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Essentials for Broken Legged Bears

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was thinking about things that made my life easier while recovering from this broken leg, and decided to make a list. Does anyone have any other tips for getting around and living better? I'd love to hear them!

*Walker with a basket on the front for carrying things. Crutches are ok for going out, but I love the flexibility and stability of the walker indoors. It's like a workhorse. I carry laundry, pillows, and books in it. I can get the mail and not worry about juggling it. Plus, the cat likes to ride in it.

*Shower seat. Sitting to shower makes it so much easier than trying to balance. Before this accident, I saw these in Goodwill all the time for $3-$5 each. When I needed one, zip, nada, not one! : I borrowed one from my neighbor. I should have gotten one for all the foot surgeries, duh!

*Hand held shower. When we moved in, the old lady who lived here had one with a 5 foot hose and a knob to shut it off and use the regular shower head. A suction cup with large hook holds it off to the side so it doesn't spray all over when you need two hands to wash your hair.

*Basket with handle that will fit in the walker basket to hold lotions, medications, pens, elastic exercise band, and other things you need to carry from bed to chair to table each day.

*Tall stool for the kitchen. I sit on the stool and prop my leg on the walker rung so I can do dishes, fix meals at the kitchen island and I've even cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. (Borrowed from a different neighbor.)

*Sport bottles for water and juice.

*Cheap Ziploc containers with compartments for the days I'm home alone and would like a hot lunch. They fit in the walker basket, and with the lid, I don't worry about slopping or spilling.

*Neighbors. I couldn't survive without them! One comes over just to chat once in a while and boost my spirits. Yesterday she watered my plants and dusted while we chatted. The other neighbor sends me jokes, loaned me a shower seat, widened the walk with his snowblower so I could get out, and puts my daily paper on the doorknob on the days it arrives after Jeff leaves for work. Priceless!
post #2 of 20
A knitting needle or a long flat plastic ruler for scratching deep down inside your cast (if not a removable one).

Trash bags and a "safety strap". Cover the cast with a trash bag and fasten the strap around the top above the top of the cast and you have a nearly water tight "leg shower cap".
post #3 of 20
Plastic wrap works well too.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wish I had a cast!
Strike that.
post #5 of 20
You'll love this one - a bed urinal. Works great for the guys - not so sure about the girls :. I don't know how I could have lived without one, but my wife sure got fed up with emptying it! I think VSP told me he used a bucket next to the bed - that's classic. I don't think my wife would have appreciated that idea.

The best ice packs money can buy - I found packs that stay cold for up to 8 hours while remaining flexible and had velcro straps to attach them to your limbs. And they say money can't buy you happiness .

Support stockings like those used to prevent DVT. They provide the perfect support to reduce swelling for the entire leg - much better than the ace bandages I was trying to use before.

Large night stand or some kind of pseudo table (I used an upside down laundry basket) to provide enough space next to your bed to hold all of your stuff.

I actually had a real shower bag for my leg that was made of plastic and had a layer of flat surgical tubing-like material at the top with velcro - much better than the old trash bag trick.

Here's a big one - I just couldn't get comfortable at all with my leg elevated. I tried every mix of pillows of different thickness, etc., but in the beginning when the pain was really bad nothing seemed to work well. Then I had my wife go out and buy blocks of foam that I "carved" into the perfect wedge to give me even support from my butt down to my foot. That foam made all the difference in the world back then.

Kids! - my wife was worn out from "waiting" on me when we figured out that the kids really thought it was "cool" to help out dad. They got me my water, ice packs, and brought me my meals. Gotta love the "slave labor" built into the family unit.

I didn't go the walker route - I just used crutches. To carry things I wore shorts with really big pockets that could carry my stuff. It worked out most of the time. We have a multi-floor home with some narrow spaces so I don't think the walker would have worked for me anyhow.

Water-free instant hand sanitizer (like Purell) - this was my wife's idea, but she had a good point since I was using the bed urinal :.
post #6 of 20
When my husband broke his leg(both times), I got things set up pretty well for him.
The shower stuff was totally necessary. Stool, hand held shower head.

Rubber Backed throw rugs. I think we forget the fumbling you can do with a walker or crutches with throw rugs.

Cooler chest. I got tired of fetching snacks for him, and really tired of cleaning up his mess when he tried to fetch on his own and made spills, so I packed a cooler with his favorite things on a daily basis and sat it by the sofa where he became very good friends with his remote.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Urinal! Bucket by the bed! Men are so lucky!

I wore a diaper-like thing on the plane coming back in case I didn't get to the toilet on time. No accidents though.

I found that getting up to go to the bathroom made me stronger, even though it's damn near impossible sometimes. It keeps you moving, which is important, even though the pain of dragging your leg around at 3 am isn't pleasant.

I took up all the rugs. No reason to tempt fate. We have a 24 inch doorway from the living room to kitchen and the walker goes through it just fine. Of course, I'm living on the first floor. I can't see going upstairs yet. It's too much hassle.

The stocking: excellent idea.

Good ideas, guys!
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by Bonni View Post
Urinal! Bucket by the bed! Men are so lucky!.

One day while touring in the cold, my wife tells me she wishes she could just 'whip it out' like guys.

Ta da:

Sani Fresh Freshette . You can also get bags that attach to the outlet tube.

BTW, sorry to hear about all these injuries and inconveniences. Good luck during the mending process and hang in there.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I gotta get one of those. What a handy item.

