Since having a left hip replacement 7 weeks ago, I seem to be suffering from reactive depression

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Until my recent hip replacement I was a fit, upbeat 55 year old, but now have feelings of helplessness and sadness. Anyone experiencing similar?

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  • Posted

    Hi John, Once you can start weight bearing on your leg (with crutches to start with ) you will be ok and you can get on with your life. it is very depressing not being able to get about. The crutches were awful and hurt my wrists and shoulders, but as soon as i was able to get out walking with the crutches or sticks it was great.

    Just be a bit patient for another week and keep positive and everything will be ok for you

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  • Posted

    Dear Willowherb, what a very difficult time for you with this present situation. Reading through folk's contributions, having an operation of any kind, particularly receiving an implant, is an incredibly tough decision to make. For whatever reason's e.g.: pain, lack of functional movement, and so on, although we in this country are blessed to be able to receive medical intervention to enhance life, and are thankful for it, this doesn't mean that there will not be repercussions after an operation, particularly psychological problems. None of the medical professionals make you aware that these problems could surface. It doesn't matter how strong a character you are and how thankful you will be for the operation, things will never be quite the same afterwards. How can they be, something that was yours has been taken away, and something has been added that is not yours....I was totally honest with myself on how I felt, but gave myself attainable goals, and was realistic about what I could return to doing and what I couldn't. If I couldn't do something, then I put something in it's place that was achievable. I will never dance like I did before, but does it matter, I can dance in another way. For me the point of all this is to take care of my new hip and preserve it's life for as long as I can. It is just over four months since my operation and I still experience periods of sadness, but when they come I am reminded of what I can do now and what I will contine to do. I have chosen to wait for however long, to have my other hip done. My doctor has been totally supportive, realising the impact of such an operation and the need for the mind to be receptive to another op. Think of the time of the year, and how you react to the seasons, if you are a women the hormonal implications, and vitally family members and friends who will be there to take you out for coffee, sit and watch a movie, chat with you, have a walk with you, gee you along. Time will heal the hip, just make sure you are in the right place to deal with the 'after moments.' For now you have enough heartache to deal with, be gentle with yourself.

    Hey John, still only get 3-4 hours sleep, but during those wakeful hours I write stories in my mind, listen to my iPod, or put the television on and listen through the earphones (if you have a television in your bedroom.) I don't get up unless I have had at least 6-7 hours relaxing. It just a mind thing!!! It does get easier.

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  • Posted

    Hey Kyvelli i wish that i had read those words before i had my operation. I had never been in hospital at all until then not even born in hospital so it was a new experience.. I had had some thoughts regarding the finality of losing a small part of my body before the op and it made me rather ponder on my mortality.. However i wasnt prepared for the mood swings but hey i did have two operations all at once.. I hadnt thought about the way i have had to fight for any after support and how you are just left to get on with things even when it hasnt gone particularly well.

    I have to say that my ipad has been a life saver and chatting with contacts on a forum has kept me sane.. I think i have displacea in my other hip too and am now going to have to find out about its condition as ii am finding it hard to stand on it for very long on its own. Noone has explained what i can or cant do to presrve it and it was only a few months since they used that term even though i have had problems for nine years.. As you say i will need to get my head around getting my other hip done too and certainly couldnt cope with getting it done any time soon..

    I do stay in bed from 11 until 8 but i get up then and feel light headed and uneasy with a bad head frequently.i have had a lot of mouth ulcers and some migraines too because of this tiredness. I cant concentrate on much as i feel dog tired. Sometimes i cant even be bothered to read the paper which isnt like me.. As for flms or books well it just doesnt happen.. I must say however that i will get dancing again if it kills me....lol thanks for the words of support

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  • Posted

    I think the psychological aspects of having a hip replacement are totally ignored. I knew about the post--op blues. You generally get them day 4 or 5, I got mine on the day after the op.It was all just so over whelmiing I took a cancellation and had 48 hours notice, was admitted at 11 o clock and discharged at 3 o clock next day! 5 days later I was angry, tearful,well sobbing! I'm still fragile, but it doesn't worry me. It's a reaction to having to cope with month's of pain, then major surgery. It will improve.

