THR New here - planning for late June THR

NextStep

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Well, it looks like the time is coming...assuming all goes well with OT for a separate issue, I'll have a pre-op appointment for hip surgery early in June, and then the surgery June 28th on an outpatient basis. The outpatient bit blows my mind a little, but my surgeon is good, so I'll trust him to adjust that if necessary when time comes.

A few quick questions, since I'm six weeks from surgery date:
1) Are there things you wish you'd known ahead of time, that were not covered in Joint Class?
2) What sorts of things did you need the most help with in the days immediately following surgery, say within the first week? By the second week, were you able to do most basic ADL's on your own, even if they took longer than normal, or did you still need daily help?
3) They say I'll need a walker at first. Is there a certain type (wheels, no wheels, folding or not)? Is this something you'd borrow, rent or buy?
4) I do have a trip planned for just six weeks post surgery, and the surgeon expects to clear me for flying across the continent. I do wonder if a walker, cane or trek/walking poles would be advisable, even though I would likely accept wheelchair transport in the airport due to length of the trip. Thoughts?
Thanks in advance for any insight or observations based on your own experience!
 

Layla

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Hello and Welcome! Thanks for joining us. I’ll leave some pre-op reading below.
To answer your questions -
1) For me, not really, but I had been reading here and learning a lot, as a lurker. Didn’t join as a member until the eve of my surgery.
2) Wanted someone nearby for shower, assistance with compression socks, changing of bandage. Able to do most ADL’s myself (slowly) within about a week. Husband didn’t really leave me alone, for several hours, until about the 12th day after surgery, but I could have managed alone sooner.
3) I borrowed a walker from my dad, with tennis balls on one side. Used it for the first couple weeks. I’d recommend hand pads (Amazon) if you think you’ll be using it frequently or for any length of time as many complain of sore hands after excessive use.
4) The trip may wipe you out. That is pretty early to be flying for any length of time and sitting in a confined space. I would definitely plan for transport at airports and bring an assistive device. Ask your surgeon about compressions stockings for the plane ride and do lots of ankle pumps and a bathroom run, or two to stretch your legs.

Wishing you comfort a you wait for your surgery date.

HIP PRE-OP

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 from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
Stories of amazing hip recoveries
 

Eman85

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I borrowed a plain walker, did put tennis balls on the back legs so I didn't scratch the floor and it slid easily, it did fold up for travel.
Sitting in a plane to fly across a continent at 6 weeks wouldn't be on my to do list after experiencing 2 THR's. There have been some on here take trips like that, many say it wasn't enjoyable. Funny thing about the timeline and being released to do things, it doesn't mean you can or should do it.
The biggest thing I knew but accepted more along the way was it's a slow recovery that takes a year or more. The recovery periods seem to break down to different increments of 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 mos. and 1 year. I actually saw noticeable improvements around those time periods. The thing I did learn was less is more, the less I did the more my recovery improved without setbacks. Setbacks come from thinking you can do something because someone or a book said you could at a certain point in recovery.
 
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NextStep

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Two things that make me consider the six week release to fly that distance are: (1) Surgeon seems pretty confident about it, though we will be talking again prior to surgery I'm sure, and will also be in close communication prior to any flight; and (2) a recent surgical recovery with the same surgeon has gone remarkably well so far, with the OT department consistently stating I'm ahead of schedule and "others with similar injuries only hope to get along as far as you have." That said, I know it's a different surgery, a different joint. Time will tell, the story has yet to be written.
 

Mojo333

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:wave: and :welome: @NextStep
Here are some extra tips I received that I felt were useful.

  • Tape down rug corners and electrical cords and make sure walkways are clear.
  • Place regularly used items at arm-level.
  • Pre-fill any prescriptions you may need after surgery. You will want to have stool softeners and other "help to go" in case needed...those pain meds are famous for constipation.
  • Exercises to strengthen your upper body are very helpful.
 
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NextStep

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Thanks for the suggestions!

As for upper body strengthening, that's a key priority during the time till surgery! I'd fractured an elbow with a fall this winter, and had surgery to repair it two months ago. That in itself had required ligament repair as well as a radial head replacement, and I was only given release to begin any strengthening exercises a week ago. Needless to say, I'd lost quite a bit of strength, endurance and range of motion during the past three months, and it's been a process to regain the full range of motion.

I went into therapy today, discouraged at this first week without significant restrictions as I reacquainted myself with the new reality of where I am at without my splint/brace. I'm glad I went, though--the therapist reassured me that endurance will come, and the ache is normal since I'm starting to use it again in "normal" ways without a brace. Even better, my grip strength with the recovering hand/arm is at the upper edge of normal, non-injured dominant hand strength for my age bracket!

So - I suppose this is a bit of detour from "hip", yet it is very much part of my pre-op journey toward hip surgery since the upper extremity recovery is vital in order to proceed with a total hip replacement by the end of June.

Maybe the context will help to explain a little of my concerns and challenges as I wait and prepare for what's to come. I just hope that I can balance the changes this year has brought, and that the combination of two different major joint surgeries within four months will be a good thing in the end.
 

Klassy

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You are having quite a year of it!

The arm surgery is not a detour from the subject of the hip. You will be using your arms a lot to manoeuvre in and out of bed, use a walker or other aids, etc. So it is excellent news that you are already at the stage of operating without the brace, and your therapist is pleased with your progress.

