I recently had surgery on my ankle. The weeks following were definitely an adjustment for my family of four that includes a toddler and a baby. Here are my tips to help manage the time while mom is laid up.
Make a List
Make a list of the most important things you do and assign these tasks out to whomever you can ask for help. Grandma helped us with pick up and drop offs, and dad changed his work schedule since I wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids alone for a little bit.
Grab Your Calendar
Pay bills in advance, schedule transportation to any upcoming events for yourself and your kids, and find out how you will get around places when you do get there (wheel chair, knee scooter, crutches, etc.). I had previously purchased concert tickets, so I contacted the venue and they were more than happy to relocate my friends and I to the accessible area.
Gather All Medical Info
Write out all the names and phone numbers of your doctor, after hours nurse line, pharmacy and medical supply company. Make sure you have your insurance information, current medication list, and follow-up appointments handy. I put all this in a folder with my night-before-surgery instructions and my after-surgery instructions, so I had this all in one place. I also threw in my FMLA paperwork and contact names, numbers, and fax line for when I needed to send in my work release form.
Gather Medical Supplies
Will you need any OTC meds, bandages, or medical supply equipment? I had to reserve in advance and I scheduled to pick up the day before my surgery.
Arrange For Childcare
Surgery check in was at 5:45 a.m. Thank God for Grandma! She stayed with our kids during my surgery and recovery until we got me home and settled. My husband had to solely be in charge of the kids for at least the first 48 hours since I was instructed to do around-the-clock pain management to stay ahead of the pain. Don’t forget about your pets and their needs!
Do ALL the Laundry
I think I did 10 loads the weekend before my surgery so everyone had clean towels, clothes, and sheets. I also made sure my most comfortable clothing was washed and set out so I had these to wear during my recovery.
Clean and Purge
I am the main person cleaning and keeping our home presentable; clutter and mess give me anxiety. I had to prepare myself for things to be a bit out of sorts and messy for a while. I took this opportunity to purge excess toys, put away off-season clothing, and stock diaper stations and other supplies needed for my kids.
I did the grocery shopping for a couple weeks and meal planned to make it easier on everyone. I also got cash for when we needed to order take-out and stocked up on paper plates, extra TP, and other essentials so we didn’t have to worry about running out of necessary items.
Set Up Stations
I had two: one in my living room and one in the bedroom. It was a basket of absolutely must-have supplies. It held my medical info folder (see above), water bottle, chapstick, pain meds, books, and magazines. We also moved a recliner into the living room so I could be more comfortable and keep my leg elevated.
Finally, the single most important thing you can do is to mentally prepare everyone, especially yourself.
I run the household, and I had to let go and let things slide for a few weeks since I couldn’t help with much of anything. This was not going to be a time I could take advantage of being home and complete projects or do normal household chores. I was going to be in pain, uncomfortable, unable to shower, and just have to sit and watch the chaos ensue. Ha!
My husband was amazing and I am so lucky I have him, and for more than just his help during my recovery. (LOVE YOU, HONEY!) Talk to your kids and share with them what is going on. Find age appropriate books or tv shows about the hospital and about being a special helper while mommy is sick.
After finally feeling up to it (and following my weight-bearing discharge instructions) I am doing my favorite thing, vacuuming!!
You can do this! What tips do you have for moms recovering from surgery?