Friday, January 23, 2009

Lots of Questions

It wasn’t turning 60, but rather it was breaking my hip that may have forever changed my life. The cute young intern who assisted with my surgery just popped in to tell me that I had graduated from therapy and I could go home today. I asked if I could ever again shave my legs and he said no one had ever asked him that question, but that he would think about it.

Usually getting sprung from the hospital is a cause for celebration, but in my case it throws up a bunch of unanswered questions, like

-- How will I deal with the fact I no longer have a hospital bed with things to hold onto?
-- What will my daily routine be like? Thanks to the little Mac I can still Blog and check my mail like a crazy person all day long, but it will probably not be running up and down stairs to do it.
-- How will it feel to play the piano?
-- What of all the exercise equipment in our basement “gym” can I safely use?
-- When can I drive?
-- Does my Sequoia Specialized bicycle need a new owner?
-- Will Jake have the good sense not to jump on me?
-- How do I shake my legs? Wash between my toes? Cut my toenails?
-- When can I stop sleeping on my back?
-- Sex?

Ugh! With that thought, I face the more immediate issues of how to even get dressed, given I’ve worn a hospital “gown” for the past 4 days. I did pass the PT course on socks, but nobody talked about shoes or pants.

I actually did wake up today with a sense of marked improvement in the pain department, refusing the early offer of drugs. If I don’t tense up, I can make the quads in my right leg do the necessary heavy lifting to move it.

But there are just so many details of daily life that I had taken for granted. It’s going to be a huge learning process. I’m just glad I don’t live alone. But at the same time, I run the risk of driving my husband crazy with all the additional work he will not have to do to take care of me and the house.

I hope there will be a time when I look back on this and it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Right now it’s still looming very large.


Blogger Fire Byrd said...

I think you answered your own questions earlier.... baby steps. That 'll do it.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Yeah baby steps, and for now you'll need to live your life one minute at a time (10 at the most).

Your husband will help you and attend to your every need because he loves you. He probably won't give it a second thought. He knows you need a lot of help right now, so it shouldn't drive him crazy.

And you should not drive yourself crazy by asking all of these questions. You are not permanently disabled! It's a temporary inconvenience and you will make more progress each day. This is not at all like when the elderly break their hips. You are relatively young and will probably make a full recovery. You will be in better shape each day. Don't sell your bicycle!

All of the issues you are concerned about will work themselves out, especially if you don't dwell on them, although it is likely that you will be bored out of your mind for the next month or so. What will you think about during these moments of boredom? Think about all of the things you'll be able to do again after you recover and CELEBRATE!!!

9:09 AM  
Blogger tut-tut said...

Seems like you have a ready list of questions for your physician/physical therapist.

Hoping the pain diminishes with each passing minute!

9:22 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Well, if Dave doesn't step up and shave your legs, I'd like to offer to help wiith that.
Consider me at your service!
Hi Barb! So good you get to go home.
I'd have kept you another day but...well...I don't know anything about it!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You have very real concerns, Barbara. I wish I had answers. I suppose that you'll soon figure out how to handle the important things as well as what's really important. If there's anything a friend can do to help, let me know.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Take one step at a time, and while you're doing that remember to throw in a little determination and a sense of humor, and you will be just fine. When you get discouraged, just remember that you already have demonstrated your ability to take the physical steps, and determination and humor are core parts of your personality. So, you already have everything that you need to succeed. You can do it, Barbara! You can do it!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Aileen said...

It's understandable that you'd have fears and concerns...But I suspect you are stronger than you even think you are.

12:15 PM  
Blogger WDCD/DRFS/aka Sue said...

Barb, I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune. You truly were lucky to be with someone so skilled so you had a good experience in the emergency room.

My friend N had hip replacement surgery after she had given birth to her sons. (She had Hodgkin's in college and her hip broke while she was carrying the boys...they didn't realize that her bones had become so brittle and collapsed until after she'd given birth and so forth.) She came home and had 2 babies to care well as having to get thru physical thearpy. I'm amazed but N did really well. She used to put the boys on a blanket and drag them behind her on the wood floor when she needed to go the kitchen and so forth.

Having said that, you'll do great. You should be able to bike eventually...but a replacement hip will impact your yoga practice...but that's the least of your worries now. My mom just had knee replacement and has done very well...just do your exercises...and try not to get frustrated. And enjoy those painkillers while you get them!! Mom tried NOT to take them because she didn't want to rely on them...but they really do take them while you've got em!!!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Avid Reader said...

