THR Return to teaching, how soon after THR?

SoKnotKidding

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Hello All,

just found this forum and hoping to learn from others experiences.
I saw an orthopedic in December, he looked at an xray from 1 yr ago, and new xray that he took. He says its an aggressive fast moving osteoarthritis, I am bone on bone.
Yes i've been living with increasing daily pain for a long time, but now with a new job and good insurance i hoped to get a good diagnosis and a way to solve the problem.
So he said point-blank: there is a hip surgery in your future, but first gave me meloxicam and physical therapy. he said come back and tell me it didnt work and we consider xray guided cortisone injection- which does not have guaranteed results.
In January I went back and he said I have the option of cortisone injection or go for the hip surgery.
I would opt for surgery tomorrow if i could!
I went to see a surgeon, and he agrees it is the best option.
Now the tricky part is when to do it...
I am in a new job teaching first grade, I originally thought i would schedule it at easter break, and not lose too much time for me or the students. But when i mentioned it to the Doc he said to plan on being out 4 weeks not 2. So then I would consider waiting for summer, but that blows any summer employment and other things I need to do medically as well.
I'm on my feet for a 12 hour day, and even getting a dr note asking for permission to use the elevator, has not been convenient; it's easier to go up one step at a time, and hop back down on the good leg than to go find someone with the key to use the elevator!
I welcome all advice, and others experiences- how long did it take you to be back at work?
thanks!
 

Celle

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Hello @SoKnotKidding - and :welome:

I'm sorry to tell you this, but even your surgeon's recommendation of 4 weeks off work is optimistic. People have gone back to work at about 8 weeks, but some found it hard.
We usually recommend taking about 12 weeks off and then doing a Phased return to work

Obviously, with teaching, a phased return won't be possible, but since you're on your feet for about 12 hours a day, anything before 8 weeks sounds very difficult.

Hip replacement is major surgery. It's not the sort of surgery you can bounce back from in just a few weeks, no matter how young or fit you are beforehand.
It will cause you sleepless nights and major fatigue and you'll have to increase your activity gradually.

These are the recovery guidelines and articles we give to people who have had a hip replacement. Reading them will give you a better idea of what recovery will be like. It may surprise or disappoint you, but it's better to go into surgery with a realistic appreciation, rather than to have unrealistic goals and suffer worry and disappointment.

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. You should follow these recommendations

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 the 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 the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

Eman85

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Your OS is optimistic at 4 weeks. Reality is 3 mos to be fully useful. Sure you can go back faster but chances are it will prolong full recovery. Just read some people's posts on here for realistic recovery progression.
 

CricketHip

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Hello and welcome! I am self employed and trying to wrap my head around surgery and an extensive lay off was terrifying for me. But, when you wrap your head around it and start problem solving the issue, then everything seems to fall into place. Hopefully this will be the case for you, too.
4 weeks is very optimistic for a full return to work.
The energy drain alone will be a bit daunting, I'm afraid.
Ironically my sister is facing the same problem, except it's her knees. She is trying to hang in there until May, then will take the full summer off to recover.

Good luck with your decision, it's so overwhelming at first. Read around the forum, it will be so helpful to you and will give you an better idea of how to plan. :flwrysmile:
 

Mojo333

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:hi:Welcome to Bonesmart where folks who have Been There Done That will give you the true scoop..:yes:
Wow, this is a tough one.
Time gets horribly slow when you've had all you can take with bad hips.
Sincerest sympathies as I was literally at my wits end. :sigh:
However I agree you will need to go into this with a commitment to give your recovery the time it takes.
It will serve you well so that you can get your life back for good.:happydance:
 

leejaa

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I cannot answer your question as to return to work since it all depends on our bodies. I am a bit over 10 weeks post op with a very smooth recovery to date. I am volunteering at a food bank and just last Thur did 3hrs there and my hip was tight and a bit sore. It did feel better after sitting down so I made two quick stops for a few groceries and came home. I was exhausted and decided the best thing for me was to get in the recliner and do nothing. Luckily my husband made dinner.

At 2 weeks I cannot see returning to a job where you are on your feet 12hrs/day and even at 4wks. Please read some of the recovery threads and also some of the guidelines and recovery progression guides and it might give you some ideas as to when is the best time for you to have this surgery.
 

Stripey

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@SoKnotKidding It really depends on the person and the nature of the job. I went back to work at 5 weeks. I sit at a desk most of the day. For 3 or 4 weeks that was ALL I did. I drove to work, worked 8 hours, drove home. I did no other activities during that time, except for the minimum needed for self- and home-care. I didn't feel sore or exhausted, I just didn't have the energy to do more, and was afraid of a set-back if I pushed it. I also had as a basis a very successful surgery and uneventful recovery. I have no idea what's involved in teaching first grade, but I could not have been on my feet for 12 hours at 4 weeks. Is there some way you could schedule this for early June even if it means you have to give up part of a summer's employment? Maybe your school district offers short-term disability coverage? I wish you all the best. It's a bummer to be sure, to be starting a new job just when you need major surgery.
 

