Going from being able to function fully, physically, to being bed-ridden is a tough concept to grasp. If you’re anything like me, the initial thought of having duvet days is appealing but the reality of it is quite different.
Having completely, torn 2 ligaments in my right knee and partially torn (read partially as 90%) the 3rd, the bed was bound to become my best friend for the next 6 weeks. Move over work commitments, education, MOVEMENT – goodbye, you’re not needed anymore.
Physically, yes, my body was in pain. The first two days, I didn’t care about not being able to walk because of the agonising pain in my knee. I was barely, able to move. Even going to the bathroom required Herculean effort, despite having a walking aid.
When the knee pain subsided, the back pain kicked in. There was soreness left, right and centre. The small of my back hurt. My left side hurt. My neck hurt. Being a side sleeper, I was limited to either lying on my left side or on my back, both of which were very limited positions. I wanted to move as far away from my bed as possible. I wanted to walk, to be able to sit on a chair, to be able to bend my body in a way where my movement wasn’t restricted by sharp pains and dull aches. As cliché as it sounds, I could either lie there and feel sorry for myself or accept that circumstances weren’t going my way and alter them as best I could.
I tried to alternate between sitting and laying. As monotonous as it sounds, when I got tired of lying down, I sat up and when I got tired of that, I reverted back to the lying. Bed rest can really sap your strength and endurance. Physically, your muscles, the quads, hamstrings, calves and pelvis in particular, suffer the most because of the immobility.
Frequent bathroom trips are not a possibility so your diet makes the biggest difference. Too much protein in my diet would cause constipation. Too many fluids would lead to more bathroom trips than my legs had the strength for. I found that consulting a nutritionist worked best for me because I was on a well-balanced meal plan. I was having enough protein for my muscles to repair, enough fluids to not leave my body dehydrated and enough oh-the-dreaded carbs to keep my energy levels up and running.
Breaking down the day into chunks was ideal for me. In the mornings, after breakfast, I’d go through my study material. Whatever I needed to retain, I found that my brain was better able to take it in during the morning hours, while it was still well-rested and I wasn’t fed up with limited movement. After lunch, I’d power through Netflix. Friends (the show – we’ll get to the physical people later on) was like therapy for me. It was a fun, light-hearted watch which gave me plenty of laughs, enough to take my mind off things.
I found that tea time was the best to have friends (yes, now we’re talking about the people) over. That was the time when I felt the most sorry for myself. Bogged down by food and frustrated with studying, having company made me feel less lonely. At times, I didn’t feel like socialising from bed, but it’s important to stay connected to the outside world. Friends, family would gather around my bed and talk about everything but my knee.
Both mental and physical aspects of bed rest are very draining. More so mental than physical, though. I secretly hated my doctor for putting me on it. You’ll find yourself being frustrated and bored so, here’s a guide for things you may want to look into for staying sane during bedrest:
Prepare yourself, physically and mentally. Make sure you have enough water and food (for easy snackage – there will be moments when food therapy will be the most effective).
Alter your surroundings to suit your comfort level – this includes clothes. Make sure the room is not too cold, which will lead to even more stiffness and sore limbs, or too hot, which will be prickly and annoying.
If the external conditions are ideal for you but your body is still sore then ask your doctor about exercises you can do in bed to get blood flowing in your body.
This is the perfect time to take on a project. Make a scrapbook or blog about your daily experiences. This will not only cleanse your mind, but it’ll also keep you busy. You can look back on this when you’re up and running and see how far you’ve come. You will be spending a lot of time in your bedroom, so make sure you’re equipped with the best of entertainment, including, books and anything with a screen to catch up on all the seasons your work life kept you parted from.
Keep on top of your beauty regime. As tempting as it may sound to let-go-because-who’s-gonna-see-it-anyway and wear the same pyjamas everyday, don’t. Even if it’s something as small as painting your nails, it’ll make a difference. Feeling good on the outside can keep you feeling good on the inside too.
Fall into a routine. Break up your day and create a routine to follow, loosely. Have small goals lined up that you can achieve everyday or set yourself activities.
Who knew you’d get tired of laying down all the time?