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Tips for being stuck at home - practically forever!! - with a broken leg?

(35 Posts)
Weegiemum Fri 09-May-14 18:47:49

I broke my left leg 10 days ago - right through the skin, blood everywhere, 2.5 hours of surgery to repair it, only got out of hospital today. At least 4 days out of it on morphine, it was such a nasty break my consultant was bringing in his friends for a wee look!

So now I'm home, no weight bearing, got a zimmer, living downstairs for at least 5 weeks (luckily we've a very comfy sofa bed!). MIL has stayed, has been a star, filled the freezer with meals, cleaned like crazy, shopped, looked after dc after school.

My 3 problems are - (1) is it ok to ask my dc to help more than usual? They're 10,12,14. I don't want them to be "carers" but there's no way I can do housework (I do have a cleaner!). So washings, dishes, sticking stuff in the oven - that's ok isn't it. Dh will do lots but he works long hours and is away overnight roughly once a week.
(2) dealing with a cast practically. I can't shower as it's upstairs. Got to be careful about getting the cast wet. Otherwise dh would be hosing me down in the garden. Hair washing? Is the kitchen sink a bit eww for this, because that's easiest!
(3) the sheer mind crushing boredom! I usually work 2 days and I also volunteer, and that's all impossible right now. I'm not a huge tv watcher, I like crafty stuff, knitting, sewing etc. I like reading. But frankly, 5 days a week from 8-4 on my own will drive me nuts. I've put out a fb call for visitors!

I've never had a broken bone before. It hurts!!

mrscog Fri 09-May-14 18:52:04

You poor thing, what a horrible thing to happen. I would say -

1) Of course they should/can help out a bit more for the next few weeks. If they're really helpful, maybe once you're mended you could take them on a nice day trip/out for a cool lunch to say thank you and show them how much you appreciated it.

2) Kitchen sink definitely not ewww for hair washing. Don't know any other strategies though.

3) I would try and set yourself a reading challenge and get through a load of books - are you on Goodreads? There is a very active Book Vipers group which has a lot of MNers in it. You could challenge yourself to read 50 books (or whatever). Also, even though you're not a huge TV watcher, are there any films you love that you'd like to rewatch? Or films you'd like to see? Box sets are also good - maybe we could recommend some if you tell us what you like.

Weegiemum Fri 09-May-14 18:59:35


I like quite "gentle" films - my fave is Local Hero.

Also like dystopian scifi (loved the Hunger Games, that sort of thing).

OneHandFlapping Fri 09-May-14 18:59:47

Why can't you get upstairs on your crutches? Especially when you have recovered a bit from your op? DD currently has a broken leg and hops around with great . You can also get a sort of plastic bag with a seal to go over your so you can shower

Weegiemum Fri 09-May-14 19:02:39

I don't have crutches. I have a totally separate disability that affects my balance, so I'm on a zimmer. Not possible on stairs! My hopping isn't great for a similar reason.

Matildathecat Fri 09-May-14 19:44:22

Once you are a little better get your friends to take you out or you'll go mad. You can hire or borrow a wheelchair. Or dept stores like m&s hav e their own.

I'm stuck at home a lot and not used to watching tv in the day but once I got stuck into Madmen I'm afraid that rule got bent smile. Ditto Breaking Bad which I loved even more. If you like dystopian scifi have you tried Game of Thrones? Haven't myself but it's meant to be fantastic.

I spend too much time online shopping and general time wasting. I make lists for other people to do, plan meals, plan household stuff like checking deals on insurances etc. all a bit dull but did save hundreds.

For the next few weeks, though you will feel tired because that's a major injury and healing is a job in itself.

And sorry, but are you really asking if it's ok to ask the dc to help???? I really hope they are offering and don't plead or beg. Calmly tell each one what you'd like done, please. You are a family, right? That's what happens in families.

Hope you feel better soon. I'm sure the time will fly.

BasketzatDawn Fri 09-May-14 20:19:10

Oh weegie, so sorry to hear this. It does sound nasty.

