Shoulder Surgery – ms mary’s musings


I’ve been musing over all the things I need to do to prepare for surgery and most importantly organise my apartment so when I come home from hospital I am able to prepare & cook food, tidy the house and groom & dress myself using one arm

I’ve also been doing some good old fashioned brain storming and jotting down all the ideas I think  will be useful

I’m having a reverse shoulder replacement in about three months on my left shoulder. I had a total joint replacement on my right shoulder a few years ago so I sort of know what I’m in for as far as recovering from shoulder surgery goes

I’ve switched cities and coasts (east to west) since my last operation so having joint replacement surgery in Perth is a new experience for me

My apartment is quite different as well and provides different challenges and benefits

I hope some of this information helps you plan and think about what you might require or consider if you are having shoulder surgery or any other upper limb surgery as well

I guess now you can say you know me inside and out

Click here for information about shoulder surgery from the AAOS (American Academy of Orthaepedic Surgeons) website

A lot of surgeons and clinics have their own information and guidelines on the web regarding joint replacement surgery so check with your surgeon to see if they have their own website

Always check with your personal surgeon or team for their particular guidelines and precautions

Surgery and RA

Post surgery can present more challenges if you have RA/OA in your hands, wrists and elbows as they don’t function to full capacity anyway. Over-using these joints can also lead to a flare

Shoulder Surgery

Get Fit & Prepared for Surgery

In my case it’s going to be visits to the pool at least three times a week, eating well, maintaining an ideal weight and getting good quality sleep

If you have RA you no doubt are taking a cocktail of medications to manage your condition. You may have to stop taking some medications before surgery

Your surgeon and rheumatologist need to be in communication with each other as to the timeline of when to reduce certain medications before surgery

Don’t plan any major dental work pre or post surgery – get your surgeon or team to explain guidelines on dental care and surgery

Preparing Your Living Space




I have quite a minimal space but even so I put away almost all ornaments, knick knacks, and small photo frames that are on display

Items such as these will collect dust and you don’t want to be tempted to dust unnecessarily when you’re recovering (or accidently knock them over)

If you must dust when you’re feeling a bit better, it is easier to dust a clear flat surface

Look for and remove anything that could pose as a falls risk, especially mats that are not non-slip or items such as cords you could trip over

Don’t forget you’re initially going to be on some powerful painkilling medication which may make you drowsy and possibly a bit clumsy so a clutter free space is ideal

Although the Stay On Your Feet®  WA falls programme is aimed at older adults, there are some great tips in one of their brochures developed with The ICCWA (Injury Control Council of Western Australia) and the Department of Health. Have a look at the excellent brochure Home Safety Checklist WA

By the way, when you are in hospital no matter what type of joint replacement you are having, ask the OT or physiotherapist to show you the best way to get up off the floor

I’m an enthusiastic beach goer so it was very important for me to know the safe way to get up off the sand after I had knee replacements


Spring Clean

You may need to ask friends and family to help you do these heavy-duty house chores

Wash and put in a convenient place your clothes and towels you will be using post surgery

Dust your furniture, mop your floors and clean your bathroom

Place items you know you will use post surgery within easy reach


One thing to consider is how you will open doors, especially your front door

The front door I have now is easy to open and lock using one arm

My previous apartment however had a entrance door to the building everyone used where you had to unlock and pull or push the door at the same time to exit or enter

My OT and I had to rig up a system where we tied a rubber tube to the door handle which I slipped through my wrist and somehow managed to unlock and pull the door open at the same time. Luckily my neighbours didn’t mind the rubber tube being there all the time

You may also need to think about a suitable key turner for a better grip on your keys


Start thinking about the way you prepare food and what recipes you may be able to prepare using one arm

There are lots of aids and devices to make life a little easier

WISHLIST – I love toast with jam and coffee in the morning so I’m definatley going to purchase this plastic spread board

This chopping board looks amazing and you can do a number of tasks on it

Speaking of coffee, I received a pod coffee machine as a gift. I’ve been practising using it with one arm which I’m getting pretty good at

If you are a tea drinker, think about a kettle tipper or a power pour kettle (WISHLIST)




I will go into more detail about the above topics in future posts

Keep in mind that an Occupational Therapist will suggest items that suit your needs before or during your stay in hospital

Also, some of the equipment, such as shower chairs for the bathroom you may be able to hire rather than purchase

In the meantime I’ll try and track down some more items and ideas that will make life a bit easier post surgery


Click here to download a copy the Joint Replacement booklet from Arthritis Australia

image photo by Toni Frissell via wiki commons public domain

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions

Updated 28 June 2015



4 thoughts on “Shoulder Surgery – ms mary’s musings

    1. Hi Rashmi, how amazing. I was writing a reply to you on a previous comment from a couple of weeks ago when this comment popped up. As far as decluttering goes, it’s lovely to be in a space where you’re not overwhelmed by too much stuff.


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