The Quintessential Beginner’s Guide to PokémonGo for 2018

This User Guide

IS FOR

BRAND NEW PokémonGo Players


Pikachu in his birthday hat

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

 Introduction to the Guide

&

1 Tip for Readers who Want to Save Time

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

In these beginning sections, I provide a lot of personal background information. It’s information that I feel is helpful to understand the context of things in this guide. This may include (but isn’t limited to,) information about me, about how and why I decided to write this, how and  why I decided to play PokemonGo, and why I chose to publish this now 2 years after PokemonGo’s introduction.

Most certainly all of that kind of information is peripheral to the main PokemonGo Overview & Guide, and isn’t needed in the big picture. Most of  my regular readers know me and my story-telling style of relaying new information and they like it…which of course is why they’re regular readers ;-)

Newcomers to vsatips may not appreciate my rambling presentation style however, so I try to separate this out using various methods. Here, you’ll find a shortcut link of sorts immediately below entitled ‘How to Play PokémonGo. By clicking or tapping on that you’ll quickly arrive at main part of this guide.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

If you’d like to skip my personal background information and just get to the good stuff, you can do so by clicking or tapping on the link below:

How to Play PokémonGo

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

1st I’ll Share a Little Background About How I Came to be a PokémonGo Aficionado

My Background


I never intended to become a PokemonGo ambassador, or even a player for that matter, but fate had different plans.


If you’re wondering how this occurred, you’re not alone! I often wonder the same thing myself! So do my other family members. Especially the ones who introduced PokémonGo to me!

I was one of those Mom’s who feared her kid’s acute interest in video games would ruin their lives. My husband and I did everything within our power to keep our kids from playing video games as they were growing up.

This was really hard when they’d only ask for video games or game system related things as presents for their birthday or Christmas. It was so hard to always say no. In fact, we did acquiesce more often than we felt a responsible parent should. This struggle,with video game boundaries lasted their entire childhoods…and even a little into adulthood I fear!


In the summer of 2016 we took our fateful family trip to Japan. That’s when it happened. The tables were turned, so to speak and the floodgates opened for our kids to find out what we as parents had been up against for ao many years.


The Japan Trip That Changed My Life

We’d just arrived in Tokyo and the weather was gorgeous! I’d struggled to get there and arrived by wheelchair due to some medical issues which resulted in my needing to have a total hip replacement last month, so I was extra happy to have finally arrived and to be in such an amazing setting. It was during our first full day there, while visiting a beautiful botanical garden that my husband and I grew frustrated because we thought that our now adult aged son’s were spending way too much time texting friends. Granted, it was a bit odd for them both to be so preoccupied doing the same thing at the exact same time…but that was what seemed to be going on to us.

My annoyance grew as their lack of interest in our surroundings did. Finally, I couldn’t stop myself from making a snarky comment about texting instead of enjoying our surroundings.

That’s when my son’s told me that they weren’t texting at all. They told us that they were playing a brand new video game that had been widely anticipated and had just come out that day in Japan called PokémonGo.

They offered to show the game to me, probably to get me off their backs, and I agreed. Truthfully, I thought the game seemed to be a little goofy at first but then I let them put it on my phone…and within a few minutes began to appreciate their fascination. I was immediately hooked too!

It was a few months later, after my sons had for all practical purposes quit playing the game, and I could no longer go to them for advice, when I began to realize how cognitively challenging video games are (even really simple ones like PokemonGo.) I finally recognized how wrong I had been to judge video games so harshly.

PokémonGo players in Japan

Why Write This PokemonGo Overview Now?

Recently I was asked by someone who has a young child who is growing more interested in PokémonGo, and how the game works. I realized that in those instances, where a very young child who’s potentially just reaching the age of finding PokemonGo interesting, it probably wouldn’t be advisable for them to play the game without having an adult partner. If for no other reason than that PokemonGo is primarily a cell phone game. In my opinion, young children shouldn’t even have cell phones yet!

But a child’s adult partner might not have any personal knowledge or understanding of PokemonGo, or even video games in general. So, that was my main reason for deciding to write this post.

Incidentally, while many opportunities have presented themselves as good topics for posts, I’ve only written about 5 posts in total since PokémonGo was released. Each has focused on one specific aspect of the game. The one that’s garnered the most readership focuses on how local businesses can use PokémonGo to improve their business via increasing their overall numbers of customers.

Another reason I decided to write this guide is because I’ve begun to suspect that a slight entry barrier might exist with PokémonGo which prevents new players from joining in on playing. My hunch is based purely upon the fact that the game has been out for almost 2 years now. New players might feel that they could never catch up to their longer playing friends.

That entry barrier shouldn’t really be cause for concern however, because PokemonGo is a game which can present greatly varying personal challenges that are appropriate to each individual player’s level, in the same setting. So, many different levels of players can play the game together, and their levels are inconsequential to the experience.

This post has 3 main goals:

  • To briefly explain the main concepts of the game for new players or player’s parents
  • To reassure new players that there’s no good reason to not begin playing the game today. Starting now won’t adversely impact a player’s ability to enjoy the game nor their ability to be included in the various kinds of events which are being held with great frequency all around the world.
  • To reassure parents that video games really do have a lot more redeemining value than they might think.

Last, there are several good efforts similar to this one which were written when the game first came out. But many of those have become obsolete over time as the game itself has morphed and changed.

One that hasn’t and that’s still an excellent resource is Vox’es ‘PokemonGo Explained in Less Than 400 Words’ (they cheated a little imo because they don’t count the words in their video, which I’m certain takes them way beyond the 400 word mark! Their video I think is the best part! :-)

Me Leveing up to 30

PokémonGo’s New Community Day Event was 1 Impetus For My Writing This Updated Overview

In addition to my friend’s child expressing a newfound interest in PokémonGo, several exciting new game innovations by Niantic have prompted me to write this guide. One of them is an important new Community Day event for PokemonGo players. Community Events are a great new perk that Niantic began in early 2018. They were designed to unite PokemonGo players and to add an aspect to the game which helps connect individual players to others in their community, as well as to keep interest levels high when there aren’t a lot of other new and interesting things going on in the game.

The concept has been really well received. Community days occur for 3 hours once each month. Depending upon your time zone this is usually on a Saturday afternoon. I’ll use the March 25th event, which was the 3rd Community Day event, and which many consider to have been the most successful one ever, to describe this new concept.

Each Community Day event focuses on one relatively important Pokemon. The March 25th event focused on a really popular Pokémon named Bulbesaur. Many people including myself caught tons of Bulbesaurs that day for several reasons. My main objective was to obtain enough Bulbesaur candy to evolve one of my best Bulbesaurs. You earn candy each time you catch a Pokémon, but the candy is unique to just that type of Pokémon. You use this digital candy both to ‘Power up’ your Pokémon, making them stronger for battles, and to ‘Evolve’ them into a higher level form of themselves. Some Pokémon only have 1 level, some have 2 and some have 3. When a Pokémon has 3 evolution levels, these need to be done consecutively.

One Pokémons Evolution Course

So, in my case I wanted to evolve one of my best Bulbesaur. First into an Ivysaur and then a Venosaur (Venosaur is Bulbasaur’s final evolution.) Another cool aspect about Community Days is that the chosen Pokémon highlighted on that day oftentimes can acquire special fighting moves which aren’t available to them by any other means. So, while evolving my new Venosaur, it would acquire a unique battle move that was only bequeathed to Bulbesaurs on this one unique day. The end result was that I’d have a newly evolved Venosaur which held a very special move in its repertoire, making it a really unique Pokémon and quite possibly more important in the game in its future renditions.

Guide

 The Actual Player’s Guide Part

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

How to Play PokémonGo

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

How to Begin Playing the Game

PokemonGo is primarily a gwme for cell phones but you can also playnit on tablet. I occassionally play on an iPad at home, or I just spend time in the game assessing my Pokemon and getting rid of low value ones to make room for capturing new ones. But certain aspects of the game dont function as well using an iPad. Trying to use special items like lucky eggs or inscence for example can prove difficult, but not impossilbe. So my advice for brand new players is use a cell phone rather than tablet.

You’ll find the game in the app store for you  particular device. The game is free in both the ios app store and the Android app store.

The next thing you need to do is setup an account before yiu sign intomthe game. You’ll need to provide an email address to do so. Gmail accounts seem to work well but really any email account should work.

When you enter the game for the first time you’ll be asked to select a starter Pokémon. Your choice is from one of the 3 original favorite Pokémon…Bulbesaur,  Squirtle or Sandshrew. I describe more about this this a little further down, by the illustration of the 3 starters. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose…just pick the one you like the looks of best.

The Main Objective of Playing PokemonGo is Simply to Catch Pokémon

A By Product is Learning to Manage Large Numbers of Pokémon

In its simplest form, the main way of playing PokemonGo is that as players move around the world they catch Pokémon. Many people have as their ultimate goal the desire to catch or evolve one of each kind of a Pokémon. There are already a lot of Pokémon and more new ones keep being introduced into the game too, to keep higher level players challenged and interested.

