Girlfriend going in for hip replacemnt next tuesday. I am very nervous!

Anyone with experience with this surgery? She had some eye surgery a few years back and gave us quite a scare, did not come out of anasthesia easily. What should I expect?

My partner has also had eye trouble, including scary visits to the emergency dept.

When she had her first hip done, she checked in to the ward on Sunday morning and was out of the theatre by early lunchtime, although she was still unconscious.
She was still a bit out of it when I visited at teatime but in much less pain than had become normal. There was a hiccup in her recovery; she was kept in an extra day because of low blood pressure but was home on the Friday, iirc. When we got home she walked up the two flights of stairs on her own and immediately took to the high chair the health service had provided! They also gave us the loan of a raised toilet seat thing so she wouldn’t have to bend too much and sit too low. We also put an extra mattress on the bed to raise it a bit.
If you have a shower instead of a shower over a bath that’ll be easier; I couldn’t go out when she wanted a shower for weeks as she felt unsteady getting into/out of the bath…
She needed pressure stockings on both legs for weeks which I had to help with, but was able to get around a bit with 2 sticks within a few days - she spent ages walking up and down stairs to build her strength up again.
The second hip replacement went more smoothly (they wanted to do them close together but not at the same time), but don’t believe the folk who say they were fine within a couple of days! it’s a long time before your movement feels completely natural again.

It was also a while before she was able to sit in most cars as she wasn’t meant to bend her hips too much initially and most were too low. She also needed firm cushions to support her back and keep her more upright - no slumping! She got used to taking a cushion in a bag with her in case the chairs were too low…

Anyway, all the best for her op and to you both afterwards during the recovery process.

A friend is about six weeks out of hip replacement. She also had low BP issues because of blood loss that warranted an extra day in the hospital. She has been diligent about doing her exercises and walking and is doing quite well. Last I knew she was using two reach/grab devices to put on/take off socks, pick things up, move things, and so on. The compression socks and walking are definitely important to discouraging deadly blood clots–any time one is not bearing weight there is an increased risk of pooling/clotting. One side effect of anesthesia is that it causes major constipation–IDK, because it slows all systems? Uber bran muffins are a great help: http://www.fatfree.com/recipes/muffins/bran-muffins (These are also a decent source of iron, which can be depleted as a result of the low BP.)

Colace is your friend … and LOTS of liquids!

May I recommend instead of axillary crutches or canes you pop for a pair of canadian crutches. They are not overly expensive and are much more stable for the person, and CVS or any surgical supply drugstore will have them. <crutches wiki>

And she needs to get up and walk as soon as and as much as possible, and do her physio!

I had a hip replaced about fifteen years ago. They had me up and about the next morning with a walker. I was three days in the hospital and using a cane within a week. They don’t even make a large scar nowdays. Mine looks like a zipper. :slight_smile:
Make sure she does her exercises. I can’t cross my ankle over my knee.
Oh yes, they give you Morphene!
I’m not advocating drug abuse, but if you do it under adult supervision…

This is better suited to IMHO.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

I’d be sure to tell this part to her current doctor. My father also doesn’t react well to anasthesia, and it seems to take him an extra day to recover. We now make sure to mention this to his doctors and nurses, so that they can take it into account.

As for the hip replacement - my MIL had both hips replaced about 6 years ago. She still has to be careful about a few things. The big one is the sitting and twisting that you do when sitting in a car seat or on a bench at a booth table. She also needs help with clipping her toenails (a podiatrist does it for her, I keep telling her she needs a a prescription for a pedicure). Bending over to pick things off the floor can be a problem, but hey, she’s over 70, maybe it’s not the hip.

Other than a few things like that, she’s been thrilled with the results.

I had my hip replace early February, when I look back on it now - it was a breeze.

I was told to just do EXACTLY what the doctors tell me and I would be fine - and that’s what I did. During the operation I apparently lost 1/3 of my blood and the drs wanted to give me a blood transfusion, which I refused, and that would be the only complication I had, if you can call it a complication. I was told after the operation NOT to eat or even have water for the rest of that day, because that could trigger nauseous, I did have some water several hours later and wished I didn’t, definately some advice worth noting!!! It was very painful for the first 3 days - after that I really didn’t find it particularly painful, course I did take my pain medication as prescribed. I had no idea what great pain relief ice (and leg positioning) is, I iced my hip and leg constantly for the first week or so, it helped so much.

I used a walker in my house rather than crutches - on the advice of the physiotherapist because I have several pets (she knows of a lady who slipped and fell on a single piece of kibble). I did my exercises everyday diligently. I sleep with a pillow under my operated leg, and I must admit for the first 3 weeks or so the pain woke me up in the middle of the night - I just repositioned myself and took some pain medication.

I was able to cook and bake within a few days of being at home - so I cooked and baked up a storm, my kids did not know what hit them! I read tons, watched tons of TV and just generally relaxed, something I hadn’t done in years. It was like having a ticket to do nothing with no absolutely no guilt.

