THR A bit of a shock!


junior member
Feb 15, 2023
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Hi. I am very lucky and grateful to be booked in for a THR on 28th Feb, but feel a little shell shocked as only diagnosed with dysplasia in Dec and a THR was not on my radar at all. I am 47 and have a very busy job (teacher) which I want to get back to asap as the children’s exams are looming and I am the only science specialist. Is 6 weeks realistic to get back to the classroom, if I just focus on the teaching and no extra stuff for a while?
I am overthinking the op - I am scared of a spinal and sedation plus I live in a second floor flat in school, so am worried about getting home especially with the children around! Having never been really ill before I will be a terrible patient -
Patience is not my strong point!
Is anyone else out there a teacher? How did you cope going back?
Looking forward to getting it done as in constant pain - bizarrely my calf this week is so tight and keeps pinging - really painful. I imagine it’s because I am walking funny. Sleep is hard as there is no comfortable position. Such a nuisance - I have gone from being active and running around non stop to doing nothing, piling on the pounds and being grumpy in the space of 9 months. Yuck.
Hello and Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us.

The diagnosis can be shocking for some. Wrapping you head around the idea of joint replacement is enough, but you're also facing surgery in mere weeks. Many have months to adjust with time spent ruminating over their decision all the while struggling with pain. Some may prefer the way you're doing it, with less time to stress.

There have been many teachers here and most will probably tell you they were exhausted going back early and had problems with concentration. We tend to envision ourselves in the workplace not taking into account the effort it takes to get ready and get to the workplace. We normally recommend a Phased Return To Work beginning at twelve weeks, but understand that doesn't work for everyone. Phased Return To Work

I was afraid of the spinal / sedation also, as are many, and most report back that it really was no big deal and had they known, it would have saved them unnecessary anxiety. Sleep does become difficult when you're in pain, feeling discomfort upon turning in bed, unable to find a comfortable position and realizing you need to contemplate every move ahead of time. Thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You're going to love the result and I'm sure you'll do great.

I will leave a few articles for you. Please stop back if you have any questions and we'll be happy to advise. I hope once you are post op you'll join us on the Hip Recovery Forum. You'll love the support and encouragement found there.

Please let us know which hip will be replaced for your signature. Best Wishes!
@Megsmum75 Welcome to BoneSmart. It is totally normal to feel anxious about having major surgery! Keep in mind that everyone involved in your surgery from surgeon, to anesthesiologist, to nurses, etc are professionals and they do these surgeries nearly every working day! They all have your best interests as their main goal. If you have never had surgery before or if you had a uncomfortable experience with surgery in the past, do tell the nurse when you first get to the hospital and they can give you something to calm the anxiety.

You should be able to manage OK at home though getting up those stairs the first time will be slow and probably a bit difficult. Will you have folks available to give you a helping hand? It looks like you live at the school where you teach so maybe another teacher or friend at the school?

Usually it is recommended that you allow 12 weeks before trying to return to work after a hip replacement. Healing from major surgery take a lot of energy and many people report feeling very fatigued for weeks. Plus pain medications .... which you will need for a while .... can cause you to feel mentally fuzzy. Every one is different in their joint replacement experience. You MIGHT be able to go back to your classroom but will probably need at least a cane or perhaps crutches and need to sit as much as you can. Do talk to the administrators of your school and to your surgeon about what you might need to return to your active work.

And, teacher, you will do some additional learning! Patience being a big lesson! Trying to do too much too soon can actually cause set backs and complications. HEAL FIRST is the mantra to hang on to.

Hip: pre-surgery considerations

If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:

Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic hip?
Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:

Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced hip, take a look at the posts and threads in stories of amazing hip recoveries

Hip Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary.
2. Control discomfort:
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.
4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
Activity progression for THRs
6. Access these pages on the website
Oral And Intravenous Pain Medications
Wound Care In Hospital

The Recovery articles:
Pain management and the pain chart
Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of THR recovery

Dislocation risk and 90 degree rule
Energy drain for THRs
Pain and swelling control: elevation is the key

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it

Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

BIG TIP: Hips actually don't need any exercise to get better. They do a pretty good job of it all on their own if given half a chance. Trouble is, people don't give them a chance and end up with all sorts of aches and pains and sore spots. All they need is the best therapy which is walking and even then not to excess.
We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.
While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
Thanks everyone - really appreciate your replies. It’s my right hip - left seems ok!!

