How To Be A Good Friend While Your Friend Heals.

Harriet is getting back in shape after hip surgery
Harriet is getting back in shape after hip surgery. Harriet Wallis

Like many seniors, I’m rebuilt with mechanical parts. For me it was two knees and now it’s two new hips. I’m a heap of stainless steel.

While my hips learn what they’re supposed to do, I’m mostly stranded at home with a lot of pain, inability to do what I usually do, and boredom.

People good-naturedly say: “If you need something, call me.” But you can go one step further in being a good friend to someone who just had a joint replaced.

Give help.

I grew up as a New England Yankee – self sufficient and self reliant. I just won’t call somebody for help. Your friend might have a similar outlook.

Call your new-joint friend and announce.

Don’t ask – just announce that you’re coming on Wednesday to do a useful task such as: run the sweeper, move a chair onto the patio, or clean a bathroom. New joints don’t bend, stoop or swivel very well. And they’re quick to swell up. Some tasks are really hard for us to do.

Create an outing.

Another option is to call your new-joint friend and announce that on Wednesday you’ll drive him/her out for coffee, go to the park for some sunshine, or go to the grocery store.

For me, just because people see that I can walk, talk and smile does not mean that I’m back to normal. Not by a long shot. We who have new joints can use some acts of kindness and help even though we don’t ask for them.

Editor’s Note:’s long time correspondent, Harriet Wallis has written about many topics since this online magazine started. She’s just won the SkiUtah Journalist of the Year Award for the second time. She wrote about her decision to replace her knees and documented her recovery in a series of articles that are a “must read” for anyone contemplating this operation. Now with two new hips, we know she will be working back to top shape with the same courageous vigor she demonstrated before so she she can enjoy the outdoors again

One Comment

  1. Larry Campbell says:

    My wife is 71, has had both hips and both knees replaced- we try to average 50 days of skiing per year. She’s no longer a powder hound, and stays out of the bumps, but if it is groomed or even reasonable- blue or black, she is fine. On many days she out skis many (men and women), several decades her junior, who have all the OEM parts.

    Work the rehab hard (as I am sure you will find) and you will be back on skis, skiing better then ever, with no pain and a better range of motion.

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