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How OH Had A Total Hip Replacement....And Recovered In Four Weeks

Other half (OH) finally decided to do what he should have done years ago. He had been suffering for years and, a typical man, had invented a whole library of reasons for not having his hip replaced. The office. Holidays. The office. Children's understand. On a recent trip to New York, he agreed to walk with me on a cocktail of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving drugs....but only because the walk was to one of New York's great restaurants. No shopping. No museums. Much too painful.

Now he had no choice. His private Doctor had referred him to Ms Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, hips only Orthopaedic Surgeon, got a date in the diary and admitted himself to King Edward VII Hospital. He didn't know what to expect. But all went to plan as expected by me at least.

A few hours after the operation he was helped to stand for a couple of minutes assisted by 2 crutches and 2 Physiotherapists. The next day he took his first steps. 2 days later and it was a session in the hospital hydrotherapy pool. But he didn't think that the pool assisted him much so he went for a walk, on his own, and thought about a trip down Marylebone High Street on a Sunday afternoon, but decided against it. Too many people. And he was still in pyjamas, although they were North Shore and he thought cool. 5 days later he was back home using one crutch.

80% of the recovery takes place within the next 4 weeks so he needed to get it right. This is what he did and how he found it:

Beat the pain. OH was told not to let pain get the better of him because it's important to be able to exercise. All that was needed was a couple of paracetamol 4 times a day with, very occasionally, an additional Nurofen. This cocktail worked well.

Don't raise your thigh more than 90° to your body. This was not difficult because it's painful to do so and it's designed to minimise any chance of dislocation. A very small risk. But he had to sit on elevated chairs, a raised toilet seat and use a frame to get on and off the toilet. All of this is easy and everything you need can be rented. Even next day delivery. We dealt with raising the bed by putting a spare single mattress on our double bed.  It worked brilliantly.

Sleep on your back with your legs wide apart. OH found this difficult to begin with but quickly got used to it and put a small pillow between his legs to keep them apart.

Sexy socks. It's important to protect against the possibility of a deep vein thrombosis so he wore compression socks for the first 5 weeks. They didn't exactly look attractive, but he was making so much progress that he didn't care. Getting them and shoes on and off was difficult and he needed help.

Medication. OH was useless at remembering which medication to take when so I designed an excel tick box spreadsheet and checked it regularly. He still missed a few.

Exercises. These are important, but again OH wasn't much good at the routine, but he did take long walks. Within a couple of weeks of leaving hospital he was walking for about an hour and by the fourth week 1.5 hours. Only occasionally using the 1 crutch he took with him as a safeguard. Plus a small amount of static cycling on a gym bike. After 3 weeks he was walking about the flat, completely forgetting the crutch .

When help really is needed. Much less than we expected. Mainly getting in and out of the shower, there's a step, in the early days and getting socks and shoes on and off.

It really was amazing to see the speed of recovery and progress but then I'm talking about OH here and he was reasonably fit, in the gym a couple of times a week, before arthritis got to him.