This catching aspect is one of the most important aspects of the game, so for many players, especially very young players, it’s essentially the only aspect of the game. In addition, each and every time you catch a Pokémon you get some of that Pokemon’s candy too as well as stardust, which is another important game resource.

This means that overtime you will tend to accumulate a lot of Pokémon. This is especially true because oftentimes people will catch multiple versions of that same Pokémon for the candy and stardust, and also hoping to catch a very high level one that will be the one they will choose to evolve when the time is right. But as your inventory of Pokémon begins to grow unruly due to its large size, the game gives players a good way of resolving this problem.

Transferring Pokémon means that you can ‘return’ some of them…usually the lower level ones…and you receive more candy in exchange. This candy is an important bonus too, because most everything in PokemonGo revolves around 2 items. Candy and Stardust are game resources which you try to accumulate as much as possible of. Both items are needed in fairly significant quantities to either evolve Pokémon to their higher levels or ‘to power them up‘ to make them as strong as possible for battles or Raids.

Why Do Players Want Higher Forms of Pokémon?

Because of 2 Very Important Aspects of the Game…Battles & Raids

The main reason players want to have every kind of Pokemon in all of it’s forms…on up to even it’s highest form, (really it’s the highest forms that are the most sought after,) is because of 2 main aspects of playing PokémonGo. One of those is to win battles in gyms and the other is to win Raid battles.

Before I discuss battling in greater detail however, I have a strong sense that many parent’s will want, or maybe even demand reassurance right about now.


Battles Aren’t What You Think!

They Aren’t A Negative or Worrisome Factor in PokémonGo in the Least!

PokémonGo battles are far from violent. They have a lot more to do with your child’s cognitive prowess than they do with their ‘battle’ savviness, their propensity towards aggression, or any other negative fighting connotations one may be worried about. Simply put…there is nothing about the ‘battle’ experience’ which resembles what we think of as a battle in the real world.

Battling is simply a mechanism for providing additional resources in the game. Those resources are experience and Poke Coins. Experience is important because players earn experience points, and it’s those points which allow them to move to higher levels in the game. But, it’s easy to move up with no battle experience what-so-ever!

When I did finally, cautiously approach the battle aspect, I discovered that success in battles is really quite easy…much easier than I’d believed. This in part is because of a massive update Niantic made to the game which changed much about how the battling system functioned with the aim of making it easier for newbies. That was when I decided to give Battles a try.

I also discovered that the one aspect that can be really challenging about battles, but doesn’t need to be if one chooses to ignore it completely, is that battling can require a lot of high level thinking and planning. This part really surprised me…especially in terms of the advanced mathematics that players were using to ascertain relevant ‘power’ and ‘standings’ information. PokemonGo can be an incredibly complex game to learn strategy-wise. The math I saw being used was calculus, and the formulas that players were deriving were incredible.

But even something as simple as knowing who and when to battle can involve much more strategy than the actual battle itself.


One reason that PokemonGo is so cool is because the game can be many different things to many different people…all who are playing it at many different levels! Yet they can all play together and have fun together!


How to Battle in PokemonGo

When I first began playing PokemonGo I had absolutely no interest in the battle aspect. And the cool thing about PokemonGo is that many players don’t…they just like to collect Pokémon! But at some point I grew a little bored and despite warnings from younger generations that battling might prove challenging to me.

I decided to give it a go anyway. I might not have learned how to battle as quickly as kids today…but really, there wasn’t all that much to learn…at least about the mechanics or the physical aspects of battling.  In fact I think it took me the longest was simply learning how to physically battle. Nothing that I found explained the physical realities of how to battle. I don’t know if it’s because I’m dense, or if it was due to my lack of experience playing video games…but it took me several weeks after I decided I wanted to try out battling to figure out how to go about doing it.

A Video Example of a Battle from Start to Finish is Shown Below

The way a player battles is by choosing the Pokémon he wants to use for the battle…which is the tougher part. Then a player just hits a button which says something like ‘Begin a New Battle.’  That icon looks like this:

Once the battle has begun a player just taps his/her phone screen really quickly with one finger. If that finger gets tired you can switch it. Sometimes, but not always, it’s helpful to throw in a few short ‘finger slides’ back and forth across the screen amidst the taps too. Knowing when to do this is useful, and is also one of the tougher, cognitive aspects I have yet to master. It has something to do with yellow flashes of light…or maybe that’s dodging…I forget. I’m currently at Level 32 out of 40, so you can see that a player can get quite far not knowing very much at all!

Below is a great example of a PokémonGo Gym Battle

Sometimes during a battle you should stop tapping your finger to do a long finger-press instead. It used to be that you did this when a green bar at the top of the screen ‘filled up’…now this icon is located at the bottom of the ‘battle screen.’

Understanding the intricacies of this special, more powerful move is much more challenging than simply employing its use. Because it’s use just requires a long finger-press…employing it is the easy part!  A total battle may last about 2 minutes, and his special move may become available for use 3 times or so per battle. But you can still win the battle even if you don’t use these special moves…it may just taken you a little longer to do it!

Why Battle in PokemonGo?

What is the Purpose of Battles? What’s Gained or Lost by Participating?

There are different kinds of battles in PokemonGo. Depending upon the kind of battle it is will determine what the actual reasons for the battle are.

There are 2 Kinds of Battles and 2 Main Reasons for Those Battles

The 1st kind of battle is a ‘Regular Gym Battle.’ The main function of this kind of battle is so that players can take over and control a gym. By doing so, players can earn money and experience points.

Gym battles were originally the only kind of battle in PokemonGo. When a player takes over a gym they actually have a very good chance of earning real money! That’s right…I was shocked too…you can earn real money playing PokemonGo!!! That, in my mind is the main reason for taking over a gym.

OK…it’s not entirely real money per se, that you earn, but rather it’s Poke Coins. But these Poke Coins do translate into real money because you can use them in lieu of real money. In fact, Poke Coins are the only kind of in-game currency that player’s can use to buy themselves supplies or useful items.

About Poke Coins, the PokeShop and Spending Money In-Game

Poke Coins differ from candy and stardust in that those are resources in the game which are earned, saved and spent like currency, but they are spent on improving Pokémon exclusively. Whereas Poke Coins are spent to buy resources for use by players to help advance them in the game quicker. Things like Poke Balls, Incubators, and Lucky Eggs…etc. These are all tools that a player can purchase to improve their chances of advancing quickly.

It’s very important to note however that buying things is neither necessary nor encouragedwell, at least not encouraged a lot!

The PokémonGo Shop

The PokemonGo Shop is an in-game menu item that I didn’t even know existed for a very long time. Once I did initially things didn’t change much. But then I think, Niantics realized that selling the occasional ‘Gift Box’ which includes a chosen assortment of regular PokemonGo shop items, at a small discount because they are packaged together, encouraged more sales. So they began offering Gift Boxes with greater frequency. Because they did improve the overall cost of items, I’d sometimes get them if I needed the items anyway.

Then I noticed that Niantics began offering Gift Boxes with much greater frequency. Concurrently they’ve also begun holding many more ‘game events’ which keep people interested in playing the game and keep it exciting.

Someone at Niantics probably figured out that by offering Gift Boxes with items that were especially useful for events, and making the events themselves somewhat structured around one or more items available in the PokeShop, sales at the PokeShop rose significantly. I certainly noticed that my own frequency of buying things began to increase with the advent of Gift Boxes.

So, there is now a subtle form of encouragement in the occasional ‘sales’ of Gift Boxes that Niantic’s offers in the PokemonGo Store. Personally I think a very good case could be made for approaching PokemonGo as a completely free game in which the only currency that’s used is currency you’ve personally earned through battling.

This isn’t a difficult stance to take because the PokemonGo game itself, is a completely free game…no matter which platform it’s played on. It can always be played for free without ever spending a dime. I know this to be true because that’s how my son’s played PokemonGo back when they did play it.

But if someone becomes very engrossed in PokemonGo, it’s entirely likely that they may deem more factors necessary or important than they really are. That kind of thinking may lead them to purchase items which will allow them to move more quickly to a higher level in the game. Things like peer pressure may contribute a lot towards this way of thinking. Since you can buy both useful things (like tools) and frivolous things (like trendy clothing) in the PokemonGo store…anyone prone towards overspending may find this aspect of the game more challenging. By the way…the clothing isn’t for Pokémon, but rather for your own in-game persona. My character, shown below, is outfitted in entirely free clothing options.

First Steps in Playing PokemonGo

The very first things that each and every new player does when they begin the game is to select:

  • a username
  • an outfit (selected from several free clothing options available)
  • a starter Pokémon – you have 3 choices that here shown in the illustration below.

I apologize because this 1st Battle explanation has ended up being quite a bit longer than I intended…but it’s allowed me to explain some other necessary concepts too.

The main gist of the first reason to battle is this. When your Pokémon takes over a gym, depending upon how long he maintains control of it, you personally earn Poke Coin credits for their effort. If they hold the gym for around a day, which is the most typical  scenario, then you’ll earn around $.50. This $.50 appears as a credit in your store account where it can be used to buy items like tools or clothing in the Poke Store.

The 2nd Reason to Battle: is to capture very high powered Pokémon. Sometimes these Pokémon are called Legendaries. Legendaries are the best of the best.

