I’ve been called up to the Show!
That’s the way I felt when I spoke to the nurse on Monday about a surgery cancellation for Thurs (yes, tomorrow!). Well, my first thought was actually “perfect -- I have time for a pedicure.” Thankfully, I didn’t say that out loud.
Thrilled at the opportunity to resume my active lifestyle 19 days earlier, I sprang into action like a woman on a military mission, feeling 10 years younger.
Then yesterday I walked into the hospital’s required “joint replacement class.” As I looked around the packed room, I started feeling like the median age of 82. That glimpse into my future was alarming.
Moving from mobility issues to hip replacement realities has made for a new set of learnings this week.
As I listened to the joint replacement teacher give advice for all the “support” people, I kept thinking “damn I should have married so I could quickly ask for a cot when I get to my room.” I’m now second-guessing my notion that the nurses will help me post-op. Our 25-year-old joint class teacher explained that we would have the mobile numbers of the nurses on duty. Do they trust me to dial doped up? If you get a strange call from me on Thursday or Friday, please ignore it and don’t think you need to come help me to the bathroom.
In all seriousness, the issue of needing assistance as we age has some big implications for people who live alone. I’m fortunate to have friends and family to step in and help with this last minute surgery change. But, it might not always work out so smoothly.
Key Learning: Creative contingency planning is mandatory
Routine disclaimers of blood clots and unforeseen circumstances have camped in the back of my mind. Thankfully, I have Estate and Living Wills all set up. Then I realized that my next of kin has not visited my new home in Park City. This brings to light the need for constant updating of personal papers. I’ve now got one afternoon to send updates and new instructions.
Key Learning: Routine risks in life = Routine affairs update requirements
Where’s the Walker?
I’ve experienced a rollercoaster of emotions about how others perceive my hip ailment over the past months. Wanting crutches instead of a cane to look more like a sports injury victim; looking around before getting out of my Jeep in handicapped parking; staying on my barstool when I had to go to the restroom because I didn’t want an attractive man to see me limp… The list is endless and ridiculous.
On the eve of surgery my perspective has changed. I’m suddenly giddy at planning a direct path to use my post-surgery walker on a main beach sidewalk. Steadiness and healing are my number one priority. I don’t care if I look 102!
Key Learning: Getting a hip replaced does not mean you are mature!
Thanks for following along on my journey to discover a new aging attitude. I strive to see opportunity in all things and this experience is providing me with a world of self-discovery and a great deal of empathy. I’ll let you know how it all turns out next week when the drugs wear off!