EXPERIENCING A HIP REPLACEMENT

I had a thought and considered a post about having a hip replacement – I had my right one done on 15 November. I do know many people have had one and so many people have asked me in recent weeks what it is like because they have a relative waiting for one, so here is my experience (so far).

Even those who had never had a knee or hip replacement told me a hip replacement was far less painful than a knee. This is true – having had both knees replaced in the last four years. I know my heart, lung and blood pressure is super – this is due to the sport and jogging I did. I know that my knees and hips were buggered – this is due to the sport and jogging I did!

I have a great surgeon, Mr Ved Goswami. I am fortunate to have health insurance and Ved (we are on first name terms) has done all operations on my joints. My knee replacements were superb. I was training for a long distance cycle ride last year and even did a bit of jogging on the strider at the gym – this probably sent my hips over the top. So, I am very hopeful my hip replacement will be equally great. I probably should point out I do have a metal surface on my left shoulder – this is due to dislocations following motor cycle accidents when I was a bit younger. All three joints are great and I can honestly state the operations to replace them were life changing; better sleep, losing all pain, less reliance on pain killers and better overall health.

My hip replacement is going well. It is now eight weeks since the operation and I have been undertaking gentle cycling near my house. I can walk without a stick and have not taken any painkillers for over two weeks. I was still taking strong painkillers eight weeks following the knee replacements, mainly because of the rehabilitation programme I needed to undertake to get the knee right. The big difference between the hip and knee replacement is less pain but it can be more uncomfortable. For instance, you will need to lie on you back for at least four weeks when in bed. I was able to cheat and put a large pillow between my legs so that I could lie on my left side for a bit of respite.

There is also the need to think about sitting, especially because your hip is part of the butt you sit on. Getting up from a chair is difficult at first so make sure you have a high seated chair, or so what I did, raise the height of the armchair through extra cushions. Thinks about where you sit down and have things to hand so that you do not have to keep getting up and down! My iPad was closest to me and I made sure a charger and extension lead were by the side of the chair.

You will get out of bed the day after surgery, probably just to stand you up and walk a few steps with a frame. The following days will see you walking up and down the ward on crutches. This develops confidence and as soon as you can negotiate stairs you will probably be signed off as for to go home. Here there is another slight difference between knee and hip replacements; with the knee the focus was on getting the joint working at all times. The hip sees a more passive regime with my physiotherapist just wanting me to get the joint moving but avoid pushing it. Weeks six onwards brought new exercises and these have brought me on even more, it was also the week I was allowed to drive again. Week seven saw me able to put my sock on my own right foot because new exercises gained that extra few inches to stretch! I can now wear footwear other than the slip on shoes I had been wearing for the previous seven weeks.

Anyway, I am off to see Anne, my physiotherapist in a few minutes time and no doubt will be feeling a little sore afterwards – no pain, no gain – but please do not hesitate to contact me if you want to know anything else specific. Building up strength will take several months and it is only then that the true value of the replacement will be known, but I am sure there will be a full recovery and that I can undertake my charity cycle ride to London in late Spring or early Summer.


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