Three weeks ago I had hip surgery. What I’ve learned from telling people about my surgery is that they assume this is an old person procedure and wonder why I had it. I had a hip arthroscopy which I would say is more common among younger adults than, say, a hip replacement that is more common in the golden ages. Anyway, hip arthroscopies are primarily done to fix hip impingements (medical term femoroacetabular impingement but also known as FAI) or to repair labral tears (torn cartilage in the hip joint). When I first learned I was having the surgery to repair both issues mentioned, I was disappointed by how little I found on the internet of real experiences. Here is my recap of things I prepped to help make my recovery easier. I hope this helps someone else!
My list is sort of a smorgasbord of items I’ve been using and things I did before surgery that have made life easier. It’s also really long but I think it’s valuable information if you or someone you know is undergoing surgery. I plan to have my other hip done later this year and will utilize this list again!
You will be on crutches for 2-6 weeks and grippy socks will be a lifesaver if you have any hard floors. My mom helped out the first week and she was so kind to put slippers on my feet every time I got up. But when you are home alone, it is so much easier to keep socks on that you can sleep with but still not slide going into the bathroom. I would suggest grabbing the pair you have at the hospital too. They aren’t very warm but can be layered over regular socks.
Because of stitches, baths are out but unless you want to shower on one leg like a flamingo, you’ll need something to sit on. Yes they make shower stools but after your surgery what do you do with it? Would someone really buy it from you? After hearing someone used a lawn chair in their shower, I started thinking outside the box and realized these cheap Ikea stools would probably work. I did a practice run the weekend before my surgery including only using one leg and my arms to get in and out of the tub. I didn’t know how awful I’d feel after surgery to try to figure all this out so it gave me peace of mind to do it while I was 100%.
Baggy Oversized Pants
When you get done with surgery expect to have a thick layer of gauze taped to your hip. So do not show up to the hospital in leggings, the fashionable joggers, or any other tighter pants. Wear sweatpants or track pants that have plenty of room in the hips or even go up a size. After a few days you will be able to take the bandage off and don’t need pants quite so baggy. However, after the stitches are removed, you will want to go back to baggy pants if you have started wearing leggings. The baggy pants are much easier to not hit the incisions that are still healing and can get irritated when a waistband rubs.
Prepare Easy meals
I didn’t need to plan much the first week thanks to my mom being around but I did prep a lot for the weeks after. I made sure I had smoothie ingredients in reach for breakfast. For a quicker breakfast option, I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and froze them. They actually thaw surprisingly fast. The trick to not having them be soggy is to put a thin layer of peanut butter on each slice of bread and the jelly in the middle. For lunches, I made a batch of my freezer meatballs that I could heat up. I also tried this recipe and baked chicken breasts, then froze them to reheat on the stove later for salads. We then just made sure we had easy fresh produce on hand so I didn’t feel like I was eating the same two meals all the time.
Large Lunch Bag
I hunted a long time for a large lunch bag. I wanted it to have room for anything I might need to carry. It worked great to carry my container of meatballs or chicken over to the stove/microwave for reheating and then to carry my whole lunch to the table. I also used it multiple times a day to carry ice to the couch for icing my hips.
Leftover or Lidded Containers
I used the same two containers for every lunch. A small pyrex bowl to transport and heat my meat and a large metal bowl to build a salad in. Both have lids so I could let my lunch bag swing with my crutches and never worry about making a mess.
This is by far my favorite item. The Amazon picture reviews showed that it holds a champagne bottle, wine bottle, and a grande cup from Starbucks (not all at once) so I knew it would suit my needs. Although, I don’t know that alcohol and crutches will lead to good things so maybe just stay sober even after you’re off the pain meds. Anyway, this thing is great. I first searched for it because I drink a lot water and I knew I would want to feel self sufficient enough to get my own. It also has a little pouch inside the big pouch which I have found useful for putting meds in if it’s not quite time to take them and I don’t want to get up again that soon. It also is a great way to carry your phone around too if you don’t have pockets.
The first week or so I had a lot of people wanting to come over and see me. And I just wanted to rest. I felt that I’d have to entertain them and I wasn’t up for that. Be honest with people and let them know if you really aren’t up for company. They probably think you’re bored laying around all day but recovering is not exactly boring. It can be exhausting at times and you shouldn’t push yourself if you’re not up to it.
Easy Things to do for Laying Around
Save up Netflix shows, magazines, sudoku. Books are great but sometimes take too much brain power when you’re doing so much home alone. I am typically one to prefer a book over TV but I found myself putting the TV on and just laying there, occasionally doing sudoku puzzles. I actually had to send Landon out for more sudoku books because I went through the one I bought so quickly.
Lower Your Expectations
Even when they say you can shower daily, you might not physically be able to shower daily. And just because you heard someone else went back to work after a week does not mean you’ll be up for the same. I’m still working on this one because I was hoping to be free of crutches by now, but keep expectations low. It will take weeks before you can put on your underwear, socks, or pants. The sooner you accept you need help getting dressed, the less weird it is. And then when you can get yourself dressed, it feels like your greatest victory!
Have Something to Look Forward to
Aside from the first week, I have been home alone every week day. It’s been exhausting doing everything for myself. The first few days were really emotionally hard because everything was so draining. My best advice is to plan something to look forward to. Something small because let’s face it, you can’t handle anything more than that but it made the day better if I knew Landon and I had plans to watch a movie that night or order take out and stream a show. These nights really weren’t different than others, but just making the plans and saying them out loud made things better. And when you have your post-op appointment, treat yourself to a sugary Starbucks drink afterwards. That got me through a couple days!
And that’s the end of my long list! Good luck to anyone having a hip arthroscopy – it really is worth it in my opinion! My chronic pain was gone right away and I cannot wait to get strong enough to do my other hip!