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THR Can i manage on my own

Reanda

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Hello fellow hippies! Ive just got a date for my right THR in 4 weeks time (13th Nov) and getting my house organized as ill be managing mostly on my own. Most people on the site seem to have partners and its at times like these i wish i did too ☺. I have 2 lovely daughters living not far away and they will pop in and offer what help they can but both have jobs and children. One daughter says she'll stay over on the first night which i am relieved about. However im nervous in case i need more help. Im 74 and till the pain became a lot worse at beginning of this year i was very active and belonged to walking groups and regularly looked after grandchildren. My Xray 8 months ago showed osteoarthritis with 2 thirds of cartilage missing on right hip (im sure its deteriorated since) but no problem with left hip. I dont expext much help from hosp services other than some physio whilst an inpatient. NHS is under such strain (i live in SE England) i count myself lucky to have a date. I have stairs at home and i know physios will show me how to climb stairs prior to discharge but nevertheless im not sure ill want to do that on my own at home at first. I have a recliner and a downstairs toilet maybe i should sleep there at first?
Ive purchased various gadgets from Amazon, like bath board, grabber, toilet raiser - as NHS havnt indicated ill get all these things from them and i want to be prepared.
So big question: am i worrying excessively ?
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

We’ve had quite a few members manage recovery while living alone. Here is some helpful information. Best Wishes! :flwrysmile:

 

subie2021

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My DH was here to help me but I thought about ways I could manage by myself while he was doing outdoor chores.
Keep your phone with you every minute in case of emergency. I have an iWatch with fall detection and the capability to make calls so that part was easy for me.
Keep the phone numbers of helpers and your surgeon's office handy in case you need help. For me, there was an off-hours call to the office because the prescribed pain meds were making me very sick, and being able to call quickly and easily was a great relief.
Have more than one grabber/reacher. If you drop your only one, you're pretty much done. I had one by the recliner nest area, one in the bathroom, and one in the kitchen. After a day or two, I hooked one to my walker for more convenience.
Figure out a way to safely carry items, food, and drinks while using a walking aid.
I used insulated cups with covers for drinks and soup. They were easy to carry in a little bucket we attached to my walker.
For the first few nights at home, I was up every hour to use the bathroom, probably a result of IV fluids, having to drink buckets in order to pee enough to go home, and then my body ridding itself of the fluids that settled in my leg. My bathroom is on the other end of the house from the recliner where I slept, and I couldn't always move fast enough to avoid leakage. A package of large incontinence pads helped with that, no worries about having to change clothing or sheets.
Best wishes for a speedy and easy recovery.
 

Layla

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Hello and Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us.

I understand your apprehension and feel it’s a good idea that your daughter will spend the first night back home with you. Since your daughters live close by and if they are the parents of the grandchildren you look after, would you consider asking them each to spend two nights with you, rotating nights. One night one of them, the next night the other etc. That would at least get you through the first few nights and hopefully wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience for them to help out their dear mom. You don’t need the added stress of worrying about handling the first few days back home alone. It would be reassuring to know you had a few more nights covered ahead of time. I think after that, you will have figured out a routine and find them dropping by to check on you enough.
I have a recliner and a downstairs toilet maybe i should sleep there at first?
That sounds like a good option, if it will make life easier for you for a time. Many slept
comfortably in a recliner for the first days home, even weeks. I slept in mine for three full weeks before I attempted getting into bed.
I don’t feel you’re worrying excessively. Your concerns are understandable. That’s why I’ve suggested you try to get your daughters to each commit to two nights each, so you can feel more relaxed about it all.

I‘ll leave some info below on recommended recovery articles that will help make early recovery a bit easier.

Stop back often, we’ll be here whenever you need us.
I wish you comfort as you wait out this time before surgery.
 
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Reanda

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Thank you Layla, very wise advice. The daughter nearest to me (literally the next road) is a single parent with 3 children and I've been helping her over the last few months since her marriage breakup. Her staying overnight would involve bringing the 3 kids and my house is not large! They are very noisy and maybe we could sort it out but I'd rather not have all 4 here if poss. Other daughter (the one who will stay on first night) lives 45 mins drive away. She has a husband so it's slightly easier for her to stay as he'll manage the 2 small kids. But he needs to go to work early mornings. One or two friends have casually offered to stay overnight but I don't think they realise they might get a disturbed sleep Haa. And I'd worry about their comfort instead of my own! In the meantime I'm reading links on this site which are SO helpful. All the best to everyone!
 

