Hip Help
June 27, 2011 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Scenario: 77 year old mom had hip replaced last week. She has been doing well. Tonight, on the first night we left her to fend for herself, she decided to take her walker into the kitchen and return to bed with a plate of food. She fell. Landed on the new hip. Called me. Back now. Could use a sounding board....

I know you can't diagnose anything.. I know YANMD..
She is able to walk on the leg in question without much pain, is resting comfortably in bed. Says it's really sore, but no sharp pain. I know it should probably have an xray. Question is: tonight? She's tired, and a trip to the ER would be really exhausting for her. It's 11pm... which means we'd be there well through the night. She had a rough time in hospital, and going back to the ER would be very difficult tonight.

Am I crazy in thinking if she's not in huge discomfort, and there are no signs of trauma, that this can wait until the a.m.? Anyone have a little ortho knowledge?
posted by ecorrocio to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is probably a doctor on call. Call her doctor, have him/her paged, and they will call you back. Discuss this with them.
posted by zia at 10:29 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Could you maybe call one of those "Ask A Nurse" hotlines? Insurance companies frequently have these for their customers.

And FWIW, my roommate broke his hip last year, and later fell on it, and he was fine. However: he's mid-thirties, not 77; his hip was broken and repaired with several pins, it wasn't a hip replacement; and this happened a few weeks after his surgery, not one week.

But if I were you, as long as she didn't seem to be in much pain, I'd stay with her overnight and take her in the morning.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:31 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Anytime an older adult falls, it should be taken seriously. Reinforcing zia's suggestion for you to phone your Mother's physician for their take on the situation and how urgently she should be seen. On discharge from the hospital post-op, they should have provided your mother with direct contact information in the event of anything concerning (or situations like this).
posted by Asherah at 10:44 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

You should call her doctor. Get him paged for this. And you owe yourself one huge indulgence.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:30 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am an RN, albeit one long out of direct care, and of course IANYN. But. Even without sharp pain (i.e. a freshly busted or dislocated anything), there can be new bleeding in the joint or in one of the incision layers that doesn't feel like anything much but gets slowly worse. Plus she will certainly stiffen up in the night (everyone does, after a fall) and she will need more assistance to get up safely than she did before the fall.

So, what Asherah and zia said. There should be an orthopedic surgeon on call for the hospital where your mom had her surgery.

Whatever else you do, please don't leave her unattended tonight. It's not safe. People with mobility problems who've fallen recently are at very high risk to fall again, and multiple falls are one of the major predictors of declining health quality in older people.
posted by gingerest at 1:10 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

She should absolutely go to the ER immediately. If she had her hip replaced last week, she is likely still on anticoagulant drugs that can make a fall far, far more dangerous for her. ER, now.
posted by jennyjenny at 3:18 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks all. Thru the night fine and will xray today. Adventures!
posted by ecorrocio at 8:20 AM on June 28, 2011

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