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Thread: Sewing after Surgery, have you done it?

  1. #1
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    I'm looking for opinions and advise from anyone whose had surgery that involves your chest or torso. I recently had open heart surgery and per doctors orders, no bending, lifting, blah, blah, blah. So I can't bend over my cutting table to cut fabric. I can't "hunch" over my sewing machine to sew. (I do this because I am legally blind and it's the only way I can "see" what I"m doing.) It's driving me nuts not to be able to sew and I'd like to know if anyone else has had this problem and how did you resolve it. I'm on restriction for 4 to 6 weeks and I really don't want to wait that long. Actually, I'm already 2 weeks in, so I really only have 2 to 4 more weeks to go. I don't think I can hold out that long. I'm considering sitting down to do my cutting and maybe try to raise my machine some and see if this helps. What do you think? I would appreciate any and all feedback, good and bad, pros and cons. Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Hello friend!! Glad the surgery is behind you and you're on the mend! I would simply call the doctor's office, explain what you want to do and get the okay from them. I'm a nurse and I don't think what you want to do will hurt you but again, I'm not your doc :D
    So glad you're back!!!!!!!! HUGS

  3. #3
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterguy27
    I'm looking for opinions and advise from anyone whose had surgery that involves your chest or torso. I recently had open heart surgery and per doctors orders, no bending, lifting, blah, blah, blah. So I can't bend over my cutting table to cut fabric. I can't "hunch" over my sewing machine to sew. (I do this because I am legally blind and it's the only way I can "see" what I"m doing.) It's driving me nuts not to be able to sew and I'd like to know if anyone else has had this problem and how did you resolve it. I'm on restriction for 4 to 6 weeks and I really don't want to wait that long. Actually, I'm already 2 weeks in, so I really only have 2 to 4 more weeks to go. I don't think I can hold out that long. I'm considering sitting down to do my cutting and maybe try to raise my machine some and see if this helps. What do you think? I would appreciate any and all feedback, good and bad, pros and cons. Thanks!!!
    they make floor standing magnifying glasses that if you put it between you and the sewing machine might help you see it better and then you wouldn't have to scrunch over. My grandma had one she set by her chair so she could see to crochet. It swings in or out as you need it so you can move it.

    Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Super Member Grammy o'5's Avatar
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    A chair (office type) that raises and lowers may help get the height adjustment of the chair/table/sewing machine to a comfortable height.
    Really good lighting might help you see better and not have to lean over as far.
    Working for only a short amount of time with lots of breaks so you don't get overtired.
    Get a helper or sewing buddy to help with the cutting, ironing.
    As you get stronger, you'll be able to do more. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  5. #5
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    All good ideas so far. Please keep them coming. I will call my doctor and see what he has to say. The magnifying glass idea is out as it just won't work for me, but thanks for the suggestion. Also lighting won't help, but another good idea. I would love an adjustable office chair. I will work on this one. In the meantime...... I'm looking for a sewing buddy, any volunteers?

  6. #6
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    Okay, from someone that last year had abdominal surgery, and the knowledge of my mom having heart surgery,

    Part of the issue is when you hunch over things can tighten up and so straightening up afterwards can be an issue.

    The answer, though this should have been done before the surgery unless you can get help with the adjustments. raise your table height to cut (cutting a bunch before would have been a better answer) that way you don't need to bend to cut. then also change your sewing machine height etc so you are not all curled up to see. it will be better all the way around even after you have gotten better. egronomics is the key and then not spending to long in one position. and if all else fails try some hand work.

  7. #7
    Super Member lovequilts's Avatar
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    Any hand sewing you need to finish? Applique or Hexies? Sewing binding on a quilt or embrodery. one of these might help the time pass

  8. #8
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutebuns
    Okay, from someone that last year had abdominal surgery, and the knowledge of my mom having heart surgery,

    Part of the issue is when you hunch over things can tighten up and so straightening up afterwards can be an issue.

    The answer, though this should have been done before the surgery unless you can get help with the adjustments. raise your table height to cut (cutting a bunch before would have been a better answer) that way you don't need to bend to cut. then also change your sewing machine height etc so you are not all curled up to see. it will be better all the way around even after you have gotten better. egronomics is the key and then not spending to long in one position. and if all else fails try some hand work.
    LOL! Hindsight is 20/20. It's the only time I can see clearly. If I'd of thought of it before, I would have pre-cut stuff to work on. I am definitely considereing hand work. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Super Member Deborah12687's Avatar
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    You should listen to your doctor and take the time off for a full 6 weeks to recover as the sewing can wait once you are healed up. You need the rest for your heart more then the sewing.

