Your surgical experience will be unique.

Therefore, sift through what others tell you about their experiences, salt those accounts away, and don’t take them out of your experience cupboard unless you find them useful to your situation.

There is nothing to be gained by lamenting you are doing more poorly than the rest of the universe or by bragging you are Joan of Arc and looking forward to your next surgery. 

As much as you’d like to cheer or warn others facing the same experience who ask for your advice, I’ve learned from a friend that the best advice is, “Everyone’s situation is different, so that’s a decision only you can make.”

There is no such thing as over planning for the time you will be out of commission.

For example, I planned to sift through a zillion slides while I was hanging out on my couch with my feet up. Reality? If I’m on my couch, I fall asleep. And when I wake up, I don’t care a hoot about what I might find on those slides.

Repeat that for everything you thought you would accomplish while healing. The only thing I’ve become adept at accomplishing is finding reruns of Law & Order: SVU.

However, I am trying to accomplish the joy of not accomplishing anything. The joy of being instead of doing. Unfortunately, I never had to take classes on that or found any reason to seek out relevant information, so I sit in my recliner and stare for hours at my back yard. It rarely changes, so I guess it’s a good example of learning to just be, because the experience doesn’t demand anything from me but to stare. 

it’s lovely actually, but not for six weeks straight

To the point of over planning, I think it may have helped me to have had a list of at least 27 things I might like to do should the occasion arise, as it has, that I wouldn’t be up and running in a few weeks. Making a long list while I still had the unmedicated marbles in my brain to do so, greatly ups the probability that a few items on the list might still hold interest. As it is, my now medicated marbles are incapable of thinking. So I do only things that are ingrained from habit—eat, sleep, and shower.

Sometimes let your mind roam. (It may help to unclog neural pathways.)

Like it’s dinner time now. But I haven’t had lunch, because I got up at lunch time, so I had breakfast. My sleep timer is way off whack, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that I sleep. Period. Trying to sort out this lack of a reliable sleep timer is enough to screw up any neural pathways that may have been operable prior to surgery.

I told my local kids yesterday that I plan to be healed in three weeks. That’s the timeline I plan to give my doctor at my appointment next week. I’m calling it positive thinking. Those words were written on the latest marble that I caught sight of in the back part of my brain when I closed my eyes to take a rest from my view of the back yard.

I’m in need of a diversion from all this being and staring. I’ve already planned to change the paint color in my living room. Staring at nondescript colorless gray walls for six weeks has promoted a postoperative stupor, and I clearly need some jazzing up. My daughter doesn’t want to look at one more paint color. I think that she thinks that I’m obsessing. But what else can I do when I must look past these walls to stare at my back yard?

gray walls (gray walker, gray recliner, gray carpeting, gray leggings–just too much gray)

Oh dear me. If you can help me attain an inert state of being while I’m unable to be in a doing mode, I would appreciate your input. Just remember the being must be done without doing in a boring gray room by a hoping-to-recover-soon fractured hip patient who stares outside all day.

With your help, I may make it to my goal of being cured in three weeks!

Oh, but I forgot the most important thing. When I started to write this post in my head, I told my marbles there not to forget the most important item. Only one person had told me about this ahead of time. And it wasn’t in any of my reams of pre-op literature.

BUY A SIDE RAIL. I guarantee you will need it.

For every movement I make in bed, I hang on to my side rail. Remember, your affected leg does not listen to your brain. So while you are trying to jam the required two pillows between your legs that appear artificially glued together, you can hang on to your side rail with one hand while you jam and squish the pillows in place with the other. Trust me. You will thank me for that tip.

I’m sure my daughter will put yours together also–if you need help–when it arrives from Amazon in a large imposing box. And note how it even works with a hi-low bed. You just put the thing that pops into the hole in a higher hole on the headboard side of the side rail. Ingenious. And I told you so.

indispensable side rail
notice difference in placement of the thing that pops into the holes

I could ramble more, but my clock now says it’s almost time to get up. But I haven’t gone to bed yet. I think I’ll try that first. And, by the way, I’m finally getting relief from the fourth pain medication I’ve tried. I’m grateful to my doctor for his prompt response to my 4am note on MyChart that I started out with “I need help.” (I could see headlines in the local paper: “Eighty-year-old Local Resident Screams for Help at 4am…and She Lives to Tell About It.”)

Don’t forget to give me ideas on how I can just be and not do! Please don’t make me think too much. As you can see, incoherency is my medicated marbles’ gift right now. And, I forgot to mention, reading doesn’t work for me now either. Written words seem to fight with my medicated marbles for synaptic space. An alliterative problem perhaps?