Healing

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. 

2 Replies to “Healing”

  1. Good Morning Irv –
    Welcome to the New Right Hip Club. I went thru this in the Fall of 2016. One of the best decisions in my whole life. For me it was a whiz, but your pains ring a familiar bell. My sister, who still lives in Menomonie, and her neighbor across the street, both had hip replacements, and they went thru similar stress and strain. Plus they were still limping around and in need of a crutch months later. One argument for universal health insurance is that it covered a week in the hospital post-op plus three weeks of rehab and that made the difference. During rehab I was off on longer walks thru the town. Nevertheless, experience has shown that you will need a year before you are back to normal. (The downside was that I came home with a painful infection in my urinary tract that lasted for weeks, but that is the subject of another letter.) Atheist or nor, you are going thru a symbiotic healing experience that is also a cleansing process for you own grief at the loss of your beloved Sarah.
    The Corona experience has brought me back to what is essential: food and water supply, a roof over your head, and transportation, and what is non-essential: cruise ships, expensive cars. Email and Zoom contact with friends around the world, including yourself, has become very meaningful for me. Without it, life would not have been so pleasant. As I grow older I notice that people are passing out of my life. For many of them, there was not really a lot to talk about any more, but with a few others, like yourself, with whom you share values and shaping experiences, the internet has made it possible remain in contact.
    That these friends are still alive and have retained their values is a comfort in this post-modern dark age.
    The DNC convention had a few high points, but I was disturbed by the fact that too many speakers were like a visit to the retirement home: Jimmy Carter, the Clintons, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders. Even the Obamas, as marvelous as they are (especially Michelle) are on the verge of past history. I missed a longer address from AOC and the rest of her “Squad” or Stacey Abrams (a Wisconsin native btw) as well as too little Latino presence. That is the future. Kamala alone is not enough. Diversity, including LGBT. is a big issue in New York City but not in Rapid City. Jobs! The DNC has embraced the right issues, but I only hope they don’t fuck up the election the way they did in 2016.
    On this
    Not enough future: AOC, Stacey Abrams

    1. I am so with you. I hope they don’t fuck it up. First, we have to get Trump out. And then we have to learn how to treat people with different convictions with respect and search for a common language. Our generation is going to fade away — like old Cadillacs (Dizzy Gillepsi). I know in my town so many wonderful young people who tolerate people like me.

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