Monday, December 16, 2013

The Polar Cube

Going in for surgery you are given a slew of information.  I was given a folder with instructions on pre-op do and don'ts (medicine protocol, Hibiclens wash), product information on devices that you may find helpful during your recovery (knee walkers, the Even-up), prescriptions for walkers and crutches, etc.  One thing I was never informed about was the little blue box that I would wake up, practically tethered to, after surgery.  What I'm referring to is the Polar Cube.

The pic on the left is the old one (our extra).  You can see the unit and the long tube with the attachment meant for the injured area.  The pic on the right is the current cube that I'm's on the floor next to my bed.

Now don't get me wrong, this may sound like a burden, but it has been one of the most helpful devices I have come across regarding recovery.  I first woke up to it after I had ankle #1 replaced back in June.   I remember asking the recovery room nurse what that blue thing was coming out of my splint.  Maybe it was some kind of drainage tube?  A bit scary at first, because that would have been some big-ass drainage tube!

The pic on the right shows my awesome cast sock!

When my doctor went over what to expect regarding my hospital stay this little beauty was never mentioned.  So what is it exactly?  It's a form of cold therapy.  You know how you put an ice pack on an injury to reduce the swelling?  That's pretty much what this does, except, because of the way it's designed, you can keep it on 24/7.   Picture a cooler with ice and water in it, with a pump attached...that's the basic concept of it.  Different attachments, made for different body parts are available, and it works by allowing a flow of ice water around the injured area to cool it down and reduce the swelling.  The different attachments can fit under splints and ace bandages, allowing you to keep it on for an extended amount of time.  By the time I get my splint off, I will have had my polar cube attached for 2 weeks.  The same amount of time I had it on for ankle #1.

This is the attachment that goes under my splint.  The blue part on the top is the part that sticks out of my splint and has the connector on it.

The attachment that has the ice water flowing in it does not have direct contact with my skin.  Under my ace bandages, there is a first layer of cotton gauze that acts as a barrier between my skin and the polar cube attachment.   The polar cube attachment under my splint has a connector that goes to a long tube (appx 5 feet long) that attaches to the actual polar cube.   I can undo this connector whenever I need when I get up to use the bathroom or take a shower. 

There is a pump that is built in to the top of the cube and the top is made to come off so you can fill it with water and ice. Once all the ice melts in the cube, you have to add more...this happens 2-3 times a day.  We go through a bag of ice a day and usually get the 16 lb bags at Shoppers (our local grocery store) for $3.  My hubs says the Shoppers ice seems to stay cubed better and the 16 lb bag fits better in our freezer (we have a side by side).  **Note:  when you fill up the cube, turn the unit off first.  This is very important as you can cause the pump to break.

After we came home with the Polar Cube for ankle #1, and realized how awesomely helpful it was, I had my husband go out and get one of those chargers for the car...the kind that goes into the cigarette lighter and has a regular plug outlet.  This way we could take the cube with us on the hour long ride to DC.  We used it when I got my stitches out for #1, when I came home from the hospital for #2, and will use it again on Wednesday, when we have to go back to get my stitches out for #2.  It makes the car ride much more bearable.

Like I said, I woke up with mine in the hospital...and it was part of the hospital bill.  If you need to order one on your own, Amazon carries them... Polar Care Cube Cold Therapy Unit

I would like to mention that after I got my splint off ankle #1, at the 2 week mark, I had a cast put on for another 5 weeks.  Having the polar cube attached while in my cast wasn't an option.  I'm not sure why, but it wasn't.

Until this year I had never heard of the Polar Cube. Maybe it's commonplace now.  A friend of mine said her dad had one after his knee surgery.  Has anyone else used this?  Did you find it as helpful as I did?

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