After a year of hip and leg pain, my doctor told me that I needed to have arthroscopic hip surgery. Although the surgery was fairly routine and an outpatient surgery, the recovery period meant four weeks of crutches, a hip brace, no driving and very limited activity.
Since I had the surgery right in the middle of summer that meant not only did I have a long recovery period ahead of me, but I also had to do it with two kids at home. Lucky me.
Luckily, there are ways to get through the summer while being stuck in bed with two energetic kids at home.
Enlist the help of your significant other
My husband was able to take a week off of work to help me with my recovery and the kids. Having him home that first week was crucial to my recovery. The first few days after surgery, I slept most of the time. He helped me with what I needed to do, took care of the kids, cooked, and cleaned.
He did have to use his vacation time to take the week off but our family couldn’t have gotten through that first week without him being home. And surgery doesn’t come up too often so sometimes sacrifices have to be made.
Make meals ahead of time
Since I couldn’t move around too well, I couldn’t really cook too much. The best thing to do in this situation is to make meals ahead of time. My husband grilled a big batch of chicken and put it in Tupperware containers in the fridge. They were easy to grab and heat up for lunch or dinner. You can also make meals that can be frozen and then put in the oven. Pre-cutting fruits and veggies and making them readily accessible also helped.
Accept offers of help from family and friends
If your family and friends offer to help, let them! My in-laws took the kids to the zoo one day and my stepmom took them swimming one day. It was really helpful to let them get out of the house since I was unable to drive.
One of my son’s friends wanted to have a play date but since I couldn’t drive, we had to turn them down. The other mom offered to pick up my son, bring him to her house, and drop him off afterwards. It was an offer that I really appreciated, and since I know her well through school and sports, I accepted. It got my son out of the house and gave me some peace and quiet.
Let kids help
When my husband went back to work, I was really worried since I still had to be in bed the majority of the day and take care of the kids. Kids can do more than you give them credit for, and my kids were very helpful. Yes, they still fought with each other and drove me crazy at times, but they were also helpful.
My kids are seven and 13 years old, so they are able to do a lot of things for themselves. My husband made a big batch of pancakes and froze them before he went back to work. My kids are able to take them out of the freezer and microwave them.
My older son is able to make me a cup of coffee and bring it upstairs, which was a lifesaver. They are also able to help me up and down the stairs with my crutches.
Keep kids busy
Since I was unable to move around too much and couldn’t drive, the hardest part was keeping the kids occupied. Yes, they played their iPods and watched TV more than usual during those couple of weeks, but surgery isn’t a normal occurrence so sometimes you need to do what you need to do.
Other options were letting them play outside in the front yard with other neighborhood kids, having them play board games and cards, letting them do art projects and puzzles, and getting them new books to read.
Surviving surgery recovery with kids is possible. These tips are great not only for surgery recovery but any kind of sickness that leaves you able to do less than usual. I couldn’t have gotten through those first few weeks without the help from my husband, kids, family and friends.
Heather Holtz is a fitness and health enthusiast who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two boys. She blogs at Run Eat Play about fitness, food, and family.
See more of Heather's stories here.
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