The 2nd main reason for battles is to get the chance to capture high leveled Pokémon. This is done in a special kind of battle called a Raid Battle. Oftentimes when you battle these very high level Pokémon, you need to do it with other players, because they are just too powerful to beat all alone. If a Raid Battle is won by a groupt of players, then each player who participated is given a chance to capture that same high level Pokémon. These can be the epitome of the best Pokémon. Since these kinds of Pokémon are highly sought after, they can be what entice non-battling players to begin battleing…at least that’s what happened in my case! But I’m really glad that occurred too. Because, then I knew, once and for all, that all those younger generation members telling me I couldn’t battle we’re completely wrong. I found out just how easy battling really is and also learned that the most difficult aspect of battling is really the thinking, strategizing and pre-planning that’s necessary for consistent successes.

Someday there may be battles where your Pokémon can battle that of a friend

Niantic his promised this aspect for a long time, but it’s been two years now or rather almost 2 years, and it hasn’t happened yet so I’m not holding my breath.

What’s All This Business About Trainers and Training?

I’m glad you asked that question, because it was something that confused me at first too. Essentially all players are considered Pokémon trainers. The reason is because as they capture Pokémon, they can improve those Pokémon (and their powers) by making a stronger (via power ups) or evolving them. That’s why players are called Pokémon trainers.

This concept of training is carried out much more elaborately and throughout all aspects of the game…so the ‘training’ terminology is used much more than it’s reality would seem to dictate.

Examining the Past:  How has the Game Changed Since its Introduction

To say that the PokémonGo game has changed from what it once was when it first came out in July 2016 would be an understatement of pretty large proportions. The game has drastically changed however at the same time, many of its base elements do remain the same.

So what exactly has changed about the game?

Well, one huge change was the introduction of Raid battles, which I talked briefly about earlier. Another huge change is Niantic’s motivation and interest in introducing new and exciting events which act to keep users’ interested and excited about the game. This might be even more surprising given that one of their first few attempts at this resulted in utter and abysmal failure. I’m referring of course to the first ever PokemonGo Festival held in Chicago in the summer of 2017. I can attest to how awful it really was…because I was there…for the whole long sad event.

Raids

Raids, as I mentioned above are group battles in gyms. One or more people can battle a super powerful version of 1 Pokémon in order to get the opportunity to catch that same (or really a very similar version of) that Pokémon. So,the 2 main advantages of participating in Raids is that you gain a lot of experience points and, if you beat the Raid boss (the super powerful Pokémon) then you get the chance to catch and keep it for yourself. There is much, much more information about Raids and beginniners can’t participate in them until they reach a certain level. The last I heard it was level 20…but this level has been lowered several times, so who knows what it will be when you read this. I ran across this excellent video the other day which presents a very complete, albeit possibly slightly outdated description of Raids and Raid Battles. The video should appear at the top of this article.

Community Days

Perhaps one of the most important of these new events is one I already mentioned  that’s called Community Day. Since I discuss this event above, I won’t go into more detail here. Suffice it to say that Community Day does truly offer something for everyone. For players who are somewhat house-bound like myself (because I’m the recipient of a brand new hip) less global activities and advantages are offered that mean I can still enjoy some of the aspects of Community Day that make it a worthwhile endeavor for me too.

Oftentimes the GamePress website writes a Community Day Guide. Here’s a link to their Community Day Guide for Saturday May 19th. It’s not that  Community Days are so complicated they need their own guide rather it’s because Niantic includes features for each day which, if capitalized upon, can really help to improve a players overall standing within the game.  So the guides are intended to educate players about those kinds of possibilities.

A2C5205F-58FF-4F9C-B067-F735F31E21B5

A third and the most recent new PokemonGo feature is called Quests.

Quests

Quests are the newest innovation. They were designed to get players more engaged in the game during off times when there’s not much other incentive to play, as well as to teach many players more about the game. Most people fall into a repetitive pattern of game play and don’t really wander outside of their comfort zone.  But the game itself is quite deep.  It has more to offer than most players realize. I’ve definitely explored it a lot more since I was housebound for a good length of time following my THR (total hip replacement,) and  Quests were introduced.

Yet I still have a long way to go to complete the first Quest, as you can see by the screenshot below. There has since been a 2nd Quest introduced and soon a third one will be available because there will be a new quest each month. Let’s just hope players that aren’t done don’t lose their progress and can still compete the ones that they are on! Because…until I see my 10th ghost type Pokémon…I’m not going anywhere Quest-wise!

DA877EC8-BD41-4A18-A629-47A68EBF2F93

There have been many more minor and even a few major modifications to the game in the last two years, but the ones I’ve discussed, in my opinion, have had the most impact and are most important to new players currently. The overall take away from this should be:

Niantic appears to be vested in both the game’s future success and it’s player’s wellbeing.   For players this isn’t a bad position to be in. Especially if you’re like me and aren’t really much of a video game player… but are playing just this one video game. 

Nintendo Released a PokémonGo Plus Device to Help Players Catch More Pokémon

There are so many aspects to the game that I just can’t cover in this one short post. One of them is this device that Nintendo, who’s a partner with Niantics in their PokémonGo game, came out with about a year after the game was launched. Naturally I had to have one but then I couldn’t figure out how to attach it to its wristband. So I made this YouTube video demonstrating how to attach it when I figured it out.

Conclusion |  A Bright Future For Players & Game Alike

That, in a nutshell, really explains the entire game. While there actually is much more to it in terms of nuances and details, those factors are really all of the more complex cognitive ones that I keep alluding to. The game can really become quite complex and require really high levels of thinking for players to figure out the best possible options for their Pokémon and their situation.

In fact I was really stunned by how much more cognitively demanding this game, which was my first video game ever, actually is.

Below: Some Pokémon Rumored to be at GoFest 2018 this Summer.

Players can spend hours upon hours researching their Pokémon, their hidden potentials, the moves that they’re capable of making in battles, the different categories of Pokémon and how they interact and impact each other, their inherent values which can determine ultimately how powerful a Pokémon may become, and their levels, which even I don’t fully understand yet. Those and  a whole host of other complex factors can strongly factor into a player’s success in the game. Yet none of this really deep strategizing, nor any of those complex factors are really necessary for a player to compete and do well.

It’s more like this. The complexity is there and can be really useful for people who are inclined to take advantage of it, and who want to use their brains to their fullest by strategizing to improve their chances in the game. While I don’t know this for a fact, I suspect that most video games follow this same structure and offer this degree of complexity if  desired. Most video games may allow many different types of game play and may provide intricate and complex back stories that can demand good quantitive skills. Certainly it’s been true in my experience that the population that’s most often attracted to video games is the same one that likes to delve into and manipulate the many faceted layers for their own betterment.

The fact that PokemonGo is able to provide this kind of flexibility probably explains it’s huge mass appeal. That PokemonGo can essentially be many different kinds of games for many different kinds of players, all while providing a new and unique augmented reality experience using hardware that literally everyone carries around in their pocket or purse anyway, makes the mass attraction even more understandable. When one factors in even newer phenomenon…things like how utterly friendly, welcoming and inclusive the PokémonGo community as a whole has proven to be, it makes complete sense that once the initially sky rocketing total number of player’s settled into their lower but much more consistent ongoing total number of players…these numbers have remained fairly constant over time.

When Raids were new at PokémonGo Fest in Chicago

When Raids were new at PokémonGo Fest in Chicago

Just Get Up and Go

That’s PokemonGo’s motto. Another big advantage of the game is that it definitely pushes players who wouldn’t think otherwise to go outdoors on their own, to get outside and get some exercise. This has been a huge benefit for me…but there is one drawback too. My posture has been bad for a couple years and it got worse before my hip replacement. I thought after the surgery it might improve all on its own. In some ways it has, because pain was one reason for the slouching…but it hasn’t improved as far as PokémonGo is concerned. I recently realized that playing the game outside with my poor vision and the sun and elements has led to my hunching over my phone even more! I think it’s to get closer to my cellphone screen just to see it (I have awful vision and fairly advanced cataracts too,) as well as to block out the sun and wind which makes my eyes water! So I really should cut back on my game play while I retrain my posture to be more upright! Who woulda guessed!

One thing is certain…PokemonGo isn’t going anywhere. Nor is the game even in any kind of danger, despite the dire predictions one oftentimes hears. That is what makes this the perfect time for my quintessential guide. It also makes it the perfect time to extend an open invitation to anyone who may have felt that they missed the PokémonGo bandwagon the first time around or who didn’t even hear about it back then!

I have one last thing I’d like to mention. There is a large and thriving YouTube Community who supports the game significantly. You can learn almost everything about playing the game from watching their videos. This community occurred organically, and Niantic has wisely embraced them and incorporated this aspect into the game as a whole. One of my favorite YouTubers  is Nick from Trainer Tips. I love his modest yet extremely knowledgeable presentations and the fact that he’s constantly striving to improve his channel, his artistry and himself in the process. It sort of boggles my mind that there can be so many 20-something players who appear to be making a decent living by playing PokemonGo 24/7 and broadcasting their progress as they educate players. Most of the successful ones travel extensively, so watching their videos is sort of a travelogue kind of adventure too. But that fact means they are incurring lots of travel expenses too…yet they seem to be supporting themselves and even their extensive travelling with the income from their Channels.