Eman85

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I meant to add to my post that realistically an accomplishment at 2 weeks is driving if it's your left hip, right might take longer.
 

Celle

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Two weeks post-op is really early fro driving, even if it is your left hip and you have an automatic car.

Before driving, you need to have a clear head, be off all narcotic medication, and be 120% certain that you can do an emergency stop. You also need to be comfortable sitting in the car for the length of time your journey will take.

4-6 weeks is probably more realistic.
 

Hip4life

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Better to plan on longer and be able to go back sooner. I’m in healthcare with 12 hour shifts. My os said minimum 8 weeks and I then had to reschedule start back twice: wound up being 14weeks. Luckily, I had a very rare boss that not only encouraged me to get better before coming back but allowed a basically unheard of (in my line of work) phased back: 4-6 hours one day first week then increasing as I tolerated. Just be prepared because we all respond differently. Best wishes and keep us posted.
 
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SoKnotKidding

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wow, first of all thank you all for your replies and advice! I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner.
As you probably know covid hit nj hard in the spring, so I did not get scheduled.

Now I'm facing the same question all over again, they do have an open date for August 5, which gives me 12 days before teacher's meetings begin, but the following week (Aug. 24) we begin setting up classrooms (carrying boxes and unpacking books, arranging tables, chairs, shelves, etc,,,).

Also just found out the address of our new building- gotta love charter schools lol- looks like 8 stairs up to the front door. Either I face those stairs pre-surgery, or post surgery,,,,, either way ughhhh.

ok, so if August 5 isn't reasonable, then I'm thinking first week of November and let the holidays work in my favor.
 
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SoKnotKidding

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hi @Regenm! if you get a chance can you update how it turned out after that week?

I teach first grade, and I'm trying to schedule left total hip replacement, they just reopened 'elective surgeries' again here after cancelling so many things for Covid.
But my only choice now is Aug 5, which is a little close to teacher meetings beginning Aug 17, and then setting up new classroom in a new building beginning Aug 24.
In addition, the new building has about 8 stairs up to the front door.

So, it's sounding like Aug 5 won't work for me,,, then I am thinking first week of Nov and the holidays will be in my favor.
Any thoughts?
 

CricketHip

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Hello there! I guess it's out of the question to consider accepting the August 5th date and have a substitute there for your classes, until you are cleared to return to work?
It's sad that you have to face those steps with the painful, arthritic hip. Covid sure has wreaked havoc with many of our plans and schedules.

The November option sounds good if you are up to waiting that long, but only you are able to squeeze out enough time to heal and recover properly.

This is one of the most difficult parts of a joint replacement, fitting it into an already busy schedule. u

I must say, though. Many of us struggled with the thought of missing work and having the time needed to heal, then looking back on it later, most of us can say that it all worked out just fine.
I wish this for you, too.
 

Pumpkln

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@SoKnotKidding
Regenm has not been on BoneSmart since last fall, and unlikely to respond. Should they sign on I have tagged them so they will see your post.

I have moved your most recent post to a pre op thread where you are more likely to receive answers to your questions.
If you would like a different title, let us know here and a moderator will update the title for you.

I would caution you agains a THR on August 5 with a return to school on August 17th.
We recommend members allow 3 months for their hips to heal, though some are able to return sooner to desk jobs, while heavy labor jobs may require 4-6 months for recovery.
We also recommend a Phased return to work .

First week of November sounds like a more reasonable time frame for you to recover adequately before returning to work.

@KarriB is a teacher, she checks in from time to time and may see your post.
 

Chappy

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I’m at 4 1/2 weeks post surgery, posterior hip resurfacing, and already stairs are so much easier than they were before surgery. I still feel quite fuzzy though, and get tired so quickly - I have deferred returnning to work because I just don’t feel ready. I’m lucky that I don’t have to rush, and I will be able to work from home and do a partial return, which I will start mid next week - 5 weeks. COVID is helpful in that way. I can’t imagine being responsible for a classroom of little kids though - I think it would end in tears.
How you can take enough time to recover well
 

Layla

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so if August 5 isn't reasonable, then I'm thinking first week of November and let the holidays work in my favor.
Does this mean you’d be able to take two months off? All of November and also December through Christmas break?

That may be doable, but I’d certainly caution against selecting the August date because that is overly ambitious and I believe you’d be sorry. You really should plan for at least eight weeks off and hopefully :fingersx: you’ll feel ready to return by then.