    I chatted with a nurse specialist last Friday. She's of the old school. Reckons that discharges are too early for most patients who could do with more reassurance. I'm lucky to have her at the end of a phone. It will be 3 weeks on Friday since my operation.

    Sleep is my main problem. I get about 2 hours at a time. If I'm lucky I can alter position and get another 2, but that's my lot. I have a nap after lunch. My concentration isn't great but that will return.I think we need to be kind to ourselves, not expect too much too soon, and in my case learn it will be a while till I can go at 90 mph again!

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  • Posted

    Hi John, Just been reading back over recent post it's, and notice you have just 1 week to go before you can weight bear, this will make a difference. For my own personal rehab, I went out twice daily, shorter distances, but it got me out twice. My hubby came out with me for the first 4 days, then went back to work and I carried on by myself. Every hour on the hour I did the physio's exercises and continued them for eight weeks. There were many times when I made myself do them, but it was me or the hip!! Same for night-time every hour on the hour when I was awake, I continued with the bed exercises. I look back now 18 weeks later. At the time each week seemed an eternity, but now....where did the time go.

    Guessing you had two lots of anaesthetic's? A good friend of mine who is a paramedic says it can take a few months for the affects of these particular type of drugs to wear off and mood swings are not uncommon. You had a rough time in the hospital and it will take some time for you to look at the events and be able to disassociate yourself from them. The next operation you undergo will be completely different, but you still have to get your mind to the place that will be able to accept the procedure. The physical is much easier to cope with than the psychological, but set yourself goals, goals are good for body and soul.

    I went onto an American website (can't remember where I found the address), but they are so much more informative that we are. A post op patient asked if he could continue running and doing marathons. An orthopaedic surgeon there gave an analogy of a well tuned sports car. When it is brand new you treat it with care. Keep it fueled, drive it on good roads, that way the internal workings stay efficient, the suspension will stay intact, the bodywork as it should be and the life of the machine will be many. You drive it off road not treating it with care, the suspension will fail quickly, the bodyworkwill not be sound, and life expectant shortened. Same with our new

    replacements, treat them with care and they will last. I used to run, dance (high impact) and circuits, if I continue to do these fitness regimes my hip will not last..so...I use the cross trainer varying the resistance, use light weights and eventually will return to dance in a much more restrained format!! It is what I (you) can do not what we cannot.

    Headaches and migraines are dreadful, can you get your wife to massage the back of your neck and head? then put some ginger and peppermint in oil and rub it on your temples and back of the neck, it helps me. Hope some of this makes sense and is useful.

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  • Posted

    Thanks again everyone. Its good to hear all of your stories too and hopefully others may benefit from our experiences. I have been given six basic exercises to do forty times each day but not had any bed exercises given as yet. I have done those religiously and look forward to getting out walking again. I will do my next set religiously as well. I am used to being active and was going to the gym regularly for an hour and a half roughly four times a week. I would also walk later in the morning and most afternoons too and i cant wait to get out and about again. I swim lots at the gym but have never been a runner.. I gather i shouldn't have been using the rowers but a complete lack of information hasn't helped. I have recently tried to find what types of exercises i should do but cant find anything about coping with displacea as an adult.. I have also found evidence on the internet of the incidence of femur fractures during hip replacement but again no advice for when it happens to you. My surgeon did say that my femur is slightly bowed because of the displacea and thats why i got the hairline fracture as the spike was hammered in.. What are the prospects for my other hip fracturing i want to know ob

    viously.....I don't expect to mistreat my new hip at all and will slowly ease my way back to good fitness levels that are appropriate for my new situation..hopefully lots of swimming and walking in the pool will benefit. I havent been able to do any high impact activities for years. I can only wear very soft gymshoe types of shoes. Anything with a hard sole is impossible to wear. I get numbness in my smaller toes after walking just a short distance too. I am very careful not to put any strain on my joints to be honest..

