Worried sick about coping on my own straight after hip replacement

littlewren Member Posts: 3
edited 19. Sep 2021, 13:39 in Living with arthritis

Hi everyone, I'm new here, please excuse the very long post but I'm feeling so worried & anxious. I was referred for a hip replacement via the musculoskeletal team and they said they could book me in to a private Spire hospital with a shorter waiting time thru the NHS scheme. I saw the consultant there, he said he'd book me for a total hip replacement probably towards the end of October.

Now we're just weeks away and although I've done nothing but research (& panic) for weeks I'm none the wiser as to how I'm going to cope.

I know about the aids such as perching stools etc but there are two things I'm really worried about and I'm feeling stressed and anxious on a daily basis about them. The first is my bed. I asked for an OT to come to see me, which she did last week, although she didn't know why I'd asked her out as she said the hospital would sort things out. (How would they sort everything out in 3/4 days?) Plus I needed to know if my bed was the right height.

Anyway, she looked at my bed, said it was high but she thinks I 'might' manage if she got me something to get into bed with. I get up several times in the night to go to the loo as I have nocturia so how I'm going to do that I don't know as she confirmed there's no room for a commode in my bedroom.

The second major worry is the fact that I live alone and have no-one able to stay with me for a few days apart from my youngest daughter, who has a 9 month old baby who wakes several times still during the night crying to be fed. I'm not a good sleeper despite taking sleeping tablets (been on them a long time so have obviously got used to them). So along with the pain from the op, the baby crying and having to try and sleep on my back for 6 weeks I just don't know how I'm going to manage. There's nobody else that I can ask to stay with me. When I search for "....I live alone, how will I cope?....." the poster always has someone who can stay for a few days. If I don't have my daughter stay, with baby crying - if he has a bad a night he can wake every hour and is still breastfeeding - I'm going to be stuck. My elder daughter, a single parent, is a learning support teacher in a school and apart from the fact that if she takes time off she's not paid, she's mixing in close contact daily with children and other teachers so of course I'm worried about Covid. Friends aren't able to help either. I feel so alone.

I know the hospital will want to know what's in place for when I get home but I've also been told by the OT that once the 3 approx days that I'm in are up, the hospital will try and pass me over to the NHS.

I feel I've been left with no information at all. All I know is what I've found on the internet! There's no date for my pre op yet by the way but I expect it will be in a couple of week's and I've been told it'll be over the phone. How do they check your blood pressure and heart over the phone?!

Ohhh I've never felt so stressed and alone in my life.

Is anyone able to help with my quandary plse? :( Many thanks in advance.


  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 710

    Hi @littlewren

    You have a hip replacement scheduled for 3 weeks time and are feeling very anxious about the post op support available to you. I’ve not been through a hip replacement myself but it sounds like you’re doing all the right things in preparation such as getting your OT to assess your bed height and arranging as much personal support as possible. Given the limited post op cover that your family are able to give you, the only thing I can suggest is that when you arrive at the hospital that you check just how proactive and successful, they have been in securing the NHS support.

    You mention that you’re feeling very alone, well this forum is a great place to help you overcome this. There will be many members who have been through hip replacements able to give you some sound advice and hopefully reassure you.

    This link to our website provides what I hope is some useful information for you such as the recovery process and post op exercises:

    I’m sure that other forum members will be in touch and I hope your op goes smoothly and you recovery is swift.

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Get hold of the PALS service at the hospital and ask them for assistance.

  • littlewren
    littlewren Member Posts: 3
    edited 19. Sep 2021, 15:45

    Thank you for your replies Chris and Mike1.

    Mike, how would I go about contacting PALS when I'm having the operation privately through the NHS though?

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,745

    Hi @littlewren , congratulations on your impending new hip! I can understand why you feel so anxious, I felt the same, but don’t panic, it won’t be as bad as you fear. I had mine done in April. While I had my husband on hand, when I first came home from hospital he had to be out during the day for the first few days (bad timing!). He also slept in the spare room as my nights were so disturbed by trying to sleep on my back, so that I was effectively on my own at night and during much of the day.

