Author Topic: Steps to Success!  (Read 2490 times)

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Steps to Success!
« on: June 27, 2007, 05:44:21 PM »
Hi Again,

I have a question in regards to getting ready for travel overseas resurfacing.  Could someone list all the steps needed to be climbed to make sure we, the followers, are learning from others than have travelled before us.

What needs to be packed?
What tests need to be done?
What paper work do we need?
What activities should be done before heading into resurfacing?
What is the best way to travel?
etc., etc.

Thank You!


Pat Walter

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Re: Steps to Success!
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2007, 11:02:06 PM »
Hi John

I think the answers to your question would make a great webpage.  I will put that on my to do list. Meanwhile, here are my suggestions.

Pack Light! We took too many suitcases and too many clothes. It really depends whether you are going alone or with someone as to how large a suitcase to take.  Some guys that have gone to Belgium have only taken a back pack with undies and a few things since they knew they would be traveling back home alone. If you are alone it is difficult to lug a suitcase while you are being wheelchaired thru the airports. After surgery, it is enough just to get yourself into the wheelchair and thru the experience. If you have a traveling partner then you can take a regular suitcase.  It depends on the time of year your are traveling. In Belgium, the cooler season and winter are very rainy and damp. You need regular winter gear.

Nylon type warm up pants are great to wear since they are light and easy to get on and off.  I used the snap side type.  I am a lady, but used men's since they are inexpensive and available at Wal-Mart.  Don't take any pants or shorts that are tight. Boxers are the best after hip operations. You need loose fitting clothes so your hip has plenty of room. It may be swollen and it is tender.  The nylon pants also let you rotate easily on a bed or car seat when you are getting on and off. A plastic bag under your butt will do the same thing. Slip on shoes are nice since you won't have to have anyone else tie them for you.  I had to have my hubby put my shoes and socks on for me. They have sock putter oners, but I think they are hard to use.  De Smet patients wear TEDS and I don't think you could hardly get those on with a sock putter oner. They are very tight.

Don't take many clothes because you can always wash things out in a sink or send someone to a laundramat. You don't need fancy clothes for Belgium. You can go almost anywhere with jeans and a shirt.

There are no required test to be done before you go to Belgium.  I can't tell you for other countries or doctors.  I did however, have a standard blood test, an EKG and a chest x-ray just to make sure I was OK.  I did not want to show up in Beligum and be told I had a problem and could not have surgery.  I happened to find out I had a heart murmur when I was there.  The heart doctor heard a problem and told me to get it checked when I got home.  I told him I did not have health insurance. He said it would be about $1000 to have a heart ecogram in the US, but he would do it for $50 while I was in Belgium. My doctor in the US said the report was better than the ones you get from US doctors.

You only need a passport for traveling to Belgium.  I think you need a visa too, if you go to India. You need to get your pasport ahead of time. It can take more than 6 weeks.

It would be good to be in as good of physical shape as possible before going into surgery.  Strengthen your upper body if possible since you will be on crutches for at least 4 weeks or more.  I stopped using crutches at 4 weeks.  I only had one hip resurfaced. I was very weak in the upper body since I was a 61 year old female who had sat around in a chair for a few years.  It was very difficult for me to use the crutches.  In Belgium and India they use elbow crutches which are much better than the old fashioned under the arm crutches. But my arms and shoulder got very sore and tired using the crutches.  You also put a lot of stress on your shoulders and arms trying to move around in bed since you have one leg that does not work well.

You need to tell your credit card company that you are traveling overseas so when you pay the hospital, they credit card company will accept the charges.  You can also use credit cards in Belgium, but they don't like travelers checks. We just took about 1500 Euros with us.  We got them at our bank before we left. You will want to find out the exchange rate before you leave.  It was about 1 euro equals $1.25 when we were there. It helps you figure out how much stuff costs.  A beer at the Holiday Inn was 4.50 euro - but they were wonderful beers!  Belgium has over 450 kinds of beer.

You won't want to forget buying some Belgium Chocolate for the Chocolate lovers that you know. It is absolutely wonderful.

The best way to travel would normally be by plane.  I used United and flew Economy going to Belgium and they gave me a free upgrade to Economy Plus coming back. The Economy Plus gave us bulkhead seats which are roomier.  You can stand up to stretch easier since there is no one in front of you to put their seat back into your face.  We flew from Washing DC to Brussels.  You get two wonderful meals on the internationl flights. I talked with a United Representative via phone to set up my flight. She gave me the free upgrade since I was going to be in a wheelchair coming back and unable to do stairs. You have to tell them you can't do stairs. She explained that to me.

