I’m on my way. I’ve shagged my walker. I use a cane only when I’m outdoors and only to help me relearn a normal gait, while still dealing with some pain. I’ve loaned out my walker and raised toilet seat.
In my mind, I’ve missed August and September. Except for hours of Law & Order reruns, I couldn’t accomplish much—either pain or the pain meds or isometric exercises kept me inactive on the couch. I had to wait for the fracture to heal that occurred after the hip replacement (due to the weakened area where the screws were removed). To think it’s already the middle of October, and the last normal day I remember was July 25, the day before my surgery when I ran around getting a massage and a pedi.
Now, however, I’m filled with gratitude. Especially for my surgeon and the PA who guided me through this whole affair. Who even promptly responded to my 4am note on MyChart: “I need help!” I followed that with a detailed account of the intensity of my pain and where it started, traveled, and ended. To complete my desperate narrative, I described the accompanying involuntary leg spasms, along with Charlie horses, in that operative leg. I was a mess. But they responded, and here I am!
Last week, I was discharged from the surgeon’s care. “Come back in a year.” I announced I wouldn’t be back for a decade. I had anticipated that this may be my final visit, so I’d written what I wanted to say on a 3×5 index card.
I saw the PA whom I appreciated as much as my surgeon and asked him to convey what I had to say to the surgeon. Two major items. First, I was awed by their immense skills. I’ve read the surgical report several times–the PA had assisted the surgeon. They’d encountered resistance with one of the three screws they’d had to remove. Those screws were put in during a hip pinning after a fracture that had occurred in 2006. After removing the screws and closing that incision, they’d proceeded with a second incision to do the hip replacement. The surgical report makes for a gripping read. I’m impressed each time. And grateful.
Second, my legs are now equal in length. Since my hip pinning 16 years ago, my operative leg was ½ inch longer. I’d had to work hard in PT not to “waddle” when I walked. Living then in downtown Chicago, when I walked the streets, I always had my shorter left leg/side near the buildings, and my longer right leg/side on the sidewalk that was slightly slanted down for drainage. Otherwise, I’d get really sore hips.
I noticed my lack of “leg length inequality” for the first time last week Sunday, my first day back to church. When I stood to sing, I held on to the pew in front of me. I noticed both of my feet were flat on the floor. Since the hip pinning, I’d always been able to swing the shorter leg a bit when I was standing to sing. No more! A miracle.
In a pre-op visit to my surgeon, I’d asked him if he could make my legs equal in length again. I’m not sure if he’d ever had that request because he chuckled a bit and said that making a leg shorter would be easier than making a leg longer. So now I wanted him to know how happy I was to be even-steven again. And grateful.
I’m still in PT for strength building. I’d had to forgo strength exercises during the six or so weeks that the fracture was healing. So far I am failing stair climbing. Luckily, I have no stairs in my house, but my PT reminds me I may be in a burning building some day and might want to get out. Humor always helps!
I’m slowly getting back into my former life. One, maybe two, events a day. I’m thankful for everyone of you who walked alongside me the past few months! Also, my daughter’s heavy dose of humor complemented mine and helped me through the most unpleasant of times.
The night after I saw the PA, I lay in bed enveloped in feelings of gratitude. I asked Alexa to play George Beverly Shea, a favorite soloist of mine since my childhood when he was with Billy Graham. The first song he sang in his deep comforting bass voice was God Will Take Care of You:
Be not dismayed whatever betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you.
Indeed! I shed a few tears. I fell asleep with that chorus replaying in my mind. Listen to the words as sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir here. They are most comforting!