Since I also have a Youtube channel that recently underwent every YouTuber’s most dreaded fear…demonitization…I know how much work is involved and how taxing that lifestyle can be. So I enthusiastically support their efforts and greatly admire their entrepreneurial spirits!

In the big picture, PokémonGo is a super easy, fun, free, challenging and worthwhile game in so many more ways than I ever could have appreciated had it not been left to fate!

If you are at all interested in the game and have hesitated to join in on the gameplay I hope that my Guide has convinced you to give it a try.

Comments

Please feel free to leave comments by scrolling down just past my bio box.

Posted in About me, PokémonGo, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fix iCloud Photo Sync | Why it Stops + The Best New Easy Fix for ios 11 | iPad & iPhone

Important:

Within the last year or two I’ve noticed one ios setting that keeps getting changed. It’s responsible for Photo Sync not working correctly.  It’s found under iCloud – PhotosUpload to Photostream. This needs to be enabled (green) for photos to sync. I’m not sure why but it seems whenever I do something device related like what I describe in this post to fix photo syncing…after a few days I notice that sync has stopped again. 3 devices in the last two days had this turned off when I checked settings. After turning it back on a few photos synced but not all of them. Resetting the device and then opening photos and dragging down the whole screen in album view to force a sync solved the problem.



Why I Wrote This

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve had countless problems keeping iCloud photos sync working. There might be extenuating circumstances because I use a ton of Apple devices and my photo library is massive. In addition to the almost 56,000 photos iCloud stores for me I also have upward of 2500 videos. I’ve gone to great lengths to keep sync working primarily because I do all may work on ios devices (despite the fact that iPads will never be the computer replacements Apple would like us all to believe!)  That’s why keeping sync working is absolutely mandatory for me! When it’s not working, trying to remember which device is able to access which images or videos is next to impossible.

11A6DCE0-52DC-4709-A92D-AEC84E19C621

The Best Work Around for a Broken Photostream

When Photo sync stops working for me I spend a lot of time Air Dropping images and videos back and forth amongst devices. As a result I end up with a lot of duplicate images and videos...so this work-around is really annoying!

A much better alternative that can save me time too is when I remember to use iCloud photo sharing instead. It’s easy to orchestrate. I just create a Shared Album for that instance, then I upload whatever media I need to access from whichever devices  I can find it on.

This new Shared album is easily accessible on all my devices. However, I do still need to download the images or videos to whichever device I want to use to work with them. Therefore this method also results in duplicates which in turn increases the overall size of my iCloud Photo Library…so it’s important to remember to delete these shared albums once Photo syncing is fixed again.

The Main Reason iCloud Photo Sync Stops Working in ios 11

A Senior Apple Support Specialist told me yesterday that the main reason any ios device loses photo syncing capabilities currently with the recent versions of ios 11, up to 11.3.3…is because the device was recently switched a different WiFi network.

And sure enough…I had done that! We’d arrived home from a quick ‘long weekend’ about 2 weeks prior. My iCloud photo sync problems, which had existed, but they’d been minor problems before the trip, grew much worse when got back home.

My problems grew so bad in fact that I finally gave up and called Apple Care. This was after spending a lot of time trying to remedy the problem on my own. My main attempt was one I tried repeatedly because it was my own proven solution up until now. This fix  had always been my most reliable solution. Although it seemed like with the advent of ios 11, while it tended to work initially, the fix didn’t seem to ‘stick’ for very long. Less often, it simply didn’t work at all. This was especially frustrating because I wrote a post about it, which initially received great feedback from family members and friends. That, along with my own reliance upon it is the reason I’m sharing it here. It may still work well for people using older devices or earlier versions of ios.

After repeated attempts which had short-lived success I ended up spending a lot of time researching the problem once again. But my search for new solutions online was uncharacteristically futile.

That’s when I decided to call Apple Care. About an hour after initially being screened by a general support person who tried their best but failed with simple advice like…“did you try turning on Photostream?” I was finally offered the opportunity to speak with someone more advanced. This initial screening is my main reason for always hesitating to call upon Apple Care. In one conversations with the Senior Support Specialist I mentioned this and was told that I can circumvent spending that first hour with a generalist by John st asking to talked to a more senior support person right from the start.  That was great information to have and I’ll definitely do that in the future because I usually feel like I know much more about how ios Devices function than the Apple Care people I contact.

Shortly after getting in contact with the Senior Support Specialist, whose name  is Addison, I grew hopeful when he zeroed right in on what seemed to be causing the problem and he immediately knew what to do to fix it!

The Result of My Apple Care Session

I didn’t ask any followup questions about why switching WiFi’s has anything to do with disabling iCloud Photo Sync. I suspect that one of my Readers could probably explain that part to me! But the end result was that he helped me figure out which ios devices weren’t syncing properly by comparing the total number of photos in the camera roll of each. Then we went through the necessary steps to fix the 2 iPads and 2 iPhones which we determined were the ones that weren’t syncing. These also happened to be the devices I use most often and mainly, the ones I’d taken on the recent trip.


How to Fix iCloud Photo Sync Problems

ios 11 & 10

These steps are the same regardless of which ios the device may happen to be on. Of my 4 devices, 2 were on ios 11.3.0 and 2 were on ios 10.3.3.

Step 1

Sign Out of iCloud

You do this in Settings at the very top of the left menus by tapping on your name and then on the right pane scrolling down towards the very bottom until you find the words:

Sign Out (in Red)

When you do this you’ll receive a message asking if you want the content of you device’s data removed or kept on the device. Addison said it didn’t matter which, but I chose ‘Keep’ because it would be less of a strain on our WiFi system initially when all of the data started to sync again.

Step 2

Do a Soft or Hard Reset of Your Device

I asked Addison, the Apple support tech, which is the correct terminology…because I’ve seen it both ways…he said there isn’t a standard. I’m talking about the Reset in which you hold down both the Home Button and the Power On/Off Button until an Apple appears on the screen…then let go of both buttons and let it Reset itself.

Step 3

Sign Back Into iCloud

You do this in the same place in Settings. When you do be prepared for a whole slew of notifications like using WiFi enable calls, merging your iCloud data and other things I forget right now.Basically answer this all if you want or if you don’t want to they can always be revisited later…usually in Settings…sometimes Addison said there would be a red badge alerting you to where there change something.

Step 4

Wait 24 Hours (Making Sure Your Device is Reconnected to WiFi 1st!)

When 24 hours have elapsed…or the next day, check the total for the main Photos Album. I checked mine early and began using the device so I watched throughout the day as my photos and videos were slowly brought back onto it and my 3 other devices.

This fix worked reliably on all 4 devices!


More About  Apple Care

A Random Side Note About Restoring ios Devices, Apple’s Generous Replacement Programs, and iCloud Sync

One pretty drastic, but still viable method to ensure that iCloud sync continues working well on devices is this. Whenever Apple replaces a device for someone, this naturally involves a restore of their data to the new device. It seems this has occurred with me a lot recently. Restoring the data on an ios device has become pretty painless, which means that when an Apple Genius tells me the only way to fix a problem is to restore it…I no longer cringe and put it aside, deciding to buy a new device to hold me over until I get around to it!

A big plus of the restoration process, regardless of whether or not it’s a brand new device or an older one that’s exhibiting the problems…is that a restore almost always fixes all of the photo Sync and other iCloud sync problems too.

The reason I mention this is because if you are contemplating restoring a device anyway…then knowing that the restore will fix your sync problems too (only on that device though) is something that I’d want to know up front.

Some Advantages of Apple Care

I maintain Apple Care on some of my newest, most expensive devices. This, for me has resulted in an overall significant cost savings in the long run because Apple has replaced many, many devices for me over the years. The reason is because ios devices have a fairly closed system which makes it far easier for Apple to provide customers with a brand new device when problems arise. The problems which have resulted in Apple’s replacing a device for me range from a tiny speck of dust under the glass of an iPad Mini 2 (which doesn’t have the recently hyped  laminated Screen and infinitesimal cracks in the screen which I didn’t even notice, to a new Apple Watch which developed battery problems…with a lot in between.

Apple Recall Programs

Another way to assure that you are keeping your devices as up-to-date and as new as possible is to occasionally monitor what I call ‘Apple’s recall webpage,’ and discovering if  you have a problem device listed there. Occasionally the ‘remedy’ will be a replacement device…as was the case with the recent iPhone 6S battery recall for me. Naturally your device needs to be exhibiting the problem and sometimes there are criteria your device needs to meet. But if it does it’s well work taking the extra time to check it out because you will end up with a brand new device.

IMG_3582

Comments

Please leave any comments for me by scrolling down towards the bottom of this page and looking for the comments box.

Posted in iCloud Photos, iPad, iPhone, Problems Using Apple Devices | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Quick & Easy Jumplink Method | WordPress.com 2018

Introduction

Many of the posts I write are really long. I’ve been lobbying WordPress to add a feature which would allow me to easily create a ‘Table of Contents’ for my Readers. So far, other than what seems to be significant interest by other members of the WordPress.com community…people like me who create websites, WordPress.com management and even WordPress.com Support doesn’t seem inclined to want to consider the concept of adding this as a new feature. It appears they don’t necessarily understand what useful purpose a fully functioning Table of  Contents might serve.

