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[THR] My Summer Recovery in California

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by ShellKay13, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    Hi...I'm late in the game as I just found this forum :) I'm about a month out from a right anterior THR.

    I guess I'm having a fairly normal recovery, but it feels so slow and painful, and so I'm so happy to be reading through everyone else's journeys so I don't feel alone. As I'm "only" 47 I feel think everyone (including me I guess!) expected me to just bounce right back. It seemed like everyone had a story of someone they knew who was back to work and an active lifestyle so quickly....I mean, they have hips "down pat" now. I know it doesn't help that my kids, 10 and 15, are on summer break and I feel like I'm cheating them out of good summer.

    I don't have much pain now...I'm walking mainly with a cane still. I walk around the house without a cane, but then I'm walking like a peg-leg pirate! I'm just doing minimal PT exercises at home that I was given and those seem to be fine, but I'm in no hurry to start PT at a facility. I did PT before surgery and I felt like it just made it worse and I would need days to recover. I was happy when I finally got validation that I actually was bone-on-bone in one spot. I was active before, but during the very painful 6 months before surgery I gained about 20 lbs due to inactivity and depression from the pain. I'm anxious to be able to at least start walking again, and eventually get back to gym classes...that's my goal.

    I'm wondering if anyone has advice on returning to a normal gait again? Does it just take more time, or do I really need more PT? I am focusing on always doing "heel-toe" but still feel like I need an eye patch and being yelling Arrrrrr!!! (or my son says I need to do the "Thriller" arms like Micael Jackson) Thus, I still use the cane a lot as my strides feel more normal when I do that. But man....my left palm of my hand is sooo sore!

    Ok, I will return to reading everyone's updates! They help so much :)
     
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  2. Jaycey

    Jaycey SUPER MODERATOR Moderator

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    @ShellKay13 Welcome to BoneSmart and the other side of surgery. Yes, this is not a simple bounce back recovery. Depending on how long you limped around pre-op - this recovery can take up to 12 months or more. Patience is prescribed in large doses.
    This is an issue with many new hippies. At only one month out you still have a way to go. Keep using any walking aid until you have no limp. Then focus on the heel/toe walking. If you can find a PT who is expert in gait retraining that's great. But there are not many out there.

    You will get back to the gym. Just give it time. Here's some reading for you:

    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
    elevate
    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 this BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
    5. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for THRs
    6. Access these pages on the website

    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.
     
  3. Layla

    Layla FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Welcome to BoneSmart! Thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your new hip.
    You'll find others here that are your age, some even younger, so you're not alone in that.

    Please don't feel like your cheating your children out of their Summer. It couldn't be helped. They're old enough to understand you were in pain and limited in what you were able to do. I'm sure they're happy to know you're healing and no longer in pain. They see you regaining strength and mobility. Basically getting their mom back, at least a better version than what you'd become. Loving you as they do, I'm sure they aren't feeling cheated.

    It is recommended you continue using an assistive device as long as you're limping and since you're already practicing heel-toe, I'd probably schedule a few sessions with a PT to work on gait.

    Stop back often, we'll be here and would love to follow your progress.
    Have a great week!
    @ShellKay13
     
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  4. Celle

    Celle FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Hello @ShellKay13 - and :welome:

    Please will you tell us the full date of your hip replacement, so we can make a signature for you? Having the exact date will make it easier for us to advise you appropriately;
    Thank you.:flwrysmile:
     
  5. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    My surgery was May 31, right anterior thr... I also posted in the May group to be added :)

    My left hip is not great either! I’m hoping it will hold out for 3-4 years before I need matching hardware on that side...... it’s not bone on bone yet.
     
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  6. HipsterKat

    HipsterKat member

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    Welcome @ShellKay13!

    I liked using two canes inside the house (and a rollator for outside treks) -- they just made me feel more balanced and even than one cane, and felt like it was teaching my muscles better form. Since I had to have a spacer in first (and thus two surgeries and two recoveries) I splurged on a really nice rollator and have put a lot of miles on it!

    Today, on my 6-week anniversary of my 2nd surgery, I found myself walking around with no cane without realizing it, and doing just fine! Woo hoo!!!
     
