Hip Replacement

Hi there, I am a 65 year old male, with advanced and severe osteoarthritis of both hips, but the left is the worst. I have finally been given an operation date of 25th August 2022, I live alone, as am widowed and have three dogs also. I am worried that when I return home about looking after myself and indeed my dogs. I would like to know if anyone else has gone through this, how was the recovery was, and what your mobility etc was like once your returned home.

I have never been in hospital before, never mind having an operation, so am very anxious, and concerned how I get through this.


Any advice etc would be gratefully accepted.


Many Thanks


Mark

Comments

  • HelenS
    HelenS Administrator Posts: 78
    edited 3. Aug 2022, 12:08

    Hi @Mark1558

    Welcome to the online community, we are a very friendly group and hopefully you will find some answers to your questions.

    You have osteoarthritis affecting your hips and are scheduled for surgery later this month. It can be a worrying time when having surgery, and what to expect in your recovery. If the surgeon feels it’s right for you, they may include you in an enhanced recovery programme (ERP). This programme aims to get you walking and moving within 12–18 hours and home within 1-3 days.

    I have included a post below from one of our members who also lives alone, which you may find helpful.

    Please do check out the link below from the Versus Arthritis website which can help you prepare for surgery, and what to expect.

    There is also a discussion about hip replacement surgery which offers useful advice from some of our members

    Please do let us know how you get on

    Take care Helen

  • Mark1558
    Mark1558 Member Posts: 3

    Hi @HelenS Thanks to a degree it was helpful, mixed views I thought, but most on the positive side, I am still concerned about the fact I have three dogs to look after. Putting them in kennels not an option, however I do have a pet sitter so I may ask her to come in help for a few days until I feel more stable and comfortable. Have already started to rearrange kitchen cupboards and stock up freezer etc with snacks and meals.


    Many Thanks


    Mark

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,544
    edited 3. Aug 2022, 14:17

    Sorry, long post alert, but I hope you find this useful.

    Hi @Mark1558 , sorry to hear you need surgery, it can be a scary time. I had left hip replacement in April 2021. While I live with my husband in a two storey house built on a slope, I found I could cope reasonably well in the house on my own, even the day after I came home, so he didn't need to stay home all day to look after me. You just need a bit of forward planning.

    You should be offered a variety of aids by the OT team from the hospital, which I found to be essential for daily living for a while, such as:

    • a trolley (not to be used as a walking aid but you can push it along in front of you between rooms), it'a also useful for putting stuff on that you would normally nip out to the kitchen etc for to save the extra trips, eg books, cold drinks, snacks, phones etc.
    • a sock slider and long handled shoe horn - you won't be able to reach your foot for a while
    • crutches (obviously) but I found it useful to have 3, so I only needed to go up and downstairs using the hand rail and one crutch, but had the second crutch waiting for me at the top or bottom of the stairs. I found it a faff carrying the second crutch up and down the stairs with me.
    • a raised toilet seat, also essential. I used a normal loo after about week 3 or 4, and almost had to call for help getting off it!
    • A perching stool, which was useful for strip washes, as I couldn't climb in and out of the bath safely to use the shower for quite a few weeks, and when I could get in and out of the bath to shower, it was a useful aid to help me climbing in and out, as it's so stable.
    • a grabber for picking up all the things you drop. I seemed to become spectacularly clumsy after I got home and was forever dropping things. I took the grabber everywhere with me!

    They'll also check the height of your bed and chair/settee, as it's suprisingly hard to get up from a normal height chair. If your bed's too low, they'll find ways to raise it up, and use booster cushions on your chair. Invest in some soft pillows to sit on too - your rump will be a bit tender for a while, and TOP TIP, have them in the car to sit on when someone drives you home!

    They'll also send you home with pain relief meds, but I found I only needed these at night, and only for the first few weeks. For me this was a huge improvement on the handfuls of cocodamol and naproxen I was on every day pre-surgery, and which only ever took the edge off the pain. They also won't send you home till they're happy you can negotiate stairs and use your crutches adequately.

