I’ve been working on My Joint Replacement Story series for the past two weeks and it’s finally coming to an end. As a parting gift I wanted to leave you with some advice and things to consider when having joints replaced.
- Advocate.You know your body. Don’t let anyone, even a doctor, tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong. Don’t let them tell you what you feel. Make sure that you speak up and bring a list of questions or concerns to all appointments.
- Research. I did so much research before by first joint replacement. I would spend hours reading reviews of doctors, physical therapists, hospitals, surgery centers. I wanted to be complete sure that I was choosing the right things for me. If you’d like, research the procedure and know what to expect in recovery and in the months to come.
- Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to joint replacements. You are letting someone cut you open and put in a fake joint. Ask questions. Talk to family members and friends; sometimes they have questions you never even thought of. Write them down and take them to your appointment so you don’t miss any information.
- Know the implant. Ask about what implant the doctor will be using and what the risks are. Then go home and do more research. I have ceramic and metal for my hip implant which is supposed to be the safest and longest lasting (at least in 2008). But from time to time there are recalls on the implants. If you are unsure of the implant brand/manufacturer, call the doctor.
- Follow Instructions. This sounds obvious but I remember going to physical therapy and hearing people talk about how they went weightlifting two months after having a shoulder replaced. Big mistake if that wasn’t common sense! You will be overwhelmed at times with exercises and stretches to do each day but make the time to do them. After all, do you really want to have that surgery more times than absolutely necessary?
- Get a second opinion. Yes this can cost more money but I wanted someone I could trust; not someone racing through the surgery to get as many done as possible. This surgery is about you and quality of life, don’t let a doctor push you into something if you aren’t comfortable with or ready to do.
- Stay positive. Surgery is emotional and hard and discouraging at times. Recovery is difficult, especially if you aren’t making progress as quickly as you’d like. But remember to stay positive and things will work out. Research has found that focusing on and thinking positively, makes people heal faster.
- Accept help. This was one of the hardest things for me. I’ve always been an independent person but with my arthritis, and especially surgeries, I’ve had to learn to accept help. I still struggle with this from time to time but I’m a work in progress and my family is patient with me.
If you have any questions, please ask. While I’m not an expert, I can give you my experience with joint replacements. Hope you all enjoyed this little mini-series.