It's about as cool as blowing your nose in a cotton handkerchief and stuffing it back in your pocket though. Eww!
post #10 of 20

Making it Easier

BONNI, Thats easy - DISTRACTIONS - Good Book (s), EPIC, Start an Essay, develope it into an Article, add information to make it a feature Article (choose a subject you like and are knowledgable regarding), keep a diary of Good and Bad things, feelings, contacts etc.. Start a cribbage tournament with Jeff. Learn magic, card tricks. Distractions will make the rehab time go faster and rehab will be more interesting and as a bonus you may learn something that you enjoy.
post #11 of 20
Take an on-line course. You can do it at your own pace in many instances. This would allow you to stop when in unbearable pain or when tired. There are some interesting courses you could take...you just have to find them.

Do a craft...have Jeff get you the stuff you need to do a craft...we all know you are a talented and crafty person.

Write a story to sell on the internet.

Correct my grammar and spelling on my website.

Place an ad to proof read and type term papers. Do them on your laptop and then have Jeff print them up for you.

Read some good books.

Do puzzle books...there are some great puzzle books out there, even some by MENSA.

Don't get into the habit of watching too much TV, that is so hard to break.

Go to Bousquett's Patrol room with Jeff and man (woman) the desk.

There are so many things to do!

First and foremost, get well and take care of that leg.
post #12 of 20
HAHAHA... no, I DID NOT use a bucket... I had no trouble hopping up on my crutches and getting to the bathroom. (though I did have a dream one night, that I just got up out of bed and WALKED to the bathroom, without crutches... scared the hell out of me!)

But the shower seat is an absolute must, and I found an extra length of hose on the hand shower really helped too! My Occupational Therapist gave me what he referred to as an Elephant Condom... A huge thick latex rubber sleeve which covered my entire leg, right up to the top of the thigh.

Books, books, and more books! I was reading about a book a day, plus various newspapers and watching news TV. Let's face it- daytime TV really SUCKS!

I pretty much just moved on to the living room couch, as it was closer to the kitchen, the bath room, had the TV, and my internet connection. Of course, about 3 days home from the hospital, my old SONY TV which I had for years decided it wanted to die. Thank goodness for the internet. I got a new TV, delivered right to my door, within about 4 days.

As I lived by myself, with only the very occasional assistance from my neighbors/ friends, I pretty much had to do for myself. I just improvised as I went along.

The greatest challenge was cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 12, by myself, less than 3 weeks after the injury.

But the most embarrassing aspect was having to ride around the supermarket on one of those under powered riding carts. Even though it was obvious I was broken, people would look at you like 'you aren't old, why are you riding that?'. Maybe it was my own embarrassment of having gotten injured. After a while, I got used to it... (But I was really hoping to run into Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor, to have him hop it up! hahahahaha)
post #13 of 20
Sorry about that VSP (if you were offended at all - although I doubt it). It must have been someone else's war story that I heard regarding the bucket next to the bed. I guess I attached it to the wrong guy .
post #14 of 20
If you cast is only below the knee, I found a typing chair with casters to be wicked useful to get around. I just bent my leg and put on knee on it and it was like a peg-leg with wheels. I could kick around the entire main floor of our house. I like to cook so it was really great that I could whiz back and forth between the fridge, stove, cabinets, etc.

GET EXERCISE!!!! Do whatever you can. Lift dumbbells. Walk around on your crutches. Do something to maintain fitness. Otherwise, you will totally suck wind when you start moving around again.

Learn to play a musical instrument. You have a guitar lying around?

Play an intellectual game online. I play bridge and played a few hours a day when I was laid up. Bridge takes a few weeks at least to learn but maybe try one of the free poker sites or chess or something like that.
post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post
A knitting needle or a long flat plastic ruler for scratching deep down inside your cast (if not a removable one).
Not a good idea at all. Scratches breaking the skin with a hard object can result in infections that get really serious inside a cast.
post #16 of 20
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Not a good idea at all. Scratches breaking the skin with a hard object can result in infections that get really serious inside a cast.
Air compressor!
My husband had a cast for a week, during the hottest week of the summer. He brought my little air compressor into the house with a 6 gallon air tank. Used a nozzle to blow air into the cast when it itched. Worked wonders!
Because the air compressor had a tank, it would stay aired up for quite a while and didn't need to be plugged in, or kick too often.
post #17 of 20
My biggest distraction for the first few days of my injury!. Fixing Epicski! the week after my injury was the same time we had the biggest Epicski forum crash.

Not essencial but a huge help, A Gameready (www.gameready.com) device. Ice/compression system that beats an icepack anyday.. Expensive but I found it to be worth every penny. Now my Wife is using it for her injury..

It's been a great piece of equipment to have for all the sports injuries..

post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by Bonni View Post
...It's about as cool as blowing your nose in a cotton handkerchief and stuffing it back in your pocket though. Eww!
So chicks don't dig that? I try to get most of it with the farmer's hanky, but I need to finish up with cotton. I fell like it's bad luck/karma to wipe my face with forest products. I do use paper to wipe my ass.
post #19 of 20
Jeez, trod. Could you be more off topic or disgusting?

Well, yeah, but sorry.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I love off topic sometimes.

Let me put this into perspective. You use a hygenic paper product on your ass, and a germ-laden piece of snotty cloth on your face. Is that about right?

Women are smarter!
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