Below are 2 examples of Table’s of Contents…one from a recent post of mine that I added as a navigational aid, but that lacks working links. Creating the hot links is the time consuming part and it’s the reason why I’ve been lobbying for them for a few years now.

My Table of Contents for My Hip Replacement Post

The 2nd is a WordPress.com Support post.

You’ll see if you visit the post that the Table of Contents links are hot, or functioning links.  Clearly having a Table of Contents that actually functions as a tool for Readers is the more desirable to of the two examples!

WordPress Support's Table of Contents

What are Jumplinks?

Both posts utilize a feature called jumplinks. Jumplinks are manually created hotlinks to another place within the same post. The jumplink instructions I’ve found are all different and all contradict each other. Therefore…learning to create jumplinks has not been an easy task.

This is one of the most important reasons why an automated Table of Contents would be such an amazing feature for WordPress.com users.

My Quick & Easy Method of Creating Jumplinks

Jumplinks consist of 2 parts. The first is the actual link itself. In the screen shot from my post above…the link in the Table of Contents entitled ‘Why Pears are My New Favorite Fruit.

The 2nd part of the jumplink is called the anchor point. It’s the location that the jumplink takes you to. You need to create a unique name for each anchor point that you want to create a jumplink too.

There are 3 steps to making a jumplink:

  1. Create the URL
  2. Attach the URL to the words that you want to function as the link.
  3. Make the achnor point or the place the link will go to

Creating the Jumplink URL

Creating the jumplink is super easy. It wasn’t always that way. It took days of work for me to figure out through testing many iterations of various examples which methods really do work and which combinations don’t. I’ve finally hit upon the perfect combination of simple coding that consistently works!

You can just copy the URL of the post or page and add #uniquename at the end of it. (You add this immediately at the end after removing the last  ⁄︎   )

uniquename = the name you’ve given to you anchor point

To create the actual link, just use the regular link creating mechanism and add the post’s URL with the ending / removed and #Anchorpoint at the end for the link.

Creating the Action Which Takes You to the Location Referred to in the Jumplink

Select the words that you’d like to be the destination for the jumplink. Wrap those words with:

IMG_6866

That’s all there is to it. Now just publish your work and test out the link to make sure it works.

Example

If you’d like to see an example of using this method, refer to this post and try out the link in the red box in the screenshot below.

Post example of this Quick method

2nd Example

Another jumplink I created is in my New Player Guide for PokémonGo.

Here’s where I wrapped some text with the anchor word:

22EED0DA-467B-473F-9AC2-9781BED6BF2F

Here’s the title I made into a link:

5BE4E325-6060-4B8B-9E67-6A4C145B5C9C

Here’s where you’re taken when you use the link:

AD4B9CA2-1A16-4C2A-978C-FB8342196D1F

One Remaining Problem

I’m not entirely sure why not, but whenever I try to wrap headlines (ones that use header tags) in the destination code, my jumplink never works. I can’t imagine why not. My work-around is to pick some other words close to the headline to wrap instead. But if someone could explain more about why this problem occurs to me and how to prevent it…I’d appreciate it!

This is just one more reason why I think that an automated Table of Contents based upon header tags, would be a really great feature to have!

Comments

Scroll down a way to leave any comments or questions.

Posted in Blogging, Tech Tips, WordPress | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Baby Boomers Guide to Surviving the Post-Operative Effects of a Total Hip Replacement | Part 2 THR Series

 This is Part 2 of my Hip Replacement Series

___________

7715AF9C-B014-4A44-AF28-921339B70AAF

Part 1 shown below, ‘Modern Medicine’s Most Amazing Miracle in 2018  | Patient’s Can Achieve a Complete Phase 1 Recovery in Just 9 Days When Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement Techniques are Used,‘ can be found here.

Part 1 Modern Medicine's Miracle

Table of Contents | Part 2

I’m not great creating jumplinks, which are links within articles that take you to other places within the same article. Plus that they take a ton of time to create (maybe because I’m so lousy with them ;-/ ?)

Hopefully someday soon WordPress will provide writers with an automated method for auto-generating a hot-linked Table of Contents…but for right now, they don’t. So, rather than skipping this helpful Reader tool completely, I thought I’d manually create this sort of ‘retro’ Table of Contents. At least it will give you an idea of where to look for something contained within this post.Introduction

        • Introduction
        • Video of the Hana Table Used for the Direct Anterior Approach
        • Why I Wrote This Favorites Guide
        • About My Recommendations | Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
        • Everything I Know About Icing Machines
        • What I Know About Intermittent Pneumatic Compressions Devices
        • A Wedge for Leg Elevation
        • Aids Recommended by My Surgeon or the Hospital
        • Aids the Hospital Gave Me During Therapy Sessions
        • Products for Pain
        • Why Pears are My New Favorite Fruit
        • 2 Supplements That Helped Me
        • The Last 2 Supplements that Help Me A Lot
        • A Great Patient Forum on THR’s
        • Conclusion & Comments

    Introduction

    Three weeks ago I had a total hip replacement. I was lucky because my surgeon provided a lot of pre-surgical advice and support options. So I was guided into considering getting many things that I might need post-op. I also attended a class at the hospital where I ultimately had my surgery. During it they talked about many devices and aids which would make my life easier the first few weeks with my new hip.

    They also told me that I’d meet with physical and occupational therapists several times during my overnight stay. Those individuals would go over all the things that I’d need to be able to do in order to be discharged. Things like dress myself, use the rest room, put on my shoes and socks, and use the stairs. If I struggled with tasks, they would offer me tools to make that task easier. Those tools that I wanted to bring home I could and they were just added to my hospital bill.

    My Procedure, Called the Anterior Direct Approach, Utilized the Special Operating Table Shown in the Short Video Below

    Why I Wrote This ‘Favorite Products‘ Guide

    Shortly after I scheduled my hip replacement I discovered that one of my siblings was also planning to have bilateral hip replacements right around the same time as me! How weird is that?

    My procedure ended up occurring a few weeks sooner. So I decided to try and write a series of articles for that sibling (who shall remain nameless unless they want to reveal their own health status to the world.)

    Doing that during my own recovery however has proven more challenging than I realized time-wise. Aside from my ability to move around and get daily tasks done, which currently takes about 5 times longer than my normal speed, I’ve got tons of daily exercises, driving practice, and activities involving trying to manage my pain as well as office visits for various aspects of my recovery which take up the vast majority of my time. So this 2nd part is getting done much later than I planned, and a possible 3rd part probably won’t make sense. 

    UC Davis Orthopedic’s Department Wrote This Great Guide to Hip Replacement Surgery for Patients, Which I Found Particularly Helpful Post-Surgery …starting on around page 17.

    About My Recommendations

    Many of my recommendations will be in the form of links to products on Amazon, which is where I made all of my own purchases. But I also want to point out that I am an Amazon Affiliate. This means that I make a very small commission if someone purchases something using a link I’ve provided at Amazon. However, this would never have an impact upon the price.  It’s just a way that Amazon (and other retail establishments too) have come up with to reward people who are willing to share products they’ve used and loved with others in the hopes that they might buy their products too.

    So I’m wrote this post to include all of the things I found helpful, as well as to help someone else find them on Amazon.  I don’t know about you, but often times I don’t find things easily on Amazon. In fact I’ve found that Googling things is usually a better way of finding them on Amazon than searching Amazon itself for them. Pretty much anything that wasn’t given to me in the hospital I bought from Amazon, with only one or two exceptions.

    Icing Machine Advice from DME Direct

    Icing Machine Advice from DME Direct

    Icing Machines (aka Cold Therapy) | 1 Thing I Learned About Too Late to Be of Personal Benefit

    But That Possibly Might Be of Benefit to Other Hip Replacement Recipients

    Naturally after any surgery patients are required to ice their injuries a lot, to reduce swelling, thereby promoting better circulation and faster healing. But the frequency of icing and even the number of sites where ice is used can vary dramatically by patient and by situation.

    For example where I’m physically located it’s still the dead of winter and the idea of icing constantly isn’t all that appealing because I’m frequently cold to begin with. So I’ve used a combination of cold and warm therapy which surprisingly to me is still advised by both my surgeon and therapist even at the 3 week mark. I also find that both cold and warm therapy help to relieve pain a lot which is really important since I experience pain in my entire surgical leg at least 50% of the time. Consequently, I’ve used combinations of both frequently. It’s not unusual to find me sitting on a couch with my leg slightly elevated (in order to reduce swelling…by keeping it above the heart) with my entire leg covered using a series of cold and warm wraps. The warm wraps for me, help to physically endure the cold ones better and relax muscles too.

    Were I to have had my surgery somewhere warm however, say in Florida, constant icing may have been both desirable and palliative. Which is where I think the possible use of an icing machine might be really beneficial.

