What to expect after hip replacement and travel

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"Susie Cakes Feel Better cake"

You may be up and walking on your hip replacement the first day of surgery. I was feeling better thanks to this SusieCakes special delivery.

What to expect when traveling with a hip replacement. One travel writer’s journey.

This is the third in a 4-part series that will help you deal with total hip replacement (THR) and travel.

Part 1: Denial to acceptance. Preparing for joint replacement surgery.

Part 2: Preparing for surgery

Part 3: Recovery and travel

Part 4: On the travel road again

Disclaimer: Many people suffer from disabilities – either as a result of acquired disability, accidents, injuries, congenital or other factors. Fortunately, my disability is temporary, yet my experience opened my eyes to inclusive travel and the physical and emotional challenges disabled travelers face. I am fortunate to have had the choice of anterior approach hip replacement surgery.

"Nancy walker"

What to expect after hip replacement surgery; your walker is your friend. Get up and move.

Precautions to take with hip replacement

If  you sit either at an office or in a comfortable chair parked in front of the TV, remember to get up and walk every 30-45 minutes.

Are you planning to travel anytime soon after hip replacement surgery? My surgeon recommended I wait six weeks before traveling by air. When you receive clearance from your doctor to fly again, you might want to consider wearing compression socks for airplane travel to prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis ( DVT).

Insider Tip

Set an alarm on your smart phone or watch to ring in 30-45 minutes. Get up and walk around every time the alarm rings.

 From walker to walking with your new hip

"John Muir Hospital, Concord

If you have a truck or sport utility vehicle, remember to bring a portable stool for getting in and out of the vehicle when you leave the hospital.

If you have a truck or sport utility vehicle that is high off the ground, remember to bring a portable step stool for getting in and out of the vehicle during the early stages of recovery and when you leave the hospital.

Hip replacement and stairs

While I can only speak to my hip replacement, I imagine knee replacement might have the same approach to mastering stair climbing.  The key words to remember when ascending or descending stairs is “up with the good (leg) and down with the bad (leg).”  This mantra has helped me climb the 14 steps to and from my master bedroom.  I did spend the first night home sleeping downstairs in our daughter’s bedroom.

 

Have you had a hip or knee replacement? What tips do you have to share with others on what to expect with hip replacement and travel?

Related Post:

Preparing for hip replacement surgery

I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and staff members  of John Muir Medical Center, Concord who have provided assistance with this four-part series offering what to expect with total hip replacement (THR) and travel.

 

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8 Responses to “What to expect after hip replacement and travel”

  1. NanC says:

    Great decision you made. So envious of your anterior hip approach! I am impressed – there has been so much progress since my hip replacement surgery almost 10 years ago, at age 55, with pain of bone grating on bone. I have a fading 9 inch long scar on side of my hip/leg.
    To celebrate my final post-surg checkup at 3 months I went home and pressed “go” on reservations for travel to a big conference in Indianapolis, then was delighted at 5 months to be able to cope with flight delays and huge amount of hiking around the multi-hotel conference site.

    Airport security checks- yes, I always set off the metal detectors. It’s just a question of how loud and how the staff in that site and country choose to respond. Always get a least a partial pat-down by female agent, plus now the choice between full body scan or pat-down. I always allow extra time to go through security because of the unknowns. Worst I’ve heard – someone had to show her scar as proof! I also select travelling shoes for easy removal and putting back on. Yes, I wear prescription compression knee-hi’s for long flights.

    Now even more complicated as I had an elbow replacement recently, after a freak accident, can’t yet bend it much and still frozen shoulder – so 2 pieces to set off the detectors, and can’t raise arms fully for scans!
    I carry a photo ID card from local hospital saying I have implants that set off security devices – I wave it along with my boarding pass and passport, and immediately after the noise, I point out that I have hip and elbow replacements on right side.
    More travel tips in another post.

  2. @NanC
    Wow! You have some great travel insight when it comes to dealing with joint replacements. You give me hope and remind me to allow more time for airport security screenings. Thanks for the tips!

  3. NanC says:

    For seating comfort on long flights (and events, eg seminars, soccer games) I carry a self-inflating Therma-Rest “Trail Seat” (abt 13 by 17 “)- rolls up and fits easily in carry-on bag.
    I bought a folding cane in a funky purple and pink pattern (might as well have some fun), also easy to tuck in carry-on bag. Given other chronic issues – lower back problems and weak leg from sciatica. nerve damage – I take the cane for support. The friend I was visiting in Mexico urged me to bring it for walking on cobblestone streets as she didn’t want me to become one of the “fallen women of San Migeul” . Last year the cane helped me feel more secure and independent as I climbed to the top of the Acropolis in Lindos and in Athens!
    Which brings me to the importance of exercise post- hip replacement, in order to do this travel as well as activities of daily living. Walking has been part of my lifestyle for years, as have deep water aquafit, swimming and Pilates. I returned to the pool when new session started about 3 months post-surgery (had to have strength to climb in and out of pool). Was able to drive myself there by then. Went back to Pilates at a different studio for private instruction about a year post-surgery. Then added Iyengar yoga at a studio a couple of blocks from home – the right yoga choice for me, with its highly trained teachers, attention to precision of movements, and use of props whenever needed (eg lean on a block when can’t stretch to touch floor). The past several years, have been doing personal fitness training with an excellent instructor at the Y. Then – came across a yoga and sea kayaking retreat – with assistance and a wider kayak, I could get in and out, sit comfortably and discovered I love kayaking!
    While travelling – can keep up the walking, swimming, Pilates and yoga (unkinks my hip and back).

  4. @NanC
    Such great tips! I am anxiously awaiting my surgeon to approve my return to deep water aerobics. Hoping the ADA-approved lift will be fixed soon at our local aquatics center.

  5. Dennis says:

    I read your first three and they were so inspiring. I was lucky to be able to read them a few days before going into surgery. I was able to get anterior, too. Thank you so much! But, I haven’t been able to find the 4th post in the series. Could you let me know how to find it! Your travel writing is excellent! Thanks, again!

  6. @Dennis
    I’m so glad you have found my hip replacement and travel series helpful. The reason you are unable to find the 4th and final post in the series is because it hasn’t been written yet. I am seven weeks into my hip replacement and haven’t flown on an airplane yet. I will travel to Mazatlan, Mexico this weekend and let you know what it is like to be “on the travel road again.”

  7. Adison says:

    The more I talk about the risks involved with travel – the more I feel I am psyching myself out and that something WILL happen. Caution and preparation is key, but I don’t think the fear should go overboard.

  8. @Adison
    Risks are involved with travel, but it is all worth it in the end.

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