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  7. Eman85

    Eman85 post-grad

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    Welcome to the reality world of THR. You won't find very many with unrealistic expectations of bouncing right back from people that have actually had a THR, usually only from people that haven't had one or health care professionals. You'll also find that the only people that think you need rigorous PT to bounce back are PT therapists who have also never had a THR and aren't there the next day when you're in terrible pain.
    I have a good suggestion for learning how to walk again but it can get expensive. The best "walker" I found was a shopping cart. I would park at the cart corral furthest from the store that had carts, this way I could leave the cane. I'd use the cart as a walker and practice heel/toe walking with good posture and walk laps in the big store. The cart keeps anyone from bumping you and you can walk and glide along. The other thing is to walk where there are store fronts so you can watch your gait in the reflection of the window.
     
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  8. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    @Eman85 yes, I've heard nice big Target or Costco carts and walking around the store can be great PT, but yep I see the $$$ now ;) Toilet paper already costs me about $250 at Costco, lol. But maybe I could show restraint as it would all be harder to unload and bring in the house!

    I have went light grocery shopping twice now and walking using the cart is HARD but the second time I could tell I could do it just a little easier. The first time I brought my cane inside and stuck it in the cart and it stuck out just enough that I about brought down a whole display of Pringles!!!

    Good idea about looking at your reflection.....when I walk in my bathroom I can see myself walk a little ways and that's when I realized how bad my limp was and that I looked like a pirate :heehee: Now i try to take it a bit slow and use better form or else grab the cane.
     
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  9. Eman85

    Eman85 post-grad

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    You have to really work at it to keep good posture and straight heel/toe steps. It's kind of like old movies where they made them practice walking with a book on their head.
     
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  10. Onestepatatime

    Onestepatatime member

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    Hello,
    @ShellKay13,
    So I went through a right hip replacement, and have learned a thing or two to better prepare for when I come home from my revision in a few days. Do NOT feel like you are ruining anyone's summer re: the kids. This forces you and the kids to "talk" and maybe play games, etc. Do not try and do too much too soon. I am THE WORST at asking or accepting help, but I had to get over it.
    Food: I set myself up for grocery delivery with Shop Rite and Instacart. Some things in life are worth the extra few bucks. I lost my job a month ago, but somehow I will find the extra money.
    I got a cleaning lady for every two weeks. Same about money.
    Weight: I joined weight watchers 8 weeks ago with a goal of losing 10 lbs before surgery, and another 15 lbs. The meetings are great. A lot of people get dropped off and come in with walkers, scooters, etc. I will feel right at home.
    Gym: I joined a gym that is part of a healthcare system - people also come in with walkers and scooters so as soon as I have clearance I will go.
    Mental health: I started therapy a month ago, knowing too darn well I will get depressed and spiral into a bad place that is hard to come out of. Which is why I made this thread Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I am not going to deal with depression this time. This is simply an experience that will suck often, but I am not going to allow it to define me.
    Career: I hired a job coach/resume writer who redid my resume and will help me re-enter job market as soon as I can.

    You sound like you are doing great, so keep it up!!!! If you do need other hip done, You Got This!
     
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  11. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    As I approach 5 weeks I find myself forgetting to use my cane more and more. I’m still limping but I think it’s much less than I was. I did several errands today alone, including a grocery store run so I can make goodies to bring with we to a 4th of July bbq tomorrow. I’m off all pain meds.

    I’m relieved to find out my 30 year high school reunion that was scheduled for next month is cancelled ;). Now I don’t need to feel extra pressure to return to “normal” because no way did I want to show up with a cane or a limp. (Or the extra 25-30 lbs!)

    I do sleep on the couch most nights. Does anyone else do that?? Right now I find it more comfortable than my bed. I use the back of the couch to help me lay slightly on my side every now then when my back starts to hurt, or my hand falls asleep (from something pinching in my bad back I imagine).

    Anyway, not a very exciting update but I see progress. Still, I continue to feel in a bit of a funk. Hopefully it will be a great 4th of July and I hope everyone else enjoys their day, no matter where you’re at in your recovery. Tomorrow night I will be spending the night away from home at my friends house. I hope I can be comfortable! I’m a bit worried.
     
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  12. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    Jello mold success! The kids always enjoy it :). Hope it holds up during the 1 hour drive to my friends house.
     

