Monday, January 08, 2007

there IS life after surgery (or: my so-called Christmas vacation)

What's the good, the bad and the ugly about spending your Christmas vacation recovering from total hip replacement? That's the question I had answered for myself this past month since my last entry.

The good -- everyone is home for the holidays rather than at work or at school, so if you get it done on December 18 like I did, you have a maximum amount of help at home. Bill's last day of the fall semester was December 14, so I had his undivided attention during surgery and afterwards. That was good.

Also you don't have to fret over holiday cooking, cleaning or gift-giving, you do the best you can before the surgery date and after that you leave it for everyone else. Since I perpetually sweat it over how to celebrate Christmas or The Shopping Season That Fuels the Rest of the Year's Economy, this was good.

The bad -- The drugs were not all that I had hoped for. In my old age I seem to have become overly sensitive to opiates, so morphine and percoset and their ilk made me pukey and nauseous most of the time. So it was six of one, half dozen of another when it came to pain. The ex-hippie in me was hoping that legal drugs would be the only up side to recovery, but alas it was not to be.

The ugly -- being unwell sucks. You can't pray, you can't read, you can't socialize, you can't look forward, your world turns into hours of endurance punctuated by the smallest joys, like taking your first post-op shower. It's not for nothing that most of Jesus' miracles involved healing the sick. Unless you are living in starvation-level poverty, the poorest healthy person has a better life than the richest sick person. I am reminded again of how the whole caregiving/care-receiving cycle mimics the fall and redemption of humankind. We are fragile, we forget how fragile we are, we are dependent on the kindness of others, we are all connected to one another and to creation, and all creation is still laboring to reveal the sons of God, as St. Paul writes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hearin' you on the drugs. This is your friend in NJ! You may not ordinarily be the type, but consider accupuncture. Curt found it very helpful at an earlier point, and if you get an expert in it (well recommended) it's considered a legitimate pain mgt strategy. Up around these parts, there are some very legit practitioners, and even ordinary medical drs are OK with it.

Debra Murphy said...

Best wishes and prayers, Rae, for a speedy recovery! (Bummer when those lovely drugs don't work as planned!)