    The bed height was ok, and I had a raised toilet seat with side handles. I found I could manage getting in and out of bed on my own, carefully, and using my crutches to get to the loo. It was a faff, but do-able. I used my sound (right) leg to lift my “new” (left) leg in and out of bed (by hooking my right ankle under my left ankle and using it to both lift my leg and swing both legs out together. Repeated for getting back in. I could manage getting to and from the bathroom on crutches, with care. (I kept them on the bed next to me so they didn’t fall on the floor in the night.)

    During the day I used a large soft shoulder bag to move things from one room to another, or up and down stairs, and also had a trolley to move cups of tea, bowls of soup, plates of toast etc from the kitchen to the living room, pushing it along in front of me with my crutches. So in fact I found I was pretty much independent from Day 1, much to my surprise, I was grateful for him cooking our main meal and doing shopping etc, but there’s always ready meals (or batch cook and put them in the freezer before surgery), and on line shopping.

    I admit it was comforting knowing he was in the house at night, as there are moments when you feel vulnerable or frustrated, but I never needed to actually call on him )p(and if you read my blog New Hip Day on here you’ll see my recovery was far from straight forward). You will be tired and uncomfortable for a while, when a helping hand can lighten your load. But there wasn’t much he could practically do that made things easier for me, apart from doing up shoes and cooking the evening meal and shopping. Perhaps you could have your daughter, or friends, drop round to give you a hand from time to time. Maybe even have her stay for the first few nights - you probably won’t sleep that well anyway, and you can always catch up during the day, so the baby may not make much difference overnight. You may not feel much like entertaining them, and certainly won’t feel up to grandma duties or playing with him/her, as you will need the focus to be on you for a while. But if the worst comes to the worst, trust me, you will manage. Worrying about every possible worst case scenario is much worse than the reality.

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Ah, never thought of that! Mind you they are human, have compassion and will have the contacts so in your position I would still give them a call to see if they can help, you have nothing to lose.

  • wazz42
    wazz42 Member Posts: 233

    Hi @littlewren

    Why don't you contact the red cross, I'm sure they could help

    I hope they have a local group that can help you out, as the others have said it probable wont be as bad as you think it will, the meals ideas are great, I've been having them lately with mum when I visit and they aren't that bad at all.

    Good luck with it all


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731

    Some ready meals are nutritious but batch baking beforehand is good too.

    Remember to ensure stuff you need is at a reachable level – not too low – especially all you need for a restorative cuppa. It might help to make up a flask each day which will save having to brew up quite so many times.

    Do you get grocery deliveries? If not, now would be a good time to start, at least temporarily. Only put away stuff for the fridge freezer. Leave the rest for your daughter or other visitors.

    Don’t refuse any help offered. Even small things (eg bringing you a sandwich for lunch) will save precious energy on your part which is better employed in doing the prescribed exercises.

    When I’m alone my family insist I keep a phone on me (literally) at all times so that, if I should fall, I still have it.

    If you have rugs it might be an idea to take them up temporarily. The fewer obstacles the better.

    When my husband had his two THRs I put the smallest of our nest of tables upside down next to his armchair. It safely held his walking sticks, pick-up stick and longhandled shoehorn.

    If the hospital want to send you home in compression stockings (not all do) ask how you’re supposed to get them on and off.

    If I think of anything else I’ll be back😀

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    Hi littlewren, I haven't had a hip replacement but I have had 2 knee replacements and various ops on my feet and hands. I live on my own and have always managed alone after each surgery. If a hip is anything like a knee, you won't feel like doing much in the first few days, so just try and plan how to cover the basics.

    I always make the bed up with clean bedding just before going in to hospital, so you've got a nice clean bed to come home to and don't need to worry about changing sheets etc. I think a high bed is easier to get in and out of than a low bed if you've got reduced mobility. I also used my good leg to help hoick the bad one in and out of the bed as Lilymary suggested. When you need to get up to go to the loo make sure you put the light on and try and take your time. Clear any obstacles/tripping hazards out of the way between the bed and the loo, and always keep a phone on you so you can call for help in an emergency. I also had a raised loo seat and a little trolley and a long-handled pick up stick.

    I stocked up with ready meals in the freezer like others have said, quick to heat up and minimal washing up! Also leave other essentials like tea, coffee, mugs, plates etc in easy reach so you don't have to be reaching up or down into cupboards. If you've got stairs in your house bear in mind you're going to be very slow going up and down (after some surgeries I thought I was doing well if I could get myself up, washed and dressed and downstairs in under an hour!) so it might be an idea to have a small table upstairs with a spare kettle and things so you can make a drink or a snack etc without having to go downstairs, you can buy sachets of coffee ready mixed with milk/sugar. Think about what you're going to be wearing, you need clothes that are very easy to get on and off, I usually stuck to baggy jog pants and t shirts.

