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06 February 2013 @ 01:22 am
 
Apparently I still cry every time I see someone take that first step after a hip replacement, whether it's a cranky Maggie Smith character off in India or a snarky and frightened 13-year-old girl on a medical drama who's afraid everything she has known about her life thus far is over (and boy do I know that feeling). I still cry. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever stop crying over that first step. I don't think I will (especially because I'll likely be taking another or even two in my life time); I'm good with that.

It's been more than five years since I took that first step post-op (and I was stubborn as hell about it, pushing myself to do it that first night despite the anemia). I'd had four operations before that and finally putting my weight on the leg again had always been something I waited and yearned for, even when I knew the operation had failed and my hip was back to dying.

There was nothing so frightening as that first step after the replacement; it felt like the biggest leap of faith in my life. Logically I knew that my muscles and skin (however stretched) were still there to hold and support me, and that there was a walker waiting to receive me, but there was still this long moment of understanding that I was putting my faith into a body part that was not mine; I was trusting this thing to hold me and support me the way my flesh and blood hip would. Something foreign. Something that wasn't me.

I was so afraid, and then I stepped, and then apparently I passed out--but I did it and I was on top of the world.

I know it comes to mind because it was just on Grey's Anatomy (and how hard-hitting was that, to hear a teenager saying something like "when my hips started hurting I thought I had just pulled a muscle so I kept training" which is very much my story); it also has been a bit of a reminder for me. I've known the fear of trusting something foreign with almost everything I valued in my life; I've known the fear of wondering if my life would be irrevocably changed and in a painful way; I've known the fear that comes with the answer "yes".

It's not unusual for anyone my age to feel frightened of the world, least of all in this time. Some of it is still the personal fallout from that answer of "yes", facing that I could never and can never do the 'dream careers' I pictured when I was 14 and fractured and just starting to love ecology and the environment (which I went on to study in university). Some of it is the difficulty of finding even the simple jobs that won't cause me extra pain when so many of my friends do something like "oh I'm desperate for cash at this moment, I'll just work at Dunkies until I find a better job." Some of it is the knowledge that anything I end up with will cause me pain because just by living my body is painful. Some of it is regular young adult stuff from my demographic: this new world of taxes and bills and credit scores and student loans and the looming knowledge that I really need to learn how to iron things and should probably learn to sew a button on a shirt.

I guess I was just reminded of the value of balance and to have faith in myself to find that balance, even when something is foreign and new and I have to trust it enough to stand on it so things can work out. (And, I suppose, that passing out or failing from time to time is okay provided there is a mother or nurse around to quickly catch me and set me right again before anything drastic happens like a heavy meeting with the floor.)

Sometimes I just still can't believe I took that first step. I remember everyone watching Best Exotic Marigold Hotel just waiting for the Maggie!character to get out of the wheelchair and wondering why she wasn't (in Housemate Z's mind) and all I could think was, "Because it's hard."

I just like to remember, occasionally, that I can deal with things. Real things.

[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]
 
 
 
 
 
shadowycat: Ocean Homeshadowycat on February 6th, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC)
You're right, you can deal with real things and hard things. You know because you have and you will again. Life is full of challenges, pitting ourselves against the universe. You got an early start with the hard stuff, but it seems you more than proved you can handle them with grace and humor. This was quite an inspirational speech to wake up to on a Wednesday morning. Thank you!
Venturous1venturous1 on February 6th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
**seconds that**
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Bow for the pug.cranky__crocus on February 6th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dearheart! *Smiles.* Not sure I've ever touched on grace, but humour I do try at. (; (My favourite is one of my responses to the frequent question of why I got a hip replacement: "Well, you break it you buy it, right? :D ")

I'm pleased to know the post did something for you as well! I wasn't completely sure why I was making as I typed it up, but I paused the episode to do so and it seemed to be one of those things that just wanted out.
shadowycatshadowycat on February 6th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
Some things just need to be said, and I'm glad you gave in to the impulse. :D And that's a great response to that often repeated question!
Venturous1: GRIEFventurous1 on February 6th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you so much for this post. I am awash with ... feelings, things I want to say.
Trusting the body I have is so difficult for me, I have terrible fear of my body letting me down, and now, due to a lifetime of excess weight, I have what I've been calling 'the wages of sin' (yeah, I know. NOT helpful), both knees giving out to arthritis and no health insurance.
I'm terrified when it hurts, and sometimes working out makes it hurt less. Sometimes the simplest thing makes me feel like I'm broken for good. I dread but hope for joint replacement some day but probably feel that I don't deserve it.

