Happy Hipaversary to me! Can you believe it is the one-year anniversary of my hip-replacement surgery? On this day last year, I was being wheeled into the operating room to be surgerically operated on with tools resembling those purchased at Lowes—and perhaps they were. I was so worried that when I would be knocked unconscious, I would never awaken again. My fears were similar to many going under the knife, and clearly, since I am writing these thoughts, I am a survivor.
While my four-inch scar is still a reminder of that day, I am happy to report that it is fading more and more each day. The pain is little to occasionally minimal, and I no longer fear going on long walks. Sometimes I am even told I am walking too fast. I can now squat, kneel, and get up from the floor with little effort beyond a slight push from the floor, so I feel that the operation was a success.
When going through security at the airports or in buildings with metal detectors, no one knows my secret because my bionic parts raise no alarms.
I often wonder why this happened to me. Having an aunt and a first cousin who beat me to the knife raises the possibility that my arthritic hip is a result of imperfect genes, or could it have been caused by my late-life decision to join a traveling tennis team? I will probably never know, but my children should be warned of the prospect that such a procedure could one day happen to them.
The one thing I avoided doing, but am now seriously entertaining the idea of doing, is to finally watch the YouTube video of the operation. The big question is: should I do it before or after I eat?
I had an encouraging day yesterday—hip-wise that is. I have noticed that I am sleeping better and getting in and out of bed with less trouble. I have decreased the amount of Tylenol from twice/day to one or none, so I told Dad that I wanted to experiment with driving.
Not be able to drive has been unpleasant. I hate the lack of independence, but it has made me even more sympathetic to Grandma, who has been openly annoyed and indignant regarding the loss of her driving privileges, and people who can never drive.
Despite being excited at finally getting my wings back, I was also worried. I was afraid that I would not be able to move my foot quickly from the gas pedal to the brake in the event of an emergency—like a bunny or a squirrel dashing out in front of my car.
So I experimented by getting behind the wheel and ever so carefully moved my foot between the two pedals and was surprised at how easy it was. There was no lifting of my leg, which was what I had imagined, but instead, just the gentle shifting of my foot.
We first drove around the block, staying within the confines of our little neighborhood and then ventured out to the bigger loop road, where the speed was higher and the distance greater. Now I felt as if I had been liberated from my shackles!
Then Dad and I moved to an exciting project, which was de-pollinating the screened porch. In the past, this has been my project, but because of my hip situation, he did the bulk of the work. This involved lots of vacuuming and moving furniture, while my job was to help him fold the covers, wet Swiffer the tile floor, and point.
Everything was going along without complications until I looked up and saw a gecko out for an afternoon stroll on the screen. I no longer fear these little green friends as long as they know their boundaries. But after the setback I experienced when I shook my leg after thinking a bug was crawling on it, I told Dad I was feeling anxious about not being alone, particularly after witnessing Gordon jump. I was positive I was in danger of dislocating my hip.
I can just imagine the call to 911 and my doctor. “How did this happen?”
“Gordon did it,” I would explain while they would look at me and shake their heads.
When the days grew closer to my hip-replacement surgery, I did a lot of research regarding what I needed to have on hand post-op. I borrowed a special chair for the shower, a raised seat with handles for the bathroom, a walker, and a cane. I bought new pj’s, including a nightgown in case I did not want anything touching the site of the scar, as well as some loose-fitting pajamas for lounging around the house. I got an additional pair of nice sweats for company along with something to wear out to lunch. I even purchased a pair of slip-on sneakers/tennis shoes in a larger size, which turned out to be a good idea because my foot did swell in the beginning. However, I never considered what I would wear once the weather got warmer.
Last week Dad took me shoe shopping (I am not cleared to drive yet), with the goal being locating a pair of light-weight sneakers along with sandals without a thong thingy dingy doohickey between the toes. (This was not easy to find.) I knew none of my sandals would have the support I would need as I learned to walk again, and the long-range forecast showed it would be shorts/capris time within a few days.
As I walked through two different shoe stores, I was reminded of how different it was to purchase footwear now compared to my childhood days. Shopping nowadays involved walking through many aisles, which were filled with boxes upon boxes of shoes, until I located a style in my size, or if I had gone to Belk, the salesperson would have retrieved the boxes for me.
In either case, the next step was the same. I could not believe how much crap is shoved inside a pair of new shoes! Before placing a shoe on my foot, I had to first go through a multi-step crap-removal process.
The first step involved removing the shoes from a plastic bag, then extracting a damn piece of plastic which was tightly wedged into the shoe up to the toe, and finally, I had to pull out a foot-shaped scrap of cardboard stuck underneath the plastic. By then I wanted to go home! Thats when I was transformed back to the good old days of yore.
As a child, there were several places Grandma brought us for shoes. One was a place called Zandel’s, which was near the State Theater in Boonton, another was in Parsippany, located where Home Goods is now, and the third was located in Morristown, which I believe I went to when I was very young and had some sort of foot problem which required specialized shoes.
In all of those stores, I would sit in a chair and wait for the nice salesman to come to our assistance. First he would ask me to stand on a contraption to determine my shoe size. (Note that I said salesman, because back in the day, it was never a saleswoman.)
Then after retrieving the shoes himself, he would then return from his little shoe warehouse and removed them from the box while I would sit idly by like a princess. Next, he would sit on a special stool, which was designed with an inclined area for me to place my foot so the salesman could place the shoe on my feet—Prince Charming style.
Grandma would then tell me to walk around the store to ensure that they were comfortable, and then she would pay for my new shoes. There was no work involved on our part–none, nada, zilch, nothing! In the modern world, we have no Prince Charming placing our glass slippers on our feet. We are on our own now. Those were the days my friends!