Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Three weeks plus, and the pain is abating. Less Tylenol. I started the week with walking up a flight of stairs on Monday, followed by a very small series of even smaller standing poses on Tuesday. Wednesday it felt like a very large fist in a steel glove had pounded my left hip. Did some more lying around, watched The Moulin Rouge. I'm feeling better.

I keep meeting, or hearing about, people for who THR has been recommended, who are putting off the surgery. For some, it comes from a doctor's recommendation. There was an ex-dancer I spoke with in Montreal who was told by his doc to wait as long as he could, and could barely walk by the time of his operation, 8 years later. He wished he hadn't waited so long. There are others who choose to live with the pain, than go through the operation and recovery.

It took me awhile to get used to the idea of having surgery. I remember the phone call when my doc told me I needed a hip replacement. I cried. A lot. Somehow I thought there would be a less drastic solution to the growing pain I'd been living with.  I think it was a good 18 months, maybe two years before I was ready to go on the list for hip replacement surgery. When I finally did, I wished I had done it sooner. I was lucky to be able to go on the cancelation list, and both times jump to the front of the line through someone else's misfortune. Though going in for surgery with only a week to get used to the idea is a bit intense.

For sure it's an intense surgery. The recovery period is long. But it could be worse. Brain surgery, for example. Chemotherapy. Some kind of 'ectomy where you have something removed that you'd rather not. It's true that this surgery is elective. You can choose to live with severe arthritis. Many people do, by choice, or by necessity. Just pop pain meds all the time. Don't depend on being able to run for a bus, or get down on the floor to play with the kids. For a physical person, getting the procedure done seems to me a no brainer.

I was told I'd have a 6 to 12 month wait, and I've heard of longer. It can take time to find just the right surgeon. I'm so lucky here in Victoria. We have a pool of excellent surgeons grouped in a new 'Rebalance' centre. The Joint Replacement Clinic guides you through the pre- and post-op process. And it's all covered by our health insurance - unless you get ceramic hips, which I did. Worth every penny, though, for longevity.

Against the 80 or so (if we're lucky) years of a lifetime, 3 months, or even the full recovery period of a year to 18 months is tiny. It feels long from here, but short on the other side, I remember. Right now, the little steps of improvement are exciting, but underwhelming. Each week passes slowly. I still have two months to go, as of tomorrow, and it seems interminable.

My memories comfort me. Last time, once the three month mark was over, it was so liberating to slowly stretch out my tight muscles. The only thing holding me back was the degeneration in my left hip. The endless recovery became short as it receded into memory. This time, I'll be able to pull out all the stops. It's going to be so good!!

 I am so blessed that I can go in to surgery with a week's notice. That I don't have to go back to work, and sit in a desk all day with an aching hip, or use my crutches to clump around a sales floor. When I broke my elbow twenty years ago, and had to register for college wearing a soft cast, my left arm in a sling. Every little thing was so difficult. A day that was already intense, with endless forms to fill out, line-ups to navigate, and decisions to make brought me more than once to tears. I was in pain, and one hand short for things like carrying books and opening doors. It was hell.

Today Zack drove me up to the platform on the hill to meditate. We sat in a patch of sunlight, looking out of the Sooke Basin, and were serenaded by spring birds. This afternoon, I might repot some plants on the deck. If I get tired, I'll chill on the couch and read 'Tiny, Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed. (You can find her here: I am truly blessed with a supportive and loving family. I am so grateful also to you for coming with me on this journey. Namaste.

Today's Quote is from the very inspiring Cheryl Strayed: "Your life is here and now. And the moment has arrived at which you’re finally ready to change. I know it. The thousands of people reading these words right now know it. And you know it too.. We have the power to heal what needs to be healed. We get to give ourselves that." 

1 comment:

  1. I would love to come & see you sometime soon, my friend... so long since we've chatted.. and can I meditate on your platform?!! :) Big hugs to you and to the family!