THR Grasstuft's Right THR (22 July 2022) Recovery Journey in UK

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Hi all,
I just joined after having a right THR 6 days ago on Friday 22nd July privately in the UK, and I was released from hospital on Sunday 24th July. I am trying to take it day by day and feel I am improving daily. After months of worsening pain before the surgery, I am looking forward to pain free days ahead. Below is kind of a brain dump on my THR story, and hopefully somebody will find it useful and/or interesting to read.

A little history:

I have probably had hip osteoarthritis symptoms for 2-3 years now. I had a bad fall on the way home from work at the train station in February 2020, and told everyone that somebody put a bag down in front of me and I tripped and fell. In reality I had no idea what happened, or why I fell. In retrospect my right leg probably gave way causing the fall. When I fell I damaged my shoulder muscle severely, and was seeing a physio when the pandemic hit so had to stop seeing her after about 6 sessions, and it ended up taking a year for full shoulder recovery.

In June 2021 I suffered a right groin strain after slipping on a bathroom stool while drying my leg after a shower. It would get better and then I would strain it again, following a 360 health assessment for work (which included having to lie on my right side that caused 4 days of pain afterwards) I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon in October. He told me that my x-ray showed severe osteoarthritis in my right hip with no cartilage left and my left hip had moderate arthritis.

I wasn't really surprised at the diagnosis, because my mum had a double hip replacement at the age of 70 after suffering since her late 50s (her GP told her she was too young for hip surgery at the time). Over the following years her pain got worse, and she walked with a stick. She was petrified of having the surgery but finally did it after putting it off for years, by which time it was really too late as the damage was done. At age 70 she had first a right THR and then after recovery she had the left hip replaced. Although it did improve things, she ended up having different length legs because too much bone was missing, and she was never able to walk normally again. She ended up using a walker, and her mobility declined even further when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's not too long after her double hip replacement. I remember her saying that her joints clicked, and had noticed that happening to me in the last few years (now I think about it) but it was not frequent enough for me to be overly concerned.

Once I got the diagnosis last October, I had physio for the groin strain which helped and kept in mind what the surgeon told me: "You will know when the time is right, but first you can explore other options". I swore to myself I would not leave it too late for surgery because of what happened to my mum. But to be honest I wasn't sure I would have the time for a THR this year, as we are in the process of emigrating to the USA (begun in July 2021), but it's been slow because of Covid. Once all the work of preparing our house for sale, and actually finding a buyer was over I realised that thankfully I would have time. By then (May this year) my right hip was so bad I had trouble sleeping and my left hip was beginning to hurt too, no doubt through taking the strain. As I have private medical insurance with work, so don't have to rely on the NHS, and get 60 days 100% paid leave I decided to do it. So I saw the surgeon again, and 5 weeks later had the op.

Below is a summary of some of my experiences and feelings in the 6 days since my surgery.

Pain:
  • Day 1 - none after surgery thanks to the excellent pain meds for the op by the anesthetist
  • Days 2-6 - during the day the pain is minimal if I don't stay in one position for too long. It's worse overnight in bed or following rehab exercises. I have been taking Codeine at night but want to get off it quickly because of the risk of addiction and side-effects. I'm going to do without tonight, having discovered that an ice pack works better than the Codeine, albeit for a couple of hours instead of four. I shall be trying out a new hip ice pack wrap that is attached with velcro, and should provide nearly 2.5 hours of ice cold.
Post-op side effects following spinal anesthetic with sedation:
  • Day 1 - dizziness & nausea (couldn't keep food down) when moving around or even moving my head from side to side. I have not suffered like this after previous major surgeries, but have never had a spinal before, only general or sedation.
  • Day 2 - red cheeks and itchiness that started on my nose and spread across my whole body. Thankfully Chlorphenamine helped with that, but I kept having to ask for more every 4 hours.
  • Days 2-6 - reduced appetite, and rarely get hungry. My stomach growls, and I realise it's time for another meal. It is gradually improving, and I did actually feel hungry for breakfast yesterday, but not today. I am eating by the clock.
  • Days 3-10 (and counting) - water tastes metallic, so I have switched to fruit-flavoured no added sugar squash. I can only drink water with a meal or if I am extra thirsty gulp a small glass down with a squash chaser. I can't wait for this annoyance to be over, nut if all the side effects it's the one that is still around. As a former Pepsi Max addict, which I gave up prior to my surgery for bone-related reasons, I never thought I would say this but I really miss being able to enjoy a glass of water without it tasting horrible.
Crutches:
I was given 2 crutches by the physio at the hospital, and as I have osteoarthritis in my hands I found that using them was painful. So yesterday I bought some crutch grip gel pads that attach with velcro, and they are wonderful. I can now grip the handles without any pain. I have perfected my crutch walk and can get around quite quickly. I can also use one crutch at times, when I need to carry something.
Update: As of day 9, I can manage well on just one crutch.

