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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Processing


I'm traveling next week. Could that be why I feel so churned up. I don't know what to do with myself. I am between jobs, but there are two sure assignments in my future, so I should not be anxious about that. I should be relaxing into the freedom of this moment, relishing it. Instead, I am wound tight as a fist, the fist locked around my heart, and I don't know what to do about it.

I'm traveling next week to a family reunion in Jamaica, all of us in sweet cottages on the beach, and I shall have to put on a bathing suit, which fills me with dread, no, to be more precise, with loathing. How can I be so at war with the body I am in? So unloving. My husband wants to climb Dunn's River Falls with me, to recreate a photograph we took on our honeymoon thirty years ago, the one about which our daughter said, "Daddy, you look so happy." He does not truly understand that my left leg is little more than window dressing, a prop that requires careful positioning at all times, with no cartilage in the hip, bone on bone, nothing connected, unable to support me, and so I do everything leading with my right leg, and try to pretend away the pain in my left. I don't think I will be able to climb the falls, and—the feeling pervading my week—I feel like a failure because of it. He has this romantic idea, and I love that he does, but it might not fit the reality of who I am now, which makes me feel like a killjoy, an encumbrance, and kind of lost.

I cannot walk without pain. Climbing stairs is excruciating. There, I said it.

I'm kind of fucked, really.

Why? Because I'm too fat for a hip replacement, and will need to lose about a hundred pounds to be assured of success. And don't hip replacements only last fifteen years or so? Does that mean I'd need another one down the road? Never mind that I am actually terrified of having a hip replacement because my cousin, who was the age I am now, died during his recovery from the same operation four years ago. Just slumped down off the chair in his apartment alone, and stopped breathing. A blood clot, an embolism, something happened. They found him the next day.

My own left hip suddenly jarred with pain at his funeral. I'd been running around all morning, moving tables and chairs into position for the repast, and at a certain point I took a step and crumpled with pain, the hip suddenly locked. That must have been the afternoon the last piece of cartilage wore through. But I was in denial. I limped along. At the time, I was primary caregiver for my bedridden 92-year-old aunt and also for my 89-year-old mother, whose health and mobility were precipitously declining. It was months before I actually went to a doctor. And now here we are.

My doctor told me last year that my left hip is already at end stage, and so won't get worse. That landed for me like a bit of good news. Okay, I thought, so this is what we're dealing with. Okay. It was a shard of certainty.

So now you know why I write this blog under a pseudonym. I'm an over sharer in the worst way, because I need a place to work out what I'm feeling, to look at it cold, and this space allows me to do that. Even just writing this, which might sound like a self-pitying whine, has settled me a bit, helped the churning inside me to gentle itself down.

Thanks for letting me share.


16 comments:

  1. Poor you.
    Forget it all for a while.Come over for a cool drink and play detective with me.(You will see what I mean)

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  2. I refuse to support the statement "over sharer in the worst way," uh huh, no way! I think you share just the right amount. I appreciate that you share your feelings and your reality and I'm glad you can feel safe to do so here, pseudonym or no :o)

    I am very sorry to hear that your hip gives you so much pain. I hope that you and your hubby can sneak off to something else romantic that honors where you are now.

    I also hope that your anxious tension can unfurl a little bit and that you can begin to relax-I know it isn't easy and sometimes we can't help but be tense no matter what tricks we try! Hopefully we both get some chillaxin' time to drift over us shortly :o)

    Hugs.

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  3. Nope, doesn't sound like a self-pitying whine. Sounds like a mortal
    being. May your time at the beach be deeply refreshing.

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  4. Listen. I grew up watching strong West Indian women take on all that comes their way, handling the impossible with a smile and a sweetness that belies the pure iron just below the surface. I have been reading you long enough to know that you are one of them. After a lifetime of shouldering that emotional, spiritual and psychic load, never mind the physical, aren't you entitled now to a period of reduced drive and increased TLC?

    Tell your man that you just aren't able for that climb, much as you would like to be that young woman of long ago, you cannot be. I always say that men don't really change after their first child, but everytime we as women bring someone new into this world or bury someone we are changed forever. How can you be that young woman after bringing so many in and seeing so many out of this world? After burying your aunt and your dear mother. My dear, go and sit by the sea and let the tide speak to your blood. Bathe in the sea and let that sea-bath soothe that hip and all those other pains. Old people say there is nothing like a sea bath and they would know. Get some ceresee bush and drink the tea. And when you start to heal inside and accept the beautiful, accomplished and yes, battle-scarred woman that you are today, I think you will get on a list for that surgery. No one will leave you alone to get an embolism and pass away alone. When you are brave enough you will do all that needs to be done. Until then big-up unu self.

    -invisigal

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  5. Well, I think that Invisigal is exactly right about us being women and how each child takes some of us. It's just the truth. And oh! How I understand! I have to use my hand to pull my right leg into my britches. Not for balance, but because that leg just doesn't go there by itself anymore. And I'm in pain all of the time and have I been to a doctor? Oh hell no. Okay, I did back when the pain started which was about thirty years ago. "Nothing, nothing we can see." Fuck.
    You do NOT overshare. And why else do we blog? Hell, I read a guy's blog who basically says the same thing every day which is, "Went to work. It wasn't horrible. Came home. Did yard work. Looking forward to the weekend. Hope I don't do too much yard work."
    I'm serious. Why do I read it? Because it amuses me so. But do I care?
    You know the answer to that.
    I care about you. We, in this little and precious community DO care and we see you sitting in the surf or paddling about, smiling. We see you with your husband who loves you as you are, and has romantic feelings about you. We see you as so strong that when you get a chance to sigh and let the burdens drop, you have no idea what to do because you have no practice in that.
    We see you as incredibly beautiful.
    I like to think that we see you as you are.
    Love...Mary

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  6. Oh friend, I'm sorry for your pain. Is the 100 pounds what an expert doctor said?

