Diary of a hip replacement: week 7

Helen Pierce / 11 May 2015

This week, Helen has her post six-week check to make sure that the hip implant has taken.



Hip replacementDay 43: the night before the post six-week check


Another session of hydrotherapy, the physiotherapist gives me some new exercises, I am to step up and down on a step under the water, using my operated leg.

It’s the night before my post six-week check, so my sister and a friend take me to a super posh restaurant.

I notice the way the staff discreetly register that I’m walking with one stainless steel walking stick, without a flicker they walk me to a table and give me a menu, I think to myself, they do not know the details of my situation; I could be using the stick for any number of reasons, a skiing accident, a more permanent disability. And being a girl, these vain thoughts are never far away.

Day 44: the day of my post six-week check


It’s my post six-week check-up. The X ray shows me and the surgeon who operated on me that the implant has ‘taken’ and is not out of its socket or anything, if it was I am sure it would be painful and you would not be able to walk on it at all, and then a consultation with a member of my consultant’s team.

It does not look as though I will see the surgeon who operated on me again. This seems to be normal practice, certainly in orthopaedics, which is after all fixing surgery.

This gentleman, who I have not met before, asks to look at the scar. He then asks me to lie on a bed. He lifts the operated leg up and bends the knee, then does the same with the other leg. He is pleased with my movement and then asks me if I have any questions. He books me in for another appointment in four months.

That is the six week check- after fretting for a few days, all over in six minutes. I tell myself I should be crutch and walking stick-free and feeling more like my old self by then.

Day 45: recuperation still goes on


As I am staying with my sister, who has driven me to my check up, I have a fun day being dropped off in the town centre, I am walking on one crutch on the opposite side to the operated leg, I have a lovely time mooching round the shops, she picks me up after an hour or so as her daughter has a dental appointment.

I have arranged to do some hoovering and other jobs around her house to thank her for driving me around, but it has taken it out of me being out and about on one crutch, so I take two painkillers and sit in front of afternoon TV until they get back.

I note that, although the surgical procedure has been given the thumbs-up, the recuperation still goes on. So, know your limitations, monitor your energy levels. If you feel a slump of tiredness, recognise it and rest.

Day 46: moving around quickly on one stick


On this day with more energy to spare. I keep my promise and set about the housework. I am able to move around quite quickly on my one stick, my 14-year-old niece finds it most amusing, and from her bedroom listens to me clicking around upstairs.

Day 47: not ready to drive yet


My elder son still has my car a town away, but I am not bothered. I have no burning desire to get behind the wheel just yet.

The check-up confirmed I was alright to drive but only if I was confident of executing an emergency stop. I carry on slowly getting better, doing my exercises, I still feel I need one stick to move around, or do I?


Day 48: stick-free around the house


Stick-free! At last. Tentatively, I am walking around the house without either crutch or stick. Of course, I make sure I’m able to lean against a kitchen work unit, wall or the arms of the furniture. There’s no fanfare, no hip-hooray. I swear my husband doesn’t even notice.

Day 49: still need my stick outside


I wander around the garden and I’m tempted to go stick-free. However, the ‘lawn’ is rutted and there’s moss on the flagstones, so I rely on the stick. We live in a hilly area and I’m not that confident yet to go walking unaided. But I don’t see it as a retrograde step, simply that I would be foolish to force unaided walking before I am ready.

 

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.