A to Z of Hints and Tips

Click here for newer version – updated December 2020

A AMAZON – sells ice-band, shoulder pulleys and other useful items.
B BATHROOM – look at bathroom carefully.  Would a temporary grab handle help get in and out of shower/bath?  Do you need an additional non–slip mat in shower?
  BEDDING – duvets can be heavy.  Would you be better with a sheet plus a light fleece blanket?
C CLOTHING – easy to put on and take off.  Cloak for a coat if winter.
D DENTIST – have a dental check up to ensure no loose fillings or crowns.
E E45 – purchase E45 (cheaper) or Bio oil to use on scar four days AFTER removal of stitches.
  EARRINGS – loop ear–rings (studs won’t work).
  EATING – learn to use cutlery with your ‘other’ hand.
  EXERCISE – follow instructions from physio, don’t over–do it!
  EYELASH and eyebrow tint – before surgery.
F FRONT–FASTENING BRA – no explanation needed!
G GETTING UP – practice getting out of a chair and out of bed.
H HAIR – consider getting hair cut short – if you can bear it, or use a hairband.
I ICE – Ice, Ice, Baby – before and a lot after op.
  ICE BAND – can be purchased from several online retailers.
J JOGGING BOTTOMS – elasticated waist or size bigger.
K KITCHEN – use pre–prepared vegetables from supermarket.
L LEARN – to do tasks with the opposite hand, especially if surgery is on dominant shoulder.
M MEDICATION – if you are taking regular medication, put enough into containers for two or three weeks to avoid having to push pills out of foil packets.
  MOISTURISE – skin on shoulder to ensure that skin is not too dry, and lower legs which will get very dry whilst wearing the surgical stockings
N NIGHTWEAR – needs to be considered as you will be wearing the sling in bed at night so I advise that you wear a nightshirt (or pyjamas) with a collar to stop it rubbing your neck, again button–up will be easier for the first week or so.
O OUTDOORS – wear sling for the first few weeks, take care travelling on buses.
P PILLOWS – a soft pillow vertically on operated side to rest shoulder/elbow in sling and ensure you don’t turn onto the shoulder during sleep.
  PRACTICE – all tasks normally done with other hand at least four weeks before operation e.g. wiping ‘important little places’, putting on lipstick, brushing teeth and drinking cups of coffee.
Q QUESTIONS – don’t be afraid to ask questions, physio, consultant or any other medical staff.
R ROTOR CUFF – this is very fragile, beware of sudden sharp movements.
S SHIRTS – which button up the front, are great for the first couple of weeks when you may find it difficult to get dressed.
  SHOES – slip on shoes or boots with zips are much easier than laces.
  SHOULDER PULLEY – used for exercise post op and can be purchased from Amazon.
  SHOWER – consider a shower cape, wound dressings are waterproof but additional protection might be considered.
  SKIRTS – may be easier to wear instead of trousers (toilet visits).
  STAIRS – practice going up and down the stairs using only one arm – handrail will be on the wrong side at some point.
T TRAVELLING – in car: use a small hand towel under seat belt if it has to go over the operated shoulder – or sit in the back of the car on the opposite side.
U UNDERWEAR – almost impossible to wear without help, go bare if you dare!
  USELESS and UPSET – is how you may feel, its expected and its temporary.
V VANITY – no chance, you will look and feel like a ragamuffin for at least a couple of weeks.
W WELL DONE – congratulate yourself on achieving every small milestone, you will feel better.
  WIPES – face wipes, deodorant wipes and toilet wipes – very handy.
X X–RAYS – if you are curious ask to see your before and after x–ray’s when you attend your post op out–patients’ appointment.
Y YOU – will be tired, frustrated and grumpy – live with it, it won’t be for long.
Z ZZZ – some people find it easier to sleep in a reclining chair in the early days’ post op. If sleeping in bed as normal, more pillows may be required, especially under the operated shoulder.