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From the Back Porch: Top 10 Does and Don’ts of Joint Replacement Rehab

by Sue Whistler

Let’s see, my first grandchild and a hip replacement within three weeks. Yup, I guess you can say I’m feeling my age. My husband Tom keeps telling me that he’s been feeling my “age” for almost 35 years and I needn’t worry. He assures me that he has enjoyed every minute and absolutely adores our three resulting children and new grandson. Thank you darling!

I must say that nouveau grandparenthood has been a breeze so far. I’m less than a month into it and am having no difficulty adjusting to my new title and role. The hip replacement, on the other hand, has proven to be a bit more difficult and a sobering reminder of my advancing age. I am one week post-op and have little to do but pop a few powerful painkillers and embrace singer/songwriter Jonathan Edwards’s suggestion to “lay around the shanty and put a good buzz on.”

Since an idle body often leads to a busy brain, I just couldn’t help myself and have compiled a Top 10 list of personal observations and suggestions that might prove useful to future inductees into the awkward and sometimes humiliating world of joint replacement rehab.

Narcotics are the greatest invention since wine and dark chocolate and should never be refused during your rehabilitation.

Do not invite your dogs onto the bed the first night you are home from the hospital, no matter how much you think you missed them.

All walkers should come factory equipped with cup holders, a detachable tray and a large carabiner for attaching long, oddly shaped survival tools like mechanical “grabbers” and shoehorns.

Trying to vacuum with a walker is not worth the effort.  Vacuum cleaners work much better.

Never attach tennis balls to the back legs of your walker.  Anyone who knows our dogs will appreciate this advice.

Well-meaning and solicitous spouses should be encouraged, at gunpoint if necessary, to leave the house and play in their golf leagues.

Try not to get caught with your pants down. It’s really hard to pull them up.

Patience is a virtue — and with it comes post-operative bowel regularity.

Attempting to dress yourself is not a job. It’s an adventure. Taking a shower is even more exciting.

And finally…

Other than narcotics, wine, dark chocolate and a loving family, laughter is definitely the best medicine.

So, has anyone got a line on an old bicycle bell or an ahooga horn for my walker?

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