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Please talk to me about hip replacements...

(30 Posts)
flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 07:39:16

I have just been told I need a hip replacement, and have been put on the list for an op in 2-3 months time. I have severe arthritis in the joint. I'm young, relatively - still in my 40s. The only other op/hospital stay I have ever had was a Caesarian section with DS2 14 years ago.

I'm a single parent, so I am pretty scared about the prospect of major surgery and worried about practical problems afterwards. My kids are teens so don't need 'looking after' as such, and are quite independent, but can't do things like shopping and won't be reliable care for me either.

If anyone out there has had a hip replacement, I'd be glad to hear how it went for you - especially any advice or reassurance you can give me.

Thanks! smile

booksandchoc Tue 11-Feb-14 08:26:54

Hi flow, my DH had his hip replaced 4 years ago, when he was 24. After the op he was encouraged to get back on his feet quite quickly, crutches day after the op and 1 walking stick by day 4 when he was discharged. He had the stick for about 8 weeks and was off work for 12 weeks. we didn't have DD at the time but we had just bought our flat and he was there helping to paint after 6 weeks and got a lot of diy done in the last 4 weeks he was signed off.

His replacement was also due to arthritis, he had no cartlidge left and the bone was quite degraded. He was in a lot of pain and couldn't walk very far at all at the time. The replacement changed his life pain wise, 4 years later he gets some ache in his hip on bad days but we think that is due to his problems with his knees rather than the replacement.

Hope that helps x

RunDMC Tue 11-Feb-14 09:41:12

Hi flow, sorry to hear that you need a THR but it is doable and you will hopefully find recovery comparable to a CS. I had to have my left hip replaced for similar reasons at 35 (now 39) and although the first 10 days or so were hard, it's a relatively easy recovery. I was walking independently by 3-4 weeks post op and the best thing is that awful pain in your joint will be gone immediately post op.

I was in for just 3 days and travelled from London back to Scotland by train on discharge from hospital and probably felt more comfortable knowing someone was in the house for the first few days of getting home - more from a feeling safe knowing if I needed help point of view than anything else. Food shopping online is the way forward.

I'd say you'd need some help with things getting you organised for being at home during the day on your own - like having the kids make a flask of boiling water and putting tea and coffee things in the room you'll be in and maybe making up some lunch - it's a bit tricky to carry a plate whilst you are on two crutches. Investing in a little rucksack to carry things around is a good idea too.

The great news is that you are young (in THR terms) and so will heal and recover quickly. There's a great facebook group called Young THR where you'll get lots of practical advice etc. Please feel free to pm me if you have any questions etc.

mummylin2495 Tue 11-Feb-14 10:41:20

Hello flow4 my dh and more recently a friend have both had hip replacements. First of all do enlist the help pf someone to help you when you get home. Even if just to wash your legs and change the stockings. You will also have a daily injection which the hospital may encourage you to do yourself. But if you can't then also enlist someone to help with that. My dh was offered physio at the hospital as they had him on a back to work programme. The difference that this operation made is incredible , the pain went and particularly for my dh his walking returned to normal whereas before the op he was limping very badly.
If you would like any tips please feel free to pm me.

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 10:41:50

Thank you for your replies, books and Run. It's good to hear your positive experiences. smile
I had a bad time with my CS, which I can see is probably one of the reasons I'm scared - I hadn't thought of that before. And my fitness levels are aren't very good, since I haven't been able to walk or do any exercise except swimming for a long time, so I'm worrying about recovery. Still, I guess I'm in better physical health than most hip op patients...

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 10:45:28

Thank you too mummylin. smile
It's going to be hard to enlist someone to help - and I'm not even clear about how much help I'll need yet... I have no family around apart from my kids and friends who have busy lives. Maybe a rota, once I'm clear what will be needed...!

mummylin2495 Tue 11-Feb-14 11:12:41

When you get home do make sure that all the things you will need are on a work top or something so you don't have to bend. If you lived near me I would come and give you your jab and do the stockings, I did both for my dh and my friend ! And you must do the exercises that the hospital give you. this is very important .
When you leave the hospital ask the driver to provide a plastic carrier bag for you to sit on, it makes the getting in the car so much easier as its a bit slippery. You remove it for the drive home.
When you have your jab try and make sure that the actual syringe dosent press against your skin as you will have lots of bruises otherwise, which will make it more difficult to find a site to inject.
But mostly you will feel so much better when it's done .the relief of having no pain will be immense, it is well worth it. Good luck

RunDMC Tue 11-Feb-14 12:41:30

ah yes the plastic bag for the car is a top tip. A grabber is an essential too but you should get one of those as part of the hip kit you'll get from the hospital. I didn't have injections, just blood thinner tablets after mine but I think it depends on the hospital really.

