On November 26, 2013 I got my second new hip. This time it was my right hip which needed to get renewed. My left hip was done in 2006.
I’m not capable of telling you how exactly a new hip is replaced, so I found a video which shows an animation of a hip replacement.
A new hip means that you have to recover from it for quite some time before you’re your old self again. Specially in the beginning the days seemed to have no end, same as the nights, at least it was that way for me. Normally I’m a bit of a busy bee and laying still on my bed isn’t exactly my favorite way of passing time.
Copyright text and pictures, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman
Bad Hips – First operation of the left one in 2006
Thank God bad hips can be replaced
It all started some 15 years ago with pain in my left groin that would go down to my leg. At first I thought it was my back again, but when I went to the chiropractor he said he didn’t believe it was my back and he suggested I should go to the hospital to take photos of my hip.
So I did and then it appeared that the cartilage in both my hip joints had been slowly disappearing, there wasn’t much of it left anymore. My hip joint was bone to bone and that was causing the pain. Because I was still rather young (in my fifties) they didn’t want to operate immediately, because there’s always a risk and they advised me to go on until the pain would become unbearable. I went on with my life and each year I could do a little less than the year before, but you grow into and get used to living with an increasing bit of pain up to the point that it’s restricting you too much in the things you like to do. I couldn’t walk a mile anymore without getting a lot of pain and that was no fun I can tell you.
In 2006 I made an appointment and was operated on and got me a new hip. The operation itself really wasn’t a big deal, but it took some time to recover though, because some muscles had been acting dead for several years.
Animation video of a new hip replacement
2nd New Hip – 2013
In the Hospital I had a room with a view
I don’t think my hip operation took a long time, because they took me to the operating room at 9.30am and I returned to my room at 13.30pm. Those docs replace so many hips, I bet they’re better at it than boiling an egg for their breakfast. Anyway, of course you’re in pain, but they gave me one of those morphine pumps which I could hit when the pain got a bit too bad. That day and the following night I only had hit it 4 times they told me later. I don’t like to get too much of that stuff in my body. I tried to sleep a lot, because sleep works the same way, when you sleep you don’t feel a thing. Next day I had to get out of bed, walk to the bathroom with the help of two sticks to wash myself and though you think you can’t do it, surprisingly you can do it.
I bought a second hand Laptop
I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit at my computer for at least a couple of weeks because my study is upstairs and I wouldn’t be allowed to go up there due to the fact that our stairs has no railings to grab on to. I never owned a laptop yet, so I bought a second hand Acer Extensa 523OE before I had to go into the hospital.
I installed Team Viewer and by letting my pc at home on day and night, I was able to take over my own pc when I was in the hospital in my wifi room. That way I could continue to work on the Sheep Pedigree Book of the old and rare Drenthen Heath Sheep I breed. I could keep up with what was happening on Squidoo, I could roam the internet and keep up with my email.
I don’t have an ipod or ipad or gadgets like that. They are too small for me and too complicated. My mobile can only do what it needs to do: make a phone call. Buying my laptop was the best thing I’ve done in years. My x-son in law, who lives in Dubai, had told me the minimum requirements I needed in a laptop and I found one quite close to home and it wasn’t expensive at all.
AZ St. Jans Hospital in Bruges (Belgium),
Believe it or not, but the St. Jans Hospital in Bruges (Belgium) resembles a chique Hotel, despite the fact that most of their guests are all dressed in pyjama’s. The staff (female and male nurses) are very polite and helpful. They come and ask what you want for breakfast, lunch and dinner and if you want to, you can get a beer at your dinner, which they serve at noon. It’s alcohol free beer, but who cares, it tastes like beer.
The side table each one has, is a small fridge in which you can keep cold drinks or other stuff that needs cooling. As I don’t drink coffee or tea, I took some small milk cartons from home and put them in there, so I had cold milk with my breakfast each morning.
At the first floor of this hospital they have a smoker’s room and a non-smoker’s room. Strangly enough the first is always filled with people and the second hardly. Must be that smokers are fun people to be with. From the day I was allowed to get out of bed, I used to get down to the smoker’s room in my wheel chair, just to sit there for a while, nipping on my cig and watching the crowd outside coming and going. I would do that in the morning, afternoon and evening, it was breaking the day.
I was bed bound for a while
High-Low bed available at Amazon.com
From the moment I got home on the following Friday evening, I was bed bound most of the time. That wasn’t too bad because I slept a lot those first days. Getting out of bed to go to the toilet was tiresome. Sleeping through the night was something else. I’m not used to sleep on my back and that was what I had to do. I got one of those full electric beds from this organisation we call Well Care and we had put it in front of the window, so I could look outside. It was the only suitable place, because you have to get out of bed on the side you’re operated on. Each day a nurse (who lives in the neighbourhood) came by to renew the bandage of my wound and to give me a shot in the belly so I wouldn’t get blood cloths. Each day my physiotherapist comes by to exercise with me.
Filling the time in between the Nurse and the Physiotherapist
Especially in the days after you get home, you can’t do much more than rest on your bed in between the visits from the nurse and the physiotherapist. Watching a movie on my laptop was a great succes, it passed the time rather quickly. My daughter had a lot of films and my nurse had loads of complete Detective Series like A touch of Frost and Midsummer Murders. She brought me the series of The Six Wive’s of Henry the Eight. You name it and she got it. Those DVD’s saved me from getting terribly bored. In the evening I go to sleep at 23.30pm only to wake up again two hours later. Then I watch a DVD and after that I go to sleep again for another couple of hours. I’ve become an expert DVD watcher now. I lost count but I must have watched at least 50 or 60 by now.
