Thanks to the many family and friends who have responded to my post on August 15th, celebrating my anniversary and what I took to be an upturn in my recovery from my hip-replacement surgery on August 10th. This post will combine a post-operative update with a comment on the DNC convention.
The recovery has been up and down. I’ve had some seriously painful days between the 15th and now with a couple of days, such as today, when life doesn’t seem so bad. Last weekend, I had a seriously painful sequence of days when I ran out of oxycodone and I couldn’t contact the physician to get a new prescription. DO NOT let this happen to you! I had developed a false sense of security by sticking with the required four hours between pills. When I had to go eight hours with no pain medication, the consequence of running out on a weekend, I discovered how bad the pain was underneath the narcotic-induced sense of recovery.
I had thought the swelling was only in my thigh, but when I changed the dressing on Saturday, I noticed the swelling went down the entire leg, terminating in a foot fatter than Trump golfing.
Slightly panicked about the possibility of a blood clot, I checked the internet and discovered that a swollen leg and fat foot were characteristic of the post-operative period. I got a new prescription late Monday, giving me some relief.
I had an appointment with the physician assistant on Tuesday; he reassured me that my wound was healing and that my swelling was in fact significantly less that expected. He also gave me a reality check: people usually go six weeks before they began to ease off significantly on the pain. Some other reports from friends said that I might expect an upturn after three weeks but certainly not before. Taking all this into account, I cancelled my participation in a marathon I had scheduled for next week.
I think of myself as a resilient character. I’ve gone through a few rough spots in my life but except for the long period during Sarah’s cancer and after her death, I have usually been able to meet adversity with humor and perspective (which really means: wait, life will get better). This has been the first major operation I have had without Sarah or friends who have stayed with me during the post-operative phase. My image of myself as Daniel Boone in the wilderness has suffered some injury.
I am trying to scrape some meaning out of this experience. I know something is there: joints wearing out, replacement of nature with artifice, dogs for close friends, virtual love from family and friends, COVID-19 isolation, grandchildren, guitars.
I know if I weren’t an atheist, I could take this reflection in a different direction. But the best I can do is imagine my recovery as symbiotic with this nation’s recovery, so beautifully represented in the virtual DNC convention Tuesday and Wednesday, capped by an ex-president speaking as one might wish a president should speak. I have been thrilled by the extent to which the DNC has unapologetically embraced the values of my family and friends: diversity, love, forgiveness, environmental responsibility, community, hope. We seem to be healing together, meaning enough for me.