake up in the morning I'm so stiff and hurting that It's all I can do to pull my jeans on.
Can you instead start with some gentle stretches? I visit the bathroom and then I sit on my bed or a chair and gently (and slowly!) stretch out my arms, roll my head around, and stretch out my legs. If anything I can reach hurts, I massage it for at least a minute. When I stretch like this for 2 - 3 minutes and then get dressed, it makes all the difference! Then I go to the kitchen and drink something hot, usually coffee or tea. That helps, too.
 

goosebeans

Veteran Member
Can you instead start with some gentle stretches? I visit the bathroom and then I sit on my bed or a chair and gently (and slowly!) stretch out my arms, roll my head around, and stretch out my legs. If anything I can reach hurts, I massage it for at least a minute. When I stretch like this for 2 - 3 minutes and then get dressed, it makes all the difference! Then I go to the kitchen and drink something hot, usually coffee or tea. That helps, too.
Thanks meemur! I've found that if I try stretching when I'm hurting so much it tends to make things worse. If I wait until around mid-day, after I've limbered up a bit, then it's more beneficial. Stretching definitely helps! Also, DH just bought me some fresh ginger root. Numerous cups of fresh, ginger tea throughout the day usually makes a big difference. I think it's also partly due to eating more carbs. Last year I was losing way too much weight on Keto, I had to increase the carbs a bit. But you know, once you eat that first sandwich .. well. :) Clothes are fitting again but man, I wake up feeling like I've spent the night in a tumble dryer!

Anyway, Bad Hand, are you writing a book? I'd love to buy a copy when it's available!
 

Thomas Paine

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I am having serious trouble now all related from my accident in 2012 . From the possibility of a deadly or crippling disease, together even more grim things possible so I know things similar to your pains, aches , and issues being alone (at least in some ways). Looking at it as a tactical problem is how I treat. Just another difficult situation to work on getting through intact. It can get get depressing , admit to yourself the problem and work it, I'm 59, I figure my accident shaved 10 years off my watch but I'll not give when it's time it will be time. I regret the world will be a much plainer place when and my fellow conservative americans, and aw'hell even the libs .
 

onmyown30

Senior Member
This post reminds me when I had my youngest son.... via c-section and my then husband decided to leave about a week after coming home. Leaving me with an infant and a 2 yr old. Couldn’t even get out of bed, my mom had already left for home and wasn’t around to help..... long story short...... I survived!
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Getting old really is the pits. When I wake up in the morning I'm so stiff and hurting that It's all I can do to pull my jeans on. Then I go out and start the farm chores and slowly but surely all my joints begin to loosen up. By about 3pm I'm feeling fine, ready to shear a sheep or move hay bales. I purposely make extra trips, walking to the barn and back for each scoop of feed in order to get lots of walking in. By bed time I feel fit as a fiddle, but I dread mornings. Well-meaning people make comments like, "Oh, you do SO much work, maybe you should get rid of some of those animals" I know that if I did that 'd be crippled up in no time.
Hmmm... any chance you need a new mattress? (Thread drift follows)

Our wonderful but occasionally bossy kids decided, in the middle of our move, they wouldn't move our king size mattress. It was a 12 year old pillow top, and I grant it wasn't pristine and I definitely was fine with replacing it soon. .BUT IT DIDN'T HURT MY BACK. And since my needed spinal surgery has been postponed due to insurance/move/doctor issues, that's vital. I barely got through the move still able to walk.

But, they were doing the physical labor, and they got their way. I was NOT happy, but they assured me that the new, "highest rated" mattress they ordered would be here when we arrived.

It wasn't. Oops... turns out the mattress is well rated. The customer service isn't. I don't know if they make the things after they're ordered, but it wasn't even shipped for two more weeks. In the meantime, we slept on a queen size bed that works for me (I knew I had that as backup, or they wouldn't have gotten away with leaving my old mattress.. it wouldn't have been pretty, but I *would have* insisted. Anyone who has a problem spine can relate, I'm sure.

Sooo... 2 weeks later, the mattress arrives. We follow the instructions, let it "air out" and "grow" to full size. Remarkably, there was almost no chemical odor at all. We slept on it the first night, and I thought... maybe... initial impression was cloudlike... until the concrete underneath made itself known. After the second night, my spine rebelled to the point where even with strong Rx meds plus my herbal knowledge couldn't get the pain level down below a 7 for about 48 hours... and my bladder issues (all traced to the bone spurs, calcium deposits and herniated disk) returned after a welcome several month hiatus.