I wouldn't worry about asking the Dc to help - as others say, it's what families do, helping out when another is in need. And at their ages I'm sure they will want to help for a few weeks. I am chronically sick and my sons have helped out for years - now two of them have grown up and left home and I'm pleased we trained them up as they can shop and cook and clean and do laundry and budget. Today I had coffee with a friend who was moaning about her DC (similar ages to mine) who don't do any domestic stuff. I may have felt slightly smug. Whatever the circumstances it's a useful life skill. Sometimes they will moan, but they will help. Don't feel guilty about this.

Once you feel a bit less sore and more energetic, can you check out the shower facilities at local sports centres - some of them have completely accessible shower rooms and you can ask the manager if you can use it. I'm sure your DH would prefer to hose you down in there than in the garden.grin

Thoughts on activities - what about learning a new language - either a course out of the library, or find something online. I've read posts where you've said you studied Spanish and Gaelic so I know this is relevant to you. wink As others have suggested a reading project, what about a specific craft project. Initially you won't feel like anything too taxing, but as you gradually feel less woozy and sore you may want to get your teeth into something 'new'. What about doing some writing - or keeping a diary in Gaelic or Spanish!

And keep your morale up by writing a list of things you want to do when you feel more able.

LizzieMint Fri 09-May-14 20:38:26

You poor thing weegiemum! I chipped my ankle bone almost three weeks ago and have been sitting about for the last couple of weeks so you have my sympathy, obviously nowhere near as bad as your break though.
I've been knitting, I finished off two projects that I'd had on the go for ages, completed another one and started two more. Also been watching DVD box sets. I also had a friend come round and teach me to crochet - is there anything you've wanted to learn but not had the chance to? Order some books, watch YouTube?

Of course you can ask your kids to step up, I've been asking mine to do a lot more and my oldest is 7. My h also works away half the week, so they've had to get their own breakfast, clear the table, put things in dishwasher etc.
hope you are feeling better soon.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 09-May-14 20:42:17

Sounds really nasty sad

One useful thing to do would be to get all those photos you've ever taken printed and put into albums that would take me about 10 years

CMOTDibbler Fri 09-May-14 20:55:08

Sorry to hear this Weegie.

To keep the cast dry, get a Limbo. Fabulous things - when I spent most of a year in plaster it meant I could have a bath.

Washing your hair at the sink is fine, or you could try a shampoo cap

How about knitting some angel hugs? I'd gladly send you some wool as I can't knit but would love to support Woolly hugs.

When I was housebound after all the surgery, I watched a lot of documentaries on 4OD, which made watching tv in the day feel better. Maybe do a free 30 days of Netflix too?

HelenaJustina Fri 09-May-14 21:35:47

This happened to me last year! But at the time I had 4 children under 7 (including a 4 month old)...

You can absolutely ask your children to help out, they should want to! My eldest had to do loads and I felt a bit guilty but we had a great family day out recently as her reward, somewhere she had wanted to do for ages. She had to carry the baby around as I was non-weight bearing for 8 weeks so couldn't even get DC4 from room to room. It was novel to start with but she def got a bit bored of it a few weeks in, but if she realised that it wasn't exactly a picnic for me either, then your DC should do too!

I got upstairs by going backwards on my bum and getting a child to carry the crutches up, or crawling on my hands and good knee (harder than it sounds). So I bathed in the bath every other day, with one leg out over the side. I'm under 30 and relatively agile with no other health issues though!

We got a cleaner for 3 hours a week which made a huge difference as I was sitting worrying about the state of the bathrooms. Friends were amazing and brought round food parcels. I had to organise lifts to and from school and preschool for 12 weeks - used up a lifetime supply of favours. One friend booked in for the same morning every week, bringing a supply of chat and a Costa coffee with her.

BUT, there were days when I was at home all day with 2yr old and 4 month old, pretty much stuck in one room as couldn't move baby... and it was rubbish. I got fairly down about things every couple of weeks, my health visitor came round for a long chat (they suspected I might be a PND risK!) which was nice, she said 'you are allowed to feel down about this' and that permission was really helpful.

All the above suggestions sound good, read, craft, watch films, sort photos, browse web, online shop for next Christmas... Just make sure you have everything within reach before you are left on your own. Drinks, packed lunch so you don't go hungry.

Ohh top tip, leave the door on the latch and a note for people to just come on in. I trained DC3 to run to the door and shout 'it's open!', all kinds of people came in to find me rather than me struggle to them!

