Things I planned for:
- Go to Oxaca, Mexico.
- Buy new luggage (preferably in deep burgundy).
- Plant a garden.
Things that happened that I didn’t plan for:
- Lying on the cold tile bathroom floor for 3 hours, unable to move, enduring pain, waiting for Jerry to come home.
- Riding naked in an ambulance and pleading for more pain medication. The kind face of an EMT hovered over me, saying as compassionately as he could, “I’ve given you all I can.” I did have a blanket covering me, but when you break your already fractured hip while getting out of the shower, clothes are not a priority.
- Jerry saying to me in the hospital as I hollered in reaction to the shooting agonizing pain while being moved from the gurney to the hospital bed, “I wish I could take the pain for you. I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
- Nurses calling to me from a long dark tunnel. I opened my eyes and a young nurse with brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, shot a giddy smile with her face two inches from mine. She said, “Everything went well. The surgery is over.” I recall asking in a fogged haze, “It’s over?” She replied with eyes glinting I’m-so-happy-for-you, “Yes, it over.” I wondered, when did it begin?
- 15 days in the hospital and rehab after undergoing surgery for a full hip replacement.
- Learning to walk again with a walker. Being excited over taking my first steps without it. “Yay, you’re walking!” Jerry said.
- Feeling helpless, but very grateful for Jerry who has been, and is, the most wonderful caregiver.
Why do bad things happen?
- I don’t know. Life is unpredictable. What I do know is I have a caring husband, family and friends who send me “melty” things in the mail. (I’ll leave that to your imagination, but consider I love chocolate even when I don’t have an appetite for anything else.) I also know that God is real and comes to you in desperate times when you call on God. And I did. I know of people who say they don’t believe in God, yet pray to God when they find themselves without hope. Even those who don’t believe will reach out to God.
Things I have learned:
- There are a lot of sad and sick people struggling to survive. (I heard these people crying from their rooms while I was in the hospital, and again and even more so, in rehab.)
- There is a long-handled razor called the Giraffe Razor, which you might need if you have hip replacement surgery because you can’t bend over 90 degrees to shave your legs.
- That the things I took for granted are now the things I long for, like making my own tea without needing someone to carry it to me and taking a shower on my own without needing help getting in and out.
- That I now see the world through the eyes of people with limited mobility. And I see more clearly the struggles and challenges disabled persons face daily.
- While sprawled in pain on the bathroom floor, with my face next to the bathroom rug, I realized our bathroom rug looks like a fantasy forest of colored fibers as I peered through it sideways. It’s a perspective I never had considered before. Reminding me that there are so many different ways to look at life.
- That when you have nothing, not even your clothes, you always have prayer.
- And finally, what I learned most from this experience of pain and surgery and the slow process of recovery is this: If everything is always good in your life, then your life is just hmmmmmmmmmm. If you never experience bad, you won’t know what is good, because good becomes the ordinary. I appreciate so much more the everyday things because I have not had them for six weeks, like walking outside on my own and enjoying the 120-degree fresh and sizzling Arizona air. Also, when we experience pain and difficulties, we’re in a better position to help others in pain because we understand. Someone recently told me, “My greatest fear is falling.” I understand that so much better now. But what I can say to her, “Your greatest hope is getting back up.” βω♥♥♥