Some Complications in the Year After Aging Parents’ Successful Broken Hip/femur Surgery

Aging Parents’ bodies do not bounce back as easily or quickly as younger bodies do. Obvious, yes–but legitimately worrisome never-the-less. See recent e-mail* below.

Hi Susan,
My 86 year old grandfather fell six months ago and broke his hip. Prior to breaking his hip, the only medical complication he ever had was diabetes. He made a swift recovery and was home walking around (with a cane) within a month.

A few weeks ago he developed a mild case of pneumonia, but recovered within a few days. Today he came down with a sore throat, which I believe could be a relapse of the pneumonia.

I’ve been reading through some of your posts regarding your mother-in-law’s recovery. I was just curious, did she experience any complications after recovery, such as pneumonia? I’m very worried. J.

Hi J.
My m-i-l says it took about a year before her body was back to normal. She never got pneumonia (she’d had pneumonia shots twice before). However, about four weeks after she came home from rehab she got bronchitis which required 2 courses of antibiotics. Not long after, her cane fell on her ankle causing a very small abrasion, which–after a while–got infected and required antibiotics again.

Then she got thrush (something I’d never heard of before–babies and old people get it, I’m told) and was given more antibiotics. She says “my body just didn’t seem to have anything to fight with. It seems like the body is just used up and is vulnerable.”

She had her physical in March (a year and about 2 months after getting out of rehab). Results: Everything–and every test (and she had a lot of tests)–came out perfect. She’s once again feeling strong and normal.

Of course everyone is different, but it seems that it takes a lot of time for older people’s bodies to recover from hip surgery (or any major surgery) and to ward off later “complications” as you call them.

An important key seems to be having a doctor who can get an older person through these complications. Your being a cheerleader (as well as a caring, involved person) has to help also. Susan

PS My mother-in-law (98) flies back here (2,000 miles) alone to see us in 10 days. Sincerely hope your grandfather will be doing as well in a year.

Hi Susan,
I cannot thank you enough for responding to me. While my grandfather lives next door to my parents, I live a few hours away. As you can imagine, it’s scary when you can’t see them in person right away. It turns out his sore throat was just the last bit of the pneumonia making its way out. He sounds a lot better now.

I was going crazy after reading all the “deadly complications” that can happen after breaking your hip. Thanks for the pneumonia vaccine tip, I’m going to mention it.

He’s been feeling a little bummed out about “feeling old” all of a sudden. But I’m going to see him this weekend to cheer him up and tell him all about your mother-in-law! She is a fighter! And I know he is too.  J.

*                *                  *
Clearly there can be complications; clearly some are very scary. A good doctor, who is experienced in treating older people, is so important.

(*E-mail was sent to my blog’s address and OK’d for sharing by J.)

Check out “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Links to timely information, research from top universities, plus some fun stuff–to help parents age well.

One thought on “Some Complications in the Year After Aging Parents’ Successful Broken Hip/femur Surgery

  1. Pingback: Total Hip Replacement Surgery: Patient’s Perspective | Freelance Science Writing

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