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  13. Calgal

    Calgal senior

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    I'm 6 weeks out and still using 1 crutch (in UK they seem to give folks lower arm crutches more than canes, at least in my area). My PT and OS are happy with my progress but both emphasize to NOT ditch the assistance devices till all my muscles are strong enough to not limp at all. Once you start the 'pirate leg ' it's hard to retrain it out. I also have to practice keeping my foot straight ahead and not pointing outwards. It felt wierd a few days ago but already better aligned. Others have given good advice. I know it feels 'old and feeble' with a walking aid but just a few more weeks and it will all be over!
    And ps, what would have robbed your kids summer is if you were still suffering horrible hip OA. Post THR gets better, OA does not. :no-fin:

    Your jello mold looks fab!!
     
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  14. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    Hit the 5 week mark yesterday. I am very happy that I am basically pain free and I sleep fairly well at night now without taking any pain meds. I do toss and turn a bit, alternating from flat on my back to rolling over on my good leg with a pillow between my legs, but that it really to alleviate a sore back. My hip pain had woken me up at night for several years!

    Question - I am still unsure about PT. I don't see my os for another 2 weeks to ask him. I'm thinking of going to my gym in about a week to try the bike, maybe the elliptical. I'm still on a cane to prevent a limp most of the time even though walking doesn't really hurt. Did others return to very light gym exercises without going to PT? I've only had the PT at my house after surgery which was very light. I also have stairs and am working going up and down better. I'm just thinking the bike could safely help "even out" the muscle tone in my legs and improve my gait. Maybe a recumbent bike instead of the more upright bike I used to ride for spin classes? I'm not in a big hurry, but did think I would give it a try next week....?

    OH, I also think my new hip doubles as a shock absorber!!! So through 2 large earthquakes here in CA I was either walking or standing and didn't feel a thing! The last one last night I heard my husband yelling, so I sat down and did feel the end of it, swaying our house pretty darn good. But while standing I couldn't feel it at all LOL ;)
     
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  15. Marvin L

    Marvin L member

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    I’m a few days behind you, I’m still on the cane too, but I’m walking outside for about a hour at a time. I’m curious about bike also, or a least doing a tread mill. You said no pain, that’s awesome, I still get sore in my hip and I calf but so much better. And my lower back aches as well. I’m so sorry about the earthquakes, I lived in Cali when I was in my 20s , loved it, first time I experienced a quake, I was at the movies, I freaked out, was at the exit yelling for people to run and get out but to my dismay, nobody seemed to care.
     
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  16. Layla

    Layla FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Glad you're safe!
    I've never experienced an earthquake and it sounds frightening.
    Prayers for all affected.

    Happy Five Week Anniversary!
    @ShellKay13
     
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  17. ShellKay13

    ShellKay13 junior member
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    @Marvin L yep I think many of us California’s actually get excited over earthquakes ;). Gives us a little excitement! I would probably crack up at someone yelling in a movie theater!! Too funny.

    I’m going to try to ride a recumbent bike at the gym Monday... I’ll let you know how it goes. I wouldn’t do the treadmill yet because I’m afraid I might accidentally not pick up my feet fast enough or could fall. I think the elliptical would be safer.
     
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  18. leejaa

    leejaa post-grad

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    I did a recumbent at home at about 6wks but with no tension at first, just the motion and for short periods. I do not remember when I started adding any tension. Just listen to your hips.
     
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  19. Marvin L

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    You seem to be doing. ,very well. Did you ever get rid of the limp, if so, how did you do it. I walk fine with the cane, I don’t think I need the cane any longer, but , boy do I limp? Is there a trick to not limp. Or do certain muscles need to get stronger?
     
  20. ShellKay13

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    @Marvin L I'm still limping :( I feel like I've went from walking like a peg leg pirate to having a stick up my rear so I'm not sure that's an improvement! ;) I've been back in the gym a few times and have done the bike and even the elliptical, but just walking seems to be my biggest struggle. I wouldn't say it hurts when I walk but just can't seem to get back to walking normal. I just hope it keeps improving. I'll be 6 weeks tomorrow. I definitely walk straighter with the cane but boy do I want to ditch it! Sometimes I walk with my younger daughter and put my hand on her shoulder to help me and just make me feel more normal (and give my hand a break! The cane really wears on the palm on that hand!)
     
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