What Surgery Has Taught Me

I went in for a total hip replacement last month. Like many Baby Boomers and older adults, surgery held the promise of less pain and more mobility–and who wouldn’t want that? Fortunately, I’m already reaping some benefits from the procedure.

A prosthesis like this is my new left hip joint!

But as I work towards regaining my fitness, I have to admit I’ve learned a few lessons from being the “patient,” a role I’m not accustomed to playing. And I’m passing along these tips in hopes they might help if you go in for some kind of surgical procedure in the future.

1) Go into surgery in the best shape possible. Even though pain precluded me from walking and working on some pieces of equipment at the gym, I took up stationary bicycling and did exercises as prescribed by the physical therapist the last few weeks before the big date. As a result, my leg muscles were in pretty good shape before I went “under the knife.”

Also, keep your weight down as much as possible. According to the physician’s assistant who helps with the surgeries, recovery is easier if there’s not a lot of fat tissue at the incision site. And the physical therapist mentioned a lower body weight puts less stress on the new joint prosthesis.

2) Be patient–with your body, yourself, and your family. Your body will heal, eventually. Eat well, sleep as much as you can, and do your P.T. exercises. Don’t try to jump back into normal activities–it’s just not going to happen.

And a loving family is the best part of your recovery, so tell them what you need and let them help you. If your shoe’s not tied exactly the way you want, or your coffee tastes a little different, oh well. Recovering at home is a whole lot better than staying at a rehab facility with strangers paid to care for you.

So take some deep breaths and chill!

3) But don’t sit too long! All the healthcare professionals told me to walk as much as I could soon after surgery. While this seemed impossible, I was able get up using the walker with my husband’s help.

Your fitness level starts to go downhill quickly with inactivity, so don’t get too comfortable in that chair with your phone, computer, TV, or novel.

I’m starting to go out for walks (about 2,000 steps, yeah!) and started lifting weights today to keep my upper body muscles from turning to flab.

What lessons have you learned from surgery? I’d love to hear from you!

P.S. For more ideas about getting healthy after surgery, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

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