Control Your Discomfort
When you go home, there are a variety of things you need to know for your safety, your speedy recovery and your comfort.
Take your pain medicine at least 30 minutes before physical therapy.
Gradually wean yourself from prescription medication to Tylenol. You may take two extra-strength Tylenol in place of your prescription medication up to four times per day.
Change your position every 45 minutes throughout the day.
Use ice for pain control. Applying ice to your repaired fracture site will decrease discomfort, but do not use more than 20 minutes at a time each hour. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a kitchen towel makes an ideal ice pack. Mark the bag and return it to the freezer (to be used as an ice pack later).
Your appetite may be poor. Drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Your desire for solid food will return.
You may have difficulty sleeping. This is normal. Don't sleep or nap too much during the day.
Your energy level will be decreased for the first month.
Pain medication that contains narcotics promotes constipation. Use stool softeners or laxatives such as milk of magnesia if necessary.
Lovenox is a medication that you may be given to prevent a blood clot in your blood vessels. Your physician will prescribe your exact dose. It is given as a subcutaneous injection. You will be instructed on self-administration and possible side effects prior to your discharge from the hospital.
- You will be asked to wear special white stockings. These stockings are used to help compress the veins in your legs to keep swelling down.
- If swelling in the operative leg is bothersome, elevate the leg for short periods throughout the day. It's best to lie down and raise the leg above heart level.
- Wear the stockings continuously, removing for one to two hours twice a day.
- Notify your physician if you notice increased pain or swelling in either leg.
- Ask your surgeon when you can discontinue stockings. Usually, this will be done three weeks after surgery.
It is very important to maintain good nutrition following your surgery. Calorie and protein needs increase post-op due to increased needs with wound healing. Some good sources of protein include: Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, beans and peanut butter.
In addition to protein, it is important to maintain good iron stores. You may find that you have been prescribed an iron supplement. Taking your supplement with a vitamin C-containing food such as orange juice will significantly increase your absorption of iron. Cooking in cast iron pots and pans will also increase the iron content of foods. Likewise, tea and coffee will decrease your absorption of iron.
Here are some good sources of iron:
Meat, fish, poultry, cream of wheat, Raisin Bran, kidney beans, pinto beans, molasses, prune juice and spinach.
Good source of vitamin C:
Orange juice, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, vegetable juice, Brussels sprouts
Calcium and vitamin D are important for the maintenance of healthy bones. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent sources of calcium. Other nondairy sources include calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu, canned fish such as sardines and salmon with bones, soybeans, and some leafy greens such as collard and turnip greens. Calcium-fortified cereals are also a good source of calcium. Vitamin D is essential in promoting calcium absorption in the body. Vitamin D is absorbed by the skin through the sun. Dietary sources include vitamin D-fortified milk, fatty fish, liver and egg yolks.