PAGES FROM MY JOURNAL…
THE COUNT DOWN!
Because I live my life experiencially and have commited myself to ‘making lemonade out of lemons’, I could no longer sleep until I understood I had to create a community for other hip replacement recipients – so that we do not feel alone and scared, and in pain we do not understand. Pain that runs deep and does not go away, no matter what we try…it just keeps returning.
What have I learned from this slowed-down life of going, going, going? I have learned how to be, how to go within and really take a look at what my priorities are. Yes, I am a mother (a single mother), I am a daughter, a sister and a friend…but in the decades gone by – I had lost who I was – for ME. Now, I get to take that back. I get to take care of me. The question then becomes – HOW do I do that? What are the steps of putting the airplane mask over my mouth first???
I get to create my own Users Guide; to learn and relearn who I am and how to care for me. And you know what…if it took a wake-up call like a hip replacement to get myself back on track with ME – than so be it. I am thrilled to have met some incredible other Hipsters who have learned, and are learning, the same ways of self-care and nurturing.
What a great Club to be a member of!
I was laughing the other day regarding sex. It’s become a foreign thought at this point, and so has bending down or tying a shoe. I thank all those men out there who have offered their services to me pre-surgery, but my heart (or body) just wasn’t in it. I have it on my list post-surgery, right after putting on socks and walking more than a block down my beautiful street.
“Say goodbye to my little hip!”
I am so very grateful to my new Hipster friends who have shared with me stories, emotions, experiences and tips that they have learned through their process of becoming a Hipster. I feel honored to learn from courageous people I have not even met yet; people that care about me wihout really knowing who I am. At night, my mind races and my body just can’t get comfortable. I think about all of the life changing things that have and are going to take place. My new Hipster friend Lou called me this morning to tell me how much fun it will be when the airport alarms go off and I get to be patted down by the security guards.
I began to think about the “Zimmer” appliance I will have installed in me and how funny it would be to incorporate that conversation in Hipster Meetings….are you a “Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Wright or Zimmer” Hipster?
January 15, 2007
|Hip Hip Hurray|
|January 19th — Loved pushing all the buttons on that hospital bed!
Well, today, it’s January 25th, 2007 and I am home 3 days from the hospital. I kept pushing the “call button” because the nurses kept shutting the door. Alone in a room, in the dark, in pain made me crazy. I finally had them write a note and leave it on the door….to keep the door ajar. I drove them crazy with my button-pushing finger. Note to self: let THEM know the do’s and don’t of you as a patient.Since I’ve been home, I have gotten so many flowers, so my place smells beautiful while I am going through my healing process. I am in pain. I exercise my hip with 4 different movements every few hours (ouch) and walk with my walker (what a trip!) I can acutally feel the appliance within me – I am calling it “my magic wand”, so it’s really sometimes so crazy.I alternate between feeling like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and a newly bionic ME. I thank the creator of “the grabber”, raised toilet seats, deli and chinese food and my family and friends, who have been amazing! I have been keeping a journal of notes from the past few days, while my mind is so active my mind is active; I have been gathering resources and insights.Life, however feels surreal and I cannot believe what I am experiencing; talk about humble and slowed down. Do you guys want to see my scar?It’s my initiation into Boomerville, and my personal badge of courage and an intimate souvenir. At this point I can’t really think about the end of the year, when I’ll have the other hip replaced – I am just taking one day at a time with the help and support of people around me and from within; and I trust that everything happens for a reason. I have to hold on to that!
Slightly dramatic for sure…
We all have something going on! That’s why I tell my son and anyone who listens never to wish you were someone else or wish for someone else’s life – because you never know what they have going on. It is always better to be you and love your life no matter what. Easier said than done, and advice that I have found very hard to follow at times with the intense pain I have been experiencing for the past 16 months pre hip replacement.
Crap. I dropped my “grabber” and I can’t grab it!
I cried. It was those tears of not being able to put on pants, or socks, or shoes with ties. I had the ‘it-sucks-to-be-me’ blues. The hardest thing about being a type A personailty is seeing something on the ground and not being able to pick it up. The cruelities of life…my own mythology, so near and yet so far. I kicked the grabber to where I thought I could get it but it escaped me. Now I have to wait for someone to come over so I can operate below 90 degrees. The regulations of “hip replacement 101” are not bending, crossing legs or turning pigeon toed.