I'd like to say on my behalf that I'm normally quite sane, but I'm afraid that isnt even true. ;-\

I too cheered for Maggie, and have held a friend while she took her first steps. I know it can be amazing. But its a helluva journey getting there.
Kiwi Crocus: Animal || Awkward giraffe.cranky__crocus on February 6th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, goodness goodness, you are so not alone.

I still have difficulty trusting my body. There are some great nights (and as you say, sometimes working out makes it hurt less) when I can do regular 'young person' things like participate in a mean game of manhunt with a bunch of teens. Other times I try to stand up and my leg wobbles of refuses to let me up at all.

I've had terrible knees since before I had a bad hip, actually (since I was at least 8) and the doctors have agreed that I'm likely headed for early arthritis somewhere in my legs. The knowledge of that and that I'll likely need another hip replacement or two in my lifetime... It frightens me, especially from my place in the Right Now, when I am on my parents' insurance but not for much longer and still not eager to jump into a real Career.

Sometimes the simplest thing makes me feel like I'm broken for good.
I understand this all too well.

And I think you deserve joint replacement, if the day comes in the future that that is your best option. I hope you will be kind and compassionate with yourself and your body. For a while, if you wanted, you could even borrow a cane of mine! I'm sure my collection will have increased by then. (:

Eh, I don't hold too much stock in conventional sanity. Perhaps because I never know if I'm "normally quite sane" either! Good on you for helping your friend with that first step; I'm sure she won't forget that. I only forgot the details of mine because I passed out--and I didn't remember that part until I read my mother's journal; I only remembered getting myself up and taking the first step on the same day as my operation. Glad my mother was there to get me safely back to bed when I did pass out, though!

I send hugs for if you'd like them!
Venturous1: Ven-Vventurous1 on February 6th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
hugs are love, I'll take em. ;-)
I bought my first cane recently, its flashy turquoise aluminum32222222222e44 (cat sez hi)
and collapsible, and I've been learning how to chuck my pride and make good use of it. climb stairs! feel less wobbly! after all, if Greg House has a cane, how uncool can I be?
thanks so much, it's great to share about this. and I'm so glad you had your mom to catch you!
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Kiwi cottage.cranky__crocus on February 6th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
(Hello, cat! ♥)

Flashy turquoise! That sounds lovely. I've got a few. Tartan (nod to Minerva), blue floral, black collapsible, dark wood, light wood, and one more colourful floral; I'd love to pick up a rainbow cane someday. They're one accessory I never feel guilty about getting, since it's a necessity. (:

Chuck your pride! Oh no, this should only add pride: you're joining a very exclusive group! Canes really ought to be all the rage. They're customisable, very balanced and grounding and centreing, and great as both a third leg and arm. Climbing stairs and feeling less wobbly are lovely, absolutely, and what we all strive for--but we can give love taps. Or tap our canes impatiently (which is a very powerful statement). We can turn them over when we're seated and use them to drag things closer to us (or with other seated people, hook them around an ankle and give a slight tug for a show of impatience, appreciation, flirtation or whatever other gesture we include). We have a weapon for if anyone so decides we are weak. We have something to twirl on the occasions that we learn how--automatic leader of the colour guard there! We can poke elevator buttons two or three steps before anyone else provided we work on our aim.

You can count yourself lucky to be in with the cane club. (;

(Or, well, this is the sort of humour one must keep so that pride doesn't get in the way. It's problem that I'm sure all cane-wielders carry. I know I've had it since I was 15.)

