I didn’t think I’d be back blogging again so soon, but in the last week, things have changed rather rapidly. While I was originally told my surgery would be in June, I received a letter this week saying it would actually be on Wednesday 16th May. Yes, that is two weeks from now! To say I’m freaking out a bit (but in a good way) would be an understatement.

I really wanted to write about the prep that goes into having a hip replacement – or any type of surgery, for that matter – and now seems like as good a time as any, as I’ve already had to do some of it.

I really wanted this to be like a BuzzFeed listicle (such a millennial!), but I don’t have the patience to try and find relevant gifs, so you’ll have to make do with a few dodgy photos instead!

#1 MRSA swabs

An information leaflet about performing MRSA swabs at home, with swabs and stickers showing the words 'nose' and 'groin'

I find the word ‘groin’ both weird and hilarious

This, as you might expect, is necessary to check if I have MRSA or not. If I do, I think they can give me some treatment to fix it before I have surgery. I’ve already done one set of swabs – at my pre-operative assessment – and now I have a date through, I need to do some more. Then I have to take these to the GP by 11am one day to get them sent off for testing.

This might all seem fairly simple, but the swabs are done by sticking a giant cotton bud up your nose and wiping (a different) one around your groin, because that’s where MRSA lives. This is further complicated when you have a very ticklish and constantly running nose, and when you find the word ‘groin’ both hilarious and weird.

Wish me luck swabbing!

#2 MSSA wash

The MSSA wash is, as you might expect, to decontaminate you if you have MSSA. Medical professionals seem to prefer the term ‘decolonisation’, but I’ve weighed it up and I think I prefer the idea of being contaminated to colonised, so that’s what I’m going to call it.

One-third of people carry MSSA, so I’m not too worried if I do have this. It’s only a problem if MSSA gets into my bloodstream through the wound from my surgery, which is why you have to do the washes. In spectacular planning, I am going away for the weekend before my surgery, which means that as the wash is a five-day thing, I’ll have to start this while I am away with my friends.

In case you hadn’t worked out where MSSA lives, there’s a picture below of all of the areas I’ll have to wash myself with this stuff from the hospital. There’s also an illustration of a bum, tee hee.

A leaflet open on a page about where to use MSSA washes, including pictures highlighting the areas armpits, belly button, groin and around the bottom.

Ooh, there’s that word again *shudder*

#3 Exercises

Exercise is important both before and after a hip replacement, and like the little swot that I am, I have been exercising regularly in preparation for my op. It has been a fine balance to get, between doing my stretches, going to this amazing Clubbercise class in Sheffield and not having to take codeine all the time. It would be fine for me to take codeine, of course, it’s just it makes me feel sick and constipated, which aren’t great side effects!

I’ve now had my last Clubbercise class before surgery, so I’m focusing on doing the exercises the hospital gave me. I’ve put some pictures below. And guess what?! – I find all the thrusting hilarious!

A leaflet showing two exercises called mini squats and calf raises

An exercise illustration of a man on his back. The exercise is called 'bridging'

A surprising amount of thrusting

#4 Stop biologics

I’m currently taking a medicine called etanercept (Benepali, if you want the trade name). Because this affects my immune system, and because having one of them is quite important for surgery, I’ve had to stop my medication this week.

I have to go two weeks without it before surgery to reduce my risk of infection when I have the operation. I’m also not able to restart the medicine until told to by the surgeon. This will probably be around two weeks after surgery, when I go to have my stitches removed, as they’ll probably be able to tell by then if I have any signs of infection.

I’m slightly worried about being off this drug for so long, because at the moment it’s doing quite a good job of keeping the rest of me healthy. Hopefully this little break won’t affect me too badly though.

#5 Become more mature.

Arguably the most important thing for me to get sorted! It’s probably OK to laugh at the word groin and that you think bums are funny. But it’s almost definitely not going to be OK if you hysterically laugh every time your  physio gets you to do an exercise that’s a bit like a thrust.

3 thoughts on “Things to do before surgery

  1. Aaargh I love your blog!! It’s so pleasing to see some normal information on arthritis and the hip replacement! I’m 32 and for 4 years my GP has been less than helpful,I had a “trapped nerve” then “sciatica” untill the pain was stopping me from leaving the house.iv since found out I have avascular necrosis in both hips,the right has completely collapsed and the left is 12 month behind.im on crutches and morphine now and my lovely consultant is going as fast as he can to sort me out,in the meantime I will be reading your blog on wat to expect!! Thanks again!

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