Will aim to get back in some capacity after Easter but will play by ear! It’s such a nightmare setting cover for a practical subject it’s honestly easier to be there, even in a limited capacity. But ultimately I want to be fighting fit in as short a time as possible and if that means an extra few
Weeks off then so be it. I find in schools it tends to be all or nothing due to the nature of the job.

I am very lucky in that there will be a good support network - my husband will be with me for the first week (that’s more than enough!!) but friends can easily pop in through the day.

Thanks again
Is 6 weeks realistic to get back to the classroom, if I just focus on the teaching and no extra stuff for a while?
Probably not realistic, but there is no predicting. Even if you are fully mobile (unlikely that early out) there is still Energy drain for THRs to deal with. It's real and you just can't fight it.

Don't cause yourself frustration. You can't push through this recovery. Plan on 10-12 weeks off work and then a phased return. Then be delighted if you are able to get back to work sooner.
@Megsmum75 - Hi there and welcome to the club no one wants to be a part of! ;) I was you about 1.5 years ago and close to the same age (50). While not a teacher, I was pretty active the rest of my day (which I know is not the same thing). Anyway, as others have said, each recovery is unique and you can't necessarily go by what one person experienced vs another. That said, at 6 weeks, I could have likely gone back to work as a teacher assuming I would be allowed to sit now and then for breaks. By then, i was fairly independent and even getting back to the gym on a modified basis.

So the point is to probably plan on at least 8 weeks, but if you can adjust, then do so. But definitely don't rush your body. Soreness is ok; pain is not.
@Megsmum75 I totally understand the anxiety. I had been being treated for everything but hip arthritis! THR was NOT on my radar. either. I have a soft spot for your surgery date-the same one I had four years ago! I am not a teacher but I was in healthcare. Yes, those jobs (and many others) require you to be 100%. I was told that the minimum time to recover was 6 weeks, so that's what I requested. When 6 weeks was approaching, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to go back to work! I had to take the maximum allowed where I am for FMLA at 12 weeks. Then I had to tack on 2 more to pass the physical ability test my workplace had. Luckily, my boss was very flexible and sympathetic as she even then allowed me to phase back into work over the next 2 weeks. My point: everyone is different. Take the maximum time you can and as has already been said, be delighted if you feel ready to go back earlier.

As far as the spinal anesthesia: THR was the first time I hadn't had GA for a surgery. I vowed I would do a spinal with any other surgery I might have in the future if it was an option. LOL. I stressed before my surgery way more than I needed to. None of it was any where near as bad as I imagined and most of it was so much better than I could have imagined. Everyone was lovely and supportive. Not to be cliche", but this surgery is nothing short of life-changing. I am back to everything I love, pain free. Best wishes for your upcoming surgery. We'll be here for you.
6 weeks sounds tough/optimistic if you are going to need to be back on your feet a lot. Give yourself some extra weeks if at all possible. But a few months out you’ll be glad you did it!
Honestly going back to most any job at 6 weeks is pretty unrealistic. In my opinion there aren't many jobs you could do to a satisfactory level at that point. Surgeries like these are life changing in how they remove the pain and renew our bodies, but to accomplish this they are traumatic. Giving yourself the time to heal properly will be more rewarding in the long run.
..... But ultimately I want to be fighting fit in as short a time as possible and if that means an extra few
Weeks off then so be it. I find in schools it tends to be all or nothing due to the nature of the job.

Thanks again
Hi @Megsmum75 and welcome to the surprise of your life, right? We're glad you're here!