Pain points:
  • Sleep - I managed to sleep reasonably well in hospital, probably because of the ease of those lovely adjustable hospital beds. At home it took time and a lot of pain on the first night before I realised that my wife was right and I would have to sleep with my head at the foot of our bed because I could not get in bed far enough with my operated leg going first. We can't switch sides, because the right side of the bed requires side-stepping against the wall to reach. I can manage well enough now with a leg lifter (the belt from my robe), and it's getting easier every day. I look forward to having more than a couple of hours of sleep at a time before having to get up for ice packs, but it's early days yet, and my surgeon said that the surgical pain should be gone after 2 weeks.
  • Compression stockings - I have to wear them for 6 weeks post-surgery due to a family history of pulmonary embolism. My right calf is twice the size of my left, due to a haematoma that never dispersed over 10 years ago. I ended up wearing an elastic stocking on the right leg for the first 2 days in hospital, as they didn't have the right size. When they finally got them, I found they didn't go beyond XL and were too small, so kept rolling down and causing pain. I manage to get some XXL stockings today online, and am not sure they are any good either as the cuffs feel really tight.
  • Showers - my surgeon does not allow patients to shower for 2 weeks following surgery, so as not to get the dressing wet. So it's a stand up wash at the bathroom sink for now, and I never really feel clean like I do after a shower.
Regrets:
If I had had the time I would have got fitter, and tried to lose more weight before the surgery. My mum had her surgery on the NHS so had to follow the BMI guidelines and lost 3 stone beforehand. As I went private my surgeon advised me to lose weight, but that was all. It's not that I haven't been trying, but losing weight has not been easy over the past couple of years due to an underactive thyroid, lack of exercise (before the pandemic I was working in London and doing 10-15K steps per day, in the last 2.5 years I have been working from home and have only been in the office 3 times ). I did lose 7.5 stone in 2018, and reversed my type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure and have managed to keep all those at bay with a low carb diet, and half of the weight off, despite the pandemic, so I'm not a total failure. I bought myself an exercise bike for my birthday last year, and have been doing 15km in 30 minutes most lunch times, that is when hip pain has not prevented me. Despite being overweight I don't think it has hampered my recovery too much. Granted it was difficult at first, but with the right aids (a toilet frame at home especially) I have managed, albeit slowly at first. Now 6 days on, I am able to get up without too much fuss, and am pretty self-sufficient except for putting on those pesky compression stockings.

Future:
I know there will be another hip replacement in my future, as my left hip has moderate osteoarthritis. With that in mind, I am going to get as fit as I can, and get to my goal weight so that I am in the best possible shape for when the time comes. After seeing my latest x-ray post-surgery I asked my surgeon how long he thought I had before the other one needs replacing. He said maybe 2 or 3 years, as it should settle down again once the new right hip is at full strength.

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far.
 
Last edited:

CricketHip

Staff member since June 5, 2019
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
6,423
Age
67
Location
PA.
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Hello and :welome:to BoneSmart! Your recovery sounds like it is going very well, congratulations!

We like to give each new member some articles to read. Even though you are doing well, there might be a little nugget that helps you in the next few weeks.



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:
rest
ice
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

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access to these pages on the website

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 the at each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

CricketHip

Staff member since June 5, 2019
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
6,423
Age
67
Location
PA.
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Okay, now that I have provided the articles, I'd like to commend you for being proactive with getting your surgery before it became as difficult as you have seen first hand with your mother.

Now you have a game plan going forward for Mr. Lefty.
 

benne68

Staff member since February 4, 2022
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Sep 5, 2021
Messages
1,186
Location
Connecticut
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
@grasstuft Welcome and thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure the details will be helpful to others who are preparing for this surgery.

Keep us posted on your progress! :flwrysmile:
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Thank you so much. The one thing I had forgotten about was elevation. I am going to make that part of my first 2 exercise sessions of each day from today.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Okay, now that I have provided the articles, I'd like to commend you for being proactive with getting your surgery before it became as difficult as you have seen first hand with your mother.

Now you have a game plan going forward for Mr. Lefty.
Thanks, very much appreciated. I will be sure to add notes on Mr Lefty, as well as my operated leg (Mr Righty).

So far post THR on Mr Righty (now 7 days ago) I am pleased to say that Mr Lefty has been doing an outstanding job and has not been giving me any trouble while carrying the load temporarily of Mr Righty This is in contrast to pre-surgery where both would be giving me grief after a 20 minute slow walk.So much so that I would wonder which was worse.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Day 7 - Friday 29 July (7 days post THR right)

Now able to lift operated leg out of bed by itself without my leg lifter, which began yesterday.