I’m living inside my head, while my body heals. No errands other than walking into the next room, with the aide of my walker. I am a little self-protecting, the leg must have pressure so I have to lean on it. Ouch. Yet there is a piece, and peace, of sanity and recognition that I have triumphed. Courage. Self care. Knowing I will prevail and be stronger than before. Life throws challenges, yes – and then we move through them.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Success is not measured by what you accomplish but rather by what you overcome to achieve it ”
Today I oiled my ‘Tin Man’ body with liquids and chinese food, and got online again – which felt great to connect to the virtual world again. I have to admit that emotions go high and low; and I can cry easily and sometimes feel very emotional – but mostly up at this point. There is a good deal of grieving a loss that may happen, it’s a normal reaction. However, mostly I am in awe of what can be done by science. I am also in awe of how people pool together to help each other, at least – that is how I wish to view life. My life.
I’m off to rest now and ponder, with care, this life changing situation I’m in.
Thanks for checking in with me today….I will continue to share it all with you.
And, remember you are not alone in this!
January 27, 2007 – a week and a day since surgery.
I wasn’t warned by other hipsters that I will go through a grieving process, it comes in stages. Partically from the pain meds and also from the loss I may feel.
Estoy muy triste. I woke up crying…grieving huge tears; more I had obviously not let go of. So deep a feeling, a bittersweet sadness dipped in gratitude. I made it through the past 8 dark nights and the painful days so far, into a different sort of pain. My tears are translated into a knowing that I want to live even greater now, be more present, feel more alive, give more openly – allow true love in. I feel cleansed from the tears this morning, they poured out of me with no effort, like a rainstorm during a tornado. Tears and inner thunder are followed by a dewy, sweet smelling next day freshness I look forward to.
There is so much life to live and I am grateful to have gotten to slow down to sense it and allow it in. And it’s important to acquire as many tools are youc an – to live your new life. Not just HIP tools, but emotional ones are well – to clear yourself of the old and get ready for the new!
I hadn’t realised fully how much running I was doing in my life…to and away from. Now I get to sit (when I can) and BE. Feels self nurturing. Feels like very comfortable shoes, or baked potatoes with lots of butter. Thai chicken coconut soup. Watching Jane Fonda in Cat Balou. Pretending my calico cat is a bunny. Writing in my blog. Thinking of clever reality shows.
It’s a countdown now, 5 days until my hip replacement here in Los Angeles, at Cedars. I have been lucky enough to have met other Hipsters through friends, and friends of friends that have helped me through this long and life changing process. Friends try, but no one really understands the depth of the pain and grieving the loss of an active life on all levels.
I used to joke about being a card carrying AARP member, now I feel older than my own 84 year old mother…who, by the way, is flying in to take care of me after my surgery.
March 9, 2007
I have a few new words to say. Of course, after I apologize for not writing for some time. To be truthful, I got very down and feeling sorry for myself. If I hear one more time that I am too young for a hip replacement, I may scream! See why I have not written in a while? But this is all real, it is part of the process. Some days are good, some are bad. And your friends can not really understand the pain, the mourning and grieving and the knowledge that your life has changed forever. Not in a bad way, just different, we have been initiated!
My mind (a dangerous neighbor at times) goes to the place where I know I need to get the other hip done as well. I know we are not given more than we can handle. I know things happen for a reason. And I know these challenges make you stronger. Do we really need to be stronger? Face it, life is surreal. And it is hard when you face these challenges as a single.
I am basically a positive person, and I know life is all about making lemonade out of lemons. I am an expert in doing just that. BUT, between the pain and having to slow WAY down, I got low. People pass me, walking quickly and sometimes I want to knock them over with my cane because they are so unconscious about the world around them. What ever happened to opening doors for the handicapped? It is making me far more sensitive and empathic for those young and older, with handicaps.
Today, I went to the Y for the first time and took a pool exercise class with my new friends. I was the youngest and the most inflexible in the class. It was given in warmer water and the instructor was great. I walked to the pool in my cane, reddened scar vulnerable to the world for the very first time. I felt great afterwards.
I drove there (second time I drove), and that felt good.
I left the Y so proud of myself, and in far less pain all day afterwards. I am not sure why I waited so long. In three days, I go to PT in the pool for the first time, but I like these classes because I want to be relaxed and comfortable in my own skin in public. I want to continue to be proud of myself, and excel in small ways in my recovery.
7 weeks out and counting, and I am taking more than baby steps now and feeling good about myself. Going out and doing my “firsts”. First dinner out, first day at the Y, first drive, and I am going to do first movie. It’s all about getting back in touch with the firsts in life, the simplicity we forget surrounds us. And gratitude really really helps, and although it is hard to find at times – it is our savior. If we cannot find the gratitude, ask a friend to help you see it. The magic is everywhere, it just escapes us at times we get overlouded with other emotions and life challenges.
