My 20-some staples come out today – three weeks and one day since the surgery and I'm glad for that. The incision looks nicely healed to me and it's time to move on.
Still, overall recovery will take much longer. A whole lot of stuff inside me was removed, relocated and reconnected in new ways so for several more weeks I am not allowed to bend over or twist my torso.
Until forbidden, you – like me – might not ever have noticed how often you bend every day. It can easily be dozens of times and as a result, I now have a reasonably large collection of special tools to help me do so many things I did without second thought before now.
You will be familiar with most of these but the last two might be a surprise for you.
Of course, the ever-present walker. Lots of elders need this at some point – temporarily if not permanently. I navigate well on my own in the house but I'll take it with me just in case for awhile when I go outside.
With the help of a home health aide, I took my first shower at home on Monday. It went well but no way, even with an industrial strength non-skid pad in the bathtub would I stand on one foot in the shower right now.
The shower stool is a steady, reliable solution.
This tool is almost as ubiquitous as the walker. It is endlessly useful, as I found for laundry. I'd thought – hey, no big deal. I can drop the dirty clothes in the washer, put in the soap and then transfer it to the dryer.
Oh yeah? I have a stacked washer/dryer that would involve a major bend in the middle of my torso to get the wet laundry out of the washer. Not good. But then I remembered the grabber and all was well.
NO-BEND BROOM AND DUSTPAN
Even if you've never used one, you've seen this a zillion times in your life. Custodians everywhere use them to keep floors in offices, schools and even ballparks clear of trash.
I've found it's also useful for all the things I manage to drop.
NO-BEND LITTER BOX SCOOP
Apologies that I don't recall the name of the TGB reader who recommended this to me. The image below is different from mine which includes a long-handled, small bucket to hold a plastic bag in addition to the long-handled litter scoop as shown in this photo.
It's slightly unwieldy to empty the litter box but it works fine.
PROTECTING THE INCISION FROM THE CAT
Cats are unpredicatable and the last thing anyone just home from surgery needs is a cat landing on an incision.
A neighbor had told me that after her abdominal surgery several years ago, she turned a large cardboard box upside down, removed the flaps and cut holes at either end for her legs and chest.
She slept that way and was safe if the cat jumped on her - he'd land on the box, not her abdomen.
I thought this was a clever solution but I didn't have a big box. What I do have however, sitting unused in a bedroom corner for longer than I can remember, is a bed table. I place it over my mid-section when I'm in bed and sleep safely from the cat's potential errant ways.
CAT FOOD FUNNEL
As soon as I got home from the hospital I realized I had no idea how I would feed and water the cat. I couldn't bend over to get his bowls from the floor and he's too old and fat to jump onto the counter. What to do?
This is ingenious not to mention, the coolest thing: My neighbor, Lauri Lindquist, got a three-foot, cardboard tube. He then formed a plastic cup into a funnel and taped it to the top of the tube. Voila!
All I do now is place the bottom of the tube in the cat's food dish and pour his dry food through the tube. (Sorry the photo isn't better; you can barely see the plastic funnel at the top. I didn't have the energy to fool around to get it right.)
Lauri's wife, Judy Rossner, had the idea to use a watering can to carefully pour water in Ollie's water dish and that works too.
There are plenty of other useful tools for people coming out of surgery or who are disabled in other ways. They are all helpful and I'm grateful for every one of them. But my favorite is Lauri's homemade cat food funnel. Excellent.