Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m having knee replacement surgery next month and I’m trying to get
all my ducks in a row. I am single, though in a new dating situation.
My new honey has offered to do a lot of helping, including bathing and
dressing in the first week, the time everyone assures me that I need
to prepare for help in the home 24/7. Some of my friends (and I note
these are the same ones who are least available to help schlepp me to
PT) are suggesting I go into a rehab place for the first week, BUT I
DON’T WANT TO!!! What should I do? Oh yeah, I’m also told I won’t be
able to drive for four-six weeks but I do have friends and neighbors.
First of all, talk to your doc. See what the general prognosis is for
people in your demographic regarding how long it takes to heal and
hoe long you should expect to need 24/7 care. Simply not wanting to
go to rehab is not quite enough of a reason. If it is medically
necessary, bite your tongue and go.
If it is an option, see what the alternative looks like. Set up a
spreadsheet for the maximum duration of your dependency. Set up
the grid day by day, and with sectors for morning, afternoon, and
evening, with specific slots for shlepping to and from physical therapy.
Talk to your new honey realistically. Not much kills romance faster
than changing dressings on wounds and hours of kvetching and pain.
Then start filling in the grid. Ask your self the tough questions, like
Who’s going to sleep here every night? With me or where? Who’s
going to do the cooking, cleaning, housework, and shopping? Who
among my friends is retired and available during day times to drive me
to appointments? How often can I bother them? Ask also at your local
Jewish Federation or the synagogue to see if there are care
committees or volunteers. You may have to pay someone to be with
you, or perhaps to have a neighbor on call after the first week or two.
So if money isn’t an issue and you can rent help, think about whose
life is amenable to interruption that you would trust.
This is one of those times when a non-working spouse would be grand.
But in the absence of one, see how close you can get before you make
any firm decisions. If everyone does pitch in, throw a thank you party
for them later, when you are up and about. And then help repay the
favor when you are asked to help others.