I’m 3 weeks out from surgery with Dr. Gross. Here are my tips for you:
Crutches/Cane During your pre-op appt. with Dr. Gross the day before your surgery, the tech will come in and fit you for crutches. So, you don’t have to worry about getting crutches ahead of time. You will want to get a cane to start using at some point during your recovery. I used two crutches for the first several days, then I went to one crutch on post-op day 5 and started using the cane on post-op day 7-8-ish. On post-op day 5, I was somewhat surprised to find it actually much easier to manage with one crutch, rather than two. Then, it was good to have the cane sitting there so that I could start to experiment with what the cane would feel like. I found it a much bigger deal to go from one crutch to a cane and for several days I used both as I gradually weaned myself from crutch to cane. I bought a cane at Walgreens. They had a good selection. I recommend getting one with a nice comfy foam grip handle. You’ll appreciate the cushioned grip on longer walks.
Hip Kit Also during your pre-op appt. with Dr. Gross, Nancy Smith will provide you with a number to call to order a hip kit that they’ll deliver to you in the hospital. I ordered the kit in the hospital because I was going to stay at my sister’s house in NC for a week before flying home to Utah the following week. If you’ll be flying out the day after your released from the hospital then perhaps you’ll want to get one ahead of time at home and save the trouble of packing it up and checking it with your luggage. For me the most important items in the hip kit have been The Grabber, sponge on a stick and chair thing that fits over the toilet. I have found all of these things very useful. I used the leg lifter for only the first few days to lift my leg in and out of bed.
PolarCare 300 When you wake up in recovery you’ll find that your hip is wrapped up in a nice cool Polarcare 300. You get to take this home with you as a parting gift! The Polarcare was my best friend during the first week of my recovery. I went through about a bag of ice a day. Each day when my brother-in-law came home from work carrying a bag of ice I would scream out ‘The Iceman Cometh!’. You’ll need a lot of ice! The Polarcare is a little square cooler that you fill with ice water that has a hose connected to a neoprene wrap with little plastic cells on one side that the ice water circulates through. The neoprene wrap is designed to fit your hip and it attaches around your hips and upper thigh with velcro. Usually you plug it in and the pump that continually circulates the cold water from the cooler through the wrap runs on electricity. However, it also has a hand pump that you can use to re-circulate the ice water. I’m telling you all this because you’ll want to bring the polarcare home with you. They’ll give it to you in a box that you can easily pack it back into and check at the airport. So, you may want to bring a marker and packing tape to seal the box and write your contact information on the box before checking it. Or, if you have someone traveling with you who’s willing to carry the Polarcare on the plane, then I think it would be great to have the Polarcare with you on the plane and use the hand pump to circulate the water. It should easily fit into the overhead bin during takeoff and landing. My boyfriend stayed home to care for our dogs while I travelled east for the surgery and my entire family lives on the east coast. So, I flew alone and I checked my Polarcare and I was wishing that I had it during the flight.
Flying Home I arranged for a wheelchair ahead of time for getting through the airport. Again, if i wasn’t traveling alone, I certainly could have managed it without it. But, it’s a service that’s provided and it worked out well for me especially since I flew on the day tropical storm Hannah was hitting the east coast and the airports where jammed with people. The last thing you want is some nitwit who’s rushing and not paying attention to knock you off your feet.
Recliner Chair On Surfacehippy, I kept reading about people raving about their recliner chairs during recovery. I didn’t have a recliner chair and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to buy a recliner. My sister didn’t have a recliner at her house either and for the first week that I stayed there, I had a hard time finding any comfort while sitting. Most of the time I spent in bed with my legs on a pillow or on the sofa with my legs on an ottoman and a couple of pillows. I was always uncomfortably slouching because I was paranoid about breaking the 90 degree rule. I broke down and ordered a $230 zero-gravity recliner from relaxtheback.com. It’s called the La Fuma Microsuede Recliner and it’s absolute heaven on earth. It’s the only chair that I’ve been comfortable sitting in and I even find myself sleeping in it a lot. Whenever I come in from a longer walk, I usually pass out for an hour in my recliner. It’s sooooo comfortable. Plus, it’s portable. So, we move it around easily from the TV room, to the back patio and upstairs to the bedroom. So, if you already have a recliner then put it in the room that you’ll want to spend most of your time because you’ll be spending a lot of time in the recliner. If you don’t already have a recliner then I recommend spending the $230 for the La Fuma. It’s worth every penny for the comfort it provides.
Stairs When you’re in the hospital, the PT therapist will teach you how to do stairs. I found the uncarpeted, cement steps at the hospital to be terrifying the first time. But since then, I’ve found stairs to be very easy to manage. You’ll quickly get the hang of it. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stairs.
Kids I don’t have kids, so I really can’t offer any advice on taking care of kids. I bet the older kids will be really helpful to have around as gophers and shoe-tyers. My biggest problem is that have to have my boyfriend put my sneakers on for me before he leaves for work each morning and I have to keep them on all day. Sometimes I’m still snoozing in bed when he’s putting my sneaks on for the day. I wish I had someone to tie my left sneaker during the day!
Physical Condition Since your username is Triathloner, you must be a cyclist. I’m a cyclist and it was the one thing that I could still do really well despite my hip. So, I did A LOT of it in the months prior to surgery. I was in very good shape going into the surgery and I think that has paid dividends during my recovery. So, my last piece of advice is to go into surgery in the best shape possible. I think it may help.
Lastly, I was terrified about the surgery. I was second-guessing it all throughout the week before. Luckily, when you get to the hospital everything happens very quickly and before you know it, it’s all behind you. The difficult thing for me right now is that I feel like it’s going to be long time before I really know if this was successful and that bothers me. Right now, it seems like everything is good and right on track. But, I won’t really feel good about calling this a success until I get to that 6 month mark. Boy, that’s a long time!
I hope this was helpful! I’ll be happy to answer more questions. Good Luck!