During the last three weeks, I have gained a new understanding of what the word dependency means. I have also had a glimpse or two of what old age will probably be like. Fun times. On June 12 I had hip replacement surgery. Having had knee replacement in November of 2011, I felt confident that hip replacement would be a breeze. I would be out of the hospital in three days, and during six weeks of recovery, I would enjoy catching up on movies, reading for as long as I wanted, and diving into some research for a book I’m planning to write. I would hardly need a caregiver. They will miss me at work, but I had left things in good order and all would be well.
Well . . . things haven’t quite gone as I had planned. Beyond getting used to my new hardware, I’ve had a couple of annoying tangential issues that have destroyed my glib notions of peaceful hours in my recliner reading, watching, and surfing the interweb. Alas, I probably won’t be able to get caught up on my Rosetta Stone French lessons or perfect that Bach concerto either. I have discovered one very important thing, however. My temporary total dependence on my doctor, the hospital staff, and my husband has given me a hint of what those with debilitating medical conditions go through. It has been surreal at times, talking about my “condition” as if it were another person in the room. It’s also been humbling and sometimes humiliating, and it forces a realistic expectation of what the future may hold for me or someone I love. Grownup thoughts – ugh.
Of course my challenges are minuscule compared to the blessings I have of faith in God, a job with good health care coverage, tremendous medical professionals, a loving family, and a long-suffering husband whose reward is in heaven. But, I am truly thankful for the bit of empathy I have been given that links me to those whose challenges don’t heal up and go away.
I like to include a pithy quote at the end of these blog posts, but the only thing I could find on this topic was the sentimental song about friendship, Lean on Me by Bill Withers. Though that is a great song, Psalm 91 talks about God as a true refuge and a shelter from that which would harm us. His strength covers our helplessness. The imagery is beautiful.
“If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” ~Psalm 91: 9–12