Feel free to share about it any time! I know it can be refreshing to talk about disability sometimes. Some of my favourite moments in university were ones I spent with my dissertation partner (whom I convinced to get a cane instead of using her two crutches) when we were just laughing about ridiculous stuff with our disability. ("Have you ever put your cane down in a bathroom stall and then almost knocked it into the toilet? I HATE THAT. But then if the toilet is all-round gross I can flush with the cane instead of my hand, so I LOVE THAT.")
Venturous1: cat yayventurous1 on February 6th, 2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
*g* I figured out the elevator thing, and love to twirl, so I'm getting it.
I like the expressive bit, and I'm more than happy to wield a weapon. The extendable arm is right handy, too. <=pun

I'm taking the dog for a walk today, its sunny and almost warm. I'll practise my twirling.
Kiwi Crocus: HP || Pomona || Colourful grin.cranky__crocus on February 6th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha that's definitely the spirit. :D I should really practise my twirling again. I was never on colour guard (didn't have one in my high school, but I was borked by then anyway :P ) so I've just had to teach myself random things. Maybe next time I'll try youtube! They have tutorials for everything.

Loved the pun. C: Perfect. I'll have to use that some time soon!

Enjoy your walk! I'd love to go for one myself but I'm still recovering from my weekend of rough-housing, so I'll have to wait a bit. My dog is back at the family home, too. =[ I'm hoping I can bring him here for a visit one of these days.
?: Whateverelsceetaria on February 6th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
I still watch Grey's. I actually thought of you when I watched that episode. I didn't know you then (by many definitions of know, I still don't), but you are strong and amazing and you can deal with things.

I love reading your entries like this. They are so relate-able and just overall awesome. There was so much that I kept thinking I know the feeling even though it is because of a completely different situation.

::Big hugs::
Kiwi Crocus: Ani D || Brain disconnected heart wired.cranky__crocus on February 6th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Great icon. (:

Screw the other definitions; you know me. These days, Internet friendships count as much. And hey, you've met people IRL that I've met IRL! The only reason I'm living with the people I'm living with now is because my platonic life partner is best friends with one of my good Internet friends and PLP and I happened to live in the same state so we met up.

Thank you for your kind words. ♥

I'm glad it's relate-able, too! I know that situations should never be compared, but it's very easy for different things to stir up feelings of similarity and relate-ability; that's what I tend to go for.

Hugs back!
CaroRulescarorules on February 6th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
You are so strong and will keep getting stronger. You are truly an inspiration.
lash_laruelash_larue on February 6th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
I still remember how excited you were at that first bit of walking.

And perhaps Fluffy v2.0 will mitigate the pain when her time rolls around.

In any case, I'm sure you'll deal, and yes, if you can find the humor in things it helps. Hell, we're people, we're just funny.

L
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Doggy hat.cranky__crocus on February 13th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
I still remember how excited you were at that first bit of walking.
That I was!

I hope Fluffy 2.0 will mitigate the pain. I'll admit I worry a little bit just because I know hip replacements get harder to bounce back from with time, but I've always been quite resilient so I can only hope that will hold out even if it's a bit trickier.

Hell, we're people, we're just funny.
And funny-lookin'!
jean_doe_27jean_doe_27 on February 7th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
I think that losing trust in your body is one of the hardest thing to experiance. Not to be sure that your body will go back to waht it was (and let's face, once this question is asked, it probably wouldn't).
But we are humans and we adapt, and you seem to be doing grand job with it. I think that this experiance will be of great use in the path you have chosen for life. YOu are an inspiration.
Kiwi Crocus: Women || Rachel and Dorothy.cranky__crocus on February 13th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
(and let's face, once this question is asked, it probably wouldn't)
So much agreed on all you've said. Thank you for the kind words, as well; I do hope what I've been through will help on my chosen path and also help me know how to be compassionate with others.
101mutts101mutts on February 11th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
Lovely post.

Personally, I think one of the greatest benefits of going through difficult experiences is knowing that you did and survived.
Kiwi Crocus: Nature || Birds of a feather.cranky__crocus on February 13th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think one of the greatest benefits of going through difficult experiences is knowing that you did and survived.
Totally true!