    Yes i had two anaesthetics over four days and was home after a week.i had 2 visits from a physio in the first seven days and her visits start again this friday after her holiday. I had to ring and ring my health centre to get a nurse to come and see to my dressing. It took 8 days and many phone calls to achieve that.. That added to my early depression and i told them on the phone how down i was feeling.. I have not had any other interest or input..i dont want to overload my wife with any more chores either as she seems fed up with it all too.anyway onwards and upwards. I am feeling somewhat happier today after a few very down days.. Fortunately we will be being taken out by friends these next four days so thats a real bonus..

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for your kind reply, Kivelli and for all the continuing information from all you 'Hippies'. I'm learning more from each post. Some of you have had - and are still having- a very rough time and you have all my sympathy and hopes for improvements very soon. Hang in there John, the depression will pass.

    I was aware of all the risks involved in this and any surgery but the depression, pain and fatigue are a revelation. When I saw my Consultant (a new one to me) on Monday, I said I would like to have the op ASAP so that my 6 weeks recovery time would be over in time for me to host my late husband's memorial 'do' in London at the end of February! His reply? " erm.....I don't think so..." He told me I would be very tired for a few months and not feel up to much. It would be a year before I would be back on full form. He didn't mention depression. It was then that I visited you guys - and thank heavens I did.

    I should point out that I am over 70, well but not fit. Many of you are you are young (by my standards!) and have been attending gym, doing circuits, running, swimming and so on. Mmm.. I'm busy, active and involved with life but I'm basically an old bat with one badly worn out hip who enjoys country walks.

    I'm fortunate to be able to choose my date and have decided to have my op in June when I can take time out, the weather will be good ( hopefully), the dogs can let themselves in and out through open doors and friends will be out and about and more likely to call by. Meanwhile I will work with my sympathetic GP on pain and sleep management and try acupuncture. I have very recently taken sleeping tablets (Zoplicone) for the first time ever and now sleep for 7 hours. I was lucky to get more than 2 hours at a time before.

    Sorry to talk about myself when I haven't even had my THR yet but it's because of this forum that I've made what I know is the right decision for me. Take care - and thanks All.

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    • Posted

      Your decision to wait is wise. One thing I can share is that I who was never a fitness enthusiast, decided years ago once I realized where I was heading, to begin an exercise routine-

      I always hated e revise and still don't love it but in spite of that I hired a young cousin who is a fitness trainer to work with me on getting fit. We worked with light weights and some thick rubber pulleys to get me fit.

      Before my operation 7 weeks ago I think I was more fit than in the rest of my 67 year old life.

      After the operation I hired a hospital bed and a walker for our house so I wouldn't have to climb stairs.

      I found after about 2-3 weeks I was relying much less on the walker and by 4 weeks I began to do short walks outside.

      I began all the assigned exercises immediately after the operation when I came home at 3 days and did them twice daily without fail.

      I am still not too cheerful but managing but am now starting the more advanced exercises.

      I was not aware of the psychological aspects of the surgery but this forum has been most helpful.

      All the best to all from Canada

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  • Posted

    Hi Willowherb i think that you wise to delay your operation a bit especially as you have that important date at the end of February. I now know that you shouldnt make any plans for a few months following a hip replacement. If it all goes smoothly like many do then it will be a bonus. I dont seem to have had any of the support or advice that you have been given and only wish that i too had found this forum first. To be honest i went to my GP last April wondering about the progression of my condition and it took until The end of October before i saw a surgeon.. A week later i was offered my operation on the 10th November.. It was a mad rush to get prepared in only one week but we did. I was all sorted on the day and we had our coats on to leave the house when the phone rang cancelling my operation just half an hour before we were due in. By the time i had my operation two weeks later my hip was shot. I think it was about to give out to be honest and the surgeon said my hip socket was flat... On the day of my operation we were there at 7am. We were put in a waiting room and saw the surgeon and aneathestist about an hour later. They said my operation would be at one oclock. At two thirty we were still in the waiting room and hadnt been spoken to at all. I asked what was going on to be told the third person was in theatre at that point and i was 5th on the list. ......i walked to theatre about 4.15 and sat outside while number 4 was being done through the doors at the end of my bed and eventually went through about 5pm.

