Thursday, July 14, 2016
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.