All in all, a really positive experience - I now walk without a limp, am totally painfree and I honestly forget I ever had a problem with my hip.

[partial hijack]
I (and others) have noted that our system of medical delivery assumes that the patient has someone waiting at home to drive the patient to/from the hospital; prepare meals for at least a few days after the patient is home; and otherwise tend to the patient. There doesn’t seem to be much provision for people who live alone and have few friends to help them out. The logistics just isn’t there.

Do such patients have to spend their convalescence in a nursing home? Would that be covered by any insurance? Is there any social support (social workers or whatever) for such patients? They seem to be “on their own”.
[/partial hijack]

She is afraid to mention this as she has heard stories about people who while anesthetized were concious of the surgery and pain. She thinks that if she mentions it, they may not give her enough anesthesia and this could happen to her.

A number of posters have mentioned blood loss. Should she self-donate pre surgery?

I think she should talk to the anesthesiologist both about whatever happened last time when she had a hard time with the anesthesia and her fears about being awake during surgery.
If they know what kind of issues they might face with a patient, that will help them choose the most effective and safe drugs. They have many different techniques and drugs they can choose.
Your girlfriend might find it reassuring if she knows that during a joint replacement the anesthesiologist can do a regional block/epidural to numb the area being operated on apart from the general anesthesia (see here: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00372 ). This is often done so that the person doesn’t have to be completely asleep for the surgery, but I’ve also seen it done to provide additional pain relief post-operatively. Perhaps she can talk to the anesthesiologist about if that technique would be right for her if she is scared about feeling the surgery.
Any time I’ve had surgery I have issues with post-op nausea/vomiting. I always make sure I tell the anesthesiologist and they do what they can to minimize the problem. Telling them so they can prepare for it has made a difference.

They drained blood from where they cut on me, and stuck it back into my arm :slight_smile:

I was on a cane quickly, but I dress out at 110. Did I mention morphine?

I wish I’s been more diligent in doing exercises.

The first thing my step daughter said when she saw me a month later was, “You’re not limping!”

She needs to discuss her fears with her doctor now! Keeping things from the docs can only cause problems.

I have a problem with morphine. I found this out when I had a total knee surgery at the end of April. I suffered from veridgo. I had problems explaining that I was not getting dizzy but was becoming sea sick.

Getting sea sick for me means my whole body is getting sick. I can not control my body tem and begin to burn up and then get really sick to my stomach. when you are in a lot of pain becoming sea sick is not something that you want. It threw me off my therapy. I was slated to be released on sunday or Monday but with the set back I almost did make it home on Tuesday.

I knew how to take care of the sea sickness but the hosspital did not and were slow to help and helped too little.

If I every have surgery again I am going to talk to the docs about my reacction and ask them to use something else. There are many options that the docs can use but the need to know the truth.

We’re in the UK and transport home would have been arranged if necessary.
There were several scheduled visits by a District Nurse to check on things. If I hadn’t been there, I believe there would have been daily visits by social service staff to help out.
But shopping for food might have been a bit of a problem as she wasn’t fit to walk that far and couldn’t carry much. I guess home shopping would have been the way to go…

Regarding blood donation – Based only on my own experience, the time for autologous blood donation would have been weeks ago so that she would not be anaemic at the time of the surgery.

The one time I had pre-planned surgery, I donated my own blood some weeks in advance; it was the best surgical recovery I ever had, and I’ve had a few.

My mother had surgery about 15 years ago and had trouble coming out of it. She was tested and found to have pseudocholinesterase deficiency. When she was going in for another surgery last winter, she had kept the printout with the test results the whole time. In the pre-op room, she wasn’t too worried about clothes or glasses, or any other personal items, but she had that printout clutched in her hand. We managed to get the anesthesiologist to come in so that we could be sure he knew about it. He said it was a pretty rare condition (1 in 60,000, I think) but not a problem as long as he was aware of it. As far as I know, she came out of that surgery with no problems.

Now, that may not be what your girlfriend has, but there’s at least one detectable and testable condition that could account for it.

My mother-in-law is about 4 weeks out from a replacement; she’s 73 right now. She’s already in better shape, pain-wise, than before the surgery. I get the impression she isn’t moving quite as much as she should be, but is moving around. She had significant swelling on the affected leg, to the point where it ballooned up quite a bit (about 2 weeks after the surgery); this got her an ambulance ride and another 4 or so days in the hoosegow getting IV antibiotics for cellulitis.

Oh - and she’s looking at having the other one done in 3-4 months; despite the swelling/cellulitis setback, she’s enough better that she thinks it’s worth it. I’m hoping that it’ll help her knee pain considerably; apparently a lot of her knee pain may be referred pain from the hips.

She must discuss the anesthesia question with her doctor. When I had an operation on my ankle several years (to insert a metal plate on the fracture) I had a spinal block and remained conscious (in fact had an interesting conversation with the anesthetist during the surgery) the whole time.