Here I am in the first full day after surgery. Let’s get the topic that’s on everybody’s mind out of the way first: pain management. The doctor has prescribed Kadian, 1-2 tablets every 12 hours for general pain management. For “breakthrough” pain, he’s prescribed Oxycotin, 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. Being a little conservative, I take one tablet of the Kadian at the prescribed time. Yesterday, the nerve block was still in effect, so I didn’t need the Oxycotin. This morning was a different story, so as the doc has made abundantly clear, I took the single tab of Oxy.

I’m not totally pain free, but it’s manageable. I can feel the ache or dullness. Which leads me to a general observation - people who have to deal with chronic pain must have extraordinary mental stamina. For example, the pain meds really make me drowsy, so I sleep. But, I can tell that my muscles are still a little tense because of the dull pain and when I do wake up, they’re stiff.

Next observation leading into the shower chair adventure. I’m finding that recovery is about winning the mental battle. It’s really easy to just sit and do nothing. It’s almost like giving up. Today, I found that I had to psych myself up to get out of bed, deal with the crutches and the swelling just to brush my teeth. It would have been so nice to just have my wife bring me my toothbrush . . . Anyways, as everyone here has already attested to, even the little things are adventures - brushing your teeth, getting a drink of water, etc. You have to have a plan since going back down the hall to get something really just isn’t an option on crutches.

So, I psyched myself up to take a shower today. I was determined. It didn’t matter that my toes would swell. It didn’t matter that I might get the cast wet even though I’ve got the shower cover. It didn’t matter that it took me about half an hour from the time I entered the bathroom until the time water was cascading over me. I got it to happen. Then, I went promptly back to my day bed, put my foot up, and felt the blissful effect of the swelling going down. I got to bask in the glow of accomplishment - a shower.

Minor Rant: crutches are EVIL! If there was one, single, simple mechanical device on the face of the earth designed to convince someone to lose weight, it would be crutches. Also, we have a two story house. With the grogginess of the pain meds, I haven’t attempted heading downstairs. Coming upstairs was quite the workout. Crutches are EVIL.

9 Responses to “Post-Op Day 1: The Shower Chair Adventure”
  1. dennis says:

    mlouie -

    Glad to hear that you were able to take a shower without any incident. I know that doing nothing feels bad, but I think that’s okay too for the first couple of weeks. I felt that it’s all about giving your body the rest (both mentally and physically) and nutrition it needs to heal. Also, the less you move around, the less of a chance you’ll have of falling or putting weight on your recovering foot.
    If you have family and friends who can help you for the first few weeks, I think this is the time get their help. I had a lot of help from my girlfriend and my friends, and I am glad that they were at my side.

    Be very careful with the crutches by the way. There is a link on the main site about safely using crutches (Also some good info on achillestendonblog.com) and watch out of any sort of wet surface. Also, I’ve nearly tumbled downstairs a few times, and Michael on AchillesBlog fell and cracked a rib going up a flight of stairs on crutches.

  2. vance says:

    I am 2 days out of surgery. I was prescribed Oxycodone to take 1,2 tablets every 4 hours. I am surprised of how painful this is. I have spent a lot of time laying down. I was hoping to make it to an Auction dinner that we have attended for the last 8 years. There was no way I could go. I will try a shower tomorrow. It has been very dificult with this drastic change in life style. I have 3 kids, 3, 7, and 12 and a wonderful wife. We are all not used to me being this disfunctional. This site helps so much with understanding this recovery process.

  3. Tom says:

    mlouie - You’re correct, a big part of recovery is winning the mental battles. It was very helpful for me to push myself a little bit to get back to doing some of the typical daily activities such as a shower. Rest is important early on, but I think it’s also helpful to feel a sense of normalcy. Hang in there, the crutches do get easier to manage.

  4. tennisjunkie says:

    I am not 3 days post op, and I am fairly surprised that I am not in alot of pain. It comes on mostly when I get on the crutches and my leg is down. When propped up, it seems ok. I feel kind of nauseous now, might be due to allergies or a remnants of the percocet last nite.

    I am in a splint, and my ortho visit is one week post op. Has anyone gotten their stiches out after just one week? I am trying to anticipate what will happen. I suspect he might remove the stitches and cast me.

    Also, Mlouie, congrats on the shower. I am planning my first today. It is amazing how when you are immobile, the little things take on such signifcance!

    One more question….I go up and down the stairs on my butt. Last nite I thought I would pass out, it was so exhausting. I push up on my good leg, and use the banister for some leverage. Any other ideas? I am (was) in pretty good shape prior to the injury.

    Love this site, love hearing from all of you. It really helps.

  5. mlouie says:

    Hi everyone - I’ve spent the last 60 hours since surgery mostly with my foot in the air and except for the little adventures to the bathroom, the pain has mostly subsided. Some interesting side effects have come up regarding crutches, with all of the pounding on my healthy foot, it’s a little tender and one of my elbows feels like tendinitis. Oh well. Thank God for the wife. Because of her, I get to mostly sleep the days away.

  6. kristinatl says:

    Hey! Shower sounded wonderful. I haven’t been that adventurous…just have to settle for baths. I did wash my hair in the kitchen sink and that worked ok. Yep, I have tons of hard wood stairs too. Going down is easy but going up isn’t. If I go to the grocery I have to call a neighbor to bring my groceries up. Relying on people is the norm these days.
    Tennisjunkie-I think it’s easiet going up stairs on your butt. I don’t hold the banister though. I put my left palm on stairs, and my right hand is holding both crutche handles on one stair below and I push up one step at a time. (hard to explain but try it and you’ll understand.)

    Vance-I also have young kids and hubby travels…kids have been really helpful…so, it’s good to help them be more independent! My4 yr old son is starting to wipe his butt by himself too! Yippee! Add that to the other positives from ATR. :)

  7. mbargo says:

    One suggestion that has really helped me getting ready in the AM. If your bathroom is big enough put a chair(with cushion or pillow) at the sink. Stand on your good leg, put the knee of bad leg on the chair. Two free hands make the teeth brushing, washing hands- combing hair much less of a chore.

    I have also done it in the shower with a rubber pad on shower chair. Something about being low I dont get the water pressure on me like I want.

    Each shower/bath gets better, you just figure it out. But they dont get better unitl you start. I have trimmed a good 30 minutes off the time the last week or so. I am 4 wks Post op. But man I remember how good it felt to finally get good shower!

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