I met a new, very cool Hipster (from South Africa), by chance through a friend who ran into her coming out of a store. She is a double hipster who actually lives three blocks from me (what are the odds of that?) We’re going to do some co-creating of a Hip Happy Hour in our community of Santa Monica, and we’re very excited about it. I have to say there is a very special bond between Hipsters; it is because we have shared such an intense and life changing experience. It bonds you instantly, and you get to share experiences that others may not be able to relate to. It’s truly a club!!!!! I have another hipster, Ava, who I have not yet met and who has helped me immensely pre and post surgery, who is going to drive out to meet me today too! I feel lucky.
SO — What are your proud moments? Would you be interested in a Hip Happy Hour in your area? What would you most like to tell others who are going to have a HIP replacement?
Starting to feel —
March 25, 2007 – Happy birthday Mom! I love you!
BUT, today again I am….Sad.
Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad.
I’ve been working in the pool, been walking, been trying to have a great attitude. I even cut my hair to make a change and monitor hip process by hair growth. I miss my longer hair…I miss my hip. My mind is not acting like a friend today. Need to call a friend for a reframe of my reality. I know people have bad years, cancer, loss friends they love – it’s the reality of life. The fragility. I feel vulnerable and really tested. Body parts, relationships, the aging process (no matter what age you are)…and most importantly – frame of mind and ATTITUDE. We all need attitude adjustments. We all need a sounding board and friend to hear us and make us real. We need to feel real, like our lives have purpose. I am in this place for now. What is my place, what legacies am I leaving behind, how do I make a difference yet make a living. How do I stay healthy and thrive?
How do I remain ME… staying passionate and feeling vital and alive.
April 4, 2007 – Happy Birthday Sam!
It’s coming on almost 3 months since my THR (love how we abbreviate everything these days). I toggle between feeling lucky to live in modern times and feeling like I am aging too fast. It doesn’t help anyone to feel sorry for yourself, so I try not to – BUT it is not easy at times. I live a life that is meaningful in many ways, I live with a wonderful son and have some great family and friends yet, the pain is my own.
People run through life so fast it is hard to slow down and be there for someone else sometimes, and I guess I have grown to do things on my own. I come by it honestly. My fears are that my body is on the fast track, my hope is I can manage it and slow it down with healthy food and thoughts. Because I look so young, people find it hard to believe I am going through what I am. I simply do not want to hear another time that I am “too young” for a hip replacement. There is no such thing anymore of being “too young”.
So, for today I am grateful to be alive – to feel my life has meaning and really – life is about finding and feeling love, overcoming challenges and helping others – which I hope I am doing with this blog and my websites and support groups. (www.makinglemonade.com for single parents of all kinds; www.hipsterclub.com for those of us who have had hip replacements.
I am looking forward to, and am getting ready for, a relationship. I feel I have gotten to know myself on deeper levels, some quite dark and damp – BUT I have also revealed more of the whole ME to myself and others…becoming more vulnerable and stable on my own two feet. Bionic and more real!
Two more weeks til MY birthday (April 24th)! Interesting time to begin a new birth year……I always thank my mother every year for giving birth to me! And today, I include myself for giving birth to a NEW ME!
As always, I remain your hipster girl – Jodi! HippiestNOW – the other shoe drops — but it’s A hip!
April 24th, 2008 –Happy birthday to me! I’m a mere 54 years old…and, after 16 months of my left hip replacement – and now my right hip is giving me a lot of pain! SHIT!!!! JUST when you think life is getting good. So, I’ll have to spin this situation out of “whoa is me” and place it in the “another challenge” category. I’m a hip woman in an older woman’s body…not a crime. The thought of being double bionic doesn’t excite me but it’s not the worst thing either.And, I know I’m not alone in this hip replacement world…..otherwise YOU would not be reading THIS blog! SO…what do we do; we have pain that no one else can understand – unless they have been through it too. We get frustrated and scared and our lifestyles are not the same because our movement is altered. If you’re like me – you isolate yourself.Friends notice but there is nothing they can really do except listen. But even speaking about the pain or fear gets old and no one (expecially he opposite sex) really wants to hear about pain over and over again. The breath of a full life slows down; contemplating options becomes a full time gig.
June 2008 ………
So, now what do you so when you feel the other hip starting to fall into the pain mode? When life is good, and you are grateful and part of you is waiting for that other shoe to fall….well, mine has now! As they say – it is always something. Pain sucks and you can either give way to depression or sadness or seclusion or you can make the most of the situation. I chose both…..in increments of red wine, tears and feeling empowered to make decisions for my own life.
I am starting, finally, feeling more like an empowered woman, and less like a Guinea Pig!!!!