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I had an anterior repair (cystocele) 10 months ago and posterior (enterocele and rectocele) repair with perineal reinforcement 4 weeks ago. Thought I would share some thoughts on some small preparations that are useful to make life easier during recovery, keeping in mind the ‘don’t lift and don’t bend’ mantra.
Upper body strength – boosting this in the months before surgery was very helpful to me. Moving yourself up on the bed without dragging or getting out of bed without wobbling is easier if you have some muscle tone, and you can rely less on your abdominal and pelvic muscles. I kept it very simple, sitting on a big Swss ball,just using 2kg hand weights and doing bicep curls, some alternating lifts and tricep extention. (All on YouTube) I did it in the gym but you can easily do it at home without any equipment – sitting on a chair and using tins or filled small water bottles.
Preparing your living space for your new restrictions. Bit like childproofing your house when a baby becomes mobile, walking around and actively looking for problem areas.
Bathroom: everything at reachable height, so maybe lifting those shampoo/wash bottles off the corner floor of the shower unit. Into a net bag if putting a small corner shelf is difficult. Anti-slip strips on base of shower or bath – I went for this option as rubber mats need airing and cleaning. Buying a small step for resting feet, if you don’t have one already, to ease those scary early BMs.
Medication: I was given antibiotics and lactulose on discharge but in addition used: a stool softener (I am using Dulcoease – note not the similarly packaged laxative Dulcolax ), Fybogel ,gaviscon, ibroprufen, paracetamol, an antihistamine to avoid sneezing terror moments. Also toilet moist wipes.
Bedroom: a V pillow for back support and another spare pillow for under the knees. Look at your wardrobe and drawers and, if necessary, move underwear, nightwear and clothes to an easy height. If you put summer/winter wardrobes away and will be recovering across seasons think a couple of months ahead and remember that you are not going to want to be scrabbling into under bed storage or above wardrobes for quite a while
Stairs: I found a long handled cotton shoulder bag, across my body, very useful for transporting small things like a book or tablet up and down, whilst leaving my hands entirely free for the bannister etc,
Kitchen: my cordless kettle is quite adaptable to tipping over just enough to pour without lifting. I fill it to about 2 cups worth with the aid of a small jug. Altenatively a travel kettle is a lightweight solution .If the milk lives in ground level fridge door get a helper to put a small jug on a higher shelf.
Technology: I use a slightly dim smartphone, a laptop and a tablet. My iPad mini has been great during this time as it is light and with a screen large enough to watch tv and films/message friends/obsessively scour website for pelvic repair info et if you don’t already have one, there are some cheap ones on the market now that are adequate for this sort of purpose. Whether phone or tablet, invest in some extra chargers for use up and downstairs, with longer leads. You don’t want to be bending down to pull out a charger , and a longer length means you can leave it draped at a level convenient to you - bed, sofa etc.
Get a good trim on your hair and a (no varnish) pedicure.
Any tips to add ?
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