Living one day at a time is a good philosophy to uphold regardless of what’s going on in one’s life. I would extend that sentiment to say, “Live each day one moment at a time.” It’s good to plan, set goals, even write a bucket list, but doing so addresses the future, not the present.
When I was admitted to a local hospital for hip replacement surgery, I knew that would be one step toward many that I would accomplish to attain complete recovery. I had no idea what accomplishments I would be able to celebrate or in what order they would appear, I simply knew I would eventually be able to move beyond my physical restrictions.
I was right.
Walker. Yep, I held onto this piece of durable medical equipment (DME) like it was my lifeline…because it was. I learned how to use it while still in the hospital and once I got home I outfitted my own walker with a multi-pocketed pouch wherein I stored necessary items: water bottle, iPhone, iPad, tissues, snacks, so that wherever I landed, I was set. Two weeks post surgery I was able to retire the walker. What a lovely step in the right direction.
Cane. Using my Hurrycane is liberating – I say is, not was, because it’s still attached to my person as a means of transportation. Today, November 6th, marks one month since my surgery and I am still nowhere near ready to retire this piece of equipment because I still need the support it provides. I’ve even learned how to use it as a pick-up-something-I-dropped-aid, as long as the dropped item is thicker than a piece of paper or bigger than the Vitamin D3 capsules I take every day but sometimes end up on the floor. I drop things often enough that my husband simply follows my trail of items to discern where I’ve been lately.
Raised toilet seat. I know, there’s a visual all of you would prefer not to have, but early on in my recovery, it was a requirement that meant the difference between responding successfully to my most base urges, or…not, and that visual would have been far worse to contemplate. Fortunately, it served me well and I retired it three weeks post-surgery.
Medications. Okay, this is a tricky one. I abhor having to take medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, but when your leg is sliced into, requiring major manipulations by the surgeon and his jolly helpers – not to mention sawing off sections of a bone that I would no longer need – a person is going to have lingering pain issues that need to be addressed, and this person sure does. I am a very slow healer; an 80-year old can have the same surgery as me and return to yoga or square dancing classes a mere two weeks after receiving their bionic hip. Not so, I.
So here I am, wishing I was further along in my rehabilitation but refusing to compare myself to others who appear to be better off post-surgery than I am. I can smile throughout my day and sleep well at night knowing I have one of the most effective rehabilitation tools a person could hope for: my husband. Jerry supports me physically and he supports me emotionally, the latter of which has been almost more important than the former. He recently held me in his arms on the couch while I bawled into his neck, saturating it and his t-shirt with my tears. On that particular day, I was tired of hurting. To be sure, pain is very taxing on one’s body and emotions – there is no separation between the two – so if my body is having a hard time, so is my psyche.
Is that a lose/lose situation? It can be, but if I remember to live one day or one moment at a time, I’ll be less inclined to allow fear and frustration to take root. Fear is based on the future: what if I never get better? what if the surgery didn’t work? what if I am never able to be as active as I want to be? what if I never stop hurting? All future-based.
When living in the moment I can celebrate my ability to:
- climb the stairs in my house two at a time instead of one;
- walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve the mail;
- get in and out of bed without assistance;
- bathe with very little assistance;
- dress myself;
- do more tasks in the kitchen than I was able to do four weeks ago; and
- hold my grandson and give him a multitude of smooches while he sits on my lap.
Regardless of how long it takes for me to get back to “normal” that time will come and when it does it’ll be right on time. In the interim, I’m going to acknowledge each moment as precious and not concern myself with that which has yet to occur.