Many people in Belgium take the train from Brussels to Ghent.  But we choose to take a Taxi set up by the Holiday Inn or De Smet's Office.  We did not want to try to carry luggage when I had a bad hip. The taxi was about 100 euros. It is about 45 minutes from Brussels to Ghent.

I believe they have Wi-Fi at the Villa.  I got a Go Pingo card before I left to call home with.  There is a Brussels number and it only cost about 6 cents a minute to call the US.  It is only 4 cents a minute to call from the US to Belgium. I thought that was a pretty good deal.  Your regular cell phone won't work in Europe.

You also need a transformer and plug adaptor for their electric if you plan to use appliances. My hubby has a C-pak machine for snoring. It is set up for the European 240 volt, but he needed an adaptor to plug it in.  Some laptops also can be used on the European voltage, but need an adaptor for the plug.  You can buy that at Radio Shack or even Wal Mart I think.

I would take a camera if you want to remember your great trip. I took over 650 photos. I bought a new digital camera to take.  Ghent is absolutely beautiful.

Don't forget some stool softeners and any of your favorite medicines.  I took all my pain meds but did not take any extra Advil.  After surgery I used their meds until they started to upset my tummy. After leaving the hospital I did not need any high powered pain killers, I just ended up using a few Advil since they did not upset my tummy. The Advil is mostly for sore muscles. The actual hip pain is gone after surgery.  All eight of us did not require any high powered meds after we left the hospital. Only one of the group ended up with major swelling.  That was my friend who walked around in Ghent too much one day and ended up with a really swollen hip.

You need to take the stool softeners before surgery since it is difficult to get your body working after surgery. It is probably the most talked about medicine on the big discussion group.  Like most of the hippies say - the best news they had to report was having a bowel movement.  Those kinds of things are really important after surgery.  I had some problems on and off.  My stool softeners quicked in just before we were ready to fly home! I had quite a time on the airplane! UGH, I won't go into that because I am sure you understand.

Take some things for upset tummies and whatever you normally need at home.  It is important to have your stuff with you. There are drug stores, but after surgery it is not easy to get around for about 4 or 5 days.

Everyone in Belgium drank bottled water.  I guess you didn't have to, but we did. If you have to buy any, send someone to a store near where you are staying. Don't plan to buy any at the Holiday Inn since it is very expensive there. I imagine the Villa would have all you would need.

You only have to sign your name twice when you check into the hospital.  Once on their form to admit you and once on the credit card form. That's it.  Not like the US hospitals with tons of paper work. 

You will get basic test in the hospital - blood tests, EKG and hip x-rays.  That's it.  Not complicated at all.  You don't need to give or get blood for only on hip.  Bi-lats need blood, I think.  You will get a general anasthesia since Dr. De Smet wants your body as relaxed as possible. You will be in surgery for about 45 mintues to an hour for one hip.  You won't get a catheter. They like your body to work naturally in Europe.  Then if you have problems the next day, they might use one. I had to have one since my body did not want to start working right away.

If you get nauseated easily, be sure to tell the anastesia doctor and De Smet that you will need medicine to keep from getting sick.  They gave me something and I never got sick. Be sure to tell them anything special or ask questions that you might have. They are all very cooperative and eager to help you.

I have my free ebook posted on my website and it gives very detailed info about the Belgium experience. http://www.surfacehippy.info/belgium&mybhrebook.php Also there are many De Smet hippy stories with a lot of info  http://www.surfacehippy.info/hipstories.php

I hope that helps. If I think of anything else, I will post it.

Good Luck.


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3/15/06 LBHR De Smet


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Re: Steps to Success!
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 09:29:45 PM »
Where overseas are you going?  There are a couple of different things depending on if you are going to India or to Belgium.  Let me know if you are going to India and I can help there since that is where I went for my surgery.



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Re: Steps to Success!
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2007, 05:55:00 AM »
Again it would be helpful to know where overseas you are going to.  If it is India, you will need a passport and a visa, some also take shots, for typhoid and malaria pills and I got a HEP A shot.  Also you need to stop taking all anti inflammatory drugs about two weeks prior to surgery, no aspirin, no  vitamin E, anything that can thin the blood.  depending on when your surgery is, it is always a good idea to get a complete dental check up prior to going, you do not want to go into hip surgery with any kind of infection in your mouth or teeth. 

Make sure you bring a grabber, I don't know what I would have done without it.  Also some snacks and some DVD's, movies saved me, I found my attention span didn't work for reading at all.  A special power adaptor depending again on where you are going.  If you are going to India I can direct you to a site for the right plug for India.  Make sure you call your bank and credit card companies and let them know you will be in that country and for how long so they do not put a freeze on your card while you are there.  Take Immodium and Stool softerners.  I also took a lot of Airbourne and purell gell, airplanes can be full of germs.



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