Jaycey

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I spent most of my recovery time alone. If you have someone come once per day to check on you and perhaps bring in a few groceries you should be fine. You will be fully mobile and able to move around on your own before you leave hospital.

Are you using any walking aid right now. You might want to practice so that you are comfortable when one is needed.
 

Masaka

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Although I live alone I have been very fortunate in having people who have stayed with me for at least 5 days post op. They were invaluable.

You do have a legal entitlement to 6 weeks of free post op care in the U.K. talk to the OT. I have people coming in twice a day to help me wash and dress, although I can do that by myself though now.

The things I use the most:-

A neck bag. Anyone with even limited sewing skills could knock one up. It carries flask, IPad, phone and the odd book. I can also use it to transport butter and jam from the fridge and back.

Long dressing stick
Long handled sponge
Ice Packs and holder
Grabbers

Small stool that sits in the bath with a plastic washing up bowl on it. Makes it easier to have a strip wash.

Plastic plates - easier to carry.
Small flask - easier to carry liquids


if you have got stairs. one set of crutches at the top, (with a grabber on the rail for when they fall), and one set for downstairs use.

High cushions - several of them
Sandwich bags to transport sandwiched.

Somebody to do shopping.

Microwave meals
 

Layla

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Hello…I hope you’re having a good start to the weekend.
Being a grandmother myself, I understand your decision in not wanting a houseful of people and possibly the confusion of young kids underfoot. It would most likely cause more anxiety than be helpful, at least for me it would, lol.

My best advice would be to be as well prepared as possible with easy meals, extra ice packs, recovery aids to assist in getting food or drink from the kitchen to where you’ll be resting most often early on. Carrying a phone with you at all times is wise also, if possible.

I’ll share something that may be of comfort to you. My mom had her second hip replaced at age 80-81 and she did really well! Between my two sisters and myself, we planned to rotate overnights getting her through her first week post op. She decided she no longer needed us after we each spent one night and I will add, while it may have been a comfort to her knowing we were there, she never called on any of us for anything overnight. Due to this, we were comfortable leaving her alone, knowing we would check in, or stop by daily for as long as she needed us.

To me, if I was going to spend the early days alone, I would want someone there for the first couple showers. I did most all else on my own after the first couple days, but I was feeling apprehensive about showering without someone within earshot, until I was comfortable with a routine in doing it alone. Prep, prep, prep and I’m sure you’ll do just fine. And know we’ll be here for company, support, advice and encouragement whenever you’re in need. :)
@Reanda
 
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Reanda

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Thank you so much Layla. Your mum is a star! What an encouraging story. I hope I'm like her. I will prep and prep.
 

RockinRonnyreh

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I don't have any advice that hasn't already appeared. I'm 71 and live alone also. I guess I am lucky not to be a worrier. My new knee comes October 25. Say a little prayer for me, as I will for thee. I'll leave the worrying to the Powers That Be.
 
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Reanda

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Thank you RockinnRonnyrey no point in worrying needlessly. Guess I'm an independent sort of person who likes to cover all bases - Haa.. Not always possible. Prayers to you for 25th Oct and your new knee!
 

YogaLesley

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I have stairs at home and i know physios will show me how to climb stairs prior to discharge but nevertheless im not sure ill want to do that on my own at home at first. I
. Hi @Reanda, I am one of the lucky ones with a partner at home but I think you may be surprised that stair climbing is not so hard at all! Also, if you are at all worried about your ability to cope you must tell your nurse (you may well have a 'special' nurse assigned to you) or all the staff that you are not ready to go home and be alone. The NHS will keep you in longer if you are alone but you must stress your feelings. I was panicky because although my partner is lovely I felt he might panic if I really felt I couldn't cope and the nurse said Don't worry we won't send you home until you feel ready to go and can manage stairs. I live in Wales and was in nearly a week ( but I had had blood transfusions and low blood pressure), and a friend in NW England who was living alone was also in about a week. By then, it is surprising what you can manage! Just check they get your pain meds right when going home. I was given mine and fortunately checked them as they were quite wrong!

