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Riding in Cars with New Hips

Like many things that I have spoken about and will speak about in the future my two hips have provided me with two very different experiences.  I had different reactions post-surgery while traveling in vehicles, whether on the way home from the hospital or the weeks following.

Getting to a vehicle

This can be a little tricky at first and can change depending on whether it’s your inside or outside leg getting into the vehicle.

First make sure that your seat is set back as far as possible so you have plenty of leg room.  I always sit in the front passenger seat to allow for the room that my legs need (as you can’t bend past 90 degrees).  Second, put the wedge on the seat.  The seat back will need to be leaned back a bit to allow for head room and maneuvering (or at least for me, I’m not short).

So you enter the vehicle standing facing outwards.  Put your butt on the wedge so that you can sit down (watch your head I’ve smashed mine once or twice).  Use the ‘holyshit’ handle to help maneuver and left yourself through this process.  Next you will have to have someone lift your operated leg, just enough to help get it into the vehicle (at least until you have to strength to either use your other leg for support or lift it in entirely on its own) and swizzle your butt inward so that your legs end up in side the vehicle.

Side Note: One good trick that I used at the beginning is putting a plastic shopping bag on top of your wedge to make it easier for your butt to swizzle on the seat, less resistance.

Then carefully put your seat belt on and enjoy (if you can… but not likely at first) the ride!

Getting back out of the vehicle will basically require you to do everything backwards with your assistant vehicles waiting (whether crutches, walker or a cane).  Swizzle your legs out of the vehicle and stand up.  I’ll post a video or two on how all this is done on my Instagram and Facebook pages shortly.

My Two Experiences

The Right Hip

I had a lot of trouble in vehicles after my first hip was done.  The car ride home from the hospital was very painful.  Every bump in the road was a dagger in my hip and I was even more exhausted when I got home then I was from the hospital experience in general.  I often lifted my body up off the seat a little bit to help minimize any impact on my butt and my hip.  I didn’t want to get back into a vehicle for a long time.

I was unable to even take a 2 minute car right for several weeks without some pain following the surgery.  Luckily, my Chiropractor was able to visit me at home for the first 2 weeks to give me adjustments, after which we attended his office.  Those trips, even in week 3 and 4, was challenging for me and I often held myself up off the seat when a bump was coming.  Those were the longest drives I had (about 25 minutes each way, once a week) for the first 6-10 weeks.

My physiotherapy was much closer (about 10 minutes away).  It became much easier as time went on to take trips, whether just down the street or to the other side of town.

The combination of the fact that I had a lot of trouble sitting in general likely added to my discomfort in a vehicle.

The Left Hip

The car ride home from the hospital was fairly painless.  Sure there were a bump or two I braced myself for but honestly I was shocked how I didn’t register any intense pain.  This was the first sign that my pain on the left hip during recovery was going to be much different then my right.

My Chiropractor came to my home the first week but after that I went to his office to get adjusted.  That would have never happened last time.

My boyfriend took me for a drive on the 1.5 week mark (photo above is from that trip).  We drove around north Burlington for a while just enjoying the view and some time out of the house (I would have been screaming if we even attempted that with the right hip).

Now I am almost 4 weeks post-surgery and I can easily take a ride to my Chiropractors and into Toronto if needed. Progress!

Side Note: The ‘holyshit’ handle is very useful for whenever you are traveling in a vehicle. For corners or bumps it is great to be able to hang onto it to prevent you from moving side to side, putting pressure on your hip, and for lifting yourself up a little to avoid bumps (and of course to get in and out of the vehicle).

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