Thoughts on the one week, post surgery mark

Leading up to her surgery, the female DG spent considerable time on the internet trying to get a better idea of what she faced in her recovery from surgery to repair an Achilles tendon. (Looking back, she is somewhat glad that she didn’t spend as much time researching stage 3 glioma when the male DG was first diagnosed; she might have been more inclined to fold the tents – even in the good hands of the top-of-their-game UCSF neuro-surgery and neuro-oncology team.)

She found a ton of material about recovery from surgery following a Achilles tendon rupture – and it all sounded grim – but little about her less serious injury (severe deterioration and partial tear). So in the hopes of someone, someday, finding this post, she’s offering eight things she’s learned in the week since surgery.

1. Plan for pain but don’t be surprised if it’s more discomfort than real pain. That has been her experience.
2. Surgery takes the wind out of you – even if you’re fairly fit. She’s unclear if it’s the assault on the body itself or the anesthesia – or both. Don’t try to be a hero and do too much.
3. Do everything possible to make sure your spouse (or other caregiver)  knows how really helpless you’ll be. Being restricted to non-weight bearing activity necessitates balancing on one foot and not having the use of arms/hands (if using crutches or walker).
4. Ask your surgeon very early on if he orders cold therapy following surgery – and don’t leave the surgical center without it. More about this here.
5. Order a knee walker. There are different models.The female DG ordered hers through RentAKneeWalker. It arrived as ordered, and the customer service staff has answered two basic questions with courtesy. The knee walker allows you not only get around easier and more quickly. You can literally do more. The female DG can stand at the kitchen sink and kind of toggle between the sink and refrigerator to put a salad together, for example
6. Be ready to say no and yes. No when you’re really not feeling up to it and yes when people offer to help.
7. Spend the money on an wedge pillow to make it easier to keep your leg comfortably propped up in the “toes above the nose” position. No combination of pillows would have produced the same results.
8. Hope for temperate weather. The rarely too hot, summery temperatures of Menlo Park have been a boon.

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