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Are you scheduled to undergo joint replacement surgery? There are various things you can do, both before and after your procedure, to simplify your life for a while and hasten your recovery from surgery. Some of these require a little advance planning and shopping. 

In the weeks before your surgery, donít hesitate to ask questions about it. Doing so can help you plan and prepare for any difficulties. It can also be a good idea to obtain some information pamphlets, either from your physician or a professional organization such as the National Institutes of Health  or the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 

Armed with lots of details, you will know what to expect before, during and after the surgery itself. Here are some tips: 

  • You wonít be able to drive after your hip surgery, so ask a friend or relative to drive you to and from the hospital.   

  • It is very likely that you will be out of circulation for some time.  If possible, make arrangement to stay with a friend or family member until you are able to get around and handle routine daily tasks.  Friends and family members can also be a great source of strength and keep you positively focused. 

  • If you must stay at your own home, realize that your activities and functioning will be somewhat limited for a while. Make sure youíll have some help with cooking, cleaning, and/or self-care for a week or two after you have come home from the hospital.   

  • Buy enough food and prepare and freeze some simple meals in advance. Casseroles and soups are ideal.  

  • Decide where youíll be spending most of your time once you get home and establish a ďrecovery stationĒ there. On a TV tray or easily accessible table, put such gadgets as the remote control for your television or sound system, a radio, and the telephone. 

    You should also have within easy reach any medications you will need, a pitcher of water and a glass, tissues, a waste basket, reading materials and your glasses if you need them. 

  • In the kitchen and bathroom, there will be several items you know youíll need most often. Put these in a spot or an easily reachable shelf so you donít have to reach up or bend. 

  • After your surgery, your doctor will give you instructions. Listen to them carefully and follow them.    

  • You will likely be visiting or receiving visits from a physical therapist or other health care professional who will show you how to rehabilitate your hip. Itís important to follow the regimen they suggest.   

  • Find an apron with pockets that you can wear around the house. You can put items in the pockets and still have your hands and arms free to help you keep your  balance or for holding crutches. 

  • You can buy, borrow or perhaps even rent a long-handled tool that will ease the effort needed for such essential tasks as turning on a light or grasping an article of clothing from a cupboard. Call a medical supply store or ask staff at the hospital where you can get one.

  • Renting a hospital bed for your home can be very beneficial.  They are generally easier to get in and out of, they change positions easily to reduce the discomfort of laying in one or two positions, and they can easily be moved to other locations in the house for a change of scenery.

  • Be sure to get some occasional sunshine, even if it's just sitting near a window.  People are not meant to be closed up for long periods of time.  A little sunshine will go a long way towards improving your disposition and therefore, speeding up your recovery.

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