  10. #10
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborah12687
    You should listen to your doctor and take the time off for a full 6 weeks to recover as the sewing can wait once you are healed up. You need the rest for your heart more then the sewing.
    True, very true. I'm going to take the advise of another and call my doctor and lay it all out on the table and see what he has to say. Here's hoping

  11. #11
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    OK, good news. I just got off the phone with the doctor and after some gentle persueding and promising to take it easy I've been cleared to cut fabric as long as I'm sitting down and it's okay to operate my sewing machine. Woo Hoo!! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!! Wrote a song about it, like to hear it, here it goes: I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!!! LOL

    Now, off to the sewing room and see what I can get into.

  12. #12

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    I dont really have any ideas ...just wanted to say I am glad you are doing well. I would call my Dr. and ask though before I did anything.

  13. #13
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterguy27
    OK, good news. I just got off the phone with the doctor and after some gentle persueding and promising to take it easy I've been cleared to cut fabric as long as I'm sitting down and it's okay to operate my sewing machine. Woo Hoo!! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!! Wrote a song about it, like to hear it, here it goes: I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!!! LOL

    Now, off to the sewing room and see what I can get into.
    Happy Day! I wish I could be your sewing helper for a day or two. I love cutting! Love pressing!

  14. #14
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    This is a perfect time of year to get that adjustable office chair...with all the back to school sales...I saw some at Walmart and at office Max this week...CHEAP!!!
    I change the height on mine all the time, because of my back.

  15. #15
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    oh shoot. can someone raise your sewing machine table temporarily? so you wouldn't have to "hunch" over so much.

  16. #16
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterguy27
    OK, good news. I just got off the phone with the doctor and after some gentle persueding and promising to take it easy I've been cleared to cut fabric as long as I'm sitting down and it's okay to operate my sewing machine. Woo Hoo!! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!! Wrote a song about it, like to hear it, here it goes: I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!!! LOL

    Now, off to the sewing room and see what I can get into.
    Oh that's great!! I bet you'll heal faster now that you can do something you enjoy!!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

  17. #17
    Senior Member BRenea's Avatar
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    I had to have my spleen and gallbladder removed in early 2008...my spleen was very enlarged, so I had a 10-inch incision down my abdomen. I was extremely sore and my doctor strictly limited what I could do. I had just bought a brand new sewing/embroidery machine, so I did sit down with it for very short periods of time. I agree that an adjustable office chair is very helpful. I also spent a lot of time with handcrafts and my laptop. :-)

  18. #18
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    i set to do most of my cutting,back problems also my machine is up no problems but thats the way i have done for a long time so tryit you might change the way you do .

  19. #19
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    You sound like me, I can't just sit and rest, I have to do something with my hands!! Personally, I'd use this time for hand applique, as it's a favorite thing of mine. But if you have no hand work home than use this time to plan future projects! Look through magazines, books on hand, and surf the internet for future ideas. You could even order fabric online. Follow your Doctors advice, as you don't want this 6 week period turning into 12!!
    On the bright side, sounds like you're doing well if you're so restless!!! I hope you continue to have a nice recovery.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    Good for you - you got the doctor's OK but remember that you have to take it easy. I think you should take a break and stand up and move around every 20 minutes or so. I'm glad you are on the mend.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    If your sewing machine is on a table with legs, maybe you could get someone to get some bed risers and put them under the legs to raise the table and machine up, this would make it a better height after you are healed and you wouldn't have to scrunch down to see, you still may need an adjustable office type chair. Good luck and realize 2-4 weeks will pass quickly.

  22. #22
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    Sometimes your moral has more influence on your health than meds. If you have the doctor's go ahead than do some light sewing. Stop when you are tired and take it easy.

  23. #23
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    I am 5'9" tall and always use kitchen counter height surface when standing to cut material. I liked the suggestion for raising a table height with bed risers. Once you arrange your cutting surface at a higher level, you will definitely find you are using less energy to complete your task. I believe you get more accurate cuts with the rotary cutter when standing.

    My adjustable height ironing board with removable, homemade Big Board allows me to adjust height for comfortable sitting position. I can plan, cut and do handwork at this comfort level while still keeping better posture. I like to think positive with "range of motion" just as if you were setting up workspace in a kitchen. :-)

    One other brainstorm, please. I followed the advise of someone from the QB and purchased two rubber door stoppers at Wally World. I place them underneath the back edge of my sewing machine. This tips the machine slightly toward me.
    The sewing surface is much easier for me to see :-) without hunching over or getting a sore neck.

  24. #24
    Super Member jayelee's Avatar
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    Im glad you found a way to make it work after my heart sugery my doctor finally okayed my sewing because it helped to keep from stressing out so we lowered my sewing machine and raisede my cutting table Please find a way to make it work for you because sewing actually has a calming effect for most of us

  25. #25
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    Glad you got the okay for sewing.

    I'm also legally blind. I sometimes uses a magnifier which looks like a short welder's mask. It's available from craft stores.

    If rotary cutting becomes troublesome, try using scissors while seated. I do that often.

    After a botched abdominal surgery, I alternated sewing with knitting. Knitting didn't stress my torso or cause me to hunch over.

    Good luck with your recovery.

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