    Best of luck.

  • Kneepain
    Kneepain Member Posts: 5

    I know exactly how scared you are, Littlewren - I live alone and have had major surgery twice in the past 11 years with absolutely no one to help. The key (as in Rosiepup's excellent advice) is preparation. I made sure that everything was prepared for when I got out of hospital - from buying a mini-kettle (as I was told a regular kettle would be too heavy for me to pick up) to making sure that I'd stocked up on easy to prepare, nutritious food/drinks as well as tissues and other toiletries. As I knew I was going to have a lot of tablets afternoon, I'd made a daily chart with times to take the various things and bought a container with separate compartments for daily morning and afternoon pills. Anyway, I was so proud of myself for getting through the first surgery/recuperation on my own that when I had to have the second op several years later knew that I'd be ok having to go through it again - which I was! I wish you all the best with your op, as well as a good and speedy recovery.

  • Active8
    Active8 Member Posts: 4

    My mum is 88 years old, lives alone in a warden controlled bungalow and had total hip replacement on 5th August 2021. The same as you, privately but via the NHS. I was worried on her behalf but please be reassured you needn't be. I couldn't get any info from the hospital beforehand apart from ' it'll be fine'but after the op they were brilliant. Once she was discharged they contacted a care agency immediately who came to her bungalow that day. Free care was given three times a day for 6 weeks. She was given a Walker and raised toilet seat which we affixed. She was helped to dress and wash, had meals made and helped to bed by the carers.Didn't have to wear surgical stockings.She ordered ready meals which were delivered and the driver put them straight into the freezer for her. She remembered to take all medication and do her exercises. When she couldn't sleep she would get up sit in chair for a while and then go back to bed. Yes it was difficult but manageable. She stayed on her own right from day 1 with an alarm next to her to alert someone if there was a problem.The physio has called round twice to check she is doing her exercises properly. My sister and I called to cover anything else that might be needed. She had a grabber to pick up anything she dropped. 6 weeks later she is fine,uses a walking stick, started going out on the bus and does her own shopping taking it slowly and resting on a seat when she can. Still in a bit of pain from the operation but paracetamol takes care of it. Best thing of all no OA pain. So don't worry it will be fine just wanted to give you a little insight into things. Good luck

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    I had a total hip replacement 3 weeks ago. I came home from hospital after a 2 night stay. There was no occupational health support whatsoever, other than being advised before surgery to arrange a few things in the house. After surgery, they ask you not to bend your knee more than 90 degrees so you need a suitable chair or booster cushion, and a raised toilet seat, preferably with handles. I would say take care to make sure you have somewhere comfortable to sit, you can’t spend all day on a dining chair.

    The hospital will make sure you can walk using elbow crutches, including going up and down stairs, before you go home. It’s a bit scary the first time, but trust in the method they give you. Getting in and out of bed will be difficult for the first few days, I found using a long looped elastic resistance band helped - loop it round the foot of the operated leg and then lift and pull your leg round. I found I needed to do this for the first 3 or 4 nights and then one night got back in bed after a toilet trip without using it and without thinking, and all ok. It really all comes back together much quicker than you think.

    It was probably a week before I would have felt able to cook and generally clean up after myself, mainly this needed me to get to the point where I could walk with one crutch rather than two around the house. So I think you will need your daughter to stay even if it’s difficult with the baby. You also won’t be able to put on and take off compression socks by yourself and you will need to wear these for a number of weeks.. Dressing aids such as a dressing stick, a long handled shoe horn and a sock aid mean I can do everything else.

    Good luck and please don’t worry, you will soon be feeling better.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,694

    Hi @Coddfish (apologies to @littlewren for hijacking your post)

    Thank you for your lovely, kind supportive and informative first post. I hope you will decide to stay here and join in some more!

    Just in case you haven't read this thread:

    I am attaching the link because quite a few TKR members have posted here and it can be very reassuring to hear how others are doing and were doing at a similar stage post-recovery to yourself.

    Thank you again and I hope to see you posting again in future.

    Best wishes