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THR Pre-Op: What I Did and What I Wish I Knew

AmberRae

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I am two weeks post-op, and have been thinking about what prep I did that I am grateful for, and things I wish I had considered. I hope this is helpful to some of you!

The week before surgery:
Purchased the Lounge Doctor (got the 24" wide and wish I had purchased the 18" to better fit on the couch.) I have loved this--it's super comfortable and has been worth it.
Purchased one leg length ice pack and two hip ice packs.
Purchased a cozy t-shirt style nightgown.
Purchased Arnica gel, body wipes and light rosewater mist
Purchased specialty drinks. You need to drink, drink, drink so you may as well have your favorite (non sugary) drinks on hand as well as some treats. For me that meant organic lemon/ginger and peppermint teas, kombucha, lime topo chico, coconut water, electrolyte tablets and a few splurges (those new mocktail concoctions full of adaptogens and herbs and descriptions that sound like a bougie cocktail bar:))
Cooked up a few bone healing post surgery meals for the freezer as well as some healthy grab snacks like hemp tahini bars.
Picked out a few books I had been waiting to read, as well as a couple of series to watch.
Accepted some offers for meals to be dropped by.
Made sure I had thank you cards to send out to those who had offered to bring meals, or help out in some other way.
Began to thank my hip for all of the life adventures it had taken me on.

Day before surgery:
We moved the coffee table out of the way, moved up a tall, small C-table from our downstairs rec room for next to the couch, laid out a sheet on the long side of our bench seat sectional, put a garbage bag on it for ease of pivoting (my sister's trick and this was so helpful!), brought down blankets that would heat quickly in the dryer, and put a garbage bag on the car seat for the same pivoting trick. On the couch side table we put the arnica gel, some lotion (fantastic for light leg massage), lip balm, a beeswax candle, the first book I wanted to dig into, a notebook and pen for random thoughts and a coaster.
I laid out all of my supplements and meds for the first week in am/pm containers and went over this with my husband and daughter along with icing instructions, my expectations of them, and whatever else I thought might be helpful for them.

Morning of surgery:
I poured some bone broth into a pan along with fresh turmeric root and ginger and gave my daughter instructions on simmering this. My husband brought this to me in a travel mug and I started sipping it right after I woke up in recovery. It really tasted fantastic and was an easy way to get some nutrition into me. I also made a smoothie with casein protein and coconut water for the electrolytes along with berries, greens, flax seeds, etc. , and put this into a tall travel drink thing with a straw. This was the next thing that I had that day, drinking part of it in recovery and finishing it at home.
My daughter found some healing music play lists for me, which she played when I got home.
My sister had warned me that I would not feel like dressing, so I showered and put on a cozy, loose t-shirt style dress. After surgery I wore that home with no bra or even undies (had a huge hip binder thing on for the first 24 hours:)
We took my hip (or it took me) on a final mile long walk on the trails behind our house and said goodbye.

Things I didn't buy:
Any toilet help. For me this has been fine--I used the walker to lift up and down. I could have used a portable toilet the first night when I kept threatening to pass out, but wouldn't have used one after that.
Sock/clothing assist devices. Two weeks out and I can maneuver most things on, and husband is fine with helping out with the rest.
A pick up stick device. My left leg is strong and I have been able to pick a lot of things up on my own by putting the operated leg back and just bending with the front leg. I have also chosen to be lax about things on the floor until it is convenient for my husband to pick up.

What I wish I had known:
The swelling is real, people. My leg is still huge. While I knew I wouldn't want to wear real clothes the first week or two, the reality is I can't see wearing jeans for a few months. The sweats I have are tight at the bottom and require some maneuvering on my husband's part. All this to say, consider clothing needs for the first couple of months. Think of comfy fabrics and ease of getting into them. I have since ordered some longer fleece shorts and wide leg soft sweat pants that can be fashionable enough for when I start venturing into the world, as well as some wide leg cropped linen, elastic waist pants. I have one cozy dress that buttons in the front that was handy while the pain pump was attached. I didn't get an ice machine, as I had been told that they weren't as necessary for hips as they were for knees. I think, given my surgery was much more extensive than planned, that I would have benefited from one of those.

Be prepared for some emotional days. I cried off and on during days 4 and 5 post surgery. My guess it was a combination of having weaned off opioids and my body's reaction to the absolute trauma that was done to it. I felt completely fragile inside and out. Warn your caregivers! I had acupuncture that afternoon and woke up day 6 feeling much more stable. Not sure if there is a correlation, but it felt great.

Finally, recognize the toll this will take on your caregiver. I am in awe of those of you who have done this mostly on your own, but I have been dependent on my husband in ways that I never have before. And because he loves me, he does not enjoy seeing me suffer. With the lack of sleep, the extra work, the worry, it has all been a lot for him to carry. (especially since he hasn't been able to really take time off; just working mostly from home). While I provided myself with some pamper things (and this is right and proper), I wish I had thought of some things for him, like special treats or comfort food. Accept any extra help. Our daughter was here for the first few days, so I leaned heavily on her. If you have somebody you are comfortable with, have them come over every few days so you have somebody else to order around:) (Water the plants, put things away properly, whatever it is you need.) Be generous with your gratitude and try to take on what you can when you are ready.
 
@AmberRae I’m on day 13 after my second hip this year so I’ll back you up on this great advice. Getting a good “nest” ready to come home to really helps. I’d add that my ice machine is definitely at the top of my post surgery recommendations. I agree with you about comfy clothing. When I was told to wear loose clothing to the surgery, I wish they had said - and that’s all you will be able to get over your swollen leg for a couple weeks. I’ve been living in PJ pants including one black one that is sort of ok for leaving the house. I especially like your idea of special treats for your special caregivers. My hubby is my hero as he is now in Round #2 with hip #2. I hope you do well in your recovery and look forward to more of your posts.
 
Great list! But toilet riser and grabber were critical for me! I bought a sock thingie with the second hip replacement, but only needed it a couple weeks. I probably could have done without it, but it was cheap and I later gave it away.
 
toilet riser and grabber were critical for me!
Me too! The toilet in our downstairs bathroom is one of the old-fashioned low ones and there is no way I could have gotten up from it with the riser! :oyvey:

The grabber is now in my kitchen and I use it to reach things on the top shelves (since I'm only 5'2") rather than constantly climbing up and down the step ladder.
 
I will also add that I normally do my own cleaning, so I hired a wonderful cleaner to come the day before surgery and for six weeks afterwards. We will see where I am at by that point:)
 
@AmberRae Oh yes! I found a cleaner before my BTHR - actually the daughter of a friend of mine. I became so wonderfully spoiled by both her cleaning and her friendship that she still (12+ years later) cleans for me and I've told her she's a line item on my budget (and a dear friend!)
 
@benne68 I still use my grabber, too! I am 5’ 8.5” but I use it for things like picking trash up in the yard (corner lot!), getting those last couple socks out of the front load washer, and reaching things that are even out of reach to me!
 
Speaking of loose clothing, I bought deep pocketed joggers. It’s amazing how much I could stuff into those pockets when I needed my hands free for the walker. We also bought bottled water, which I stuffed in my pockets.
 
Pre-op I went to a class and was given a handbook. The class covered pre-op requirements and also all of the post-op and the things we would need and how to make recovery easier. Maybe send this info to some of the OS as many that post on the board were given little or no info pre-op.
 
I truly appreciate all your advice. The caring my husband has shown me is off the charts and I love him in a way I never would have understood before my surgery. And yes, the swelling is real. I'm 5 days post op and look like a sausage from hip to upper calf. Looks like I'll have to ice more. Thanks again!
 

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