My father recently had hip replacement surgery. I’ve not had to go through this with anyone before so had no idea what it would be like. Certainly his age made a big difference.
Day 1 – Got the phone call from one of my brothers, who had it from the long term care home that Dad had fallen and he was being sent to the next town (where there is a hospital) for an x-ray. I phoned the hospital a while later and was told they were sending him to the city for surgery as his hip was broken. Called the hospital in the city where I live and found out my dad was still in emergency waiting for a bed. Walked over and discovered him with the two ambulance attendants in a back corridor. My dad remembered that he’d slipped and fallen. I stayed to be with him and reassure him. The ambulance attendants were great. Eventually he got a bed in emergency, a doctor came to see him, checked him over, I made a phone call to check on his regular medication dosages. Was told the partial hip replacement surgery would occur the next day. I texted family and let them know what was happening. I went home.
Day 2 – Phone emergency on the morning. My dad had been moved to a regular bed. Phoned that department and was told they weren’t sure when his surgery would be. I walked over to the hospital, got there by 10 am. My dad was a bit confused, having been moved around a fair bit. At one point, looking directly at me, he asked where I was. He’d been given pain medication of course. By noon we were heading down to the pre op waiting room. Doctor, anaesthetists, nurse, all came by to ask questions and explain the procedure. My dad didn’t have his hearing aid with him and didn’t totally comprehend everything so I was glad to be there to answer questions. The surgery would be about an hour I was told and recover room time would probably be another hour or so. Texted to update family. I stayed in the waiting room where a screen showed where patients were at. I ate some lunch in the cafeteria. My other brother from out of town arrived about 1:30. We waited. Eventually the doctor came to tell us surgery had gone well. Later the anaesthetist came to tell us his oxygen and hemoglobin were low so they were keeping him longer in recovery, also had him checked out by other doctors and his heart and lungs were fine. We waited until about 6 pm when Dad finally came out and was moved to an observation unit, which had more nurses to keep an eye on him. We stayed with him briefly and then my brother gave me a ride home and left the city.
Day 3 – Dad was moved to a regular ward and when I saw him he was still on oxygen and intravenous. He thought he’d been abandoned, that no one was looking after him, but the staff was all helpful and nice.I stayed until his supper came. He hadn’t eaten much lunch so I went down and bought him a muffin and decaf coffee. He ate half the muffin drank most of the coffee. He kept trying to sit up or get out of bed. He’d been very active in long term care, walking up and down the halls. I repeated what had happened and that the doctor had fixed his hip. My other brother from the coast arrived that evening. Luckily he’d been planning to come out anyway.
Day 4 – My brother and I went up to see Dad in the morning. He mostly slept. My brother drove out to see my mother in long term care and stayed there. I went back in the afternoon and my dad mostly slept. At one point he just held onto my hand really tightly. I couldn’t get him to eat any supper.
Day 5 – In the morning my dad seemed even more confused. He thought he’d been sentenced to death by a judge and the newspapers had been there to talk to him. I told him he’d had a bad dream. He was still on oxygen and was also now being given blood because his hemoglobin was low. I had to keep repeating where he was, what had happened, the names of his children, and/or grandchildren and what jobs they did and where they lived. That his cane was in his room back in long term care and that he couldn’t walk yet, but would walk again, soon. In the afternoon my brother and his son (who had also arrived) came for a visit. I went home.
Day 6 – I took some paper and a felt pen to write down in large print for my dad things that he kept asking so that I could just hand him the sheets of paper and also so that he would have them when I wasn’t there. I told him he would probably be able to go home in a day or two and see his wife, my mom, who was in the long term care home. They were giving him extra potassium because his was low. Dad seemed confused about where he’d been living. My brother and his son came for a visit on their way to take my nephew to the airport. My nephew had brought a small white board to write messages for my dad. My brother had brought a shaver so my dad could get a shave. I’d cut his fingernails. When supper came I stayed and my dad ate quite a bit for a change.
Day 7 – I took my laptop so I could show my dad pictures of his room and of my mom in long term care where they had been since January. Again lots of repetition of where he was and what had happened. He didn’t eat much lunch and I went down and bought him some cake and decaf coffee. Thankfully, we were told that the ambulance would take my dad home the next morning.
Day 8 – I was emotionally drained, exhausted. Heard from my brother who was still out with my mother that Dad had arrived. They had him in a wheel chair and he was moving around. A big relief. I didn’t want to do much of anything for a few days.