A couple of people on the RD support group site recently asked for face-down posturing tips, so I thought I’d make a note of what I’ve found to be helpful whilst enduring the seemingly endless hours of maintaining one position with my face stuffed into the mattress. (If you’re wondering what this ‘posturing’ lark is all about, please read Pondering Posturing, which explains it.) So, here goes:
- Do EXACTLY as instructed by the surgeon. As a mild control freak, it’s always been a source of huge frustration to me that there’s not an awful lot I can actually do in order to make the ruddy retina stick. However… posturing is something which is within my control and it’s incredibly important to posture correctly (as instructed by the surgeon) to give the retina the best chance. Therefore, I’ve always been fanatical in doing exactly as I’ve been told, regardless of the discomfort. When it all gets too much, repeat the mantra: “Posturing is helping my retina, posturing is helping my retina… STICK, ruddy retina, STICK!”
- Distraction. Audio books, iPlayer programmes, soothing music (a bit of Glenn Gould hits the spot), learning a language via audio CD, ‘phone calls (when the posturing includes time lying on one side), visitors (providing they don’t mind talking to the back of your head)… all these things help to keep the brain active and slightly distracted from the unutterable grimness of posturing.
- Don’t think too far ahead. Take it an hour at a time, and plan what to cram into your next 10-minute break. Okay, so once you’ve accomplished the necessities of hobbling to the loo, putting eye drops in, eating, drinking, stretching, etc., there won’t actually be many seconds of your precious 10-minute break remaining, but still – it helps to plan for the excitement of being vertical for a few minutes.
- Count down the posturing days. With the previous tip in mind, I find that it’s usually best not to think about counting down until you’ve passed the half-way mark in terms of days. Otherwise it’s just depressing.
- A memory foam mattress helps with the aching and pressure at various points caused by keeping your body in the same position.
- A very hot shower on the shoulders (in your 10-minute break!) helps with the pain and aching, as does gentle massage if you can find someone to massage your shoulders and the back of your neck. The bonus of the latter is that it can be done whilst posturing!
- Eat ‘good eye food’. (Read: Good Eye Food for further info.) Okay, so it doesn’t help with the posturing itself, but at least it makes me feel as if I’m doing something positive to help myself.
- Indulge in the odd explosion of expletives. It releases tension, and if you’re lying face-down with your head stuffed in the mattress, people won’t be able to figure out what you’re saying anyway.
- Growl at your retina when you feel particularly frustrated. As above, this can help to release tension, although it may alarm the dog, or other posturing buddy you’ve acquired for company.
- Persuade someone to read aloud to you. Depending on their skill in dramatisation, this can result in hours of entertainment. I particularly recommend ‘The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year’ (yes, really!) by Sue Townsend, which my aunt read to me during my second (and longest) period of posturing. Thankfully, the title didn’t turn out to be prophetic.
- Eat chocolate. Good quality chocolate, obviously.
If anyone has any further posturing tips, please feel free to add them by commenting below… 🙂