My friend's mother in law went through the same thing you're going through, she was bewildered for a few weeks but now she's out running around, driving her car, big smile on her face.

I'm sure your husband won't be driven crazy, more like driven by devotion.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous jamy said...

Your attitude is so great, I'm sure you'll come through this fine--and maybe better than ever! My uncle who had a hip and two (!) knees replaced still bikes, so you probably will be able to do that eventually.

Good luck and speedy, or at least easy, recovery!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous jamy said...

Your attitude is so great, I'm sure you'll come through this fine. My uncle who had a hip and two (!) knees replaces still bikes, so you probably will be able to do that eventually.

Good luck and speedy, or at least easy, recovery!

2:28 PM  
Blogger red dirt mule said...

oh dearest barbara,

i can only imagine what you are feeling and thinking - except for the fact that you ARE sharing those thoughts with us - as open as ever to sharing you and your life with us.

i can remember the terrifying feeling of leaving the hospital after all 3 of my C-sections, newborn in tow. How will I cope? How will I get a good night's sleep? Will this child learn how to nurse properly .... will the pain go away ??

for me, as silly as it sounds, the hospital provided me some measure of comfort. if i needed sleep, the baby was fed from a bottle (such a big No-No); if I were in pain - more medication. I hated how quickly they made me rise and walk around the maternity ward - within 24 hours. In other words, people were there 24/7 to help me with every minute task ...

i feel your anxiety.

and 'baby steps' seem so apropos. keep us informed of your progress and know i am cheering for you on the sidelines, praying for people to step in and help ease your burdens.

my best to you,

3:52 PM  
Blogger wordwitch said...

Hi Barbara,

Sorry I missed your call last night - Maryland just kept me longer than I thought it would. As fo ryour quesitons - call me, I too went through all of that last year when I broke my knee! I was unable to bend my leg AT ALL for nigh on 10 weeks...and then it was a major challenge to start trying to get my muscles back. I can give you some answers -- one thing I found is that pedicures are WONDERFUL.


5:14 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I love all of your personal stories about relatives and friends who have done what I did this week. It makes me feel like less of a klutz!

Today was a day for many slow baby steps as I made my way home and prepared to resume life where I left off on Monday.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

OMG Barbara! Look what happens when I don't check your blog for a few days. Perhaps that is best because now the surgery is behind you and you are on the mend. So shocked to catch up with what you have been going through. I will certainly remember you in my prayers ( I honestly believe in the power of prayer). Lordy! I am kinda still digesting this.

Do what you need to do to get back to where you want to be. You are loved and supported.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you get to go home, even if it feels scary and bewildering! All your questions about new routines and such will answer themselves in time. You'll know what to do most of the time, and when you don't, you'll have excellent resources to draw on. I believe you're right, that you won't really know the full impact of this until quite a bit of time has passed. Hopefully that perspective will include unforeseen blessings, such as looking at your daily routines and physical comforts with new eyes. I have full faith that you'll heal as well as anyone possible could, because of who you are, and that you will indeed look back on this time someday with satisfaction at how you came through it! You can do this!!

And David's a champ; he'll be fine!



7:17 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I'm a bit surprised at how soon they let you out but I guess if you lived alone they might not. Sounds like you have the determination to get better quickly and you are toughing out the worst part now. I bet you will improve immensely in just a week.

9:47 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Glad you are getting out of the hospital. That is very good news. Even with questions and challenges, that is VERY GOOD NEWS.

Cherish it.

10:13 PM  
Blogger e said...


All the questions you have are important and deserve answers aso that you have less anxiety and more information going forward. I suggest calling Deborah, your PT in Bethesda and persons you may know and trust who have had this done.

I would allow yourself time; you will tire more easily, but you can take naps. Do your exercises with the zeal of the newly converted, but also, ask for and allow help so that your body can heal.

Do not look upon assistive devices such as your needed shower chair or elevated loo as inconveniences; A friend who has had two hips replaced uses hers permanently so she doesn't risk falling in the bathroom.

Get your PT to check your house for potential falling hazards. This really was helpful for me when my knee went south. It helped me look at my home in a whole new way.

Enjoy some time just taking care of yourself. That might sound selfish, but it gave me a real appreciation of how resilient I am and how much I treasure the things I can do in life.

Tell yourself, "I can do this," as often as you want...It's the truth.

10:33 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

Shake your legs? You can probably get by without doing that, no? Unless you were referring to hurrying up, or dancing (no, that's cutting a rug, right?)

3:32 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

oh you are home already!! if anyone will find ALL the silver linings you will....

keep on with those baby steps... hugs

10:37 AM  

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