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August 22, 2016

Knee Replacement fundamentals: an insiders perspective

Doctor examining patient before knee replacement

Facing Total Knee Replacement surgery? Just last year it was my turn to be the patient.

I have always been an active person. I enjoy the outdoors, swimming, working out at the gym. Together with my husband, I have travelled all over the country on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. My right knee had deteriorated steadily for 25 years, to the point that it would no longer function. Because I was only 30 when it began to give me trouble, the Doctors advised me to postpone Total Knee Replacement surgery until I could no longer stand the pain. In 2015, I decided the time had come to get it fixed.

The next few months were interesting. After 15 years as a Medical Equipment Specialist, working with Physicians and their patients to supply the equipment they will need during their post-op rehabilitation, it was my turn at bat.  My name at the top of the prescription came as a bit of a shock. This was going to be my Total Knee Replacement.

I am thankful that I did have the background to know what to expect before and after surgery. After all, I had reviewed this with clients many times. All that information proved itself true, and I can summarize the best of the advice right here:

Before Total Knee Replacement

Do whatever you can to get in/stay in shape. The better physical condition you are in, the easier your recovery will be. I found the elliptical machine at the gym didn’t bother my knee too much, and it was good cardio. I did lots of upper-body work as well to help strengthen my arms and shoulders. If you need to lose weight, try to do so before the surgery as well.

Get the equipment you need before the operation. You will need these thing before your discharge, and I came home the next morning! Don’t think you will go shopping for them when you get out, have them ready. You will need the walker in the hospital, so bring it with you. Your individual physician may have his or her own preferred list, but at the very least, you will need the following:

A walker with wheels. I ordered one with a seat on it as well, so I could sit down if I needed to. That was a big help once I was able to go out to the store, etc.

Rolling Walker Rollator by Drive Medical

This walker and I became very good friends!

Several large Ice bags, or even better, purchase or rent a portable cold therapy machine. They reduce pain and inflammation and aid in a quicker recovery. And I used the portable cold therapy machine EVERY day for at least 3 months.

My doctor prescribed a CPM machine (Continuous passive motion) those units keep the knee joint moving continually so that the new joint remains mobile. That was rented for about 4 weeks only, and my insurance covered the rental fees.

Bath and Shower Seat with backrest

A shower seat, and hand held shower sprayer. Definitely. I felt dizzy for a while after surgery, so it’s a safety thing. Something about the steamy heat of a shower makes me a little woozy anyway, and you do not want to take any chance of falling!

A raised toilet seat. (If your toilet seat is high already you may not need this) The object is to make it easier for you to get up.


 Chrome hand held shower spray by Drive Medical Designs

 Folding Pedal Exerciser

 

 

 

 

After Total Knee Replacement

Take your pain meds as prescribed. Particularly at the beginning keep ahead of the pain and just take it. (I do not like taking pills of any kind either, but honestly, just take it) Take it before you do your Physical Therapy and you will be able to work harder. I took pain meds every day for 6 weeks.

You have to do your Physical Therapist even though it hurts like crazy. Push yourself. Then ice and rest. It gets easier, I promise.

Get back to your regular exercise routine as soon as you can. Stationary bikes are great for new knees.

Honestly, I felt better every day after surgery. I suffered a few setbacks over the months, mostly when I backed off of the stretching and exercises I was supposed to continue doing. It was one full year before I felt completely recovered, and now I am so glad it’s behind me and my surgery was a success.

Last month my family surprised me with a beach vacation on my birthday. I took long, pain-free walks every day on the beach. What a blessing that was, and I am so grateful for my new knee!

 

August 18, 2016

Baby Boomers revisited: The truth about Zoomers

Senior couple having a coffee in a bar. taking selfie with smart phone

 

If you are one of the baby boomers – or have a loved one who is – you are not alone, that’s for sure.

Post WWII, 77.3 million Baby boomers, as coined by the New York Post back in the day, were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, that places the baby boomer generation between the ages of 52 and 70. Historically, in previous generations, this meant slowing down and retiring. However, for this generation, retiring may not mean slowing down, but simply changing directions! Yes, Boomers are the new Zoomers.

As sociologists have researched, the trait that makes Baby Boomers different than previous generations is that they’ve maintained an indomitable spirit of growth. This traces back to their coming of age in the 1960s, where personal growth became a cultural norm. That same spirit remains with them today, regardless of their age.

