Preparation List for Coming Home
VERY IMPORTANT: Do these things (or your own personal version) BEFORE going to the hospital so they are ready upon your return. Also list those things you do not want to have done until the day before your return, and ask your helper to do them just before going to the hospital to bring you home. There is no particular order to the items below, but try to imagine my poor wife as these came up the very first day home, one item after the other. Be prepared ahead of time and help your helper!
- Have TV and cable remotes on a side table next to bed.
- Have a phone available on or next to the bed.
- Consider a walkie-talkie if your helper wants a bit more freedom to (for example) work outside.
- Have a chair with arms and a TV table in the bedroom for meals. After a few days to two weeks you will graduate to eating meals in the diningroom.
- Have a waste basket beside the bed.
- Have a handicap toilet seat over the toilet in the nearest bathroom. If you cannot get that far, have a potty chair near the bed.
- Have a small light in the bathroom that can stay on 24 hours a day.
- Have a pad and a pen or pencil available beside the bed.
- Have small bottles of water and a glass next to the bed.
- Have small bottles of water and small juice cartons on the TV table in the bedroom.
- If room, have a gallon of water and a glass handy in the bathroom.
- Have personal toilet articles handy in the bathroom where you will shower.
- I found having a nail clipper near the bed to be very useful. If nothing else, it can help open the straws that come on the juice cartons!
- If you can administer your own medications safely, have them by your bedside as well.
- Have a thermometer and alcohol prep pads (to clean the thermometer) by your bedside. You will want to monitor your temperature the first week or two.
- If you are up to reading, keep a book (and glasses) near the bed.
- Have an ice bag available to your helper who will be filling it for you for at least the first week.
- Have a full towel and a hand towel by the bed. The hand towel is great between you and your pillow after a shower. The bath towel wraps and holds the ice bag in place on your knee. The bath towel can also be rolled up tightly to help with some stretching exercises.
- Have a brush and comb near the bed. You will not need these after a few days,
- You will likely come home with crutches or a walker, which you will want near the bed. The same for a cane when you graduate to it from crutches.
- Buy extra compression socks that are knee-high. You need to wear these every day (but not at night) for about four or more weeks (shame on you if you do not! You risk serious blood clots.) Having extras makes it easier on your helper's laundry schedule.
- Have a small apron with a couple of pockets handy. This allows you to carry things until you are off your crutches.
Also consider buying the following groceries (or your version of this list) BEFORE you go to the hospital. Don't keep sending your helper to the grocery store! Note that many of the items are selected to ease preparation time, and thus allow several easy snacks during the day.
- Gallons of water (unless you use tap water).
- Bottles (pints) of water (lots).
- Small containers of fruitcup.
- Small containers of pudding.
- Yoghurt (or whatever you like in its place).
- Juice boxes (your favorites, very handy).
- Fresh fruit.
- Instant hot cereal.
- Rotisserie chicken, ham, or whatever other sandwich filling you prefer.
- Your favorite bread for sandwiches.
You should, of course, consume one good meal a day (meat, vegetable and carbohydrates). The weeks after a total knee replacement are NOT the weeks to diet (though I did lose weight as my leg swelling decreased). You have major healing to do, and your body needs fuel to do that healing. My suggestion for all the snack and sandwich foods are to provide some decent nutrition during a period in which you will not have much of an appetite. Your appetite will usually be lower when experiencing pain and/or when on pain killers.