What mummylin says is so true flow, the fact that the pain is gone and you 'just' have surgical pain to deal with, generally makes everything so much more manageable. I would go so far as to say it's a miracle surgery as the moment you take your first step (usually the morning after your op) you know that your hip will take your weight rather than collapsing under you, or causing you extreme pain.

Do you know what your surgeon's protocol for recovery is ? Some want you to be weightbearing from the word go with crutches of course (most do now I think) which makes it easier to get around, whilst some still prefer non weight bearing.

On practical things, I was able to shower unaided from day 5 or so, sitting on a plastic stool in the shower cubicle. I just took my crutches into the shower with me and put them to the side so they didn't get totally soaked, and made sure there was a nonslip mat in the bottom.

I'd also fill your freezer if you can with things that can easily be put in the oven afterwards so you don't have to worry about cooking. I think I had 2 weeks of meals before my op.

bigbluebus Tue 11-Feb-14 13:55:12

Things you are not supposed to do for 12 weeks post op (or so my DM was told) are bending down or flexing knee higher than hip - so you can't sit on low chairs for example - nor will you be able to put your socks on unless they give you one of those special gadgets which are worse than useless
If you have a shower cubicle, you will be fine but if you only have a bath, you may have difficulty depending on how tall you are - and I doubt you will be allowed to sit down in the bath - as this will require too much flex on the hip - although the hospital Occupational Therapist should advise. My DM had a questionnaire to fill in about chair/bed heights and bathroom layouts - but that may just be because she is old.

mummylin2495 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:17:25

I don't think it's because your mum was old bigbluebus my dh had the occupational therapists come to our home to look at the height of the chair , bed and toilet. Chair and bed was fine but they gave him a seat tp put onto the toilet to make it higher.
My friends settee was too low and so she had wooden blocks put underneath to raise it. Dh was also given a large shoe horn thing to help with underwear etc.
In our hospital they actually give a talk about what is going to happen, what you can expect and things you have to do when you get home.
They did this about a week before the op and everyone who was going in the following week could attend with their partners
It was very informative and really helped a lot. I don't know if they do this everywhere.
They also passed around two replacement hips for us all to look at, I was surprised at the weight of them but was told that its the same as our own hip.

Chippingnortonset123 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:25:33

Do they do an assessment of the house?
How do we manage with lots of twisty stairs?
I am about to tip a huge sofa but should I hang onto it until after the Op?

Johnogroats Tue 11-Feb-14 14:44:17

Hi Flow,

I had a hip replacement 20 months ago (severe osteo arthritis) which was a bit of a shock as I was 41. The op went well - I was in for 5 days, and had no problem getting back on my feet and walking...I did stairs on day 2. The wound looked gross, but mainly because of the bruising and the fact that they sealed it with plastic glue...great because I could go in the hydrotherapy pool. I didn't have any real pain (possibly because of the morphine drip) from the op, but about 3 days later I was in agony from constipation.

As soon as I was home, I walked to and from boys school (only 5 minutes) twice a day, and gradually increased walking to about a mile (and return) after 3/4 weeks). I was initially very tired, but then suddenly things improved hugely. I managed 8 weeks post op to do a reasonably challenging 4 hour hike in the Alps.

With regard to shopping - get into on line shopping. You should be ok to stand and do things for a short period of time quite quickly.

I didn't need any "care" as such...shower and toilet was fine (high seat was useful but not absolutely necessary. My 7 yo helped a bit getting the socks on for a week or so (didn't have them for longer). I didn't have any injections, just tablets for blood thinning.

I managed to get back on a bike within weeks (that was v painful before op) and was skiing black runs 6 months later. The scar is about 10 cm and not v noticeable.

I didn't have any physio, and didn't need it. I had 8 weeks off work, but could probably have gone back after 6.

I am so glad I had it done, and when I need the other one done (same probelm but not as bad), I will have no hesitations.

Good luck...make sure you take some good books / films into hospital.

mummylin2495 Tue 11-Feb-14 15:15:04

chipping they didnt go round the whole house, just the bedroom . Lounge and toilet and that was only to see te height of things.before dh was allowed home they made him do his jab and climb up the stairs. It seems that not everyone has had the clexane jab and I guess it's easier to have tablets, but here it's the jab, my friend only had hers in November and I went every night for thirty nights to changer her damn stockings and give her the jab. Those stockings are awful to get on and I only have tiny hands, it was a struggle but was far more difficult on my dh as he is so much bigger than my friend. I didn't change the stockings every day , just every other day.

bigbluebus Tue 11-Feb-14 16:03:09

chipping The OT at the hospital where my mum had surgery just gave me a form with loads on questions on about measurements of various things, so they could assess for equipment - so a sort of DIY assessment. It asked if she lived in a house or bungalow, but didn't ask about steps into the house, so I added those bits on, as I was worried Mum wouldn't be able to get up the steps - or they would assume she didn't need to as her living accommodation was all on one floor.