Compression stocking nightmare last night with the new XXL stocking for my right operated leg hurting so much at the top and bottom cuffs that after 10 mins in bed I asked my wife to remove it. She replaced it with the hospital XL stocking, but 10 mins later I couldn't stand it any longer, so got her to remove both right and leg as my legs felt like they were on so I have slept with no stockings overnight. I have ordered XXXL of another more expensive brand of that will arrive today. Not sure if I will phone the hospital in the morning to see if there's a solution. I think I will just get my wife to do the usual leg wash and then put the hospital ones back on, until the new XXXL ones arrive.

1.45am: Ended up taking Codeine, which must have helped as I did actually get a few hours sleep.

Slept under a sheet for the first time in a few days, thanks to the leg No duvet tonight despite it being only 14 Celsius now. I also have the ceiling fan on.

3.55am: Woke up feeling hot with a painful operated leg, and the ice pack underneath it was warm. Hot legs overnight has been the norm since coming home from hospital last Sunday. I noticed in the bathroom mirror that my red cheeks are back, changed my ice pack and returned to bed.

4.47am: Still awake, I've probably had about 2h 26m sleep according to my Garmin Venu. I'm wide awake for now so I'm here posting until I get sleepy again. Happily the new ice pack has done the trick, so I should be able to sleep again soon. Having said that, it is no longer cold so I shall have to replace it too. [Normal temp and no red cheeks at 5am]

I'm really looking forward to today, as my sister (who lives 5 mins away by car in the same town) is visiting. She has not visited since the pandemic began, although we have met up in a pub garden, and I have been to her house once. She has been very supportive of my THR and it will be wonderful to see her.

08:15am Doing leg exercises early started painfully with leg raises. Other 3 exercises were pain free. I have never done them so soon after getting up before (about 5 mins), so hopefully next time will be pain free. My leg usually takes a while to settle down and become pain free first thing.
 
Last edited:

Ocean

member
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
113
Age
65
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
The compression socks sound so uncomfortable. Are you on any other blood thinning medication? I had to inject myself with blood thinning stuff for two weeks and now I’m on aspirin for three weeks, I didn’t have compression socks at all. Perhaps you can talk to the hospital about some other solution.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
The compression socks sound so uncomfortable. Are you on any other blood thinning medication? I had to inject myself with blood thinning stuff for two weeks and now I’m on aspirin for three weeks, I didn’t have compression socks at all. Perhaps you can talk to the hospital about some other solution.
Thanks, they are. I have had them off for nearly 16 hours now and can still feel twinges of pain on my operated leg from where they were too tight and/or kept rolling down.

I am on Aspirin 2x75mg daily for 28 days post op for blood thinning.

I've also been super cautious today and have been getting up every 30 mins and walking around on my crutches for a few minutes. In fact I've actually been more active today than before the surgery on a normal working from home day where I sat at a desk all day and maybe got up every couple of hours, and perhaps did 30 minutes on the exercise bike at lunchtime (if my hip felt ok). Overnight I am currently getting up every 2-3 hours to change ice packs, so that's another plus surely?

I shall continue stockingless today and hopefully will be able to sleep better without my legs feeling like they are on fire.

My wife says I should call the hospital, but I don't intend wearing the stockings again today.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
My wife says I should call the hospital, but I don't intend wearing the stockings again today.
I did call the hospital, and spoke to the nurse who put the XL stocking on for the first time last Sunday. She told me again that was the largest size but then double checked and it turns out there is an XL+ size. So she has reserved a pair for me, and my wife will be picking them up tomorrow. I did ask was it necessary to wear them now I am more mobile, but she said it was at the surgeon's request. I also did some Googling and NHS advice says not to wear them overnight, so I'm just going to wear them during the day from tomorrow. Hopefully that will be good enough.
The moral of this story is that if your compression stockings are causing pain then they're too small.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
I enjoyed reading your history and post op recovery so far.
I'd take it easy on those leg lifts, first few weeks you should not be doing anything that hurts. Get up, walk around, ice, rest repeat.
All my best.
Thank you, and thanks for the advice. The leg lifts did not hurt in my second session today, so I obviously should not exercise first thing without walking around and stretching first. I shall stick to doing them after breakfast in future. It's all a learning process, and that was today's lesson.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2022
Messages
345
Age
70
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Yes, each day is different for sure. Things will come naturally after awhile.
Even now some days I can walk 2-3 miles, next day, forget it!
I get up and decide what the day will bring and then go with the flow.
Take care and keep us updated.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Day 8 - one week after surgery

