I start this blog exactly one week since I woke up in recovery after my Total Hip Replacement surgery in Leeds. It is 3.20 pm (by coincidence not design). I am at home and the sun is shining on me and my crutches.
Amazing things have happened this week, along with the unexpected.
Here is the family riddle for the week. “What do mum, Marylin Monroe, David Beckham and Long John Silver have in common?” (I think the Long John Silver clue is a giveaway.)
Answer: “They have all negotiated the world at some time, with the aid of crutches.”
Initially, my crutches were my new best friends – security in a very uncertain new world. Learning to use them ‘on the flat’ and up and downstairs, was demonstrated by and practised in front of a physiotherapist. Professional satisfied, I earned my right to roam along the hospital corridor and go freestyle at home. And I have! My first tentative steps turned into confident steps, then virtual strides! I found myself heading to the bathroom using just one crutch! I have even taken numerous steps in the kitchen – crutchless!!! Now, this sounds like boasting and I apologise. I do listen to my body and it is saying that it is okay. I most certainly am not saying that everyone should be pushing themselves as I have. My actions are not a challenge to anyone else – they have just evolved.
Morning ‘slow starts’ and ‘lie-ins’ are essential, mid-afternoon rests are very welcome, as is plenty of sitting, completing my recommended exercises and early nights.
The pain relief that I am taking is reducing and due to prescription laxatives, things are improving there too – thank goodness!
The toughest part of this week has been unexpected. My entire pre-op focus had been on my physical recovery and as that seems to be progressing along nicely I can address my emotional response to having a total hip replacement.
I thought that while my physical self has been restoring itself, my mind and creativity would be brimming with ideas and I could spend time reflecting and coming up with great ideas – not so! I didn’t factor in the ‘brain fog’ that has taken up residence in my cranial hemispheres. Nor did I consider how much of an isolated burden I would feel, even though all my loved ones have been magnificent and selfless.
Now if you are ‘skimming’ this blog – I don’t blame you, I can go on … please read the next couple of paragraphs. It has pulled me out of what could have been a darker place this week…
Over the weekend I had quite an emotional meltdown. Having enjoyed doing my best to create something that I would use and could share with everyone, the response I received for my efforts was not what I expected. It upset me. I was disproportionately sad and grumpy.
In my emotional state, I reached out to an old friend. I had shuffled up to bed in the afternoon, overwhelmed by my inability to function and frustrated that no-one, no matter how much they loved me, understood me! I texted:
‘ ….Not coping too well emotionally … how do you manage everyone telling you not to do anything, suggesting that you don’t want to anything that actually, you do; just before they go off and do exactly what they want to do, whenever they want to do it? It’s only been a few days and I feel like I’ve lost everyone’s understanding and my usual escape routes (cycling/ walking) aren’t an option? .…’
What follows humbled me. My dear friend of 40 years who faces far more pain and has far more horrors to fight, considered his reply and texted back. These are his sage words.
“… simple answer is no one does understand as they have not been through it
it is like a prison sentence I know but slowly gets better as the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter
worst thing is watching then do normal stuff and you just can’t
answer is you just can’t
so concentrate on each hour that’s gone as a step nearly to normality and try do stuff you can…
do not push the hips past being comfortable but do push as far as you can as that shortens the tunnel …”
I will never feel sorry for myself again during this process but will read and re-read words from an unwilling expert in the field of self-preservation, acceptance and of being the best ‘you’ in each moment. This is the man, if you have read earlier blogs, who has inspired me to push myself further than sometimes seems convenient or possible – because I CAN! Yet again Mr Wood, I salute you!Loading Likes...