    I had obs done until well after midnight and then they started hassling me to pass urine.. They had me scanned at six and up on a commode. I was told off for standing on the wrong leg....i was on my good leg at the time.....then back in bed and the nurse lowered the bed as low as possible. I had to tell her i needed it up high with a new hip so as not to dislocate etc... I had had little sleep but fortunately was concentrating enough. But the worst bit was not being able to pass urine. I just couldnt go and the more they kept asking the more it didnt happen. This went on for the whole morning and threats of a catheter etc etc.. I eventually managed to go a bit after midday.. No one prepared me for this side effect and i got a repeat performance four days later..it was very unpleasant and an upsetting experience for my first visit to a hospital. The last night in hospital was the worst.. I was about to nod off about ten when they brought a new patient in and proceeded to do obs until 2am and an old chap was brought in at 3.. I managed two hours sleep..they had us up at 6 an suddenly announced i would be going home ...if they hadnt i would have discharged myself anyway because i felt suicidal. The staff were great and i tried hard to be fun and keep everyone laughing like i normally do.. But it was very hard going.. I wont get my other hip done until i can sort my head out a bit.. Certainly not this year...and i will have to think twice about having an uncemented hip again as i dont want my other hip fracturing either..

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  • Posted

    I saw my physio today and told her how down i have felt. She said it was unusual...i find that hard to believe... I have to say that the lack of sleep in itself is enough to get anyone depressed. I only got to 3 this morning and thats four hours sleep and its seven weeks since my op. Its not even 6am and i have had enough of today already.I honestly feel jetlagged a lot of the time..do many of you get light headed too. Sometimes i feel like i am going to keel over. I had a couple of spells like that yesterday and the day before...everyone keeps saying that it will get better etc. I feel worse now than i did two weeks ago.. We went out yesterday as well and got some company but it makes no difference....
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  • Posted

    No John, I don't think it's unusual to feel down after the op, and dare I say this as a retired physio! I had mine 3 weeks yesterday. Sleep is the main factor holding recovery back. I manage 4 hours, but in 2 stretches. I didn't have a nap yesterday, but I shall today as I seem to only get 4 whether I have a nap or not. It's very dark at 5 o clock. Pain is in itself very debilitating, you "hold" yourself against it so your muscles are working 24/7, and of course you have been doing this for months before the op. I realised the day after my op something was different, it took a while but I realised that my shoulders seemed to have dropped by inches! All my neck pains have gone with the tension leading up to the op. But we all still have a large sleep deficit, and ordinary things that you wouldn't normally have to think about doing seem to be a big deal. Concentration is difficult.

    I've had a couple of "swimmy" dos, when I've been standing up, which makes me wonder what my BP is doing.

    What I can say is that health professionals now, as opposed to the bog standard physio that I was, don't have the people skills that we older ones had. I'd call it vocation. It is very different looking from the patients side. Your op is the biggest thing on your horizon. To the staff it's just routine, and I found on the ward, quite impersonal. To an extent it's not their fault, the pressures of working in the NHS have to be experienced to be believed. I retired through anxiety and depression because I didn't feel I could give my patients the care they needed. I feel VERY strongly that having a degree doesn't make a good health professional. (rant over!) But the joint care nurse was older, called herself "old fashioned" but had empathy, you'd trust her to tell you the truth. She said I should slow down and stop pressurising myself to get better quickly. Of course if you've been a 90 mph person it's difficult!

