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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.]
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.