Also you need to ask the OT department about home aids preferably get them delivered before you go in. I asked for a commode ( adjustable legs) at the last minute which has been really useful at night so I don't have to go to the loo in the dark when I am sleepy. I was lent toilet raisers and they came and fitted chair raisers on my armchair. They have also lent me a perching stool (again adjustable height) which helps when getting washed. The small items, grabber, shoehorn, socks aid which are really useful I had to buy myself. Definitely agree about a bag to carry all your 'bits'in too!

I am sure you will be fine, and there is so much good advice and support on this site, it truly is a lifeline. Good luck.
 
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Reanda

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Hi YogaLesley, all great advice, thank you. Sorry you had that hiccup at first. I've already bought some gadgets in advance and decided to order a perching chair as well as I saw one on Amazon that wasn't too expensive. I have a shower over bath so also bought a bath board. I can't rely on NHS to deliver in advance I have asked but I've had no response. Perhaps they'll send me home with gadgets but like you say, best to get it in situ first. I'll def keep in mind possibility of extending stay in hosp, and speaking up for myself if necessary . Best wishes.
 
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Reanda

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My DH was here to help me but I thought about ways I could manage by myself while he was doing outdoor chores.
Keep your phone with you every minute in case of emergency. I have an iWatch with fall detection and the capability to make calls so that part was easy for me.
Keep the phone numbers of helpers and your surgeon's office handy in case you need help. For me, there was an off-hours call to the office because the prescribed pain meds were making me very sick, and being able to call quickly and easily was a great relief.
Have more than one grabber/reacher. If you drop your only one, you're pretty much done. I had one by the recliner nest area, one in the bathroom, and one in the kitchen. After a day or two, I hooked one to my walker for more convenience.
Figure out a way to safely carry items, food, and drinks while using a walking aid.
I used insulated cups with covers for drinks and soup. They were easy to carry in a little bucket we attached to my walker.
For the first few nights at home, I was up every hour to use the bathroom, probably a result of IV fluids, having to drink buckets in order to pee enough to go home, and then my body ridding itself of the fluids that settled in my leg. My bathroom is on the other end of the house from the recliner where I slept, and I couldn't always move fast enough to avoid leakage. A package of large incontinence pads helped with that, no worries about having to change clothing or sheets.
Best wishes for a speedy and easy recovery.
Hi subie2021, all marvellous advice thanks for replying. Some great tips (I like the one about incontinence pads - that's on my shopping list ).
Thanks for your good wishes.
 
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Reanda

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Although I live alone I have been very fortunate in having people who have stayed with me for at least 5 days post op. They were invaluable.

You do have a legal entitlement to 6 weeks of free post op care in the U.K. talk to the OT. I have people coming in twice a day to help me wash and dress, although I can do that by myself though now.

The things I use the most:-

A neck bag. Anyone with even limited sewing skills could knock one up. It carries flask, IPad, phone and the odd book. I can also use it to transport butter and jam from the fridge and back.

Long dressing stick
Long handled sponge
Ice Packs and holder
Grabbers

Small stool that sits in the bath with a plastic washing up bowl on it. Makes it easier to have a strip wash.

Plastic plates - easier to carry.
Small flask - easier to carry liquids


if you have got stairs. one set of crutches at the top, (with a grabber on the rail for when they fall), and one set for downstairs use.

High cushions - several of them
Sandwich bags to transport sandwiched.

Somebody to do shopping.

Microwave meals
Hi Masaka, thanks for all this advice. The crutches at top and bottom of stairs - not sure I'll be able to get 2 pairs? Think it'll be just 1. Maybe use a walker upstairs left near top of stairs? (I've actually purchased a one from the charity shop in case I'm not given one/ need another. Best wishes.
 

Masaka

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Hi Masaka, thanks for all this advice. The crutches at top and bottom of stairs - not sure I'll be able to get 2 pairs? Think it'll be just 1. Maybe use a walker upstairs left near top of stairs? (I've actually purchased a one from the charity shop in case I'm not given one/ need another. Best wishes.
If you talk to the physio they should Give you two pairs. Mine were happy to.
 
