My “Joint Journey”

It has been one month since I had my hip replaced at the Swedish Orthopedic Institute in Seattle. The last time I had spent any time at Swedish was to give birth to my sons in the mid 80’s.

Due to Covid 19 there are strict rules and limits regarding who can come in with you to support and/or visit during your stay in the hospital. I sent my family texts and videos so they knew where I was in the process.

I checked in, was given a barcode band, scanned and was ready to meet with my doctors and head to surgery!

I started my foot pumps as soon as I could feel my feet again and was out of recovery!

Once the PT and OT had certified I was safe completing important discharge skills (i.e. climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed), I was ready to check out 10 hours after I had walked into the hospital.

When you schedule your joint replacement you are given a binder entitled Joint Journey. It is clear the medical team wants you educated and prepared for this major elective surgery because it is a very important factor in your successful recovery. In the binder, under surgery recovery, the first section is Recovering from surgery: you are the key.

Preparation is the key to success for so many personal and professional goals. To prepare for joint replacement surgery:

*Learn all you can about your surgical procedure. Knowledge gives you the power to progress. (you may decide against watching YouTube videos of the surgery you will be having;)

*Get in the best health of your life, before surgery-NEVER smoke, cut back on alcohol intake, eat real food and focus on healthy nutrition. Know your BMI and if you are overweight develop an action plan to lose weight and get your BMI within a normal range. Incorporate moving your body in ways you enjoy (i.e. walking) everyday so you can continue those routines forever and do your prehab exercises regularly. If you have not included stretching, balance, and core work in your routine physical activities, start now.

*Weeks before surgery, prepare your home/get needed assistive devices and plan who will be your caregiver for the weeks after surgery when you can not be fully independent. If you have not been using a physical therapist (PT), find one who can guide you in your rehab exercises as you recover.

*Know and follow the doctors discharge orders to prevent infection, dislocation, and blood clots. Make sure you follow through with safe pain management so you are able to make progress with your recovery activities.

*Do not forget the importance of mind, body, and spirit in the recovery process. Depression can also create a significant setback.

I need to get outside everyday to lift my spirit!

Some will tend to overdo and have setbacks during recovery and others may not do enough in order to make the progress they would like to see. Remember to focus on what you can do today that you could not do a week earlier. Keeping a journal can help you to remember and stay realistic.

The medical staff made my experience with the hip replacement process feel safe and seamless : Andy in preop, Tessa in recovery, Vivian on the orthopedic floor, along with the support of the OT and PT, moved me through the process so I felt confident upon discharge. My anesthesiologist, Dr. Roberts and surgeon, Dr. Lee and his staff, Alex and Tiffany were available to respond to my questions and concerns.

Dane, my PT at Cascade Medical is now supporting me in rehab so I can get back to participating in the recreation activities I love!

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