If you think this is going to be a post detailing the gruesome reality of what they do to your hip during a hip replacement.. don’t worry, it isn’t! Most of my followers are not about to have replacements, lots may never have one, either way here are a few things that have made my life easier post op just in case it might help someone else!
Special mentions go to the raised toilet seats and ‘helping hand’ (see Self Preservation And Perspective) which I believe to be standard NHS issue – or certainly were from Southmead. Although trying to go to the toilet anywhere other than my own home is a major issue, at least I’m sorted at home! A special mention also goes to my drugs organiser which I talked about in The New ‘Normal’.
I have spent most of the last two and a half weeks sat in a chair. One of the key things I was told I would have to do post hip replacement was to only sit in chairs with a seat height of 47cm or more. I can tell you now, pretty much 99% of the chairs in the world are lower than 47cm. Luckily, when my mum came up to stay she brought with her ‘the tie dye’. ‘The tie dye’ is a big foam cushion that 15 years ago, after a family tie dying session (yes, that is the kind of random activity my family did once), my sister re-covered it with burgundy and white tie dyed material. As a family of six, there were never enough sofa spaces for family TV watching so someone always ended up on the floor on the tie dyed cushion. When we all left home I think it went into garage retirement but it has had a new lease of life in the last few weeks. Not only does it boost my main home chair (which was very kindly given to me), but it has also been to two pubs, two BBQs and two dressage competitions and provided me with a bit more height and comfort than I would otherwise have had even if I do have to share it with my littlest four legged sister sometimes. Top tip – get yourself a booster cushion and take it EVERYWHERE.
It took me nearly a week to crack sleeping and not waking up with my back aching and the muscles in my tummy hurting. I just couldn’t be comfortable either lying flat or with my upper body raised by pillows (trying to mimic a hospital bed). The groundbreaking moment was when I realised I could lie flat on my back with my legs bent up in front of me and it wasn’t breaking any of my hip precautions. I have always slept best when curled up in the fetal position, having my legs bent gives me a small feel of that. The whole thing about sleeping flat on your back is that nothing is going to move while you are asleep in that position so my concern was that in my new position something would move and I’d be at risk of dislocation. The ultimate solution was a pyramid of pillows that my boyfriend creates which means I have some flexibility to bend or straighten my legs but they can’t move outwards and I am pretty secure. Not only that but I can sleep! Not all night, not seamlessly but it is so much better. It might not work for everyone but it works for me so top tip – pillow supports!
Wednesday 4th was my first shower in two weeks. Luckily I already had a shower stool (ironically from a previous relationship) which I have kept for about six years on the off chance that someday I would need it myself! Fitting me and the stool into the shower cubicle and being able to close the door was one challenge, the next was being able to access the many lotions and potions that edge the shower tray. Before I turned the shower on, I had a practise run of picking up the shampoo with my litter picker which was quite successful – it was a rather different story with the shower on! Luckily super mum had ordered a little basket to stick on the side of my shower and it arrived in time for Thursday’s shower number two. No need to try to pick things up off the floor – trust me, even with a litter picker, picking things off the floor in a confined wet space without twisting or bending is basically impossible! Top tip – shower basket!
Before my operation my lovely boyfriend made a new hutch for Peter and Percy, my two year old guinea pigs. They needed a new hutch because a. I had to put a false floor in their old bedroom because it was falling apart and b. they were having wet floor issues every time it rained. When we were deciding what the new one would be like, I asked if it could be off the ground – not just slightly, properly! What he made was not only beautiful and functional but has also meant that I have been able to muck my guinea pigs out myself since I left hospital. It does a lot for my head knowing that I can do some things independently. Top tip – arrange things at standing height.
When my sister came to visit me in hospital (An Even Bigger Day!) one of my goodie bag presents was a sparkly unicorn cup with a screw on top and a straw. This was amazing for the first week when pretty much everytime I moved I knocked something over – drink in a glass would have been lethal. In addition to this I have never been that good at drinking but it was an important part of my initial recovery and having one particular thing to drink from really helped to measure how much I was drinking. Now that I am hobbling round the house on one crutch I can carry my cup around – a spillable glass would still be a bad idea, I’m stable but I’m not that stable! Quite aside from the practicalities of it, pink, sparkles and unicorns is pretty good for my mood! It is the simple thing that make such a difference. Top tip – get yourself a sippy cup!
I hope these tips help anyone who has had or is getting a hip replacement, if anyone has anything to add I would love to hear it!