I think the wonderful advisors here would like to know which arm and the dates of the injury and the surgery, to add to your signature.
 
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NextStep

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You are having quite a year of it!

The arm surgery is not a detour from the subject of the hip....

I think the wonderful advisors here would like to know which arm and the dates of the injury and the surgery, to add to your signature.
Right (dominant) arm - terrible triad injury due to a slip and fall on ice on February 21, surgery on March 18 involved ligament repair and radial head replacement followed by occupational therapy which is ongoing to strengthen arm, given upcoming surgery. (I'd seen the ortho doc a few months prior to the fall, and opted to stay with same doc for the elbow since I was pleased with initial discussions re: hip. Oh, and the reason I'd stretched out the arm to break my fall was -- I didn't want to injure the "good" hip!)
 
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Klassy

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Oh, ow! What bad luck. Here’s hoping that June will be the beginning of better times.
 
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NextStep

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I'm wondering--weather seems to be a factor in my pain levels now. Surgery is designed to exchange a damaged, arthritic hip with fancy new replacements -- so will that reduce or eliminate the weather-related pain? Or will the metal parts somehow affect how cold/hot that joint feels, perhaps causing a different ache? (I would guess since the joint is internal it would maintain at close to body temperature, but that's only a guess.)
 

Mojo333

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Hi @NextStep
I don't notice particular pains related to cold now at 5 years post-up (sure used to) but I recall the winter after my surgery...it definitely did.
I don't think it was the joint hurting but instead still sensitive supporting muscles and ligaments.
The cold makes your muscles tighten up. This can squeeze nerves in the joints and increase pain.
 

subie2021

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While my un-opped hip is always squawking about the weather, the new one thinks every day is filled with sunshine and refreshing breezes. It's been that way from Day One.
 
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NextStep

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I feel like I'm nearly ready -- most of the time. Then I suddenly I think, am I really doing this? Surely it's not that bad. (Denial does call, now and again.)
OK - I should still rearrange the kitchen for easier access after surgery, stock up on snacks which will be eaten too early if I get them now! I thought I'd need to get a walker, but have been told that I'll get that at the hospital on the day of surgery.
Five weeks to go. And it seems pain is only increasing -- or I'm paying more attention. I do know some activities are harder to endure than they were only 2-3 months ago. It makes no sense.
 

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Hello. I’m 12 days out from my TKR. My surgeon was big on eating healthily and in particular increasing my protein intake in the weeks leading up to my surgery, and continuing in the weeks after. No idea if it helps, but it can’t hurt. As far as prep goes, the week before I did a deep clean of my house, watered all my plants, and bought some frozen meals and snacks to have on hand. I also downloaded a bunch of books from my library so I’d have lots of nice distracting fiction on hand. The best purchase I made ahead of time was a cold therapy machine. I freeze little water bottles to put in with the water so I don’t have to mess around with ice cubes. It was expensive, but worth it, especially since I will need to get my other knee done and will use it again then. I was able to borrow a shower chair and it has been nice to have. One thing I did not buy beforehand that I wish I had were some of those grippy bottom socks. Best of luck!
 
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Hi NextStep,
Wow, that's quite an ordeal to get through. I fell on ice late January and broke my hip, had surgery 2/16.
I used a regular walker with the tennis balls and that was fine. You will need elevated toilet seat for sure. I had straight chair brought into my living room because my couch was too low and soft to sit on to watch TV. First month or so I went to bed early and just used my laptop to watch Netflix.
I needed help to get in and out of bed for about a week, then I was able to get myself up for those middle of the night bathroom breaks.
I cooked from Day one at home, had no issue using stove.
Could make a pot of coffee every AM as well.
I'm 3 months post op and just saw my doctor this AM and everything is looking great.
I think 6 weeks to fly is a little early but your doctor and you will need to make that decision. I found that sitting for long periods was very uncomfortable and I had to get up and move around.
Best of luck, just keep reading here and you will lots of good advice.
 

Eman85

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Hospital had a walker for me to use in the hospital, then it was up to me. There are thousands of walkers siting in basements and garages just begging for someone to say they need one. I asked friends and had offers of plenty so I just borrowed one. As far as snacks go I was big on protein to help my body heal. I also always ate yogurt but figured it was good for the protein and the stuff for my gut post op. Easier access to everything just makes sense as you won't be as flexible for a while. 2 grabbers are good so you have one to be able to pick up the one you dropped.
 
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NextStep

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So...pain is bad enough to mix up meds tonight. Had to call pharmacist who suggested strongly to stay awake till insulin had peaked, to watch blood sugar closely so I didn't go too low. A first time for everything I suppose. If I didn't hurt so bad it would have been a great excuse for a decadent dessert. Five weeks to go.
 

Mojo333

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Much sympathy for your pre-op pain.
I was sleep deprived, depressed and miserable lending up to my surgery.
Only good (?) thing... I was more than ready for getting that chronic hip pain gone!
Hope time goes quickly.
 

Beejust

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I"m having my hip done on June 9th and then supposedly flying to Montana at the end of July for my son's wedding. After reading all of your thoughts I'm thinking maybe I should postpone my surgery til after the wedding. What are your thoughts?
 

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