Posts Tagged ‘hip replacement’

On the Travel Road Again – Hip Replacement Travel Tips

Friday January 18, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 10 Comments

airport travel

On the travel road again after hip replacement; clearing security at Oakland International Airport

This is the fourth article 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

Fear of flying? Not me. I’m a travel writer. Flying across the country is in my job description. However, this particular flight – I had many fears. Would my new hip set off the alarm if I used a walk-through metal detector as opposed to being screened by the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at airport security? Would I be able to carry my laptop, carry-on luggage and walk with a cane at the airport? How would I manage the stairs ascending and descending the airplane? Could I remain seated for several hours while traveling on the airplane without straightening my hip? What would it be like traveling after hip replacement surgery?

Travel with trepidation

We’ve all heard the horror stories of wheel chair-bound travelers being pat-down at security or passengers having to hobble through the back skatter machine without the assistance of a cane. I confess that at seven weeks post anterior hip replacement surgery, I had trepidation about my upcoming travel. To make travel easier for me, my first flight with my new hip was non-stop from Oakland International Airport in Northern California to Mazatlan, Mexico.

TSA Cares program

In response to customer demand the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced TSA Cares program in December of 2011, a toll free helpline for travelers with disabilities and medical needs. Any traveler with special needs, family members of travelers or travel companions, may call the TSA cares number (855) 787-2227 and speak with a team member about travel concerns or notify TSA to request travel assistance at a particular airport – (call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel.)

walking on the beach in Mexico

Traveling with a cane after hip replacement

What to pack after joint replacement surgery

Whether you prefer carry-on luggage or to check your bags is your decision, but do give your travel style some consideration pre-flight. Will you be traveling solo, or will someone be with you to help with your luggage?

While I was not looking forward to traveling with a cane, it turned out to be a blessing more than a curse. Without saying a word, the cane demonstrates that you need special care – not always a bad thing during travel.

From airport agents at the ticket counter to flight crew and fellow passengers, I received a positive response traveling with a cane. A special hat tip goes to Cal Jet Air  and Xtra Airways for all around first class service. While I did request an aisle seat flying from Oakland International Airport to Mazatlan, Mexico, never did I reveal that I was a travel writer in need of special treatment.

Cal Jet Air & Xtra Airways go the extra mile

Not only did I receive an aisle seat (to stretch my leg) flying from Oakland, California to Mazatlan, Mexico, I was upgraded to a first-class aisle seat on my return flight from Mazatlan to Oakland. I also had assistance with my luggage clearing security in Mexico. However, Xtra Airways Chief Pilot Brian Felter went above and beyond the call of duty when he placed my luggage in the overhead bin and carried my bag down the stairs from the airplane upon arrival in Mexico.

Inflight travel tips

"Men's Signature Series Derby Cane"Visit TSA Cares website

Allow extra time to clear airport security

Travel with a cane alerts fellow passengers to be careful with you

Request airline check-in pre-boarding

Request an aisle seat for easy standing access in the airplane

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Remember a smile goes a long way when you are a slow traveler

What are your travel tips after hip or joint replacement?

Related Posts:

What to expect before hip replacement surgery

Things to See and Do in Mazatlan, Mexico

Top photo and article courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Beach walker photo courtesy of Tiffany Day.

What to expect after hip replacement and travel

Monday December 3, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 8 Comments

"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.

 

What to expect before hip replacement surgery

Monday November 26, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 3 Comments

"John Muir Medical Center Concord Campus

John Muir Medical Center, Concord, California; my home during anterior hip replacement surgery.

What to expect before hip replacement surgery. One travel writer’s journey.

This is the second 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 the choice of anterior approach hip replacement.

Computer-Assisted Navigation for Orthopedic Surgery

Surgery denied read the letter from my health insurance provider. At first I was livid; then a sense of sadness set in. Would I not receive hip replacement surgery after my months of planning?  After speaking with my surgeon’s assistant, I learned that most computer assisted surgery procedures are denied as they are considered experimental or investigational in nature –  but necessary in the operating room (OR.) Three days later, I received a second letter from my health insurance provider confirming that my anterior approach hip replacement surgery was approved; the computer assisted navigation would be the least of my worries.

 

 
Pre-operation appointments for joint replacement surgery

"Nancy's Blood"

Nancy’s blood is drawn multiple times prior to anterior hip replacement surgery.

Unless you have had prior surgeries, you may not be aware of the necessary medical steps needed prior to joint replacement surgery. My surgeon requested the following tests pre-surgery:

Electrocardiogram (EKG) a painless test that records the heart’s electrical activity

Chest x-ray

Blood draw

What to expect pre-surgery

John Muir Medical Center, Concord offered a pre-surgery appointment to review my medical prescriptions and to give me an opportunity to ask the nurse some questions regarding hip replacement surgery and travel. As a professional travel writer, I knew that I would not be able to travel by airplane for six weeks. It was also suggested to avoid long car rides, but if necessary, remember to stop frequently and get out of the car to avoid blood clots.

Hip replacement and travel

Is it safe to travel, perhaps internationally, prior to hip replacement surgery? According to my surgeon and the nurse, it is safe to travel pre-surgery.

"John Muir Medical Center, Concord"

John Muir Medical Center, Concord, California admitting to short stay unit.

I specialize in luxury and equestrian travel. Is it okay to go horseback riding before joint replacement surgery? Both doctor and nurse agreed that the risk of injury prior to surgery is not worth the reward. I would be able to squeeze in one more luxury lodging review prior to surgery, but horseback riding in Puerto Vallarta would have to wait.

Is it safe to consume alcohol prior to hip replacement surgery? While it is safe to drink alcohol days before surgery, it is very important that you follow the directions of the surgeon 24 hours before surgery. In my case, as I would be on blood thinners post-surgery, it was important not to take pain relievers such as Tylenol pre-surgery. I also had to shower the night prior using special anti-bacterial wipes to prevent staph infections on my skin.

Have you experienced joint replacement surgery?  What recommendations do you have for those preparing for hip or knee replacement surgery?