Sorry it is epic, but it is still very recent and relevant to me! Best of luck, keep taking the tablets, you don't need to be in pain (too much).

clam Fri 09-May-14 21:59:10

Ooh, I feel your pain! This was me, last year. Broke tib and fib in silly slip on stairs and 'they' broke the ankle as well, during surgery trying to wedge a rod up the inside of the tibia, and whack a few nails in.

Yes, it hurts! And I was depressed surprised how long it hurt for too. Came off painkillers after about 6 weeks (tramadol, cocodamol, nurofen). I didn't have a cast, so showering/baths easier once stitches came out, although I got one of those plastic protector things for the early days. Had to sit on a stool beside the bath and swivel round and into it. In the first weeks, dh would stand outside the shower handing me things, as I needed to hold on to the wall at all times.

I had two zimmers (couldn't cope with crutches initially - too wobbly) and I had one at the top and one at the bottom of the stairs. Went up and down on my bottom for months.

My kids were 14 and 16 at the time and were fabulous. Ds used to bring me up a tray of breakfast and the paper before he left for school each day. I used to have a 'little old lady' shoulder bag with all my bits and pieces in (phone, painkillers, tissues etc) so I didn't have to keep hopping around for things. Getting a hot drink during the day was an issue - a lidded cup was the best in the end, coz hopping with an open mug was not a good plan.

Simple tasks like unloading the dishwasher took forever. I'd have to unload it all onto the counter top first, and then transfer stuff a cup at a time to the cupboards, by which time my whole leg was screaming to be raised up, so I'd need to rest again. I used a wheeled office chair in the kitchen (no carpets) for zimming about.

I watched a lot of crap television Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

denialandpanic Fri 09-May-14 22:36:50

weegiemum what rotten luck. good easy dystopian fiction I have read recently is the ashes trilogy (ilsa j bick) and the divergent series by I think Veronica Roth. there is another set I enjoyed by I think Lauren Oliver the delirium trilogy. they are all aimed at young adults but really good stories.

I have been putting my four and seven year olds to work all week as I've hurt my back.basically just picking up after themselves and fetching me things.

Best1sWest Fri 09-May-14 22:50:50

I've been there too (several times) and Helena and Clam have given good advice. Are you able to go up/ down stairs on your bum? Though it is the getting up off the floor at the top which is difficult. I found I was very tired (healing uses a lot of energy) and didn't want to do much. Also we got a wheelchair from the Red Cross so DH could take me out for a coffee now and again.

HelenaJustina Fri 09-May-14 23:07:27

Also, I was advised to up calcium and protein intake to aid healing, esp as I was still excl bfeeding baby. Worth a shot, or a multi-vit supplement at least to make sure you have all the nutrients your body needs to heal.

As was feeding I couldn't take much pain relief, and had to give myself daily injections as ortho decided my clotting risk was high (because non-weight bearing and less 6 months post-partum I think). Didn't think I could handle those at all, but rewarded myself with a square of Dairy Milk each time and it is surprising what you can get used to!

Catalogues are good for browsing, and if I hadn't had little ones to look after I think I would have hand-written more letters to people.

Don't be shy of asking people for help, if they offer it is because they mean it. Host coffee mornings where guests have to bring their own cake and make their own coffee...

duchesse Fri 09-May-14 23:15:19

Sympathies. How did you manage that?

Cast/ shower issue- you need a Limbo. They do full leg ones. Then if you can manage to prop your leg on the side of the bath, you won't have to worry about splashing. I think you're supposed to be able to go swimming with a Limbo, but obviously that's not something a person with a severely broken leg wants to do... Sponge baths/ baby wipes in the meantime.

I work from home ordinarily and it was OK when I broke my ankle and was stuck at home for 6 weeks- not much different. My friends visited me a bit more than usual but the internet was my friend. The thing you are going to have to do is sort out a way of sitting with your leg up near a place where you can easily make hot drinks from a sitting down position as obviously you can't carry anything whilst on crutches. Some people get their loved ones to put boiling water in a thermos for the day before they go to school/work.