However, as DM is elderly and lives alone, she was moved to a rehab unit before being discharged to home, so an OT actually took mum on a home visit to assess everything and supply equipment and to see if she would be able to manage basic tasks (she had to make a cup of tea and get herself on and off the bed/toilet).

Not sure about twisty stairs - the physios practiced ordinary steps in their gym with Mum but I guess it depends on what support you need to help with walking. DM is using a frame after surgery, but if just using a stick then that may be doable. But you should definitely make them aware to get best advice.

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 16:35:33

Wow, so much information! Thanks everyone. It is very reassuring to hear people's good experiences. smile

I'm especially pleased to hear I might start to believe my legs will hold me up again, because it has been over a year since I've had confidence that it would. sad I haven't been able to walk as much as 500m, never mind a mile, for months and months and months, so that'd be good. smile Also, I really like the idea of a glued joint and hydrotherapy, because I'm a swimmer, and the thought of not swimming for so long is quite depressing!

The hospital gave me a booklet, which I have just re-read because I realised I didn't take much of it in yesterday. Our Trust aims to get people mobilised "within a couple of hours of your operation" and home within 1-2 days! That's a bit daunting, but I'm happy to be home as soon as poss. There are no injections, but tablets instead. And there's something called 'joint school' before and after the op to help you self-manage your recovery as much as poss. I've got a pre-surgery assessment in less than a month, and I'll see an OT then, so I guess I'll find out more at that point...

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 11-Feb-14 17:53:57

Very good forum with some super knowledgably folks:
arthritiscareforum.org.uk/index.php

All the best of luck.

Lettucesnow Tue 11-Feb-14 18:33:01

I didn't have to do any injections and measured my own heights

I think it depends where you live.

I was pretty independent by day 3.

It was the best thing EVER! I got my freedom back and climbed the second highest welsh mountain last year.

Concentrate on how you are going to celebrate! X

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 18:59:07

Thanks, candy. smile

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 19:00:22

Oops, and thanks Lettuce! (Didn't refresh blush ).
That's a good idea. smile

Chippingnortonset123 Tue 11-Feb-14 20:39:00

Thanks Mummin and Candy and all.

Chippingnortonset123 Tue 11-Feb-14 20:39:53

And Bigbluebus.xx

Morien Tue 11-Feb-14 21:08:58

OP, I had both of mine replaced (6 months apart) in my early 30s because of severe osteoarthritis. On both occasions I was booted out of bed first thing next morning (on crutches, obviously) and never looked back. Yes, there was pain from the op both times, but an entirely different, much more manageable sort of pain than the arthritic pain, and it didn't last long.

I stayed in hospital for 4 days each time, I think (standard for the country I live in); I remember having to demonstrate that I was able to go up and down stairs before they would let me out (though in fact I'd been able to do that much sooner).

As for help, my mum came to stay, which made life much easier...but it was only really essential for the few days I was on 2 crutches (very hard to carry much, so even making a drink is a challenge). Once I was on 1 crutch (I don't remember how long that took, but not more than 10 days post-op) I could have managed (apart from the dreaded stockings). More debilitating than the hip stuff was the tiredness from the anaesthetic, actually.

Recovery was amazingly quick; 6 weeks after the first op I was scuba diving in the Red Sea...which now strikes me as a particularly silly thing to have done, but my point is that I was physically able to do it.

Am happy to answer questions if you have any. Good luck!

flow4 Tue 11-Feb-14 23:42:23

Thanks Morien.
It really is helping to hear people's positive stories. I appreciate you all taking the time to tell me about your experiences. smile

Matildathecat Wed 12-Feb-14 03:59:19

flow re help! you can get help from SS when you are discharged from hospital. If you contact them in advance they come to assess and set it up. I think it's free for a few weeks but may be means tested. Anyway someone comes in daily for an hour or so to give you a hand with anything you want so maybe getting showered or dressed, putting in or out the washing, hoovering etc etc.

There are plenty of care agencies who offer the same. It's not just for the elderly.

IME (for pil) it worked well and even if you have to pay it's quite reasonable.

Hth. Good luck with the op.

flow4 Wed 12-Feb-14 07:36:28

Hi Matilda, thanks, I did this with my dad but I hadn't thought about doing this for myself!
I know from that experience, it isn't as straightforward as it sounds. Most individuals do have to pay, and it's £18-25/hr. There's a recruitment crisis round here (because out of that total fee, the care workers themselves only see minimum wage of a bit more) so sometimes it isn't possible at all to find care: it took 6 weeks to find someone for my dad. He was assessed as needing 4 x 20 mins per day, but in practice that was 4 x 10 mins. Still, his needs were greater than mine would be, so that would probably do me... It's definitely worth investigating! smile

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