In fact, I was seriously thinking of not seeking out another neurosurgeon yet... my most serious symptoms had actually abated quite a bit, and I was thinking I might get away without it, with the right exercise.

Um, apparently not! OMG...if I wasn't all too familiar with the cause of that fun 3 days, I'd have been in the ER... but they don't give pain meds and I don't need COVID.

Halfway through the 3rd night, I moved back onto the queen sized mattress. Over the next 2 weeks, my back slowly improved, although to the previous "barely functional " level, not where it had been. We put a 2" memory foam topper on the new mattress (you can return them for up to a year- but not in the first month. Sneaky bustsrds... I think they hope people will give up, lose the paperwork, or spend more money to fix it. I guess it works- thankfully, the topper works, and gives both of us a really good sleep.

My very long-winded point being, a "tired" mattress can actually cause back problems... or cause serious symptoms in someone who doesn't have much fundamentally wrong.

Hubby and I once stopped at a Red Roof inn on our way home from a cattle sale. We were exhausted and still had 5 or 6 hours of driving left. We ended up tossing and turning for about 3 hours, then both mutually agreement d we'd be crippled if we stayed in that bed for one more minute... we drove home at 3 am, and both felt the effects for weeks.

Back problems suk!

Summerthyme
 

goosebeans

Veteran Member
ugh! I hear you on the back problems! But yes. I do think the mattress has something to do with it. We were looking at some online just a couple of days ago but decided it would be best to go into town and actually try a few out. I really hope that will sort out some of the problem.

I never had any back problems even in the army doing a LOT of lifting and pulling etc. Then, about ten years ago, I was in the barn pulling string off a square bale of hay. Had my knee against the bale as I pulled. At that moment I caught a movement off to my right, over at the edge of the woods. Thinking it was a bear I swung around to look. Oh lord, talk about seeing stars! The pain was incredible. I don't know how I got back to the house. I had to use a long-handled shovel to hold on to. It took forever. DH was at work and son was upstairs doing homeschool. Managed to get into the recliner but couldn't move. Was stuck there until husband got home to lift me on my feet and into bed. It's never been the same since. Oh and it wasn't the bear, it was a bunch of turkeys! :)

I'll tell you what though, Ginger is amazing! I made a big jug of ginger tea yesterday and just kept pouring a glass every couple of hours. This morning I woke up with almost no pain! Was able to get so much done! Shoveled, cleaned out and dismantled the temporary goat stalls in the barn, did some ground work with the horse, set up the saw horses and manhandled sheets of plywood onto them so that I could cut all the components for a new pigeon loft. Just a great, productive day.
 

Craftypatches

Senior Member
When I have surgery, I have to find someone to take me home. Requirement of them releasing me. My son lives about 60 miles away and I am also supposed to have someone at home for 24 hrs. My son doesn’t really want to stick around so I say it’s ok for him to leave and all I do is sleep anyway. I have had 2 knee replacements and with one my daughter from out of state came but also didn’t stick around. I was using one of those seated walkers on wheels and thought I’d take a shower and somehow trying to walk around it got my pants leg caught on the side knob of my new knee and basically did a flip Almost upside down! My hands were on the floor with my knee on the side in the air. That didn’t feel so good! I’m soon to have 2 cataract eye surgeries and arranged rides but that’s it. They say it’s not too bad of a surgery.
 

coloradohermit

Veteran Member
Craftypatches, from my experience, cataract surgery is.....paperwork and wait...eyedrops and wait...more eyedrops and wait.....more eyedrops and wait.... 5-8minutes of "surgery"....go home with an eye patch and 3 types of eyedrops on different schedules. It was well worth it for the amazing improvement in eyesight(I had no real idea how bad my sight was), but it was more annoyance than "surgery".
 
When I have surgery, I have to find someone to take me home. Requirement of them releasing me.
Same experience 30 years ago - outpatient surgery at a hospital local to my hotel - presumed I would simply call a cab for transport, once I had awakened fully from the anesthesia.

Hospital would NOT release me to a cab or any public transport, and all but demanded that a friend or family member personally transport me the 1.5 miles to my lodging, and ideally stay with me a few hours, "just to be sure."

Was expecting to catch a plane outbound early the next morning to pre-position for a new job assignment.

The "advantageous of (relative) youth" and the ability to "spring back quickly" from seemingly any physical malady. <heh>


intothegoodnight
 
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