You don’t know how your recovery will play out until you’re in the midst of it. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. By worst, I don’t mean anything threatening and I’m not trying to frighten you, just being realistic. Some are more tired than others, some overdo early on and stall their recovery as a result. Post Op Blues can happen also. While short lived, it’s just something else that would make an early return feel like pressure. I also recall another teacher (pkuznets) who joined us here and experienced difficulty with concentration upon her return to the classroom and realized she most likely returned to soon. You may experience Energy Drain, it’s very common after the controlled trauma your body takes on. You’d hate to go through the motions of preparing and getting yourself to work only to realize you can barely function once there. Lots to consider.

We have a teacher on staff @Going4fun who I know will offer some sound advice. I’ve tagged him for you so I’m sure he’ll respond here. Another member comes to mind who also is a teacher, @ChrissyW She drops by the forum now and then and possibly she‘ll have some thoughts to add.

Wishing you comfort and all the best as you make decisions and move forward.
 

Hip4life

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I am not a teacher but a healthcare worker with some of the same demands of physically and mentally being present at work. The August date does not sound wise to me. Unless you are provided a reasonable time off period with some flexibility, November may be better. The kicker here is how are you currently doing physically. If you’re really struggling, 3-4 more months may be truly difficult. This is major surgery and tends to take more out of you than you anticipate. Like Layla said, you can hope you have an amazing recovery but the realty may be closer to 8-12 weeks. Mine was 14 weeks. It would have been easier to plan for that instead of the 6 weeks I thought it would be. Be good to yourself and plan for longer. Wouldn’t it be great then to let them know you’re doing so well that you’ll be back sooner? Nobody gets trampled in that scenario. Wishing you the best. Keep us posted on your decision.
 

Going4fun

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I'm a teacher, and your schedule is far more brutal than mine. No I would not return after 2 weeks. After two weeks, you might still be in (controlled) pain with a lot of stiffness and swelling.

As others have said, recovery varies. But I've been teaching at my university for 20 some years, so I qualified for paid medical leave. I took all 12 weeks of that leave--actually more because I "returned" to work in December after the fall term was done. So really I had 14 or so weeks off.

I would not want to return to teaching in four weeks, and I am not in the classroom every day. Recovery can be difficult because sometimes it's more painful than we expected and a lot slower (and still be on track by the way for good recovery). I could have showed up in class at maybe 8 weeks, and faked it. By fake it, I mean I probably could pull myself together for teaching in class, but that would have required a lot of special concentration and focus ... Forget staying up on homework, forget any energy at the end of the day, forget energy for good planning, forget coming home and fixing food. You will be exhausted, mentally and physically. So ultimately I my teaching would have suffered at 8 weeks. I was still on a cane until week 9.

One thing to consider: carrying items, like books, can be really bad on the hip early on. Pushing anything really can exacerbate the pain. And imagine pushing or pulling and carrying something while using a cane.

Look, some people get lucky and have extremely fast recoveries, but these folks are rare. Go for 12 weeks if at all possible, and if that's not possible and you really just can't I'd go with 8 weeks minimum. Your soft tissue is extremely sore afterwards. Hip replacement is not really a surgery you squeeze in. It's a surgery you want to plan for, well in advance.

I "squeezed in" a meniscus surgery over spring break six months before my hip replacement. Now, with that surgery, I was up and about in a couple of days. I remember about two or three weeks after the surgery, I walked from my car to class, and I was moving deliberately. Not the case with hip arthroplasty.

Whatever you do, we'll cheer you on.
 

ChrissyW

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I could never have returned after 2 weeks, @SoKnotKidding . I think I was 7 weeks post op, having had my 6 week check up, before I returned and then it was as a phased return. You tire easily so don't push yourself in to anything and sorry for the late reply to the thread, I drop by every so often now but if you have any questions re teaching returns I'm happy to help, though my replies may be delayed
 

Celle

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@SoKnotKidding
We've all tried to advise you and we've all told you the same thing.

Hip replacement is major surgery, from which complete recovery takes a full year. You can't rush that.

There is absolutely no way in which you will be fit enough to return to teaching in 2 weeks, and even 4 weeks is pushing it.

You teach first-graders, active little beings who are not going to remember to be careful around you. And your work involves some stairs and being on your feet for most of the day. That's a demanding physical job. Realistically, it could take 8 to 14 weeks before you body is ready to do that.

I understand you feel an obligation to your job and your employer, but I think you need to realise that you risk undoing all the good work your surgeon will have done if you go back to teaching too soon. Your first obligation is to your own health.

You need to have a talk to your principal, to tell her/him that you will be needing some sick leave, and that a relieving teacher will be needed, to cover your position while you are recovering.

If you choose a surgery date later in the year, the Christmas school holidays will give you a couple of weeks, on top of which you'll need to add some sick leave.
 

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