Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not My Grandmother's Hip Replacement

After my grandmother got her hip replaced, she spent at least a week in bed. When she finally got up, she needed a walker.

After I got my hip replaced, the hospital staff had me up and walking with a walker that afternoon. They sent me to PT the next day and after PT discharged me, they sent me home with a cane.

My grandmother didn’t show me her incisions. She was a proper lady.  I have a 4" incision in the front of my thigh. My surgeon assures me he did not cut any muscles.  He spent 2 months practicing on cadavers to learn this technique. And before the surgery he came into the holding room and initialed my leg to mark which side he was going to operate on. It was a 45 minute procedure.  They normally insert a catheter but I told the surgeon that 3 times I’ve had a catheter and 3 times I’ve gotten a painful bladder infection. He agreed to do the surgery without the catheter.  

After the operation, I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down.  A nurse came by and asked me to sit on a bed pan and imagine I was urinating.  That didn’t do anything, so I imagined I was pushing a baby out.  That worked. Even the nurse was surprised.  It was just an experiment.

I don’t know what drugs my grandmother took, but I’m guessing narcotics because she seemed fuzzy headed.  I was offered narcotics.  I chose acetaminophen. They also have me taking aspirin as a clot prevention drug.  And they have me putting ice on the incision site frequently throughout the day.  I’m sore and swollen. But my head is clear.  I walked to the near end of the block in the early morning and to the far end of the block around noon.

I only had one threatening doctor during the whole procedure. The first time he came up to me, he did not introduce himself, did not ask permission. He just opened my clothes and started examining me.  I was still drugged and in no condition no object strenuously.  When he came in my room the 2nd day, before he could get close, I said, “Please go away. I do not want to see you.”  He seemed to have trouble understanding that. We had a five-minute discussion in which I restated my case more and more firmly. Finally, I said, “I did not like how you treated me yesterday. I do not want you involved in my medical care. Please go away and do not bill me for today’s visit.”  He got it. He left. It may have helped that there was another person in the room at the same time.

I’m awake, alert, and doing my PT exercises. There are 5 easy ones and 1 hard one.  I still can’t believe ankle wiggling is considered an exercise.  They could at least call it point and flex.  And they gave permission to do upper spinal floor twists.  I forgot to ask about hanging from my chin-up bar and doing lower ab flexes, so I guess I don’t dare do them for the next month. My next appt with the surgeon is in 4 weeks.  If all goes well, I’ll be back on my bike after that.

I’m having an easier time than my brother-in-law who had his hip replaced about 20 years ago.  He had to have satin sheets so he could slide out of bed. I’m having no trouble with my flannel sheets.  He had to have crutches to get up stairs. My cane is just fine. Even the banister is sufficient. 

Finally a good experience at my local hospital!  The knife is gone from my hip joint. I’m going to get my life back.  My life. Not my grandmother’s life.  This afternoon, I’m going to double check my city income tax return. That’s something my grandmother would never have done, before or after her hip replacement.


  1. Glad all went well. Keep moving.

    Is Still Here

  2. Lois - that is a very interesting report on a very scary procedure. Have an easy time healing. Oh, and Happy Purim!

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg