The past few days, my knee has been swollen and warm and VERY difficult to walk on. I contacted the Dr. office on Friday and we agreed to wait out the weekend with strict bedrest, ice, elevate; you know the drill. So, here I’m bedbound on a beautiful Saturday with no clouds in the sky.
This immobility not only drives me stir crazy psychologically; but immobility brings its own physical problems. The sheer lack of exercise does not sit well with ALL parts of the body. It doesn’t take long before muscles begin to lose their tone and atrophy a little: I’m sure you’ve noticed this when you’re sidelined with the flu for a few days!
In just TWO hours, our skin can develop a bedsore. Another ‘hazard of immobility’ is weight gain, and then the difficulty that ensues when trying to take it off. With weight gain, come other problems, like heart and blood pressure problems and for those of you with arthritic joints or joint replacements, every pound of extra weight makes a difference.
Blood clots can result, lungs not expanding fully can develop bronchitis or pneumonia. So what can we do?
First, lets talk about toning muscles when you have to be bed bound. Things that most people have at home help out. Don’t just lift that glass of water once in a while to get a sip; lift it and move the glass around, first with one hand and then the other, giving both arms a workout.
You can exercise your legs, by tightening your thighs 10 times one hour and then the next hour, pushing your knees into the bed while tightening your thighs 10 times the next hour. That is assuming, you’re not dealing with a ‘bum’ knee!
As far as bedsores go, it is wise from many standpoints to drink a good amount of water. Not just coffee and tea, as both are diuretics, but free water. The Lake Michigan tap water variety suits my tastes! Water keeps the skin elastic, hydrated and hydrated skin is less likely to develop bedsores. Lotion on that skin is also helpful, but one MUST drink liquids.
I mentioned that blood clots can form; this is real. Ever have surgery for just one hour and you woke up with those ‘things’ wrapped around your legs that compress every 5-10 seconds? They’re to prevent blood clots when you are completely motionless in surgery.
In bed you can work to prevent clots by once an hour pumping your ankles to your nose and down towards your toes; doing this 10 times an hour is all you should need.
Yes, you can develop problems with your lungs when you’re in bed. Again, once every hour take 10 deep breaths and then cough. This expands your lungs and prevents the accumulation of any kind of phlegm which can result in bronchitis or pneumonia.
There’s not a lot you can do about weight loss while bed bound; this is where strong self-discipline comes in. You husband/wife is so nice to cook dinner; think about it. do you REALLY need that second helping of mashed potatoes? Couldn’t it be tomorrow’s potato pancakes or leftovers!
About the exercises? When you turn out the lights after an eternity of bedrest, turn the exercise light off, too!