Final Preparation for Hip Replacement Surgery

As I hobble my way towards hip replacement surgery, I am awhirl in preparatory activities. On the fun side, I am allowed to swim right up until surgery. This keeps me happy. I can swim away my numerous neurotic surgery anxieties, as well as maintain excellent muscle tone which hopefully will speed up my recuperation. Gradually, one by one, I am checking off the following pre-surgery list:

  1. Two visits to the Red Cross to donate blood in case I need a transfusion. (These procedures were tiring; it was necessary to rest immediately after the blood was drawn and I could not swim fast for a good five days afterwards.)
  2. Mail the receipts for my blood draws (total cost $560.00!) to my insurance company for reimbursement.
  3. Visits to my general MD for a preparation health check & flu shot, to my surgeon for final questions, and a 2 hour visit to the hospital, the day prior to surgery, to take care of all admissions work.
  4. Stop pain relieving, anti-inflammatory drugs (Vioxx and aspirin) a week before surgery, because they are blood thinners. To relieve my pain until surgery, my MD prescribed Vicodin which made me feel ill and drugged, so he switched to Percocet. I take it at night, and it is not bothersome. I am also continuing with my acupuncture visits for pain relief.
  5. After-surgery planning: Arrange for crutches, high toilet seat (because my knees can’t be higher than my hips in the recovery phase), a bath chair; arrange with my husband and friends about helping with activities of daily living. Set up a downstairs bedroom so I can more easily access the kitchen and den and avoid the initial challenge of climbing stairs.
  6. Meditation on a successful surgery and positive recovery. If I follow the steps recommended in a great book and accompanying cassette Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques by Peggy Huddleston, MTS, I should feel calmer during surgery, use less pain medication, and heal faster. Huddleston recently collaborated with the “father of hip surgery,” Dr. Benjamin E. Bierbaum, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at New England Baptist Hospital, a teaching hospital for Harvard and Tufts Universities. Their work involved a randomized control study whose results support Huddleston’s mind-body protocols. Her book, tape and pre-surgery consultations are available at or (303) 487-4440. Huddleston’s program has been embraced by major hospitals throughout the US. We chatted by phone, and she also offered me a one-hour guided meditation phone consultation given by a former hip surgery patient familiar with her techniques.

There was one task on my list which my Doctor only partially supported. I requested to wear nail polish to surgery (the thought of sparkly pink toes in the hospital boosts my morale). Perhaps he rolled his eyes, but he calmly answered, “We prefer you to not wear polish on the limb where we operate, but you can wear it on your other foot and your hands.”

I am off to get a manicure and one half of a pedicure.

Talk to you after surgery.