When resting I watched the birdies feed themselves
Window Bird Feeders
We have trained pear trees in front of our house and in winter I hang nets with peanuts and other stuff for the birds to eat in there. My bed was in front of the window and it was so much fun to watch the birds eat their food.
In our backyard we have a homemade wood log bird feeder, which also is very funny to watch. One day at the grocery mall, my husband found the window bird feeder and bought it for me. I never would have thought the birds would come up that close to the window, but they do and it’s so much fun to watch them from such a close distance.
The One Thing you Can’t Do Without is one of these handy ReachingTools
When you’re recovering from a new hip, you’re not allowed to lower yourself or bend over deep to pick something up from the floor. That’s a big NO NO, because it can cause your hip to pop out. So my most helpful tool when nobody was around, was a grabber. You just can’t do without, because things just fall down you know.
Exercising is a must when you’re recovering from a hip replacement
Recovering from a hip replacement means you have to daily exercise your muscles and one of those exercises is the bycicle. I don’t have a home trainer, but my physio lended me this simple exercise bycicle. Three times a day I use this bycicle for about 10 minutes each time.
When you want to keep your muscles in shape, this little Aerobic Pedal Exerciser is a gem. It doesn’t take up much place and you just sit on a chair and let your legs do the work while you watch the telly or read a book. It’s very relaxing and I’m seriously thinking of buying one for later use. They’re not at all that expensive, this one is only about $20,99.
It will take still a few months before I’ve recovered completely
It’s been 6 weeks tomorrow since my hip replacement and I’m doing ok, but it will take a few more months before I can do what I used to do. One thing is certain: by then I will be able to stand up straight again and walk longer distances than I could before. I know it’s a routine operation, but still it’s an operation and things can go wrong. With me it was a minor thing, though the doctors worried about it. One spot on my wound stayed red and too hot for too long, pointing to a possible inside inflammation, so they put me on antibiotics for a long time. As far as I can see it’s over, but I still need those meds for another two weeks at least. On January 9, 2014 I have my next appointment with the doc and then we’ll see what he says.
I’ll keep you updated.
2 months after my Hip Operation
January 23, 2014
I’ts been two months now since my operation and my revalidation is progressing in a good way. I’m walking with one crutch now and sometimes with no crutch at all, but only a few steps in the house. I’m also allowed to walk with a walking stick and I can climb the stairs with two crutches, because we don’t have a railing along the stairs to hold on to. So I can work on my pc again. Today I phoned the organisation who delivered my special bed to tell them they can come and get it again. I don’t use it anymore, I’m up all day or take a nap upstairs in my own bed. Physiotherapy has been reduced to two times a week and that suits me fine. I can drive the car to the physio practice which is only 5 minutes by car. Very convenient.
So nothing special to tell, all goes well.
6,5 months after my Hip Operation
June 16, 2014
Revalidating after my hip operation in November 2013, had been going slower than I was expecting in the beginning. Though I have no restrictions in movements of my hip anymore and no pain anymore, I still can’t walk properly for a length of distance. My muscles get tired quite quickly and then I start waggling like a duck. I’m not allowed to let that happen, because when you get used to that waggling walk (it’s getting stuck in your head), you’ll end up waggling all the time. So I still need my walking cane.
That’s a bit depressing because I had thought I could be jumping fences by now in stead of still walking with a cane. On my last check with the specialist on May 9, 2014, he said I was recovering well, but that my hip muscles were not strong enough to fully carry my weight. Unfortunately I gained some weighed since 2006 and that’s not good for new hips and muscles that have been acting dead for some 15 years.
I still get 1 hour physiotherapy each week in orde to train those lazy muscles. I know it’s a good thing, because I feel slightly improvements over time, but my muscles are sure taking their time to get there.
I’m slowly getting there
10 months after my Hip Operation
September 11, 2014
I’m doing much better, but I’m not there yet. My hip muscles tire still very quickly and I still can’t walk long distances. That’s really disappointing, because I thought it would all heal much faster then this. However when you look at the facts, it’s quite normal that it takes this time. I’m not 20 anymore, I’m not an athletic sports person and I gained some weight over the years. I do everything I want to do though within some limits, only walking long distances is still a bit hard.
Patience is a great virtue, but I’m having a hard time to keep it.
1 year and 2 months after my Hip Operation
January 19, 2015
My muscles are getting stronger, but I still have to keep in mind to straighten my back when walking. Especially when I’m a bit tired, I tend to return to the ‘goose-walk’ again, wobble wobble and that’s a big no no. I must say I’m a bit disappointed, but everybody tells me I must be patient. Even my daughter Lynn Geertman who also had her hip replaced two years ago, tells me that only recently she noticed that she didn’t ‘feel’ her new hip anymore and she was a super trained top sporter. I’m almost twice her age and no sporter at all, so yes, very logic that my muscles will take a longer time to recover.
I can do everything I want to do though, exept walking a long distance, so it’s not so bad at all.