Diary of a hip replacement: week 3

Helen Pierce / 07 April 2015

In week three of her post-hip replacement diary, Helen Pierce is glad that her hips have 'evened up', but has mixed feelings about being seen out and about with her crutches.



Day 15: I have been 'evened up'

It is exactly two weeks ago today that I had the operation. I do feel that when I stand without the crutches, but holding on to a worktop or table, I have been evened up. 

Without the 3cm discrepancy I had, I slowly move around tidying up where I can. I can take a bag of clean washing upstairs in a carrier bag, but you must be careful, it’s not worth a trip and a fall. 

I can stand at the sink and wash up. I can put a wash in the machine, as long as I take care not to bend over fully. The helping hand (gadget) is wonderful for jobs like these.

Day 16: my daily post-hip op exercises

A quiet day, home alone, I make sure that both sets of exercises, standing up and lying down are done four times. 

If I am feeling lazy, I find it helps to get them done, earlier in the day, so I haven’t got lots of sets in front of me. I read a novel, I watch television.

The last important lying-down exercise is done as I get into bed, once there, exercises completed I can just go to sleep, lying, of course, on my back.

I still have a stiff pillow wedged against my left foot to stop it ‘drifting’ outwards during the night.

Related: Tips for recovering well from a hip replacement operation

Day 17: freshening up with an all-over wash

I take the opportunity to have a long wash and hair wash, I know that this will take some time so I set aside one hour. The towel has to be near, on the bath and by the sink. I start off with an all-over wash, which feels much better, then bending over (but not too much) I wash and condition my hair and then dry my hair with the hairdryer. It is amazing how much brighter all this can make you feel, and it does.

Day 18: a member of the crutches club?

Today my sister is coming, to take me for a drive, I am so desperate to leave the house, I am waiting by the front door! 

I remember to get into her rather high-up Range Rover style car bottom first, then swing both legs in.  We manage to park right outside a shop we both want to go to and I am back in the game on two crutches. 

A lady with one crutch stands to one side, ‘We must stick together’ she says. I’m not sure I want to join a crutches club just yet, but maybe that’s just me.

It’s hard on the hands using crutches. My physiotherapist told me that people who have to use them for a long time, pad out the hand grip with flannels and other soft materials to make it more comfortable.

Next we find a lovely quiet café right on the beach and have a nice lunch, I am getting a few stares with my crutches, and although I hope that I won’t bump into somebody I know, would it be the end of the world really if I did?

While my sister walks her dog along the seafront, I sit on a bench and take in the seaview, this is the first time I have been out properly since the op, and it is a good feeling. We brave another shop, a supermarket this time. She has a trolley, I ‘walk’ alongside using the crutches, a little girl can’t help herself as she stares open-mouthed at me.

After all this walking (on crutches) I am really tired, I go home and take some painkillers, I sleep well. 

Day 19: another outing with my sister

My sister is back! This time we are off to a local M&S store, we start off at the perfumes and then go to the food hall and have a lovely time. My sister notices that when I stand without the crutches I am even.

I come home and feel good for all the walking about, the leg feels looser and more mobile, it has been about two-and-a-half weeks since the operation.

Day 20: a high stool for me, a scratching post for the cat

Today my daughter is cooking a Sunday roast, she's good at cooking and every dish has layers of spices and herbs. I eat my dinner sat on a high stool that we bought from a junk shop before the operation, you must not sink down into a low sofa or chair, as there is a risk of putting the joint out of place. This would mean a hospital visit and possibly surgery, so I have never risked doing it. Besides, the stool gives our cat a new scratching post.

Day 21: silver linings

My eldest son has recently passed his driving test so I had put him on my insurance and was going out and about with him. When I went into hospital it gave him the opportunity to drive the car away, park it outside his flat and experiment going out and about with his girlfriend. This has given him a lot of confidence, so I am thrilled. 

You try to pick up positives along the way and this is certainly one of them.

Related: How can you help your son or daughter reduce the cost of their car insurance?

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