My hip replacement

by francine Hardaway on November 23, 2006

My hip replacement — not for the faint of heart

While you were having Thanksgiving dinner and starting the Christmas shopping, I snuck into Scottsdale Healthcare North and had my left hip replaced. I went in Monday morning at 6 AM, had the surgery at 8 AM, and on Thursday at 2 PM, I was home. There are photos of me recovering at Flickr, and there’s an entire blow-by-blow blog at Francine’s Hip Replacement Blog.

The surgery itself is surprisingly easy, because they have it down to a science for the hospital. Phyicians admitted about a dozen patients a day just to the floor I was on, and I don’t think we were the only hips and knees. And it was right before Thanksgiving. The routines and protocols are established.

The device itself it also pretty much perfected.  The new joint I have is titanium and ceramic and plastic. It lasts up to 30 years. It’s really a robotic part, as I could see from the X-ray the surgeon brought to my room after I came out of recovery.

The patient, however, is still the same old imperfect human being. I went into the surgery with a certain amount of trepidation, and when it was over and I couldn’t really move, I felt vulnerable and out of control.  At moments like these, it’s all about the nursing care, and that varies. Every eight to twelve hours, another team comes on, and in four days there was only one duplicate on the nursing roster. The most consistent caregiver was the physical "terrorist," who returned every day.

A friend of mine whose wife died after a successful surgery suggested to me that I write down the name of everyone who came into my room and what they did.  Instead, I decided to start a blog. I began blogging with the pre-admission process to the hospital, and kept it up all through the stay.

Once the hospital people dicovered the blog, they began making all sorts of conciliatory gestures to me, like asking if they could use it as a tea teaching tool. I immediately realized that this blogging gig could guarantee me better care, and I think I would encourage anyone going to the hospital to keep a blog.

And in case you ever have to go through this procedure, here are the most annoying and enervating parts:

1) the socks you have to wear for a month to prevent deep vein thrombosis.  Called "TED" socks, they are long, white stretchy things that are difficult to put on and take off without assistance.

2) Not being able to bend over to pick things up. I had to buy a "grabbing" tool.

3) Giving yourself shots of blood thinner, which you have to inject into the fatty tissue of your own adbdomen.

4)getting up out of bed for physical therapy when you are sore, swollen, and stiff

5) ambulating around the floor dripping IVs with your butt hanging out

6)Being on narcotics and having that unreal feeling that you’re in an Indie film.

Happy Holiday everyone.  The bag lady with the walker in your neighborhood Starbucks is probably me!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anna January 20, 2008 at 8:56 am

Ms. Hardaway,

You are very brave to blog about your surgery. Most patients keep such details as private as possible. I have started a new blog ( and have written a few posts about hip replacements. I would certainly welcome your comments and thoughts, considering your firsthand experience.

Thank you and take good care!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: