Note: This post contains affiliate links. Unless otherwise noted, most of these are simply standard examples of this type of equipment.
The butterflies in your belly are starting to do a boot kickin’, foot stomping line dance.
Surgery is right around the corner!
Your thoughts keep scattering in a thousand directions, but one keeps coming back: What the heck do I need in order to be ready for this surgery?
This list is so freaking definitive that it has to be broken down into sections. You will not need to get everything on the list; you just need to think about the things on the list to see what makes sense for you and your situation. I don’t want to add pressure, but these things are best to have in place BEFORE surgery!
Things to Take to Surgery
- Loose, comfortable clothes. There’s likely to be some swelling going on. Be prepared!
- Medications. Make sure you already have both pain medications and anti-nausea medications that you can have ready to go. It can be a LONG car ride home!
- Hydration. Always important, but you’re having surgery. Stay hydrated afterwards!
- Driver. I mean, self-explanatory.
Top 4 Home Essentials
Not everyone loves these, but when talking to anyone that’s had surgery, these things WILL come up, and most people love them.
- Ice machine. Many patients and surgeons love these. Personally, I used mine a lot for my first surgery, but I can’t say that I loved it. I didn’t bother with my second surgery and just used rotating gel packs. I can tell you that the majority of my patients are a big fan, though! But if you don’t get an ice machine, you do need to have a number of ice packs. Some people use more than one at a time, and then they won’t get cold again quickly. You will need at least 3, or if you are using a couple at a time, at least 6. (Usually your surgeon will recommend a good ice machine. There are lots of ice packs. Here’s one specifically for the hip. Personally, I used some closer to this size… You have to figure out how much freezer space you have for these things!)
- Shower chair. I have a bench in my shower. I didn’t think I needed one of these, but someone loaned me one and thank goodness! This was so much easier to adjust where it was in the shower, and make sure that I was in a good place for the water flow and to make it at least a little easier to get in and out of my shower. In my case, the bench would NOT have worked well. I highly recommend some sort of shower chair.
- Toilet riser with handles. When I was in the hospital for surgery, the occupational therapist thought I was doing so well getting up and down that I wouldn’t need this. Y’all, I needed this. I would not have wanted to be without it for the first 4-6 weeks. No one likes the idea of this. Who wants to think about toilet equipment? Until it’s your first evening home from surgery and you need to use the toilet!
- Reacher/grabber. I actually didn’t use mine all that often, partly because I was fortunate enough to have plenty of help the first few weeks. But! The times I did need it, it was a life saver. And I know that a lot of hip arthroscopy patients use theirs a lot.
What You Need to Get Around
- Crutches/walker, etc. Most people use crutches after surgery for at least a while, but some prefer a walker. Standard crutches will generally be issued at your surgery center/hospital. If you want to use something different or have nicer crutches, be sure to have them with you. I got standard crutches, but someone loaned me Mobilegs… They were SO much better for getting around. (This is not an affiliate link; I don’t get paid to say that, I just really preferred them to the standard crutches.)
- Crutch pads. If you do use regular crutches, crutch pads tend to be relatively inexpensive and extremely helpful, especially if your surgeon requires crutches for 4 weeks or more.
- Small backpack. So much easier to carry the little things that you need going from the bed to the couch and back.
- Water bottle. Carrying liquids is not something that we usually have to think about, but when your hands are full of crutches, what are you going to do?
- Thermos. If you have hot liquids to carry around, a thermos or travel mug can help you out a lot.
- Temporary handicap sticker or placard. I did not have one of these, but there were times where I really wish I did! I remember one place I went where my mom had to park far away; I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the car! I am very active, so I didn’t think about this before surgery, but there are a lot of places that are very inaccessible when you are on crutches and have difficulty going long distances.
Things to Have Within Easy Reach
These are the things to make sure you have handy whenever you move from one place to the other. Nothing worse than taking 10 minutes to get settled and then you realize you have to get up again! (And this is what your backpack is for.)
- Throat lozenges. That tube down your throat during surgery can make things kind of sore for a week or so!
- Phone and charger.
- Tablet and charger.
- Power strip/extension cord. You have to be able to re-charge everything!
- Remote control.
- Ziploc bag of your meds.
- Pen and paper. Retro, I know, but very helpful for writing down what medications you’ve taken, and when you’ve taken them. Also to write messages, etc.
- Baby wipes/hand sanitizer. Nothing quite like having dirty hands but you can’t go wash them at the sink without first touching your crutches.
- Trash can. Okay, maybe don’t carry this in your backpack, but it’s nice to have one handy at any place where you are going to be frequently parked.
- Fan. Also not a backpack item, but helpful to have something to move the air, and can be really nice to have a remote controlled one.
- Plenty of loose clothes. Clothes that are easy to get on and off and comfortable to wear when you’re swollen and sore are THE BEST after surgery.
- Good footwear. “Good” in this case means something that you can slide on easily, that isn’t going to be too loose and trip you up, and you want good grip on your non-op side. I actually preferred something that could slide a little on my op leg so I didn’t have to pick it up as much.
- Concrete blocks/bed lifts. If your bed is low, you will want to make sure that you can get up and down easily by getting some risers for your bed. On the other hand, if your bed is so high you have to climb into it, you may want to look for a different option for right after surgery.
- Foam topper. If your bed or couch are a little on the hard side, you may want to consider what you can do to make things more comfortable. Sorry to say, you’re going to be spending plenty of time there for the next few weeks!
- Lap table. Love my little laptop desk and still use it, even though I’m no longer confined to bed. It gives me more options of places to lie down when I’m working on things, and I’m not always required to sit.
- Body pillow. Or at least several extra pillows of various thicknesses. Anything that can help with positioning! The body pillow can really help block the leg to keep it from externally rotating.
- Wedge pillow. The wedge pillow was an absolute life saver for me. I tried not to sit a lot for the first few weeks after surgery because my hip flexors were already so tight. This gave me a bit of an in-between option. I also needed it for sleeping for a few weeks. You do want to be careful not to keep your hips bent all the time, but it’s really hard to lie completely flat at first.
- Scrubber on a stick. Something like this. It’s about the only way to reach your feet at first!
- Bath caddy. Something that can keep everything you use all the time at an easy to reach level.
- Bathroom storage cart.
- Grab bars. There are versions with suction cups if you don’t want to install permanent bars.
Stocking the Kitchen and Medicine Cabinet
- Some favorite foods. They call them comfort foods for a reason. It’s especially good if you have some meals that you like that are easy on the stomach in case it’s a little upset after all the anesthesia.
- Soup! I mean, Grandma isn’t wrong about this, is she? You can get a lot of good nutrients in a soup, and it’s easy on the stomach.
- Electrolytes. Honestly, I think that water is the best thing to hydrate with anytime, but some sort of electrolyte drink after surgery can be a good thing.
- Popsicles. No need to overdo the sugar, but sometimes it’s nice to have something frozen and tasty when your throat is sore and you don’t feel great.
- Snack bags. Prepare some ahead of time with some of your favorites for something easy to grab. I know for me, a couple of weeks after surgery I wanted to eat everything, I was so hungry!
- Fiber and/or stool softener. Because having to have hip surgery didn’t make you feel old enough! Seriously, though, it’s important to get things moving as soon as possible after surgery and if you are taking heavier pain meds, that can also clog up the works.