Activities for bed-bound friend after cataract surgery?
March 5, 2010 1:29 PM   Subscribe

My friend just had cataract surgery and must lay on her back for several weeks. Activities to keep her occupied?

My friend just had cataract surgery and needs to either lie on her back or sit up at a 45 degree angle for a few weeks. Yikes! What can she do to keep entertained? Right now, she's only allowed out of bed for a few minutes a few times a day to eat meals, etc. Other than that's she stuck. So, bed-bound flat on her back and can't see. I've already thought of podcasts/books on tape/music/books from the national library for the blind. She has a computer with JAWS software (a screen reader) and access to the internet. Oh, I also told her to remember to move around in bed to prevent a DVT. I'm on the other side of the country so I can't go visit in person. Any suggestions are welcome.
posted by ticketmaster10 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles but the kind where two things seem to be linked together and you have to manipulate them to figure out how they come apart.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:46 PM on March 5, 2010

Are you sure it was just cataract surgery? Those are not normal postop instructions for routine cataract surgery; my mother had that done earlier this week and is already driving. It sounds like some clarification of the procedure and/or instructions is in order, otherwise you might get some inappropriate answers. For example the advice to stay in bed for several weeks is more consistent with a vitrectomy, which might have other restrictions that are relevant.
posted by TedW at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2010

Wow. That sounds horrible.

I'm grasping at straws here, but can she play any instruments - ones that can be played, albeit awkwardly, laying down? The guitar, for instance? If not, she could try to learn or just play/experiment with one. That could provide a little bit of amusement.
posted by kitcat at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2010

What about dialect tapes? She could try to learn some accents, just for sillies. That's got to be better than plain passive listening.

Learn a language?
posted by kitcat at 2:22 PM on March 5, 2010

Would she like to listen to old-time radio shows?
posted by alynnk at 2:34 PM on March 5, 2010

That doesn't sound like routine cataract surgery. I'd also like to hear more details on the procedure, but that's just curiosity and a tangent, so.

Topically: I once had to suffer through a similar positioning requirement for an eye surgery--in my case, it was try to stay face down or on left side as much as possible. It's downright maddening when you're otherwise perfectly healthy. I did a lot of reading with my spare non-operated-on eye, and listened to a lot of music mainly. With the reading not being an option, audio books are probably a good thing.

One of the best things you can do as a friend is to simply come over and give her company when possible; make time to just come hang out and chat, etc. It's no magic fix, but from experience, it really does make things much more bearable on the recovering one's side.
posted by Drastic at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2010

Learn how to meditate?
posted by kitcat at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Re: TedW Cataract surgery was a bit of an over-simplification. It was cataract surgery complicated by glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, partial retinal detachment and heavens knows what else. Oh yeah, that's the GOOD eye. The other one doesn't work at all.

Kitcat: I don't think she plays any instruments but she might enjoy a harmonica. If nothing else it would entertain her visitors!

Also, in the past I've given her tactile toys like playdough, silly putty, squishy balls thinking she might enjoy them. As her nieces and nephews ended up with they weren't her favorite. I tried.

Thanks for the help.
posted by ticketmaster10 at 2:52 PM on March 5, 2010

Well, a radio at the very least. One with preset stations attached to buttons, so she can "flip".
Also a TV -- she can listen, even if she can't see the screen. Perhaps a collection of her favorite movies and TV shows that she has seen enough times such that not being able to see the screen wouldn't be a very big hindrance, as she already knows how they go. Daytime TV (the talk shows, etc) are also not usually very visually-stimulating, so they might be of interest.
posted by cgg at 3:58 PM on March 5, 2010

could you borrow a small, friendly dog? Something she could pat and cuddle with, that would also bring her a toy for "tug of war" or a ball she could toss? Or a cat, with blunted claws, that she could play with with some string? I assume there's another person there who could take care of the animal's food/potty needs?
posted by The otter lady at 7:51 PM on March 5, 2010

See this post. When my mother went through this last month (but face down), I set up 2 weeks of phone calls at 4:00 each day. She didn't know who would be calling and enjoyed hearing from her nieces and others. She also watched tv and listened to books on CDs. Visits from friends helped also.

Sleeping in a fixed position can be the hardest part. Sleeping pills help. Also lots of pillows or a body pillow to adjust her body periodically.
posted by Sukey Says at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2010

Podcasts. On MP3-CD or on an MP3 player.
posted by yclipse at 3:17 AM on March 6, 2010

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