    All the literature seems to infer that you should be back to "normal" in 4-6 weeks. I had an anterior approach THR. It's supposed to heal faster with less pain etc etc. "insert swear word of choice"! I did invest yesterday in a gel ice pack from Lloyds chemist that has a sleeve and you can fix it over your scar It has a velcro fastening) and that is wonderful. But the info from the hospital doesn' t mention icing.

    I am sure there are lucky individuals who feel top dollar in a few weeks, but for each one of those there will be dozens of others who struggle to get back to normality. Struggle is the wrong word, but brain fog stops me finding the right one.

    Recovery is normally 3-6 months, some will be better before that and others after. I think we need to be kind and stop putting pressure on ourselves . It's amazing that my children seemed to think it was normal to be discharged within 24 hours as if I'd had a toenail removed! It's major surgery, what we used to call "An assault on the body" They slice you open, wrench things around, chop bone off, hammer a spare part into the femur, sew you up and toss you out! Some sort of reaction is bound to happen, THAT is the norm.

    No 2 days will be the same, cheerful one day, in tears the next. That too is normal. I find I am crying at the most stupid things on tv, not like me at all. And the other day we came past a church , there was a funeral with a tiny blue coffin, my eyes are filling now. Have you had a jolly good cry? (something I always encouraged my patients to do).Unless anyone has been through it, they don't know what it is like, and on top of it all, we don't feel in control, which is scary. But we will be!

    Just a thought, I presume they have given you fragmin injections. Have they done a blood test? I had one after a week and they found I was slightly anaemic, and they rang ME! I actually said "sh*t" when she told me, and I have to go back in another month for a repeat.

    If you find in another week that you are still feeling very low, then do go to your GP. It doesn't do to struggle on too long.

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  • Posted

    Hello John. Lack of sleep certainly does make you feel depressed, but it sounds as if this operation has triggered something in you connected to confidence or body image maybe. It sounds as if you may benefit from some kind of talking therapy when you are more mobile. As for the sleeping; have you tried Nytol? It is a herbal tablet recommended by my GP. If this doesn't work you could request Zoplicone from your doctor. The sleep will improve. I am three months down the line now and only walking once or twice. I am now a lot more comfortable and able to get back to sleep more quickly. I feel much better mentally too. Just hang on in there.
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  • Posted

    I am 5 weeks into THR. I am able to walk with a cane but like many others I am unable to sleep more than 2 hours at time and night time is brutal. I have tried laying on my side and with pillows nothing helps. I think the lack of sleep contributes to my depression I am feeling now. I made the mistake of watching videos of people smiling and happy after a few weeks post surgery thinking this was going to be so easy. It's difficult being stuck in the house and tired all of the time and I am not feeling so fantastic 4 weeks later.

    I feel better reading other similar stories and know that its normal to be depressed at home and sleeping is difficult weeks later and this is all part of the recovery.

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  • Posted

    Hi Deb, once you get out of a sleep pattern it is hard to get back into one. I had a double hip replacement, two at once.

    As a night worker for 22 years I found sleeping a bit troublesome at times. I was advised to take Nytol a herbal sleeping aid and soon had a good sleep. you just need to get back in a sleep pattern and you will be ok. If in doubt see your GP and tell him/her how you are feeling.

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  • Posted

    Hi all, thanks for all the suggestions and support. Sleeping last week wasnt good at all but the previous week wasnt so bad.. I seem to jump forward a bit and then fall back.. Its the same with how i feel. I have cheery days and then some awful days too. Judi your experiences mirror mine.. Stupid really but yes i have welled up repeatedly at the stupidest things as well. I have my follow up at the hospital today.. Its now 7 and a half weeks since my hip replacement...i hope i can get walking again now and driving too. The physio said she will come on wednesdauy to help me walking and building up confidence.. I feel nervous about walking on my leg now after so long..but i am very keen to get fully fit again now. I did sleep until five thirty last night and was pleased about that..
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