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The Long Drive Home?

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by TBONE, Feb 20, 2009.

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  1. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    I'm still 40 days out, but I have many questions, so I'll try this one. I will be traveling about 150 miles for my BTHR, will be fully weight bearing the next day, and will be discharged, I am told, after 3 days, if all is OK. The doc says people get on planes after discharge and do take longer drives, so I can go home after discharge if I want to. If there is a concern, I can also stay in a hotel or somewhere (the hospital has affiliated housing for patients and families) for another day or so. I'm not sure how PT would work if I stay, but I would much prefer to be at home ASAP and I am reasonably fit. We have a small SUV so I imagine getting in and out could also be managed.
    Has anybody done a long drive home and how bad is it?
    Sorry for the somewhat trivial question, but I have never had surgery. I have only recently realized that my doc's spinal, sedative planned procedure, as opposed to general anesthesia, means that I will have a catheter. I've also read UTDave's thread on the subject (thanks Dave) and my immediate 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" response was "get me another doctor!" I'm OK now. My wife thinks I'm I big baby. She's right.
    Tom
     
  2. JudyS

    JudyS alpha

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    Tom
    I did not have a long drive home so sorry about no help there. I do remember being overjoyed at getting out of the hospital!!!
    I'm afraid yuo will wake with a catheter no matter what type of anesthesia.
    My pt in the hospital we did practice (pretend) getting in and out of a car. I too have a small SUV and for all of my surgeries it is great to get in and out of . My husbands car some type of audi is a nightmare.

    You may have to decide after surgery and a few days later if you think you can handle it.
    Oh and not at all a trivial question

    Judy
     
  3. Laurie

    Laurie senior

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    Tbone, Wow, I am constantly amazed at the quick discharges, not to mention having to travel a distance. I can't comment as that wasn't my experience. My experience was that at 3 days post op I got an ambulence drive to the subacute rehab hospital some 9 miles away. I was comfy lying down on a stretcher.

    At 8 days, the drive home in van was comfortable. Sat on my trusty wedge cushion (still use it at my desk as it helps me sit up straight). I remember anticipating bumps but for little reason.

    At 40 (much younger than I at 56) you have age on your side but having two hips done at once might make it trickier to get comfortable???? In any case, bet you will be just fine.

    Josephine will weigh in I am sure.

    Laurie
     
  4. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    Thanks guys--bit I'm 51 yo and 40 days from surgery.
    Tom
     
  5. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    OK, another question. I have to find a PT for post surgery and I have found one that I want to use, but he does not do in home PT. So, if I want to use him, I will need to use 2 different PTs, which seems a bit odd. I know this is patient dependent and I am a bilatTHR, but how long after in-home PT do people use PT services? Days?..weeks?? months?? My surgeons office has not been particularly helpful on these issues because they don't know my geographic area well and have advised me to get a recommendation from a local Ortho practice or hospital, which I intend to do.
    Tom
     
  6. Alsheehan

    Alsheehan new member

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    Hi, TBone
    I had a LTHR in July 08 at a hospital 5 hours away (about 300 miles). I had conscious sedation and came out of surgery with a catheter. The catheter was actually very nice since it allowed me to drift in and out of pain medication without having to pee. The bladder infection did not hit me until I was home, and that was easily resolved with antibiotics. The trip home was not bad at all. Our car was a sedan, and I think an SUV would be even better for getting in and out. We stopped frequently at Fast Food places on the interstate because we could park close to the entrance, and the bathrooms were near the door. I had enough pain medication to be comfortable.

    A three hour ride home should be a piece of cake for you. The hospital will probably prepare you to go home with a car simulation that will show you how to get in and out safely. Please continue to ask all your questions. Our experiences will help to put your mind at ease.
    Alsheehan
     
  7. Karen54

    Karen54 graduate

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    Hi TBone,
    I didn't have a long ride home, but a lady who had one hip replacement the same day I did had about a 150 mile drive. We were both discharged at 3 days, but she had to stay in a local motel for several days. I think it might have been because she had to drive over the pass and they were concerned about the altitude change.

    I didn't have in-home PT, but started regular PT at almost 2 weeks with a therapist recommended by my OS. She's fantastic! I would definitely get a recommendation from an ortho dr. in your area.

    Karen
     
  8. BigDog Mom

    BigDog Mom member

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    Hey TBone,
    You may well be able to get in and out of your vehicle with less pain then when you started. You will have pain meds if you need them. All of the material they give you to read kinda freaks you out. I can remember thinking well if I have too, I can slide straight in and ride home on the floor. As it turns out getting in the front seat was no big deal. I did not have any restrictions with bending so, I was careful but it wasn't really an issue. My drive was only an hour and 20 but wasn't any biggie either. In fact we stopped to get something for lunch on the way home.
    If you practice the exercises they give you in the little book before hand and continue after, you will be in good shape. Dr Hozack will just tell you to walk. Walk as much as you can. Every day that will get a little better. ;) I think the in house PT is too make sure you are doing your exercises (not every one is motivated to the same degree). My came out only twice when we both agreed that I really didn't need her.

    All the best,
    donna
     
  9. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Well, I must say, you Americans really seem to be made of hardy stuff! I was about to be all horrified but then read Alsheehan's post and it made me screech to a stop! Suppose it really depends on how long will it take you to drive those miles? Can't see too much of a problem.

    Now if you were having Bil knees would be a different thing!
     
  10. UTdave

    UTdave member

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    T-bone,

    Good questions!

