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Hip Replacement

I feel qualified to write on this subject, last year having had two hips replaced in the space of five months. You can search the internet and find good information, so you are probably knowledgeable about the operation, but I have some practical advice that I hope will further help you.

Here are my hints:

- A week or so before operation day I cooked some meals and put them in the freezer. In this way I didn’t have to rely on my husband cooking all meals. He had enough to do helping me with other things and running the farm. It will be a long time before you feel up to cooking meals on a regular basis.

- It will also be a long time before you can bend down to get something from floor level so make life easier for yourself and be less reliant on others by checking the things you have in low cupboards and moving often-used items to waist level shelves.

- Check out the various aids available to help you as you recover. You will be given crutches and a high seat that fits over your regular toilet seat, but here are some other items that I found really useful -

  • Stretchy shoelaces (Available in various stores. I bought mine at the $2 shop.)
  • A long handled shoe horn. I expect that I will use mine forever.
  • A gadget that will pick up items on the floor…invaluable as you must not bend. You may be able to hire one from the hospital.
  • A notebook so that you can jot down your progress. It is really encouraging to read back over what you could (or should I say, couldn’t) do and see the progress made in a week.
  • A firm high chair with arms. As a change from bed.

- Make sure you are up to date with dentist visits, as the dentist won’t want to see you for up to six months after your surgery.

- Before I went into hospital, my husband shifted a single bed into the lounge. This became my home for the next few weeks. I felt involved in the family goings-on as I was in the main room. Visitors came directly to see ME! Beside the bed I had a TV trolley with all the things I need to live... water bottle, the telephone, TV and stereo controls, paper, pen, book and reading glasses. I didn’t feel lonely when everyone was at work and school!

- After the surgery, follow your exercise regime very strictly. Do not shirk! Take short walks regularly – not long walks that will tire you or involve you in prolonged standing.

- Join the Wishbone Club, a national organisation formed to maintain communication with people who have had joint replacements The newsletters have some interesting and encouraging articles.

Before my hip surgery my life had become very limited. I avoided going out, even to the gate to collect the mail. For the final six months I walked with a cane...and I was 51! I knew I was grumpy but the pain persisted 24/7, even with the constant use of pain killers and anti inflammatories. Yet, I balked at the idea of surgery. How crazy was I?! This year my life has changed! I have travelled to South America, Europe, Australia...I have walked for kilometres, soaking in the sights and cultures of these countries, at times climbing steep stairs to visit ancient cathedrals... I have played in the park with my little grand daughter, started gardening again, enjoyed shopping again.

Don’t delay...get your hip surgery over so that you can really enjoy life again!

By yellow 26-Aug-2006
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