For a lot of this process that’s been happening in my life since October 8, I was prepared. For the first surgery I did some exercises, bought some equipment for the bathroom, wrote a will, rented a hospital bed, and set up a downstairs recovery room for myself in my screened-in porch. I was proud of myself for all of my pre-planning and organization, which all worked beautifully well….until I fractured the femur and had to go back for the ‘revision’, as it’s so delicately called.
For the second visit, I moved the hospital bed into the living room (it was getting a mite nippy out in the three season room.) I complete a bunch of work and started some other projects designed to keep me occupied. I took the dogs to the kennel, and myself to Orchard Creek, and concentrated on the physical therapy part.
But by the third surgery, which followed the strep G virus rearing its ugly head, I was floundering. I didn’t expect to be staying overnight at Munson, let alone over Christmas. But there I was! Fortunately, I had purchased and wrapped gifts, sent cards, and had friends who decorated my house. I felt a bit like Martha Stewart, though without Christmas lights and carefully decorated canapes (oh shame, I even drank pre-mixed egg nog…but it was sooo good). Sarah was home for New Years’ and we celebrated with fondue made in the new electric pot I appropriated from Jon’s Christmas gifts.
I was, however, beginning to feel a little like I was running behind the bus and not catching up. I was still planning to do a presentation for a real estate association in Florida, but I had cancelled the one in West Virginia. And I had my ticket for Eleuthera, ready to fly there on February 10.
It’s clear to me now after this last surgery that I have turned around the downhill slide I was on–Dr. Quick Draw says the fractured bone is healing nicely and should present few problems in inserting a new prosthesis (even though in the meantime I have no hip joint!), and the infectiously delightful Dr. Speirs says the blood work is showing good progress in combating the MRSA infection. But I am now at another level of coping–the level which says 6-12 weeks of being hipless in TC, and then a new hip and recovery process all over again.
This is for real. No ‘make do’ measures: it’s going to be long term enough to make permanent changes to my house, and my life style. I’m arranging for a ramp into my house rather than those two steps and a landing (Now you can come and visit me, Marcy), and I am going to redo the downstairs bathroom to accomodate a barrier-free shower. It’s time to get a medical recliner chair, too, the kind that helps you stand up. And I’ve cancelled all my presentations up through May and told Social Security they’s better start sending the checks now! There are lots of other grisly little business chores too–income taxes, changing health care providers, transferring the title of the old Subaru to Jonathan and Lisa, finding a home (or homes) for my dogs.
I think back to some of the life-style change conversations I overheard at Cedar Creek, and I am coming to understand how much courage these decisions take, and how much energy. I also realize how glad I am to have begun the process of prioritizing and articulating my values and personal goals as I worked with a life coach over the past two years–at least I have been able to complete a lot of the preliminary work and the task is not quite so daunting, the process of new beginnings not quite so frightening. It’s also a process I can use to enhance my own skills as a personal life coach, once I move beyond wheelchair ramps and shower enclosures as the defining projects of my life, and a get back to rebuilding and rediscovering and reinventing Gertie Cranker.