If you have a friend or loved one coming home from the hospital, this list of gifts for people recovering from back, knee, or hip surgery might be useful. These post-surgery gift ideas are inspired by my own experience recovering from major surgery. Each item on this gift list is something that was a true lifesaver while I healed and got better, day by day. I hope one of these presents can help your friend or loved one in their recovery.
Helpful Gifts for Someone Coming Home After Orthopedic Surgery
Helpful gifts for a friend or family member who has just had back surgery, knee surgery, or hip surgery.
Reacher/ Pick Up Wand
When you finally leave the hospital after major surgery, you're usually given a long list of dos and don'ts while you recover at home. If you're recovering from hip, back, or knee surgery you're often advised to avoid bending down and picking things up off the floor until you've worked with a physiotherapist and started showing signs of greater strength and flexibility. A reacher/ grabber stick can help a post-surgery patient feel a little more independent. Instead of having to ask for help for simple things like picking a pencil up after it rolled off the table, patients can learn to manage a few small tasks with the help of this practical assistive device.
Music and Coloring Mandalas
Listening to music is a well-known method of gentle, all-natural pain relief. Many health professionals, doctors, and physio- and occupational therapists believe that listening to pleasing music can help reduce pain. When I came home from the hospital, my husband gave me an iPod Shuffle pre-loaded with my favorite songs.
When I was well-enough to sit up comfortably in bed, I added a book of coloring mandalas to my own brand of music therapy. Instead of whiling the hours away suffering with pain and boredom, I distracted myself with gentle music while I colored in meditative mandalas.
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Fresh Fruit Bouquet
When my office arranged the delivery of a fresh fruit bouquet to my house after I can home from the hospital, it was one of the best post-surgery gifts I received. After two weeks of eating bland, wilted hospital food, the sight of such a gorgeous display of colorful fruit perked me up instantly. What I loved about the fruit bouquet was that everything was already sliced and diced into perfectly divine bite-sized pieces. No need to stand in the kitchen (which I couldn't do anyway) and fuss with peeling and chopping fruit.
Notebooks and Pens
This seems like such a gift for someone coming home after surgery, but it's such a good idea. When I went home after my surgery, I was overwhelmed by the number of little things I had to keep track of and remember: eating habits, bathroom habits, the number of exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist that I completed, medication schedule, follow-up appointments to make...so many things to do! A spiral notebook that can lay flat on a table or tray is better than a hard-bound notebook: it frees one hand up from having to hold the book open while writing. A spiral binding also means the notebook can be folded back on itself to take up less space on the writing surface. When choosing a package of pens to include with the notebook, gel pens and pens with an easy, effortless ink flow are best.
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Notebook for tracking medical appointments a simple, but useful, gift for post-surgery patients
Homemade Comfort Food
For me, the best thing about coming home from the hospital was sleeping in my own bed, in a quiet room. (Hospitals are very noisy places, even in the middle of the night!) The next best thing was being able to eat real, homemade food. If you're visiting a loved one who has just returned from the hospital after orthopedic surgery, call ahead and ask if you can bring a homemade meal or some tasty goodies. I recommend calling ahead so that you can check if the at-home patient has any dietary restrictions while she recovers.) Make sure that your dish is big enough to share, too. The patient's devoted caregiver, in my case my husband, could probably use some comforting nourishment as well. Recovering from surgery is exhausting for the patient, but it's also tiring for those people who love and care for the patient.
Home-cooked meals are a thoughtful gift for someone coming home from the hospital.
Bonus Gift-Giving Tip
Here's a bonus gift-giving tip for someone coming home after surgery: don't spend your money on new magazines or books. Brand new magazines can be expensive, as can books and other reading materials. Instead, why not choose a few of your favorite books and magazines and bring them along on your next visit? When I was at home recovering, I was happy just to be reading magazines that were new to me. I don't normally read gossip or fashion magazines but when a friend brought me some of her old magazines I was delighted just to have something new to read! Instead of spending your money on new reading materials, use your cash to buy some of the more practical gifts listed above. Being able to lift something off the floor with a grabber was far more valuable to me than having a brand-new shiny magazine.
Gently used books and magazines are fun gifts for people coming home after surgery.
A Gentle Reminder
Regardless of what you choose to give someone recovering from surgery, give your gift freely without any expectations for an effusive show of appreciation when your friend opens the gift. Recovering from surgery can be mentally and physically draining and sometimes putting on a happy, joyful face for visitors just isn't possible. Be mindful of not visiting for too long. Try not to ask too many nosy questions or offer medical or health advice, even if you've had surgery too. Spending time in the hospital feels like your life is on display and you have no privacy. Once someone returns from the hospital, let them bask in the feelings of safety and privacy that come with being at home, in familiar surroundings.