    Some of the home icing machines for hips

    Some of the home icing machines for hips at DME Direct

    What I know about icing machines isn’t a lot since I’ve never personally used one, but I have researched them more than I would have for just myself because of my sibling. Icing machines can be purchased relatively inexpensively from places like Amazon or online DME Durable Medical Equipment suppliers. Their costs for outright purchase can range from around $80 to $250. I suspect that you can also rent them from local DME suppliers but my efforts to find a local source failed at a rate which matched my interest level. My enthusiasm waned a little more with each subsequent phone call, and ended abruptly by around my 8th to 10th call (this may have been due to my inability to stay awake any longer in my early post-op days.)

    When I first discovered these therapy devices the source I found called them ‘icing machines.’ The name ‘icing machine’ is really a misnomer however, because these machines don’t really produce instant ice…rather they provide a source of constantly re-circulating very cold water through pads designed for use on specific body parts. Hip pads are shaped a lot like many company’s standard large pads I discovered. So if you find a machine you like but not a pad…chances are their standard pad will fit the bill.

    Below is an example of an icing machine that’s made by Ossur (as shown at DME Direct’s website,) along with examples of both their hip pads and their standard pad. Ossur, along with DonJoy were the 2 companies I was most interested in when I was researching these for myself.

    Ossur icing machine and pads

    This total unit by Ossur at DME Direct with a hip pad included costs $200 and includes free shipping. I found the exact same thing at Amazon with a right hip pad included for $141.70 (today…last week it was $159.90,) also with free shipping included. In both instances confirming shipping speed by phone is recommended since I had several items delivered which were too late and I no longer needed them by the time they arrived. They were easily returned but why go through all the hassle? What I learned was the stated shipping date upon ordering isn’t always the actual shipping date. Often not by a long shot! So being proactive here helps!

    Below is an interesting NPR article on cold therapy and medical insurance companies’ propensity to not want to cover it despite its proven benefits. As I’m sure most readers are aware, narcotic pain medicine is so inexpensive that’s what health insurance companies prefer that their patients use. Even in instances where long term use might prove to be detrimental and longer term palliative solutions, such as cortisone injections might prove to be much better for a patients overall health! Don’t even get me started on this…it’s a bit of a pet peeve!

    Insurance prefers opioids to cold therapy

    Another Thing I Only Learned About After-the-Fact Are Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices

    I already discussed these in some detail in Part 1 of this series…Modern Medicines Most Amazing Miracle…but I just remembered something that I didn’t address there so I thought I’d mention it here.  It has to do with shipping.

    I used Amazon customer service to help me place an order for the pneumatic compression device I ended up using a lot  (pictured below) because for me, it reduced my pain considerably.

    The Amazing Compression Device which is helping me sleep!

    As I stated in my previous article I originally ordered a more expensive unit but upon actually placing that order I discovered the shipping date had changed to about a week later than originally shown. I called  Amazon customer service because I’d agreed to pay a lot extra…may be $20 extra for overnight delivery. They removed the upcharge I’d paid for expedited delivery because I needed it soon but in the end I left the order in place thinking that I’d try the less expensive one pictured here while I waited for what I thought would be the better one.

    Vive pneumatic compression unit

    Thank God I end up loving this unit instead because about a week and a half later…which was quite a while after the 2nd unit should have arrived I received a message from Amazon telling me it was not available! That was about 2 weeks after I ordered it!! So it’s important to stay on top of shipping dates with time sensitive items!

    I went back and forth about where to place this because it was probably the #1 product that helped with all of my leg pain related to cramping and restless leg syndrome. But it’s also a durable medical piece of equipment that can be rented from DME suppliers too…so I decided to locate it here rather than with all the homeopathic and topical treatments further down.

    A Wedge for Elevating Your Leg is Something that Can Really Help With Icing & is Comfortable Too

    2 Years ago I had foot surgery which is what began the sequence of events leading up to my hip replacement. The recovery was long and painful…much longer than I suspect my hip will be. I was required to keep my foot elevated with ice on it for 10 solid days…24/7. That was tough but I did it and it helped to bring about a really positive final outcome. I just wish that I had splurged then and gotten this wedge because I feel like I would have gotten my money’s worth out of it!

    Wedge for elevating leg

    Mary Lou Retton, the famous Olympic Gymnast posted an inspiring video about her total hip replacement you can watch here. 

    Things I Got Based on the Advice of My Class or My Surgeon’s Online Checklists

    1. Swivel Shower Stool by iCarez

    Product Dimensions
    4.4 x 14.5 x 14.5″
    7 pounds

    Swivel shower stool

    I searched for a long time for this. I like to take baths not showers so I was already worried that showering might prove difficult given some balance issues I have. Both the hospital and physical therapist recommended revising the shower area a bit with a shower stool, handle, and placing non-slip treads in the floor. I did all three things and it’s worked out well.

    Maybe it’s because I’m a bath person…I don’t know…but it took almost a week before I felt good enough and was up for actually taking a shower. When I finally did it was an ordeal lasting hours and I was exhausted afterwards! From a shower!! That’s kind of pitiful I think!!! Yet I was very glad for all the time I’d taken getting the stool and other things.

    When considering stools, at first I thought a stool that swiveled would be less secure and I didn’t think that I wanted one. But then I read somewhere that the swivel was actually really useful for smaller showers. Because it allows you to sit on it and then turn yourself around and face into the shower. I do have a small shower and the swivel feature has worked nicely for that aspect. At 3 1/2 weeks I’m still finding the stool helpful!

    This particular stool is also very lightweight so that I can carry it from one bathroom to another easily using once crutch, to one that has a bathtub. Then I run warm water into the tub and sit on the stool, dangling my legs into the water to help relieve cramping in my calves. You’re not supposed to take baths or ‘soak’ your incision area by taking a bath.

    2. Locking Toilet Seat Riser with Arms

    Toilet Riser

    I also spent a long time searching for this because on our first floor where I would be situated for who knew how long, the main toilet felt lower than average. So I wanted something that was higher than average, but also that locked and was easy to handle alone. This seems to fit the bill. But when it arrived it wasn’t what was shown in the picture…although it was described accurately in the description. But I’m a visual person and relied upon the picture…so did my husband.

    So, while this is not a higher than average riser like I’d hoped…it is a very nice riser that’s both comfortable, safe and secure, and I actually like it a lot. It’s just exactly the same as many others sold at Amazon…but for a really good price.

    3. Suction Type Handle for Stability

    Shower handle

    Add on Item $8.68 or $8.69 as add-on item

    I wasn’t sure if this would work for us or if I would use it. But apparently I ordered 4 of them anyway! I sent 3 of them back…but the 4th one does work well in our shower. It’s stays locked in place securely and has done so for a few weeks now which is all I needed it to do. So I think this handle was well worth the 8 bucks!

    4.  Anti-Slip Shower & Bathtub Stickers

    I almost forgot to get anti-slip stickers, so I didn’t spend a lot of time picking them out. I was literally sticking them to my shower floor the morning of my surgery.

    Anti-slip Stickers for Shower Floor

    When I got back from the hospital post-op and I realized that I also needed grippy socks too. Yet I discovered that I couldn’t order any that would arrive fast enough for me to use in the next few days. So, I ended up cutting up some of my leftover bathtub stickers and making my own grippy socks to cover me until the new ones I also ordered at that time arrived.

    Making My Own DIY Grippy Socks

    My DIY Grippy Socks

    Things that the Hospital or Occupational Therapist Gave Me During My Overnight Hospital Stay

    Initially I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to spend one night in the hospital, but I ended up becoming a believer as the experience unfolded. What won me over I think was that first night was rough. Instead of having to wake up my husband to help me get to the restroom or take my pain medication…I was happy to have the nurse do it as part of their normal routine…so I didn’t feel like I was imposing on anyone. Also, I benefited from different people’s perspectives on the best ways to go about certain challenging tasks. Thinks like getting into and out of bed…and into and out of the restroom. Some of their unique approaches ended up helping me for weeks to come!

    1. Open Toe Compression socks

    In the hospital I was required to wear open toed compression socks with grippy socks over them so I wouldn’t slip and fall….and last a pair of electronically inflatable compression contraptions placed on each calve to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Apparently when a person experiences such a massive amount of their own bone being cut out of their body and replaced with an implant and then they sit in bed a lot until the pain subsides enough to want to venture out often…you’re very prone to pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis.

    The open toed compression socks and inflatable compression device is intended to counter that tendency, and you are advised to continue wearing the open toed socks at home too. Since the pair the hospital provided me with was white and they were already getting dirty before I even left, I decided to order a darker pair for home use I could switch between. But I found that getting these up quickly was a challenge and in retrospect it would have been nice to have them at home when I arrived there instead of just beginning my search for them!

    This is the pair I decided to get. They are just a tiny bit less tight than the hospital pair.

    Doc Miller Blue Striped Open Toed Compression Socks

    2. 3 Pack of Grippy Socks

    We have hard wood floors at home and I knew that like in the hospital, the compression socks would be slippery on our floors. Plus it’s still winter here and my feet just get cold! I ended up loving the grippy socks I found. They’re warm, very grippy without feeling lumpy and soft and comfortable too!

