Hip Replacement Adventures 8: Tools, Rules, and Kvetches

Wednesday will be the beginning of the fourth week post-hip-replacement surgery, and I’m at that central point — too far away from the pain to be grateful for the surgery itself and too far from recovery to be full of beans. It’s just like doing art — that center point where you can’t go back but forward seems to be tooooo haaaaard. No end in sight, no light, not even a train, at the end of the tunnel.

Howsomever, I knew it would come to this, so I thought it was time to praise my tools, the ones that enable me to think that things really might progress. Even though I reason that “progress” is an illusion, in this case I’m content with imagining it to be a verity. So last night, when I did the math [14th to 39th is 25 blocks, and up and back to 39th is 3 miles/ 50 blocks, so 17 blocks would be a tad over a mile], it gave me a great thrill to realize that today I could try to walk a mile.

And Jer has finally consented to allow me to go all by myself, crossing 20th Avenue all alone.

Luckily, I’m not walking with the ugly walker. A walker was absolutely essential the first week and a half, but as Janet said, it really is just a cage.  The cage was worthwhile in that I couldn’t do the dishes, but was less fun in the bathroom.

I’m posting this photo to prove my humility in the face of the universe. I really did use this ugliest tool in the world and was grateful for it, particularly during that very first post-op shower. But it never improved in looks (and has now been folded up and relegated to the basement).

I have graduated to my walking stick (AKA cane). Much more in keeping with my self-image, particularly as I am wearing Mara’s ankle length, wraparound skirts and haven’t bothered putting my hair up or braiding it. The walking stick is of a piece with the wild-haired, dark-clothed sight  I project as I parole the neighborhood.

I’ve had this walking stick for years and rather like it — good for whacking snakes and poking at puppies who want to tangle me in their leashes.

The other tool I am exceedingly fond of is my grabber. Actually, I have two grabbers, one to grab with and the other to grab the grabber with.

The rule that I must obey with great fidelity is the 90-degree bend rule — no movement that bends me more than 90 degrees at the waist because all the internal muscles and tendons are still fragile and healing. This means I sit down in ungainly ways and I never pick up things from the floor. I don’t mind this when it’s the newspaper that fell out of my hand as I fell asleep. But when it’s my towel in the downstairs bath, and Jer’s upstairs and can’t pick it up for me, it’s downright annoying.  So I requisitioned the garden grabber, previously useful for pulling beer cans out of the firethorn and picking up magnolia leaves with when one is waiting for hip surgery.

Above is the end of the upscale officially sanctioned grabber, which has a magnet on its foot, just in case I need to pick up pins. You can see the top of the handle, with the lever, in the first photo, where it is attached to the now-banished walker. And below is the garden grabber, kept handy for the 8 –10 times a day I drop the first grabber and need to retrieve it:

It’s surprising how fast one gets attached to the most mundane of apparati. Or comes to despise them, depending. I am really fond of the wrap-around skirts that Mara made for me. And although I slept upstairs last night for the first time and that was a great relief, after my almost-one-mile-walk this morning, I was truly grateful for the (alas, also) ugly rented bed that’s installed in the front room, downstairs.

But I’m still without stamina, and tired of being tired, and really really want to get excited about doing art but can’t work up the energy for excitement. This too will pass, of course. But what is a blog for, if not to kvetch.  And it’s especially useful when I get to brag about  being humble enough to use –and show — the world’s ugliest piece of useful equipment. –June

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5 Responses to Hip Replacement Adventures 8: Tools, Rules, and Kvetches

  1. Reva Basch says:

    Glad to see you’re oot and aboot!


  2. Del says:

    Sympathy, laughter and understanding. Del


  3. Terry Grant says:

    Yes, I too am envisioning the witch of SW Main, with gnarled walking stick and wild hair! I should have known you would never go the sweatpants route–you have an image to foster!


  4. Carla says:

    Love the walking stick. I totally agree with your assessment of the tools.


  5. gerrie says:

    I love the image of you with hair down and the skirt, hobbling about your neighborhood. If it were colder, you could wear your cape and it would really make a statement.


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