Today's achievements
  • Can now do a 360 in small steps without crutches
  • Can do my plastic bag exercises without the bag - foot slide & hip adduction
  • Sat at the dinner table to eat for the first time using my desk chair with height adjusted to over 90 degrees, my sister visited and fixed the height for me (am still wondering why it was so low as I've been using it for about 2 years with my height adjustable desk so have made it more difficult for myself). It sure beats eating in my armchair off a tray.
  • Prepared my own dinner using the microwave (lasagne I made before my surgery followed by raspberries and cream) then carried it all in separately using one crutch. I only needed my wife to get the broccoli out of the freezer.
  • Walked with one crutch most of the time, unless my leg was stiff.
  • Got up every 30 mins to stretch my leg from 11am to 9pm (except for nap time at 6pm). I did this to be extra careful due to not wearing compression stockings today after last night's 'legs on fire' incident. I will continue as it really helps with my mobility
A week ago I would never have expected to have made so much progress so fast, particularly as I was dizzy and sick on op day.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Yes, each day is different for sure. Things will come naturally after awhile.
Even now some days I can walk 2-3 miles, next day, forget it!
I get up and decide what the day will bring and then go with the flow.
Take care and keep us updated.
Thanks. I am looking forward to going outside and walking again in week 3. Taking it day by day is great advice.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2022
Messages
345
Age
70
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
For week one sounds like great progress!
Nothing quite like getting back outdoors again to lift your spirits.
You will get there.
Have a nice evening.
 
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Day 9 - overnight

0:51:am Woke up after barely 1.5 hours sleep. Hip ice pad is still pretty cool, so I've left it for now but just moved it down a little. I fear the leg fire has returned!

1:25am It seems I was right. No compression stockings tonight but my operated leg is on I have given up and taken 2 x Codeine. I am not getting back to sleep until I can extinguish the fire. Listening to Spotify helps take my mind off it a little ('This is Agnes Obel' is my preferred choice overnight, which I can drift off to sleep to hopefully when the heat dies down.)

1.41am Fire still burning brightly, so might have to get up and get another ice pack to help extinguish the flames. Oh well, at least I have proved it wasn't caused by the compression stockings, they just exacerbated it.

1.50am Just read the link on pain management, and now realise I should not be fearing addiction just yet, and should have taken the Codeine earlier. Oh well, another lesson learned. Off to get another ice pack.

01:55am Now listening to a rather appreciate song by Agnes Obel' 'It's happening again'.

2.59am Fire has finally subsided, but I'm having trouble getting back to sleep. Just ordered another hip ice pack that will be here in time for Saturday night's attempt at sleep. Must remember to order prescription for Codeine in the morning.

3.24am Still awake, so have just given myself a fighting chance of having a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep by visiting the loo, and replacing my ice pack.

Lessons learned tonight:
  • Take your pain meds regularly and don't wait for the pain to start.
  • Don't be afraid of addiction when you need pain meds
4.10am Wife was up to visit the loo, so she replaced my ice pack for me.

6.23am Just taken 2 more Codeine, followed by a trip to the loo and retrieval of a new ice pack. I slept for another 2 hours I think, although my Venu puts the night's total so far at 2h 4m. I definitely need more sleep, but am trying to capture the important points to remember for tonight.

There are at least 2 types of overnight leg pain:
1) Burning pain - the worst where my leg feels like it's on fire, alleviated by ice + Codeine.
2) Restless leg - my operated leg is not happy being straight and in one place; it needs to move. I flex my heel and/or slide my knee up to 90 degrees to alleviate. Sometimes a walk calms it for a bit too, but it starts up again. Hopefully the Codeine will calm it.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
G

grasstuft

junior member
Joined
Jul 28, 2022
Messages
98
Age
57
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Step counts for week leading up to and after surgery courtesy of my Garmin Venu.

My surgery was on Friday 22nd July so those steps were mainly walking into the hospital, and to theatre.
Monday and Tuesday were the extreme heatwave days here in the UK.



Post op my counts are going in the right direction. Screenshot_20220730-021405__01.jpg Screenshot_20220730-021243__01.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Feb 28, 2022
Messages
345
Age
70
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Good morning,
I try and keep my phone on me all day so I get my step count but not always possible, especially in the house I'm doing laundry, cleaning and phone is somewhere else. So I love it when it tells me, "you walked more yesterday"
No I didn't, just didn't keep you with me all day! LOL!
These devices know more about us than we know.
Restless legs are normal, same here in first few weeks especially because had to back sleep, I'd bend my knees for a bit, then straighten.
One day at a time is the way to go.
Stay cool.
 

BoneSmart #1 Best Blog

Staff online

  • Jockette
    Staff member since March 18, 2018
  • Jamie
    OneStep AMBASSADOR ..Staff member since Feb, 2009
  • djklaugh
    Staff member since December 30, 2020
  • benne68
    Staff member since February 4, 2022

Forum statistics

Threads
60,670
Messages
1,519,987
BoneSmarties
36,970
Latest member
Wally07
Recent bookmarks
0
Top Bottom