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Reanda

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Hi hippies - in - waiting! My op is in 12 days time and up to now I've been managing quite well with the pain and not needing to take many analgesics. But suddenly all that has changed. I've probably been overdoing it but have been trying to keep active as recommended. Maybe that's not a good idea as suddenly the pain in hip and whole leg is awful. Excruciating. It's likely the cartilage has worn right away? I'm resorting to codeine and paracetamol (Co-codamol). Thank goodness the op is coming soon, I only hope I can manage till then. I've got 3 hosp appts to attend and still got a few errands to run before the big day. So it's a real nuisance that things have deteriorated at this point but after 12 months of waiting I guess it's no surprise. Anyhow I'll have to manage and will resort to pain killers for the last furlong! Good luck to all!
 

Jaycey

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But suddenly all that has changed. I've probably been overdoing it but have been trying to keep active as recommended. Maybe that's not a good idea as suddenly the pain in hip and whole leg is awful.
Your hip is probably bone on bone now. No need to keep active at this point. Baby that hip as much as you can. Unfortunately it is not going to get better and it can get very bad very quickly.
 

Coddfish

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Hi @Reanda
All the best for your upcoming operation. I am 8 weeks post-surgery, also in the UK. I spent 2 nights in hospital. I had my surgery privately rather than through the NHS and there it was very much if your X-ray is ok, your wound is clean, your basic health measures (BP, temperature, oxygen etc) are back to normal, you can walk up and down 2 steps, and go to the toilet, you are discharged. I rather got the feeling the consultant, who a day job in the NHS and had done a series of operations in the private hospital on the Tuesday was trying to get all his patients discharged on the Thursday so he didn’t have to visit again on the Friday.

Going up the stairs to bed at home was scary the first night but it was a case of trusting in the process of using a handrail and 1 crutch, leading with the ‘good’ leg. I found it useful to use a long looped elastic resistance band to help lift my operated leg in and out of bed. I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on a recliner, it really is best to conquer the fear and use a real bed.

I found a raised toilet seat with handles essential. Think also about where you are going to shower. With modern waterproof dressings you can shower immediately, and I felt so much better for being able to do this. I have a large walk in shower and wouldn’t have been able to use a shower over a bath or a very small cubicle in the early days.

If the surgeon wants you to use compression socks, you will need someone to help you put them off / take them on. I got a ‘Rolly’, a continuous tube of ribbed silicone, which made it easy for my husband to do this. After the first few days I was ok dressing myself otherwise, using a dressing stick and a sock aid. I found it irritating to need to rely on someone else to tie shoe laces, thankfully after 7 weeks I could reach to do them myself.

A suitable high but comfy chair is essential. I also bought a booster cushion for my dining chair, but an ordinary cushion would suffice. I also got a perching stool but didn’t make much use of it in the house as my mobility came back quite quickly. It was useful for volunteering at parkrun in the first few weeks - I am back to participating now (not yet running).
 

Hopper

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@Reanda you've a lot on your plate - and going on in your poor hip!
My hip deteriorated drastically in the month before my THR and it was excruciating.
You might have done this so apologies if so .......
Get on the local OT's radar asap. They like some warning that you need their expertise and will be glad to hear from you. They're not always kept in the loop.
My local OT phoned me and asked if I needed help and support at home and wanted to know if Id got all the equipment I needed!!
I have partner and had got a loo seat, perch stool etc etc off a friend but I was impressed she was checking and offering.
My op was private but my neighbour had mentioned me to her.
I think you probably have to pay something towards some help at home but it would be a weight off your shoulders to have some help these first few weeks.
The OT will also put the necessary gear in place - raised loo seats etc etc for you.
At the moment people are slipping under the radar regarding this provision so just have a google and call them,
Every area in the UK has a depot for home use medical equipment - the OT orders from there so if they've not approached you yet then do approach them.
It's lovely that you've friends who could stay. Why not let them? It's safer for you and you might rest more easily just knowing they are there.
Get all the help and support you can - it really makes a difference!
 

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