Once a decision has been made to go in for hip replacement surgery, there is a lot that you can do to get ready and make the recovery period easier.Although joint replacement is among the most common of elective surgical procedures and is safe, it is still a major operation and being prepared will help you to return to normal life in the shortest period of time. Here is what you can and should do:
- Learn about the procedure and what it involves.Knowing about the surgery and the recovery will remove a great deal of the uncertainty that may be weighing upon you. Being in a calm and confident mental state before the surgery means that the calmness and confidence will remain during the recovery period.
- Check about the medications you are taking. In case you are taking any medications for other medical problems that you have not discussed with your surgeon, do so without delay. In case any are contra-indicated, the surgeon will be able to prescribe alternatives.
- Plan your post-surgery work schedule.Your surgeon will give you an indication of how long it will be before you can start to work from home and when you will be able tostart going to the office. Being prepared for the disruption and being able to minimize its effectswill reduce the worry and stress about work-related issues.
- Get in shape.Use the period prior to the surgery to do what you need to improve your overall health. Give up smoking, reduce alcohol intake, reduce weight if you need to, eat a balanced and healthy diet, exercise and anything else that will make you fitter and stronger. The better your overall health, the faster your recovery. You will need physical therapy after the surgery. If you can meet the therapist before hand and get guidance on specifics that you can do prior to the surgery, it will be beneficial.
- Arrange your home.When you return from the hospital, your movements will be limited for some time. Set up a room for yourself on the ground floor (climbing stairs will be out for a few weeks) and place a bed, comfortable chair, table to eat on, TV and other furniture in it. Keep your phone, computer, remote control and other devices near where you will be sitting or lying down for easy access. Make yourself as comfortable as possible keeping in mind how limited your movement will be. You will be using crutches or a walker to move around the house so remove any carpets of other objects that could cause you to trip and fall.
- Try out walking aids.You will need to use crutches or a walker for a few weeks. Buy or hire them in advance so you can get the size that is right for you and practice using them before you go to the hospital.
- Arrange for help.You may need help in washing up and bathing and other domestic activities for a few weeks. Arrange for a family member to help you. Standingin the kitchen to cook will not be possible for some time, so make arrangements for your food. You will have to visit your surgeon for post-surgery check-ups and also go to the physiotherapist. Arrange in advance for a friend or family member to drive you where you need to go.
Preparing for hip replacement surgery is really all about knowing what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Besides what has been suggested here, ask your surgeon for any other steps you can take to prepare yourself. The more you can do in advance, the easier life will be during the recovery.