THP: Post-surgery--things they don't tell you!
I am 4 weeks post-surgery from a total hip replacement. Am doing great and am down to just two painkillers a day. Once I'm off the blood thinners I hope to move just to ibuprofen. My sister had this same surgery 2 years ago, and gave me some helpful hints--just wanted to pass them along!
1. Bed sores--I started to develop these rather quickly on my heels and elbows. I'd suggest you (1) wear socks in bed, (2) roll up a towel or put a small pillow under your ankles so your heels don't touch the bed, and (3) have neosporin, etc. on hand to rub on them. For elbows, I cut a pair of tube socks and wore them. After 2-3 weeks I was much more mobile so sores were no longer a problem.
2. Constipation--the pain meds really bind you up. I went home with a prescription stool softener, but found I still needed a laxative for the first 2-3 weeks. You may want to get an OTC version before surgery just to have on hand.
3. Car rides--I bought a triangular wedge pillow at Babies R Us before my surgery, and put it in the passenger seat. It keeps my bottom raised above my knees, and makes for a more comfortable ride. I wrapped it in a trash bag, and put another bag over the entire seat so I can slide in and out easily (don't do this if you're wearing shorts, however).
4. Walker vs crutches--You can opt for a walker post-surgery, especially if like me you have knee problems (arthritis, torn cartilage). I used crutches only for the stairs and found the walker much easier to use (and it's not so hard on the upper body and under arms). I've now graduated to a cane, but use the walker later in the day when I'm tired.
5. Equipment--Be sure you have a "grabber"--I use it to help with laundry, and most importantly, getting dressed (it's great for pulling up pants!). I have been sleeping in a hospital bed on the first floor, I assumed I'd rent it only for a month, but plan to keep it for one more. It's great to have when I want to rest or take a nap.
Good luck everyone! Despite my knee problems, my gait is better now than before my surgery. Each week I feel stronger, and hope to gain more flexibility with continued PT and lessening of the precautions.