From civil rights to physical fitness, Baby Boomers continue to push the envelope, embracing change and growth.

In 2016, when we look at the demographics of which age groups are traveling the most, adopting technology at lightning-fast rates, and are pursuing late-in-life courtships in growing numbers, Boomers and Zoomers top the charts. You might say, you’re more likely to find Boomers texting on their smart phone than having a conversation on a porch swing.

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July 20, 2016

Bringing the patient home: 5 things you should know following a hospital stay

dementia repetitive behavior

Bringing home the patient – 5 simple steps to take following a hospital stay.

I recently helped my mother bring my father home from the hospital after quintuple bypass surgery. This transition was an eye-opening experience. I realized how emotionally draining and stressful it can be for everyone involved. When it is time for the patient to come home, everyone is relieved. At the same time, though, they may be wondering…what happens next?

Whether the hospital stay is a long or short one, there are some basic steps I’ve learned that you and your family can take to make sure the transition is as stress-free as possible.

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May 24, 2016

Gel Wheelchair Cushions and their benefits

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are a great option to improve your comfort and more!

As you probably know, if you spend longer than an hour or two in a wheelchair you should definitely be seated on a cushion of some sort to relieve pressure, and make you more comfortable. A cushion is a necessity, not a luxury!

JAY Union Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Jay Union Gel Wheelchair Cushion

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are intended to help relieve pressure on your ischia’s (sit- bones) coccyx (tail bone) and the back of the thighs. Relieving pressure in those areas is so important for two reasons:

Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Comfort Company M2

First, because pressure related skin break-down occurs from the inside out. The ischia’s and the coccyx are pressing against your muscles and tissue as you sit for prolonged periods. That pressure results in soreness and redness to begin with, and will progress to actual pressure sores if it’s not taken care of. Nobody wants that to happen, so take measures to relive the pressure using a Gel Wheelchair Cushion as prevention of pressure sores.

Next, Gel Wheelchair Cushions can help you with your posture. A common complaint among wheelchair users relates to back pain, leg pain and muscle strain after sitting up in a wheelchair for too long. A Gel Wheelchair Cushion can offer positioning benefits if you choose one with contoured construction, intended to help you sit straight and square in your chair. Some gel wheelchair cushions also offer advanced positioning options such as foam wedges or build-ups to allow you to tailor the contours to your own body shape. Continue Reading

April 4, 2016

Product Spotlight: The new Roho SmartCheck Cushions

Spinlife is excited to feature the new line up of Roho SmartCheck Cushions!

Roho asked clinicians and users alike how they could improve on the Roho Dry Floatation experience. The overwhelming response was “make it easier to monitor your pressures”. And Roho listened, bringing to market the new Roho SmartCheck Cushions. – See SpinLife’s Selection

ROHO SmartCheck Air Cushions by ROHO

SmartCheck Air Cushion

It’s a given the importance of minimizing pressure points on the body to help eliminate the occurrence of skin breakdown or pressure sores.

Roho’s Dry Floatation Technology guards against the issue by what they call the “Four Principles of Dry Floatation”. The individual cells that make up the Roho cushion offer six degrees of movement. Lessening the forces of friction and shear, and deformation of the body with movement help keep skin healthy. Roho Cushions maintain a low surface tension, and the forces against the body are “constantly restoring” with movement of the patient throughout the day. The individual cells allow for greater air circulation beneath the patient as well.

The tricky part has often been achieving just the right pressure in your Roho to suit your own personal needs. After all, this is not a one-size fits all situation.

Filling with air, sitting on the cushion, opening the valve. Letting just enough but not too much air out to achieve the maximum immersion without bottoming out is somewhat of an art. Some folks find it difficult to do without assistance.

The addition of Roho SmartCheck Technology eliminates the guesswork. Real-time feedback to ensure proper cushion inflation range with the push of a button. It also provides the user with a tool to check and easily maintain your ROHO cushion. The Roho SmartCheck Sensor stores and displays your recommended pressures, so you can monitor your inflation whenever you wish.

Spinlife is the Nation’s largest provider of Roho cushions, save Today at SpinLifeVisit Spinlife.com, see the complete selection of Roho products today and save!