Hang in there. It feels like for ever at the time but maybe now's the time to start learning something new? Russian? Makrame? Tatting?

duchesse Fri 09-May-14 23:18:19

Oh and when I broke my ankle is when we started ordering online shopping and having it delivered!

BlueJean Fri 09-May-14 23:26:48

I did much the same as Clam .
I also had 2 zimmers but I had dh alter them to include a raised knee rest across the sidebars so I could stand to do tasks.
I used my knee to go up stairs and came down on my bottom. A small stool at the top of the stairs helped with lift off from the top step.In fact small stool strategically placed helped loads with moving from place top place.
I 'sledged' things downstairs using an oval washing basket to hold them in and it came down behind me.
I showered using a combination of an NHS supplied bathroom stool which was very sturdy and my own tallish stool inside the bath. I swung from outside to inside the bath on the same level. Bad leg stayed outside with a large bath towel draped over it. There were a few interesting moments but generally it worked well.
A wheeled office chair - cheapo plastic type- worked really well to get me around the downstairs we have all hard floors. Once I got used to this I could make and transport 2 cups of tea, very carefully ,from one room to another.
I learned to do small things ,rest, do another small thing ,rest - repeat until quite a sizeable amount of stuff was accomplished.

BUT - I did not have small children in the house,really like my own company and watched the hell out of netflix.

Weegiemum Sat 10-May-14 10:59:42

Thanks everyone - I really appreciate the ideas - definitely going to finish off 2 knitting projects and write letters!

To those who asked - I slipped on water on a laminate floor, the bloody cat had knocked over a glass. Also got wool tangled round my ankle and it pulled tight, giving me a really deep wound. Luckily, the phone was in reach, otherwise my ds would have been the one to find me!

OurMiracle1106 Sat 10-May-14 11:14:07

I had a nasty break back last October of my right ankle. They had to operate like you and put a metal plate and pins. I was told two weeks bed rest if your sending me home with the surgeon that might be possible

It didn't happen. I felt insane by the morning after discharge so decided very unwisely a trip to my local shop on my crutches was a wise idea. So I bum shuffled down all of my 60 stairs went and got coke and struggled my way back up the stairs.

I don't have children but live with three others so had a break for a while when I got in and then got a chair and sat at the kitchen sink to wash up.

My flatmate then gave me a lovely lecture on "not straining myself" or "being silly there's two of us here that will run for you"

I was out and about with the help of my best friend a few days later and within a few weeks I was pretty much doing my normal.

My consultant was very pleased with how quickly I had healed and I was put in a boot to bear weight after 6 weeks though I had been putting weight on it after ten days

jonicomelately Sat 10-May-14 11:22:41

Hi Weegie Further to everything PPs have said, I'd remind you that it may seem like you'll be incapacitated forever but time does actually pass pretty quickly. Three months ago DP had his leg amputated and all the really difficult times are already a dim and distant memory.

Bootoyou2 Sat 10-May-14 11:24:27

Sorry what a horrible accident sad hope the pain settles soon

If I was stuck at home alone I would sort all the photos I never got round to doing, into albums, online photobooks as gifts for Xmas etc

....and watch catch up tv!!

No tips though I am afraid. Nothing wrong with washing your hair in the sink though. You could always get a plastic bowl to put in it if it bothers you.

clam Sat 10-May-14 12:08:16

I bet you've washed more horrible things in your kitchen sink over the years than your hair. Or were you concerned the other way round? grin

OhImATwat Sat 10-May-14 12:23:56

He is it full or a half leg cast?

I had a half leg cast. Must haves:

Netflix! 3 months free subscription is ideal!

A chair in the kitchen. It let me prepare slow cooker meals. It took time but with slowcooker stuff timing isnt an issue.

if someone would drive you to a shopping centre shopmobility lease you a wheelchair for the day to get you out and about. I prefered the manual ones as i needed to be able to do something under my own steam. However they do electric ones too. Some will lease them for a week or 2 at a time (i found this out theday before i was alloweed to bear weight and have a walking boot! Hurumpf)

The bum shuffle up the stairs if you must go. Bleeding exhausting though.

take it easy and dont rush it!

Weegiemum Sat 10-May-14 12:39:02

Luckily I already have a wheelchair (I have an unrelated disability)!

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