Counting Exercise



At 24 weeks, if I were pregnant, the fetus would be as long as an ear of corn. I could embark on Paul Huddle’s 24-week program to train for an Ironman Triathlon. Perhaps more to the point, if I were 90 years old, 24 weeks of aerobic training would increase my strength by 15%.

And if I were Gertie Cranker, I’d be celebrating my 24-week anniversary of my first surgery for a hip replacement. It’s been 6 months since I visited a grocery store or went upstairs in my house! I’ve canceled 11 speaking engagements, resigned from one job, and have not seen my daughter’s new house, or my own getaway cottage in the Bahamas (now under roof and sided.)

I haven’t been to The Loading Dock on a Monday night to play Irish music, and I haven’t cranked my hurdy gurdy. That’s a lot of things that haven’t happened…

But what has happened is important, too. I’ve grown closer to my family as we’ve embarked on this ‘taking care of mom’ project. I’ve made many new friends, both at Munson and Orchard Creek. I’ve done a lot of thinking about my life and my values. I’ve enjoyed friends in ways I never have taken time to do. And I’ve learned a great deal about love and friendship.

So I’m not whining…but neither did I celebrate much on Wednesday. I went on my daily visit to the Munson Infusion Clinic early that morning. The nurses were bustling about, calling the pharmacy for the medications to be administered and locating supplies (“We just don’t have enough of that plastic tubing. How are we supposed to get through the day?”)Perhaps that’s why it’s called ‘the Confusion Clinic’ by some of us—but in all fairness, the job gets done, the coffee is good, and there’s some interesting conversations between those of us lined up in our tan faux-leather easy chairs with the sought-after plastic tubing leading from our arms to the meds we are receiving.

After that now-familiar activity of antibiotic infusion, I wheel-chaired it across the street to Dr. Spiers’ office—she’s the infectious disease specialist (“Bug Doctor”), you may recall. It will be her decision which will give the go-ahead for my next surgery, because right now the issue is about the infection more than it is about the hip. The Bug Doc is a lively, fun lady and one of the pluses of my 24 weeks. On our second meeting she said, “Judith, I really like you, and I’d like to be your friend when you are well. We could even go SHOPPING together!”

Of course I like her!

Bug Doc was most excited about my most recent lab results. “It’s the first real sign we’ve seen that you are getting better!” she said. My hopes rose, until she added, “Keep doing what you are doing and I’ll see you again in three weeks.”.


That makes it a total of 27 weeks since October 8, and Quick Draw the hip surgeon will still be on vacation in a warm place with lots of sunlight on the ocean. So let’s extend the time another week, making it 28 weeks since the initial surgery. 28 weeks later. That’s the name of Danny Boyle’s 2007 suspense film, “Twenty Eight Weeks Later.” Ironically, the film is about the re population of London after a disastrous infectious epidemic, and it’s filled with images of new life in the abandoned, ruined city. I guess that’s a parallel that needs to be taken to heart, because it WILL happen to me.

New life will come.

I know that’s true, and I can make  it….after all, I’ve managed 24 weeks, so what’s another month of waiting?


4 thoughts on “Counting Exercise

  1. Dear Judith,
    I’m happy to read about your progress and empathize with your disappointment regarding the tacked on three weeks. Good to know that you trust and enjoy the company of the ID doc (bug doctor), and I’ll look forward to one day reading about a shopping trip.

    You write eloquently about finding hope after disappointment and keeping the bigger picture in mind. Perhaps most important, I appreciate how when life keeps you from using your days the way you’d choose to, you can still choose to find ways to live fully those days.
    With hope and wishes for continued Healthy Survivorship from a friend-of-a-friend of yours,
    Wendy S. Harpham, MD

  2. Good morning Judith..still out in Colorado..back on Monday evening..thinking about you & your journey everyday..give Twist a big hug & keep up the great work & good reviews from the Doc’s..

  3. Judith,
    I was visiting the blog of Pastor Carlos Wilton, who referred to a quote by Friedrich Nietsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It got me thinking about tough times.

    Wilton, a survivor whose lymphoma is currently stable, says, “Those who have the audacity to believe in the resurrection can attach a little addendum to that saying: Even the thing that one day kills us will do the same.”

    I suggested to Wilton adding yet another addendum: “But it makes us weaker and more vulnerable before the changes take place that make us stronger.” To read more,

    with hope, Wendy

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