I think you said it perfectly up there-- "all or nothing" requires all of your all, and will simply take the time it takes. Brains, energy, focus, being wide-awake (=having had a good night's sleep), and in science with kids, really good judgement! "Am I un-stoppering the chemical I mean to???"

Some people can get back to a desk job at home quite early, but teaching is hardly that! I'm assuming "set cover" indicates preparing lesson plans for a substitute teacher? I wonder if there's the possibility of the school hiring a teacher's aide for you, so that you could sit during class and the aide do the running around. This way you might shave a week off the 12 weeks. Or, how is the school's tech department? My daughter-in-law taught from home via remote for a school year and a half during the covid lockdown period, and thus was able to return to work only 3 weeks after a C-section delivery. Can you have a telepresence in the classroom?
I'm just brainstorming here, pay no mind if you don't like it lol. By next February, you will be thanking yourself for having taken off the right amount of time for your hip, and this spring will have been just a blip in the ordinary schedule...:SUNsmile:.
@Megsmum75 - personally as a teacher who retired in June and 2 months post op, Teaching is such a full-on job. I can’t imagine already being back at work. I’m still using sticks for my limp and get very tired when I do too much as well as the aches and pains from waking up muscles that have been dormant. Plus the brain fog is only just lifting. I wouldn’t rush it even if you are younger and fitter.
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Thanks everyone - I really appreciate your advice. I am lucky as having the hip replacement before I am in a lot of pain, so it’s hard for me to imagine what recovery will be like. I have been in agonising pain with it and somehow battled through but now it’s a constant ache with patches of real pain. I am scared of losing control - I run a tight ship at school, teaching and running boarding and it’s hard for me to accept that I need to look after myself - which I know is ridiculous as I am not irreplaceable at all! I don’t ask for help very often as I am fiercely independent, but I do know people will be happy to help me. I am excited for the op but also stupidly low at having to use raised toilet seats, sticks and frames - it makes me feel old before my time - sorry - that’s not meant to be an insult to anyone.
I am going to spend next week getting sorted, leaving the classroom as best I can, having a laugh with the kids and making a list of Netflix to catch up on!
Thanks again everyone - it’s good not to feel so alone and to know my fears are pretty common and normal!
I am sorry you're in so much pain. That pain will be gone post op, replaced by healing pain which is tolerable in my opinion especially when well managed. I hope you will allow others to help you because most that offer to really do want to be there for you if you'll just allow them. You will be back to your independent self sooner than you're anticipating, but in the interim, let friends, family, neighbors or colleagues help make the first week or two easier on you. Best Wishes tomorrow! I will look forward to your healing journey and hope you'll share it with us.
Many thanks! Looking forward to getting it over with - see you on the other side!!
Hopefully, by the time you read this you will be on the recovery road and resting comfortably. The hard part will be over and now the healing can begin. Prayers for good pain control and some restful times of dozing off. Keep us updated.
I will be a terrible patient -
Patience is not my strong point!
Read your post and several of the responses. I will be curious to see how you recover. I'm 55 and 5 weeks post op. You're 47 and it sounds like you remained active up until surgery. I'm not clear on how fit you were, but these factors can dramatically impact your personal recovery vs. 'the averages' which are based on the average age of THRs which is people in their 70s.

I was fit and active up until surgery. At 5 weeks post op, I can drive, even my tiny Alfa Romeo 4C. I can walk for 5 miles per day (two 2.5 mile walks). I started light upper body weights yesterday. Can use my stationary bike. Etc.

Everyone's recovery is different. Listen to your body and be cautious not to overdo it as that can set you back. Watch out for those kids! You didn't mention the age range, but it seems to me that a majority of precautions post op are to avoid or minimize risk of falling. So being around the younger ones could be a fall risk.

Be a good patient! I read somewhere years ago that allowing others to help you actually strengthens relationships. So let up on that fierce independence a bit...speaking from experience. :)

Good luck and look forward to your updates.
Megsmum75 is all done and dusted.:loveshwr:

Her recovery thread is HERE

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