    As for the PT: There is usually a hospital discharge planner that will visit you while you in the hospital to arrange the PT, labs draws for INR, etc. Ortho surgeons cut bone and hammer stuff. They DO NOT like paper work or trying to arrange things of that nature - it is not what they are trained to do, after all, so don't take their indifference personally. This is where the discharge planner comes in. Usually, there will be a home health agency that works in your area with your insurance and they will come visit with you. The timing and frequency of PT will be variable.

    As for the car ride: Blood clots are life-threatening! (not only that, but they can kill ya!) Get out and move around if your ride is any longer than an hour. Drive safely, you're on blood thinners! Pain is temporary, but can make for unpleasantness! I recommend you get a pain pill as you're being discharged or have one ready from the hospital outpatient pharmacy (if they have one). Pain wasn't a big issue for me getting in or out, but if I sit too long, it is just uncomfortable and annoying! I think an SUV, though a bit harder to get into, is safer getting out as your hip shouldn't have to come anywhere near the dreaded 90 degrees.

    That's my 2 cents (make it a nickel since the economy is tanking!)

    Dave
     
  11. UTdave

    UTdave member

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    Oh, Jo. . . how would Blue Cross show the share-holders a quarterly profit if they didn't minimize nights spent in a hospital?

    That is what health care is about right, profit?

    (sarcasm implied)
     
  12. mvo

    mvo member

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    Hi TBone,

    My drive home was about 2 hours, 6 days after THR - wound on side of hip. My husband's large SUV (with the passenger seat in a good recline) was ideal and I was very comfortable, just still a little nauseous from low BP and medications I guess. I was given some anti-nausea pills and they did the trick until we got home.

    My sister (same op, same day, different country) had a 20 minute drive home and was in a lot of pain as she was kind of sitting on her wound (I forget the medical terms for the location of our incisions) and in pain anyway and in a normal sedan that was difficult to get in and out of.

    We were on our "going home" trips at the same time and her texts to me contained a swear word or two!

    So I guess the lessons are:
    a) appropriate vehicle if possible
    b) make sure pain is under control
    c) take up offer of any anti-nausea pills

    Hope that helps,
    Monica

    PS: am still amazed when I read about in-home PT or any PT for all you US hippies! Here in NZ, once you are home, that is it - you are just told to walk around and so a couple of exercises - no supervision, just get on with your life.
     
  13. JudyS

    JudyS alpha

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    I had the home health agency come and first have a nurse evaluate what you need. Of course it was pt . I had a wonderful therapist come for 3 weeks. Mydoc did not send me to pt after. At the 6 or 8 week point when I started asking specifics about restrictions on different exercise gym equipment he sent me to pt with a prescriptionn for up to 6 weeks. Mainly so I would not dislocate my hip on some equipment.
    They did work their "massage" into most of my time with them to help the ITB band and prevent adhesions.
    Once I was ok on the equipment I just went back to my gym, then at 3 months my mountain.
    Judy
     
  14. Judles

    Judles alpha

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    Yes,,,,,it really is amazing how different our health care methods & costs are!
    T Bone,,,,,,remember what we were chatting about with the sliding on that black trash bag? Don't use it yet! (Lol!
    Very fortunately,I was pleasantly surprised how EASY it was for me to get IN & OUT of the car! But you MUST wear very loose fitting clothes! Don't be afraid! BTW,,,,you're having your surgery on April Fools Day! I'm sure that's a big day at the hospital! Pack your humor! :)
     
  15. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    All-Thanks. Judles-I know it's April Fool's day. The place I am going to is a busy place and I was told that I wouldn't be able to book a surgery for several months. When they asked me when I was available to do the surgery I said April 1, meaning sometime after April 1. Before I could explain myself they had confirmed that they could do it on April 1. I'm guessing not too many patients specifically request April Fool's day! I'm OK with it. It'll give me more time to re-hab.
    I do think I will need some PT after the surgery. I have inferred from the messages and doctors that the in-house PT is to make sure you are OK and getting up and moving and that, since these are weight bearing joints, the best PT is the simplest PT: Walk and move around. When I broke my wrist badly 18 years ago the PT people gave me back my right arm. I couldn't have done it without them. So I think I'll be asking for a PT regime in the month or more after surgery, if they'll allow it. Is that unnecessary?
     
  16. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    Big Dog--I really find that type of recovery amazing and I can only hope mine goes half as well. My wife and I have joked that I'll be the one walking the dog and going up and down the stairs to get stuff. It'll be payback time and I'll have no excuses.
    Tom
     
  17. TBONE

    TBONE senior
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    UTDave-Thanks. I'll make sure I'm pain free for the drive home! Nice to know I should be able to make it home without too much difficulty.
     
  18. Judles

    Judles alpha

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    You will be FINE, T Bone,,,,,With me, I worried unnecessarily,,,,,,,but then I was so happy that part of my ordeal was over,that everything just fortunately was smooth as silk! Thank heavens!
    Think positive thoughts, T! We'll get you through this!
    I personally think April 1st is a great day!!!!! By the end of the day you won't feel a thing! :)
     
  19. PRGal

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    I had a 30-minute drive home turn into 2 hours due to miscommunications at the pharmacy, where we stopped to pick up my blood thinner injectables & pain meds. Because of the timing of my last pain pill before discharge, I was way past due for another and ready to assault the drive-thru window!! So having the road trip pain meds covered is excellent advice!
     
  20. JudyS

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    I agree with the good timing of the pain pills and an extra in your pocket. I was in a research study on pain control using basically IV tylenol. It was extra in addition to regular pain meds. But at discharge time they said to make sure I did not take anything with tylenol in it for four hours. Short drive home, but once there I had to wait almost 4 hours to take pain meds and I was not too happy. Should have taken one for the road.

    We will all be here for you now and after to hear how great everything went.
    Judy
     
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