    I also found having a soft should bag useful for carrying things around the house - eg books, phone, bottle of water, more snacks, newspaper etc etc, as you won't have both hands free for a while.

    You will probably need to sleep on your back for the first 6 weeks, although some manage sleeping with a pillow between their knees. The latter didn't work for me, but the 6 weeks on my back were very unnatural and gave me terrible restless legs which kept me awake for hours, and I was stiff as a board by morning. However, I just resigned myself to it, as it was only a short term thing and I wasn't working anyway, so having a fuzzy brain didn't matter. I did end up sleeping on a row of soft pillows from should to knee, which took the pressure off my tender rump and stopped pressure sores. I also had a knee pillow under my feet to stop pressure sores on the back of my heels. It was more comfortable than you would think.

    I kept my crutches by my side on the bed to stop me rolling over in my sleep, but it also meant they were readily accessible if I needed to get up in the night for the loo.

    Once I was driving after 7 weeks, I treated myself to a session with a podiatrist to get my neglected feet sorted out.

    Get some frozen ready meals in for the first few weeks, as you'll need your hands free for the crutches for a while. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may be able to put items on the worktop and shuffle them along. Of course, you can also order stuff on line to be delivered, if you don't have someone who can do the shopping for you.

    It's a good idea to get active as much as you can, as soon as you can. Despite our sloping path and steps, and absence of many pavements, I was doing very short walks around the village the day after I got home (I think the first one was about 30 yards down the road and back!). Just build it up very gradually - sitting doing nothing won't help your recovery. If you can get someone to go with you for moral support for the first few days, that might be helpful.

    The hospital physios will give you exercises to do. DO THEM! Again, it will really help your recovery. Once you're a bit more mobile/driving (usually after 6 weeks) see if you can find a private physio, who wll assess your progress and give you a personalised exercise regime. You may need to to see them periodically (eg every 4-6 weeks) so they can change your exercises as your body recovers. They're not as expensive as you might think, and much more easier to get appointments than NHS physios.

    To be honest, apart from shopping and cooking proper meals, I managed much better than I would have thought, considering that my body decided to be one of those who collected the "rare side effects" post surgery. It just needs a bit of forward thinking and adaptation.

    We have two cats, I found feeding them and cleaning out trays etc was fine, but three dogs is a very different matter. You'll need your dog sitter for longer than a few days I'm afraid, it will be a while before you're up to walking them. I would put her on notice for a good few weeks, as you'll probably be on two crutches for at least that long. Once you're down to one crutch, depending on your dogs, you may be able to manage, but you'll be using that for at least 6 weeks.

    It can be an anxious time pre-surgery, but you will be surprised how well you will cope. But it will affect you emotionally as well - it may be routine, but it is still major surgery, and your mind and body will need time and rest to recover, so be kind to yourself. I'm not a weepy person, but the first thing I did on leaving the hospital was burst into floods of tears (in the car park) for no obvious reason. Do small things that make you happy, hug your dogs, watch terrible tv, read the pile of books you've been neglecting, get your old LPs out, potter in the garden, invite friends round for coffee, ring your family, whatever brightens your day.

    But most of all, don't be afraid to ask for help. As I said, it's big surgery, so you're not making a fuss about nothing. While you will manage well most of the time, if someone can come in at least for the first week or two to help with meals, moving larger things from Point A to Point B, rearranging the furniture if necessary, and just friendship and moral support, ASK! You deserve it.

    LM

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,782

    Well done on stocking up the freezer etc. Some great tips there from @Lilymary . I'm just a tad concerned about the dogs. Will your friend walk and feed them? You don't want to risk dislocation by bending over 90 degrees. Are they small or large? Small dogs could exercise themselves in the garden if you have one. Large ones? Well, I guess you'd need a big garden.

    I'd suggest, for the first week or so, you ensure you carry a phone around at all times just as a precaution. Tea and coffee from a thermos flask doesn't taste as good but there might be times when it will still be better than brewing up. Prescribed exercises and rest will be your essentials. Good luck.

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