We’re idiots, what are we? If you have helpful suggestions and hacks please add them in the comments because I’m in week 3 and it seems there are months to go before I can whirl my left arm like a windmill and in the meantime life has to go on. If you also live alone, you too may have struggled to find advice. We can combine what we’ve learned!
Sleeping – sitting up against a pile of pillows is definitely the easiest. We can – and I occasionally do – sleep lying on the sound side or on your back but the arm always hurts more when I sleep flat. Sleep comes in slabs of a couple of hours. Don’t fret it, and don’t take pills unless in real pain. Restack the pillows or change position and go back to sleep.
Luckily I lost weight some time ago and hung on to some favourite blouses which are therefore suitably loose-fitting.
Button-up type – feed the sleeve onto your hand, rest your fingers on a window-ledge or counter at the comfortable height, and feed the blouse up your wincing arm. Getting the other arm in is just wriggling. It’s slow and a bit painful. Meh.
Quick dressing – sacrifice suitable pull-on shirts for super-quick dressing. Cut off the affected sleeve and the side hem to just below elbow level. The head and sound arm pull on as normal, the crock arm is fed through the seam, on with the sling and Bob’s your uncle. Your beautiful bruise is on view to impress all who see it (useful for hospital checkups) but the rest of you is decently covered. Well – I say decent – If you do have access to a second handy pair of hands, sew press studs into the side seam so you can be closed up. But your immobilised arm and sling will keep you basically covered up.
For online teaching I have to present a normal pair of shoulders to the webcam, so I unpicked the sleeve seam and side seam to just below elbow level of my red polo-collar teaching shirts. Sorted and I’ll be able to sew it up again when normal mobility has returned.
My sling is the strappy type that goes round the waist as well as up and over my shoulder. I never undo the waist, just step in and out. The end of the strap over my shoulder goes between my teeth until my arm is fed properly in the pre-shaped sling and I can then Velcro the strap to the right height.
A year or so back I bought a light knitted cape which I never wore very much but is turning out to be the most useful garment I possess now . . .
Elastic-waist slacks are our friends. Lean against the wall to put on knickers and pull on the slacks. Prevents overbalancing completely – after all, sudden hopping hurts, and falling over is probably not advisable.
If you have a dog which was formerly in a harness for walks, because it needs more control than a collar affords, your best option is a slip lead.
In the beginning leaning forward or bending down tugs at the shoulder quite painfully so I feed her on the stairs. A saucepan with long handle has become the new dog bowl.
If you have a cat litter tray – my cat is old, drinks vast amounts of water, and pisses like a horse. The soaked sand sets like cement and is a bugger to shift one handed. I moved his tray to a compromise height both he and I can reach (that’s really a benefit with old Spanish houses, lots of deep window ledges at various heights) and lined it with a sturdy heavy plastic shopping bag with the handles and corners protruding from the sand. It’s easy to tug at either handles or corners to shift the sand around and then scoop out the clumped bits. A long-handled soup ladle is proving ideal for fresh sand out of the sack to top up the tray.
My favourite purchase has been a long-handled dustpan which proved endlessly useful for picking stuff up off the floor while bending or crouching down was painful. I seemed to drop everything at a rate never known before, that’s not happening so much now but the dustpan is still my go-to little helper.
Can you add more tips in the comments?
Ever researching on your behalf
Hi, just wanted to say I understand how you feel and hope you get better quickly. I have also recently acquired some shoulder problems. Working hard to get rid of them, but in the meantime, sleeping is quite a challenge. I’ll try the pile of pillows and see if that works. Thanks for the suggestions and get all better soon!
Oh, good luck with the shoulder and I hope the piled pillows work, I tried them when very preggers and kept falling sideways back then but finding the solution comfortable now!