    The technology of these things improves drastically and quickly. I tell myself this, as I need surgery on my hips, but only if I want to not be hurting. Do you also carry tension in your hips?

    I wish the best of vacations for you.

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  7. As a person who has cared for people before and after hip transplants I can tell you a few things. Part of the reason you are needing to lose weight in the first place is because it causes you so much pain just to walk, never mind moving enough to get your heart rate up to burn calories. And I can promise you that dying from a blood clot after surgery is very, very rare. Surgeries are so different now. After every surgery they put these puffy things on your legs that keeps blood moving. They also get you up very soon after surgery. They used to let you stay in bed. No more. You get up and walk around. I would consider getting a second opinion on the weight loss before surgery. One surgeon may have different criteria.

    I think men age differently than women. My husband seems to be getting better. I am going downhill so fast. Weight that won't move, grey hair, these gawd awful red marks all over my body, sagging everything... I look like shit. I am not kidding. The last picture that I had the nerve to post on my blog was a really good day with great lighting taken by my sister who takes pictures professionally!

    Okay, I am rambling. I happen to think you are interesting, intelligent and beautiful.

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  8. Pain is invisible and I think it would be a better world if that fact were not so. It is hard for others to understand the extent of one's suffering. So we must keep trying to explain to them.

    I hope you find a new, accessible place to take a romantic shot. And if your husband is intent on climbing to those waterfalls, perhaps he can take a large head shot of you with him and take a selfie with your photo :)

    I hope you take strength from Birdie's post because she has had experience and that is what you need to face surgery. I fear medical stuff, too, so I do understand ... probably 95% of the population fear it, and the other 5% are just weird. Doctors do have differing opinions on things; I think Birdie's advice there was especially good.

    Remember Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I would also add that people will forget what you looked like in a bathing suit, but they will never forget that you hugged them and talked to them and ate and drank and made merry with them and loved them. Have a restful and joyful time away.

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  9. I admire you for being honest here, and you are not over sharing. I did not know you have this pain and are carrying that extra weight and may need a hip replacement. I think you and your hubby can have a very romantic time in Jamaica without a hike to the water fall. Many people I know that have had hip replacements are very happy with the results, and if you dare to do it, I pray that will be a happy result for you too. Now be sure to pamper yourself in some way, you especially deserve to celebrate your book publication.

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  10. All the above comments have given excellent advice and counsel. I can't add much more. My mother had her hip replaced when she was 89, and it gave her nearly another 10 years of relatively pain free life. She was losing the will to live prior to the op!
    I had a half knee replacement 6 years ago aged 64, and am not worried about it needing to be done again if I live long enough……I will cross that bridge as and when. I know it is hard to lose weight, especially when you can't do much exercise. I am lucky that I can walk the dogs twice a day, and have just managed to lose 3 pounds this last 3 weeks. Have a wonderful time in Jamaica and tell that gorgeous man of yours that you can't walk up that river, and why. He will understand, and be able to help you moving onwards to a solution. Love to you all from England. X

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  11. Invisigal and others above have said what needs to be said. But I'll reiterate that you are not oversharing. In fact, I like it when you write more about yourself, your feelings and experiences. I'm sure your husband will understand about the falls. After all, he wouldn't want to put you through an unpleasant, painful experience, especially not just to re-create a picture. (As nice as that idea is!)

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  12. Thank you for your honesty. I have been thinking of you during these past almost four weeks now that my back has started to bother me with sometimes awful and other times bearable but never without pain. I know I would sell my mother's best china to get the treatment if only I knew which. But I will try every avenue, every suggestion, every chiropractor, osteopath, surgeon, before I let it take its place in my life and I really think you must do the same.
    Still, some nights I lie awake thinking what if it never goes away again? But then nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

    Dear Angella, I know several people who have had successful hip replacements and I hope that one day you will be one of them.

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  13. Yup. Invisagal (and everyone else) has some good advice here. I hope you take it. I hope you go soak in the ocean and pass on the hike. I hope that when are soaking in that ocean, you feel the healing energy of Yemaya and that you feel your own power and the love of everyone that surrounds you and that it fills you with strength and bliss. XXOO yo

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  14. Thank you, thank you, dear friends, for your concern and good sense. I appreciate your counsel and will surely have a wonderful time with my family, and my sweet adventurous man. And when I return perhaps it will be time to really engage with the possibility of living pain free. Mostly I'll try to go easy on myself as I put one foot in front of the other. Life is good. I am able. And I have dear friends here. Lovelovelove

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  15. Go on that holiday and smash it! :-) Seriously. Just go for it.

    Greetings from London.

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  16. Nothing to add to all this love for you but my love, too, winging its way. I'm so very sorry you're in pain. We will all support you in whatever choices you make. I hope your vacation is grand in all ways. Find a bird to fly a message up to that waterfall and let it know that the happiness continues and is multiplied.

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