    Grippy Socks

    3. Sock Putter Onner

    I sort of made up the title ‘sock putter onner’ for lack of something else to call it. I never could have imagined how difficult it would be to put a sock on a fresh new-hip leg or foot. Even at the 2 week mark I use the sock putter onner most of the time…although it is getting easier now and I at least have a chance of reaching my foot with my arm!

    I absolutely love this sock putter onner and think the device is absolute genius!  When I finally don’t need it anymore I’ll be mailing it to my 92 year old Dad who I know has some problems getting his own socks on…because he too is experienced hip problems! But at 92 his doctors don’t think a complete hip replacement is the best idea…and I get why…it’s pretty brutal…even despite all the recent improvements!

    Sock Outter Onner aka Sock Aid

    Sock Putter Onner aka Sock Aid

    4. Leg Lifter

    I wish someone from the hospital had told me about these. For some reason after your hip joint has been cut out you have absolutely no front thigh muscles to lift your leg with. So getting your leg into bed, into a car, up onto a footstool or couch is almost impossible all on your own. The first few days even using your arm to lift it seems challenging, although one hospital nurse did teach me a technique to use my other leg as a sort of lever and latch the surgical leg onto it using my foot as a hook. But that method only works sometimes…and it can be exhausting when you’re on heavy-duty pain killers! So a leg lifter is an absolute essential imo!

Below is my video on how to make a DYI leg lifter from a tube scarf.

  • That being said…this is also the device that is easiest to jury-rig up your own modification of. For example…out of sheer desperation I discovered that a tube scarf works well for this purpose. What’s a tube scarf? Well, it’s something I wear to keep my neck warm because ever since I chopped off my long hair into a very short pixie cut, my neck feels naked and gets really cold. So tube scarves keep it warm.They can also be described as inexpensive tubes of fabric like that shown below…which when fully extended are plenty long to use as a leg lifter too!

    Below is one of my favorite tube scarves from Amazon. Also I’ve included an official leg lifter for comparison purposes.

    Leg lifter and Tube Scarf

    5. Long-handled shoe horn

    Both this long-handled shoe horn and the long-handled sponge shown next have been useful for me. Both were given to me in the hospital by the occupational therapist. The shoe horn is just a really nice one and I’ll use it forever. The sponge on the other hand…not so much!

    Shoe horn and sponge

    6. Long-handled sponge

    Post-Surgical Hip Replacement – Products for Pain

    I’ve Had Some Nocturnal Leg and Foot Cramps in the Past…But Nothing Like This!

    This section has ended up being very long and should have been a separate post entirely…maybe I’ll still do that. Because pain issues have been significant for me, and frankly, I think they are for most hip replacement patients. It’s more a matter of ‘for how long’ than anything else probably. Currently I’m early into week 3 and still take something for pain constantly…usually 2 things. A topical and oral medicine.

    The good news is the pain is lessening and changing which shows progress…just as my ability keeps improving too. My biggest problem…when I sit quietly my pain goes away. As soon as I start doing anything…even just walking…it comes back with such a vengeance that only taking pain medicine (Tylenol usually) will relieve it. I know I should be exercising  much more than I am…but that’s why I’m not!

    Going back to the beginning…the first week I expected massive pain and I wasn’t surprised. As it lessened, that’s when I considered leaving narcotics behind me. So I stopped taking the narcotic pain medicine that I’d been sent home from the hospital with at the end of the first week. In addition to the normal incisional and surgical pain any person would feel from chopping off some of the largest bones in their body, I experienced a lot of other leg pain too. This, according to both my doctor and PT guy is quite normal.

    Around the time I stopped the narcotics is when the awful leg cramps set in for me. Did stopping the narcotics cause it? It shouldn’t have based on what everyone has told me. This pain has been consistent for the entire course of my rehab…and has paralleled it in intensity. Had I known this in advance I may not have stopped taking the heavy duty pain medicine quite so soon. Because even though it didn’t appear to cause it…it would have helped in dealing with it. But I didn’t. I wasn’t feeling great from the pain meds and in my mind when I quit them I was done with them for good.  (Weeks later however I did resume taking very small amounts of  the leftover narcotic pain meds I still had just for sleeping purposes…breaking them into tiny slivers.) They did help a lot for another week and my approach seemed to prevent most of the negative side effects.

    But initially after stopping the narcotics, I pretty much had to rely upon Tylenol for what began as nighttime leg cramps but then turned into almost constant daily cramps that frequently moved locations and travelled all around my surgical leg. A typical cycle might be with the pain beginning in the front of my thigh…which then moved to my knee, then to my calve and sometimes even my ankle. Then it might jump up to focus around my incision or in my buttock area…where I usually felt sciatic pain. I figured those pains were more likely due to the actual surgery…since some of it didn’t seem to fall into the ‘cramping’ category.

    Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash
    Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash

    In truth, when your leg hurts a lot, and it continues to hurt most of the time, you don’t really end up spending much time trying to differentiate amongst the sources of it. You just want it gone!

    Anti Leg-Cramp Remedies

    Since I Had Experienced Nocturnal Leg & Foot Cramps Previously I Immediately Went to The Things That Helped Me the Most When Those Were a Problem Before

    The things that had helped me out the most previously were Homeopathic remedies in either tablet or topical forms as well as other topical treatments, dietary changes and mechanical or movement therapies like stretching.

    Hylands is a brand I’ve come to trust and they make 2 different tablets as well as an ointment I’ve liked a lot in the past. I had one tablet at home but ordered the other which is a PM version,with different ingredients. It has a higher concentration of Quinine, which is an ingredient known to help leg cramping.  I also ordered more ointment, because we were almost out…I must have used a lot of it last time!

    Hylands Leg Cramp Tablets  $9.48

    Hylands Leg Cramp Tablets PM 50 Ct. $7.40

    Hylands Leg Cramp Ointment  $9.23

    Typically the regular tablets (not the PM version I’d never tried before) helped me the most. But with this post-surgical cramping and pain I found that the ointment helped me the most.

    Since I began with these and I wasn’t having huge success I kept searching for something better. I then ran across Boron’s remedy…which is another good brand for homeopathic medicine and another I had at home already.

    Comparison of Hylands remedys

    Boiron’s remedy I’d used less. I wasn’t sure if that was because it didn’t work as well for me or just because it took a little longer to dissolve sublingually (under the tongue.) So I added that to my regime but still didn’t have a ton of success.

    Boiron Cuprum Metallicum – is what I’ve taken for leg cramps in the past.

Boiron homeopathic remedies for leg & muscle cramps

  • Arnica Montana 30x (quick dissolving tablets…see below) is what I started taking for the current pain caused by injury from the surgery.
  • Arnica Montana Creme I’ve been using topically along with the arnica tablets to strengthen then effect…it works for a few hours.

Homeopathic Remedy for Injury Related Pain

  • Traditional Homeopathic Remedies for Injury, Pain, Inflammation and Healing

    That’s when I began to branch out from just leg cramp remedies to pain, anti-inflammatory, traumatic injuries and healing remedies.

    For many years, before she move away, I was treated by a Medical Doctor who was also trained in acupuncture and homeopathy. She was amazing and caring practitioner who was probably more highly trained than any Doctor I’ve ever encountered either before or after.

    Many of the remedies I use today originated from her. Most of the things she tried with me were very helpful…if they weren’t I moved on and forgot about them. I have an underlying hereditary condition which I believe causes me to be hypersensitive to many things which cause physical sensations. Hypersensitivity to medication happens to be one of them. Small amounts or dosages for me usually go a long way and large amounts or very strong medications sometimes completely overwhelm my system. That’s why I suspect things like acupuncture and homeopathy work so well for me.

    I began taking Traumeel, a great anti-inflammatory and pain remedy on her advice. It’s the one homeopathic remedy that I’ve used for a very long time that also seems to have fairly universal success.  It’s even used in veterinary cases a lot!  The other is Arnica. I shopped for Arnica in both tablet form and topical form because Arnica is the best healing remedy I know of to take following a traumatic injury. Taking a combination of Arnica Tablets and using that alongside either the creme or gel form of Arnica has been helping me alot!! Yay! You are so limited with what you can take post surgery that I’m beyond happy this is working for me!

    I found another combination that also works well for me. It’s taking Traumeel tablets and along with Aspercreme Rub. I would have tried both forms of Traumeel…tablets and gel together, if I had both. But I didn’t, I just had the tablets. Traumeel isn’t easy to come by in the US recently. I didn’t think if I ordered the Traumeel ointment I’d receive it anytime soon. So I think my combining it with Aspercreme made sense and was a good approach which works because homeopathy tends to be a milder, gentler kind of treatment. Many topical treatments seem to be the same. I think that explains why using a combined therapy of tablets along with a topical treatment has been highly successful for me in dealing with this somewhat intractable pain.  Using combinations like this isn’t something that I’ve tried in the past, so I was really happy to discover it now!

