Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hip replacement surgery 101


found on

Got hip pain?
Not able to do what you used to do?

courtesy Dover publications

It might be time for a hip replacement!

My Uncle has just undergone a hip replacement.
When you think about it, it is an amazing medical feat to take out a major bone joint, 
and put a new one in!!!

artificial hip diagram

Here are a few things we have learned
throughout the process:

1. Don't let other people tell you what your pain level is.
You know best!

2. Yeah, they really do need to do all those tests
to determine what your hip damage is
and the condition of the area surrounding your hip.

3. Take notes.
4. Take notes.
5. Take notes!

6. Keep a folder or briefcase or whatever works best for you.
Have a central place that you can keep all the paperwork in. Notes from doctors, nurses, etc.
Handouts - and more!

7. Keep a calendar on the wall, and update it every time you are given an appointment time.

8. In your 'hip folder' you should have all the names and phone numbers of professionals that you are dealing with.
I like to write down the date and time and name of every person I speak to on the phone.

9. Really, really really try to have someone that can either stay with you for 2 weeks following surgery,
a place where you can stay for 2 weeks minimum
 after surgery
with someone you can depend on to take care of you.

This may be a rehab center.

You will be on pain meds when you come home
after the surgery.

These will make you loopy and not able to keep track of
what you have taken,
when you have taken it,
and when you should take more.


Have your caregiver:

9. Keep a chart for each day's drugs.
Write down when you have given what drug.
This is really important.

There will be several drugs for recuperation,
and it just does not work to try and remember them all.

So, make it easy on yourself, and write it down on the chart.

10. Yes, you will have pain after the surgery!
Some people think, well, the bad hip is gone,
a new hip is in,
so no more pain right?


You have just had major surgery!!!

My uncle was under the impression that after a couple of days he would be back to dancing.

Why did he think that?
Because of well-meaning friends trying to encourage him.
It didn't encourage him,
because now it just frustrates him after the surgery is done
with wrong expectations.

So please,
remember that each person has 
their own timetable of healing.
Perhaps Aunt Martha was up and happy in 14 days,
but that doesn't mean that
Aunt Maude will be.
Each person is an individual with their own unique healing times.

Be honest with your doctor/surgeon.
The doc will know what is best for you.
After all, the doc has seen inside you!!!
tee hee hee

11. Follow your doctor's orders.

12. Follow your therapists' orders.

These are professionals.
If they say don't walk stairs unless someone 
is there with you,
then don't walk the stairs unless someone is with you!!!

Yes, you may feel it is silly,
or unnecessary
or baby-ing.

Too bad!
Follow the professionals directions so you can heal the right way, and in the right time.

13. Exercise. Yeah. Really.
Your PT (physical therapist) will help you with what exercises to do, and how to do them.

Please remember, 
you do NOT know more than your PT!!!
If she says to use your walker,
then use your walker.
If she says a cane is okay in this situation,
then don't think you can use a cane whenever you want!

We discovered a bit late in the game
what are good exercises and positions to be in.
Uncle's leg was swelling up, and was very hot.

The incision site did not look too irritated or red.
Temperature was normal.
Pain levels went up.

The PT came for a home visit and we learned:

14. Elevation is key!
Get those toes above the nose!
(Also above the heart!)

She stacked a pile of pillows up that looked like a scene
from The Princess and the Pea!

Only, the pillow stack was for Uncle's feet only!

However, after 2 days of keeping his legs/feet elevated,
and being up and doing walking at least 4x per day,
the swelling has gone down considerably
and so has some of the pain.


15. Ice. Ice. Ice.

I thought that icing was only beneficial a couple of days after surgery.
Now that we are icing regularly, Uncle's pain is lower,
his swelling is lower
and we are all 'round much happier!

Some ice pack hints:

Always wrap your ice pack in a towel.
This protects your skin, and also absorbs any
random condensation.

A bag of frozen peas works super as an ice pack!
The peas conform to your leg/hip really well.

dumb hint: don't eat the peas after they have been used as an ice pack. They have been thawed, frozen, etc. 
too many times to be healthy to eat!

We are on Day 11 after surgery.
I'll keep you updated on Uncle's progress
and any more tips I might have to make 
your hip replacement surgery
or your time as a caregiver easier!

We are both looking forward to the day when Uncle
is walker free
and cane free
and back to dancing!

'til next time,
and on pinterest: K.Kloberdans

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