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A Brand New Hip is the Best Thing since Sliced Bread!

I can’t believe that I just swam two lengths with a good breast stroke leg kick, I said to no one in particular. Last week, using my Nordic walking sticks I accomplished 4km – some of it uphill. Hard to believe that a few short months ago I was carefully calculating the stepping distance from car to grocery store. Hiking over roots and boulders, and sitting cross-legged were long gone. I am so thrilled with my 18-week-old total hip replacement!

Yes, of course I was anxious pre-surgery, but I was resolved to have a good outcome. I attended OASIS clinic, did all their excellent education classes, and arranged a visit with their knowledgeable physiotherapist who showed me pre-op exercises most suitable for my hip. I read every piece of information given to me, went on line to learn all I possibly could about the surgical procedure—how to use the “sock putter-on”, the correct height for the toilet seat and what I could expect during my rehabilitation.

I dutifully rode the spinner bike, joined a pre-op water exercise class. My hip liked walking in the pool. I worked hard on my core muscles. I used a cane for short distances and poles, which take 30% of body weight, for longer walks. I mostly listened to my body and tried not to overdo it. I found many “hip mentors” and borrowed or bought all the recommended equipment. All this preparation most certainly helped to build my muscle strength and mental confidence.

I had a friend stay with me until I was escorted into the operating room. The skilled hospital nurses were kind and I had no time to feel worried. I had opted for a spinal anaesthetic. I also had an accomplished surgeon. Did I have any complications? I took a very long time to awaken and my bladder was slow to respond, requiring an extra hospital day. Post-op, to my delight, I found that I had no pain and I could stand up straighter. They said I was very strong and able to get out of bed with minimal assistance whilst observing the prescribed hip precautions (those exercises definitely paid off).

The freezer was full and I had a circle of friends willing to cook and bring meals and to drive me where necessary. My daughter came from Toronto on a special “help parent leave” – a wonderful presence in my first few days at home. My husband did his “go-fer” best. I felt well supported.

The first three physiotherapy visits were courtesy of our British Columbia medical plan and OASIS. I found a competent physiotherapist who made home visits and her expertise was invaluable. We found that my surgical leg was slightly longer, just as the surgeon predicted, but necessary for best gait pattern. To conquer that discrepancy, tiny wedges are inserted into my shoes and people have complimented me on my walking—but that result comes with a “nose to the grind-stone” exercise regime to maintain hip flexibility, build strength and endurance.

The first shower at home was a bit chaotic and exhausting. I have had a couple of setbacks which scared the hell out of me. Firstly my car was rear ended, and later I stupidly overdid it and had to wait for things to settle down and for the hip stiffness to recede. Gradually I was able to kneel in the garden with the aid of a kneeling stool, to stand and cook, put on my underwear, pants and socks with no aid. My posture had improved and so too do the way my clothes look.

I am progressing well and I feel very lucky to have a new pain free lease on my life.

I plan to achieve my goal this winter to cross country ski with my daughter, albeit with brand new slower and safer skis. If there is any moral to post-op hip surgery success I would have to say “Prepare, Practice with a Positive outlook. Listen to your Body and Increase your Activity Carefully and Slowly.”


Janice Masur
July 2016