    Aspercream & Traumeel

    A few more aspects of homeopathic oral remedies I should discuss. They are all taken sublingually, therefore if you use a liquid sublingually it will absorb much faster than the time it takes a tablet to dissolve and absorb. Generally you shouldn’t have consumed anything with a strong scent, like onions, coffee or even toothpaste for about 30 minutes prior to taking anything sublingually, but especially homeopathic remedies because they are so gentle. Most liquids have an alcohol base that can sting if you have any cuts in your mouth. Last I just learned that homeopathic remedies never really go bad or expire. So don’t throw them away if they don’t work from r something!  There’s a good chance they’ll work for something else instead. They will keep indefinitely as long as they are stored in a cool, dry location.

    Normally, I prefer using Traumeel’s liquid form. I don’t know if it was because I had a breathing tube or what, but I did have some sore spots in my mouth post surgery.  I found that the tablets easier to take than the liquid despite the longer absorption time, because the alcohol made my mouth sting. Also most homeopathic remedies come in various strengths.  Understanding that hierarchy is fairly complicated, so it’s just easier to say that for home, 30x or c is best, followed by 6.

    Additional Topical Treatments

    Magnesium Lotion $8.70 for 8 oz Bottle

    This lotion isn’t helping much with my current post-surgical leg pain, but in the past it’s been one of my go-too solutions. My husbands personal trainer got this for me a few years back when I was having trouble with regular leg cramps. It helped a lot at that time and was difficult to find so I decided to include it even though it isn’t helping me much this time around.

    Magnesium Lotion

    Theraworx Foam 7.1 oz $19.95

    Since my tried and true Magnesium Lotion wasn’t helping I decided to try another formulation of Magnesium. I went with Theraworx because it got great reviews and it would arrive quickly…or so I thought. A week later it finally arrived…and I was ready to send it back because my leg cramps appear too be gone. But, my leg still hurts it’s just not cramps…and one night when the pain was bad (it always seems worst at night) I decided to try it. I was surprised to find that it does help!  I guess some of my leg pain is still related to cramps!

    Below I included some information on Theraworx and compare it’s ingredients to those of the Magnesium Lotion I’ve always relied upon in the past.
    E2E5CE7B-9E74-4557-94DD-69AD33F941FB

    Voltaran Gel

    Voltaren Gel

    Voltaren Gel is a prescription anti-inflammatory and pain topical medicine in the U.S. I had some around the house from a back problem long ago. When I stopped taking the narcotics, the first day the pain was really bad so I dug this out, researched the safety of taking it and tried it. It didn’t help me much and I got a bloody nose…which went away when I stopped using it.

    So Voltaren is a NSAID and I was worried that it might somehow enter your bloodstream and cause blood thinning the way oral NSAID’s do. Apparently it doesn’t because my doctor, well really his PA said it was OK to use. But then the bloody nose thing happened…and worse…stopped when I stopped using Voltaren and that was my proof that using this in the early days post surgery isn’t safe.

    2 weeks later I tried it again with much better results. It helped my pain and no bloody nose. So timing after surgery seems important.

    Food, Vitamins, & Supplements

    58A47071-FD66-45EC-8690-A9FA0D0F3B11

    Pears – There’s one nutritional suggestion that has nothing to do with pain. I’m able to share this with you because of the kind actions of a very dear friend who also had a hip replacement several years ago. She sent me not one, but 2 amazing gift boxes filled with some of the most wonderful pears I’ve ever had! I never knew that pears could be so good! Nor did my husband who had a hard time not eating them all before I could get to them ;-)

    Why did she send me pears? I was wondering the exact same thing myself. She sent them because she knew that my gastrointestinal system would be all out of sorts from the heavy duty pain medication. And somewhere along the way she learned that pears are one of the highest fiber fruits in existence. I suspect she also knew that plain old grocery store pears, if even available in the dead of winter, probably wouldn’t be all that great tasting. Not so with the Amazon gift pears…they were amazing!

    Below: The gift box of pears I received from my dear friend

    One of the gift box of pears I received

    While I don’t know exactly which gift box she sent to me and it doesn’t seem to be any of them that I found (see the screenshot above.) I thought that I should include a few examples of similar gift boxes I did find, just so that you know they really do exist. Believe me, these pear gift but boxes were not that easy to track down at Amazon! Even knowing they came from Amazon Fresh didn’t seem to help much.

    In the screenshot above on the far left Comice Pears, $36 for 9 are shown. In the middle is 4 lbs of a winter pears medley including Bosc pears, Asian pears, Comice pears and Red d’Anjou pears for $43. On the right is another medley…this time it includes 3 each of Comice, Bosc and Red Pears for $28.

    Dill Pickles – most of the dietary changes I tried didn’t seem to make a bit of difference except this one. My son mentioned to me that this as a popular cramp remedy with some of the players from his former state championship winning tennis team. Separately I’d run across several mentions of this remedy online. So with the combined credibility of several recommendations I decided to give it a try.

    I was really surprised to find that eating a dill pickle really helped! Especially when no other dietary change seemed to matter in the least. Drinking more fluids in general and drinking a lot of electrolyte enhanced beverages seemed to have no impact what so ever.

    My Dill PicklesMy Dill Pickles

    Eating more salt, soy sauce, baking soda and yellow mustard didn’t matter, nor did more bananas or other sources of potassium or magnesium.

    Hot Shot

    One thing I didn’t try, but my PT recommended was a sport supplement called Hot Shot. At first I couldn’t find it until he gave this link to my husband. He said the science behind it was based on the concept that strong tastes that shock your tastebuds…like hot things or sour things as in fermented  foods (i.e.dill pickles) help with muscle cramping…although the mechanism isn’t yet entirely understood.

    Overtime, the actual leg cramps have dissipated but general leg pain remains. In reading more about why my legs hurt so much I found others undergoing THR have also battled severe muscle tightness, which is what my PT says is the reason for all my pain now. Each time I see him he works on sort of massaging all the muscle sets which run all the way up and down my leg and around my hip, to break up the tightness. It seems like it’s occurring because my body is trying to align my leg into a joint that just wasn’t formed correctly initially…and decades of muscle memory don’t just disappear overnight.

    2 Vitamin Supplements that Continue to Help A Lot are Calcium Citrate and  Lyte Fuel Electrolyte Tablets which I Take with my Tylenol

    Calcium Citrate & Lyte Fuel

    My husband took me to a local health supplement store similar to GNC after physical therapy one day. A sales clerk working there recommended that I try Calcium Citrate. I found the Lyte Fuel Tablets at Amazon and decided to try them because I can’t have sugar which most regular electrolyte beverages are packed with and sugar free ones can have negative gastrointestinal effects (as well as taste horrific!)
    A similar Calcium Citrate formulation to mineAbove: A Calcium Citrate Formulation similar to mine (but available on Amazon) along with my Lyte Fuel Supplements. Both are available at Amazon.

    The Last 2 Supplements that Help Me

    I apparently don’t get enough calcium, maybe because I’m lactose intolerant? I was diagnosed with osteopenia a few years ago. So  I’ve always tried to counteract that and be conscientious about taking calcium supplements. The same homeopathic MD I mentioned earlier told me about a great source of calcium that I’ve been taking for years…Coral Legend. She told me that it’s one of the most absorbable and good ways to supplement calcium. I’m sure there was more she told me too, but it was a long time ago and I’ve forgotten. I usually take a tiny amount of Coral Legend (because I take regular calcium too and because it’s so expensive!) every night.  I mix it in water then use that water to wash down my other supplements with. Since the cramping began I’ve increased how much I use…and now am using at least 1/4 teaspoon per night if not more…which means is the recommended amount.

    I also just added another supplement that she’d had me taking years ago. I  don’t really remember why I was taking it back then but from what I recall it was to sleep better. Maybe I was experiencing leg cramping that was interrupting my sleep? Although I tend to think that wasn’t the case…I couldn’t tell you why though. This supplement is called Magnelevures. I remember the part about taking it for sleep well because it was so strong for me that I could only take about 1/8 of an envelope of the stuff. Otherwise I’d not be able to wake up the next morning! I stopped having problems sleeping and stopped taking it at some point. But I save everything.

    Coral Legend and Magnaveloures

    So I was able to find half of a used box of Magnelevures and I’ve resumed taking too. I did this because I had some vague recollection that it helps with leg cramps. Since it contains 120 mg of magnesium that would make sense. Between the Coral Legend and the Magnelevures I’m finally getting enough magnesium I think…because my very severe leg cramps are gone. What’s left is just plain leg pain which isn’t nearly as bad. Although as the memory of the cramps distances itself further…my current leg pain seems to get worse ;-) I still don’t take anywhere near the amount of Magnelevures that’s recommended by Unda. They suggest 2 envelopes a day. I take about 1/4 of 1 right before bedtime because it does make me sleepy.

    A Great Patient Forum

    I was Googling a lot of my questions the first few days and ran across this hip replacement patient forum that’s very active and very helpful.

    Patient Hip Replacement Forum

    Conclusion

    I’m sure if I stopped to think for a moment I’d remember something else I wanted to include…so I won’t. Because my sibling…who I think I can safely now reveal is my brother, came home from the hospital today…and he’s right at the point where if any of these will be of use to him…that time would be right now.

    Comments

    Please feel free to share any ideas you may have found successful for your recovery. Scroll down a little further to leave a comment.

    Tweet This Post

    Follow me on Twitter

 

Posted in A Little About Me, About me, Hip replacement | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment