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Old 01-01-2008, 10:22 AM   #1
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Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

I just read in another thread a reminder of not bending over for 6 weeks after surgery. It has prompted this question. I guess I should ask the PT, but I'd also like input from folks who have been there.
First, let me tell you about my job. It is not too physically exerting, and my Doc has said 6 weeks will be enough for me to be off work. BUT, there is a part of my job that does require some serious bending over. My job is working as a personal assistant to a lady with Cerebral Palsy. She uses a wheelchair, and I drive her too and from work, as well as helping her at the office, as she does not have goot muscle control in her arms.
Anyway, as part of driving her, I have to fasten her wheelchair down in her van. Now 3 of the four tie downs I can reach from the outside of the van (she has a Grand Caravan, her chair goes into the passenger seat). The fourth I have to do from inside. All require some bending to reach the tie downs, but most especially the one I have to fasten from inside the van. Should I ask the PT for suggestions? It is just that, I know I will not be able to go back to work till I can tie down her chair...and get into the driver seat. The driver seat is slightly raised, and geting in will require me to step up using my right leg..which will contain the new hip.
Thanks for feedback.

 
Old 01-01-2008, 02:01 PM   #2
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Dear Marie:

You definitely have to ask the PT immediately about bending over to fasten the wheelchair down to the van floor. I am guessing that would be a no no for a long time. Please consult the PT and let us all know. I just came back from the rehab place after hip replacement surgery and am super careful about not bending over lower than my waist level. I used to fasten my husband's wheelchair to the floor of our van and I know how hard that is even without restrictions on bending. (He had polio age 17 and recently died at almost 85 years.)

Shirley H.

 
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:52 PM   #3
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

OK, Silver, I will have to add that to my list of questions. Since posting my original question, I got to thinking that maybe if I invested in a long handle reacher, to keep in Kim's van...if I could reach and pick up the tie down, I would not need to bend nearly as much.
Of course, I am asking too about getting into my house the first day home. My house is all one level, but I will have to maneuver 5 steps to get inside. And there is just one railing..which will be in my"bad" side..the right.

 
Old 01-01-2008, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Dear Marie:

You will still have to get down to fasten the wheelchair locks.

They will teach you how to do steps in post surgery rehab. It is a good idea to go to rehab. I had thought I could go right home from the hospital but there was no way - the first day after surgery told me that. I have an elevator here in our building and no other steps to negotiate so didn't need steps lessons. Others did and the therapists know how to teach this. I watched these lessons where the people used a cane.

Shirley H.

Last edited by Silver Swan; 01-01-2008 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Complete my signature.

 
Old 01-01-2008, 06:57 PM   #5
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Well, surprizingly, my doctor said he plans to send me home, and have PT come to me for a few weeks. He said he prefers that when the patient does not live alone, and has a support system. I was surprised as I thought I would be at least a week or two in rehab. I mean, I have my husband, but he works all day. Though I have a neighbor who can come spend time with me during the day.
I have mastered steps with the cane, as I have been using it since May. Still not sure about immediatly post surgery though. With the walker.

 
Old 01-02-2008, 12:18 AM   #6
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Hi Marie:

I don't know about going home even if your husband is there. You will need help with meals. I don't think I could have handled getting meals right after surgery. My health insurance plan paid for the rehab and it was absolutely the best thing for me even had there been someone at home at this time (I am recently widowed).

Even going to the bathroom is hard after hip surgery. I had a catheter for a couple of days, then they brought a commode to the room which I used for a few days before being able to navigate to the bathroom with the walker. The catheter is our friend! I never had any problems such as infection and it even had to be used again a few times after they took it out - had trouble emptying completely and they didn't want urine to back up to my kidneys. They used a bladder scan many times to make sure I was getting my bladder emptied enough. Bladder scans are done with ultra sound and there is no pain involved and it is non invasive - they just run the gadget over the bladder area - from the outside, of course.

Constipation can be a huge problem after any surgery. An aide in the dining room gave me the best tip and I pass it on. It is drinking prune juice warmed up in the microwave! Does this ever work - be sure to be able to get to the bathroom quickly after using this! Worked better for me than anything else. Be prepared to deal with constipation lasting for days after the surgery. I heard many others had the same problem.

Using a walker is wonderful. Much more support than a cane and learning to use it is no problem. I love mine! Has wheels that run smoothly. I have tennis balls on the back legs. These work well on wood flooring and thick or thin carpeting.

You can also get trays in front to carry things. I wish I had that. It would help in getting my meals. As it is, I carry the plates, etc. in my right hand and hold on to the walker with my left. This is tricky so I wish I had a tray attached. I am very careful when I do this, being aware it is not the best or safest idea.

Isn't this forum just the greatest? It has been so helpful to me and I pass on what I have found helpful.

Shirley H.

 
Old 01-02-2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Your plan to review your job requirements with your therapists is a good one. Technically, your job requirements sort of fit under the category of occupational therapy also. They may have suggestions about how you can do these things safely at 6 weeks or can help you decide whether going back to work at that time is a workable idea.

 
Old 01-02-2008, 03:49 PM   #8
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

I had a talk with Kim today, just to let her know in case I need to be out a bit longer due to the bending. She has become quite concerned that helping her will become "too much work for me" and I will have to quit. But I assured her that quiting is the last thing I want to do. The most "active" part of my day is tying down her chair, and getting it undone. The rest is not difficult at all.
I will talk about rehab. I will not see the doc again till surgery, but I can ask during my pre op testing. That is on the 15th. But, as I have said, my neighbor is retired, and has already told me she'd come and stay with me while Rick is at work. So I will have to decide on that one.

Last edited by Marie5656; 01-02-2008 at 03:50 PM.

 
Old 01-02-2008, 05:19 PM   #9
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Hello Marie: I see that you are also discussing whether going directly home after the surgery would be possible for you. I was alone (sort of) during the day while my spouse was at work and got along fine. I had visits from the nurse and the physical therapist + other occasional callers. I was taught how to make myself a simple meal as part of occupational therapy during my 4-day hospital stay. Everything I did took 3 times longer than normal of course, but it was still possible and I didn't starve. I had my cell phone in my pocket all day and my husband phoned me a couple times each day. As a matter of fact I was so tired sometimes that I looked forward to the quiet time when no one was there hovering over me. I had lots of meals frozen and my husband made supper for a few days, but then I took over because I was bored and needed something to do!

 
Old 01-02-2008, 06:41 PM   #10
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

To be honest, Tobias, I would much rather be home, too. I will have the PT come every day, and Rick plans to take off the first couple of days I am home. He has already said he'd make me up a lunch every day...a sandwich or something I just need to pop into the microwave. Plus my big thermal mug of ice water. Also, I will have my cell and the cordless phone.
While it is nice of my neighbor to offer to stay, I'd much rather she she pop it for a few minutes once in a while..and just be a phone call away if I need her.
I will also be having the PT come out every day for a couple weeks.
Plus, I have my chinchilla at home. Don't want her having anxiety attacks because I am not home. Guess she had a tough enough time when I went away for a week in November.

 
Old 01-03-2008, 03:26 PM   #11
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Hi Marie:

Just incidentally, my husband had exactly the same customized Caravan vehicle as does your employer. He could go up the ramp and go into the driver's position to drive with hand controls. On the occasions where he could not drive for some reason or other - I could move the passenger seat over to the driver position and drive the van - so I am familiar with the raised height of the driver seat.

Many were the times I fastened Henry's wheelchair down to the van floor as he sat in the wheelchair on the passenger side. At that time I could still bend over. It was even then a hard job for me. (Puff, puff.) I am trying to picture myself getting into the driver's seat with a newly operated right hip. The seat was too high to back up into and then pull my legs up. Let us know what you figure out.

Shirley H.

Last edited by Silver Swan; 01-03-2008 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Change one word

 
Old 01-03-2008, 05:02 PM   #12
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Shirley:
I have the same issue with Kim's van..I cannot just back in, like I can do with Rick's Durango. And getting into the Durango that way just barely does it. If the ground is icy, forget it.
I may have to use a step stool to get into Kim's van, as once she is in place, I cannot get to the driver seat except through the driver door. When Rick has his Suburban, I could not get in well under the best of circumstances, so he got a heavy plastic step stool and attached a cord to it. Then, I could step up, get in, and pull the stool in behind me.

 
Old 01-03-2008, 11:25 PM   #13
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Re: Questions about bending over after Hip replacement

Hi Marie:

Congratulations to Rick for his great idea of the step stool with cord attached. It is amazing how we all come up with ways to solve these problems. This might also work with your employer's van. I sure hope so. I sure can understand how she is worried that she might lose you as her helper. A good helper is like gold. And I think you have a very interesting and challenging job helping her. You are a very special person.

Shirley H.

 
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