Hip replacement update #2 – Early days at home

I spoke to a lot of people about their hip replacement recovery. The over-arching theme? Easy peasy, no big deal, etc. So, my expectations about post-op discomfort and immobility were skewed. I believe our bodies adapt to and forget pain quickly which may contribute to rosy descriptions of recovery. This is another reason I want to put my experience in writing before I, too, forget.

The one thing I didn’t receive from any medical personnel is what to expect through recovery – what type of pain is typical, how it might resolve, and how new pain might manifest as time goes on. I would have found this very helpful.

You go home to a lot of drugs – pain management, stomach/digestion/nausea meds, etc. That first morning home, I ate breakfast, took my meds, did a few slow laps around the house w my walker. Then, the world went black. I had a chance to warn my husband and my mom before I lost consciousness – he guided me to the floor taking very good care of my  leg/hip. Not so much for my head which bounced off the floor. Priorities! 😂

911 was called, I got a visit from several EMTs (🔥), my vitals checked out, and I was helped back to bed. I spoke to the surgeon’s office and my surgeon afterward and its not unusual for this to happen as anesthesia wears off. I know my blood pressure had been trending lower than normal for me.

The pain. As long as I didn’t move and no one touched me, I didn’t hurt. While there was more pain and immobility than I expected, it wasn’t intolerable.

I did all the pre-op education, watched the videos about how to help yourself into bed. I call 🐂💩. I’m young and strong, and I needed help getting in and out of bed for 3 days. And even after I was able to get in and out of bed on my own, it often triggered muscle spasms.

Nerve pain! I could not tolerate having the skin from my knee to my hip touched. The slightest brush against it was breath-taking. PT told me the nerves were irritated from the procedure and showed me how to slowly desensitize my skin.

Other notable pain/stiffness included knee pain, IT band/TFL, Glute/glute medias, back pain. The first evening the most discomfort was in my glute/glute medias. My back bothered me a lot the first few nights. Icing helped.

I also had nausea every morning for the first several days. Zofran worked wonders! 🤢

What we got right.

  • I asked my mom to come down and help look after me. I didn’t anticipate needing her as much as I did. It was a relief to have her ensuring I was comfortable and eating (low appetite w all the drugs), and providing comfort. There were certainly some tears shed those first few days and I can’t thank my mom enough for everything she did.
  • My husband has been amazing. He keeps me on ice, is looking after the house, and caters to my needs in middle of the night without complaint. 💖
  • I went into the procedure strong. Seven months elapsed between the time I knew the hip replacement was unavoidable and when it was performed. I was able to ride, strength train, swim, and walk right up to surgery.
  • We have a single-story house with hard wood floors and a walk-in shower. All very convenient for someone recovering from injury and using a walker.
  • We also have an adjustable bed which is helpful for elevating comfortably.
  • We have a Polar Care ice circulator and it’s been working nearly 24/7 since I got home.

What I would do differently

  • I would take more pain meds. I think I maxed out at 3 oxycodone/day at the peak. I was understandably gun shy after passing out the first morning.
  • I would get one of those mechanical grippers. I wrote this on day 10 and I still couldn’t put my own socks on.🧦😠
  • I would try to nap more during the day. I haven’t been napping and my sleep at night isn’t always great.
  • I recommend icing as much as possible through that first week and into the second.

I did not invest in, nor did I need the following: elevated toilet, shower seat, or handicap placard.

I work remotely so I took one full week off work and a second week with light work to allow me to rest, do my exercises and walks without having to worry about work-related meetings.

Home Forums Hip replacement update #2 – Early days at home

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    • #20254

      I spoke to a lot of people about their hip replacement recovery. The over-arching theme? Easy peasy, no big deal, etc. So, my expectations about post-
      [See the full post at: Hip replacement update #2 – Early days at home]

    • #20278

      Hello Michele and just reading your story for the first time. Wow, it really was a trying test N may still be a trying test for you. I am reminded of the words of George Sheehan he stated that we are all “an experiment of one“ and I can’t help but think that applies here. You were very fit, relatively young for this procedure, and I would assume strong going into this and your results read more like someone who was much older and not as fit. I won’t rub it in 😉 but the reality is for many of the readers here, certainly not all, because many that did not have great results do not post success stories, but my recovery and growth, now 20 months since my surgery was much more successful. I am running as fast as shorter distances as I was in the months leading up To my THR, and have completed one trail marathon, one trail 50 K, and two 22+ mile trail races In the Florida summer heat; so I can safely tell you “marathon efforts”. In reading your story in comments, and again we are all experiments of one, I would disagree with encouragement of pain medication. there is no reason to “suffer“… But Western medicine‘s idea of prescription pain meds is horrific. I took the oxycodone for 24 hours under the strong encouragement of the medical Staff, and it made me feel horrible… Nauseous, foggy headed, and body temperature irregularities… I’ll deal with a little more pain in an operated area than those symptoms. As challenging as it is, be encouraged with how you are thinking this through, using your resources and most importantly… Don’t give up exploring and experimenting with what truly works! Believe! Believe that you will run again… one foot in front of the other; will it into existence! I was doing a decent bit of hiking within a few weeks of my THR and then started “gradually gliding on the down-hills“.

      Those got a little faster and then I started running on the flats… Over a period of weeks I just kept adding to it and by six months post – THR, I was covering 25 miles a week and did 15 miles hiking and running on a very mountainous section of the Appalachian trail.

      Again-you are doing the right things with your intelligence and planning… Put it in your mind with no option of NOT RUNNING again… And it will be so!

      • #20303

        Thank you. I’m now 9+ weeks post-op. I was told my hip was in very bad shape so I guess it was a bit of a miracle that I had been performing as well as I had been! I’m swimming 5-6 days a week and beginning to build my bike strength and endurance. I’m aqua jogging for now – building ROM and endurance. I’m forcing myself to be patient so I can return to running safely. Recovery is going well, if you saw me, you would never know. There’s still some aches and pains – but overall it’s been steady progress. I’m eager to start short run intervals but I’m making myself wait until at least 16 weeks post-op. I want to give the bone every chance to heal well before I start.

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