Thursday, July 23, 2015

One month and counting . . .

I have graduated from having "in home" Physical Therapy to doing outpatient PT.  We were lucky to get approval by Medicare to use the Seton Coastside hospital just a mile from our house.  Ron kindly took me for my first appointment with Katrina on Wednesday.  At least half of my hour appointment was taken up with various kinds of paperwork and diagnostic queries.  The amount of paperwork involved in even the most trivial of healthcare interventions staggers the mind.  Seton Coastside is an old fashioned hospital.  It does have a computer, a very old computer ( I've been going there for at least ten years for a cross section of services:  Emergency Room, Mammogram, X-rays, Physical Therapy . . . et al.) But this old computer doesn't recognize or remember me.  Sad really.

No matter how many times I arrive there I spend the first half hour signing forms and giving data to the nice lady who sits at an aging terminal typing in my personal information. They always make photocopies of my insurance and Medicare cards and my ID drivers license. I wonder where it all goes?  I've given it all literally dozens of times at this facility, but each new visit seems pristine in terms of data to be gathered.  Some day all of these data entries  will catch up with each other and will be put somewhere that is retrievable.

All reports are that I'm doing well.  I'm able to even walk around my house without a cane . . . 
 S  L  O  W  L  Y, mind you.  There is something quite wonderful about the kind of deliberateness required to move and do ordinary things.  And, on the other hand, it is also really frustrating not to have a full range of motion and to need a minute or two when I stand to get my legs under me properly.  I've been having a number of mini-meltdowns because I'm expecting all of this to go faster than it is.  Katrina, when asked, said that the full recovery from hip replacement surgery is really a full year's event.  Surely lots of progress will be made before 12 months has past, but the whole thing is a much longer process than I really had in mind.  And, sometimes it just aches.  It's not horrible, but it does get my attention.  Ron keeps reminding me that "I'm making progress . . . really I am."

We went to downtown Half Moon Bay for a walk and a Chai Latte.  After fifteen minutes walking I long to be sitting down.  Hmmmm . . . it's all part of the process, I guess.  I'm afraid this blog isn't very interesting.  But, my purpose is just to put it all down.  The good, the bad and the ordinary.

I have been doing some pleasing art.  I'll post something to add color to this otherwise dreary entry. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Moving right along . . . entering the fourth week

My new best friend is my cane.  Moving into the fourth week of recovery from my surgery I am able to set aside the walker and accomplish most functions with the aide of a cane.  I had the choice of getting one with purple kittens and flowers, but opted for something more sedate, fashionable bronze.  A friend mentioned that using a cane provides "gravitas."  Nice.  I've been accused of many things, but gravitas will be a new one, if indeed the cane gives me a sense of dignity.  We will see.

Today is 25 days since the surgery was performed.  I'm feeling overall well-ish.  I continue to move V E R Y    S L O W L Y.   I can't lift much and the kinds of motions needed to make the bed are still a bit out of range.  But, I'm happy to report (and Ron concurs) that I'm fully functional in the kitchen and can bake cookies as well as mac and cheese.  We have been eating well, and grocery shopping is particularly fun since the smooth surface of grocery store floors makes moving easy.  In fact using the shopping card substitutes for the walker or cane.  Sweet.

Today I've been reading Bernie Roth's  (one of the founders of Stanford's d-school) new book,  THE ACHIEVEMENT HABIT.   It is full of practical advice about how to get things done, change perspective and get out of your own way.  I enjoy reading a book that respects the reader's time and offers more than platitudes.  Good reading. I recommend it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Celebrate slowness . . .

Have you ever seen a video of a sloth moving?  It's wonderful to watch.  Every movement is careful and deliberate and exceedingly SLOW . . .   I had not known this simple biological fact.  Sloths move slowly.  These days I am a sloth.  Since I am able to do almost everything with my walker at this stage most friends consider I may be healed.  Well, I'm not.  Although it's true I am mending it is truly at a sloth's pace. There is nothing I can do in "ordinary time" or rhythm.  I am learning that the world moves at a clip.  My underwater speed may seem charming to those watching me negotiate a curb with the walker.  When I stand at the refrigerator and take out jars and vegetables I can count the number of tiny moves it takes to go from left to right.
And, while I have some tiny progress by the day, I am not getting faster.

Sometimes this makes me very heavy and sad.  Akin Salawu sent me a marvelous Buddhist tale:
Chinese Bamboo Tree

I like the story of the Chinese bamboo tree: You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year, and nothing happens. 
The second year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. 
The third year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. How discouraging this becomes! 
The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then---take note. Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS! 
Life is much akin to the growing process of the Chinese bamboo tree. 
It is often discouraging. We seemingly do things right, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged and are persistent, things will happen. Finally we begin to receive the rewards. 
I am now receiving the rewards of seeds that were planted 5 years ago. You are as well. Are you getting the results you want? If not, begin today to sow the seeds of what you want 5 years from now. 
Remember, if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get the results you've always gotten. 

By Dan Miller 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Second Week

Today is exactly two weeks from the surgery.  It's going well.  This morning my Physical Therapist came and gave me a lesson in walking with the cane.  It still feels a little advanced for now, but I can imagine in a few weeks that the cane will seem sufficient.  I'm cautious and the walker seems secure and workable.  Every day now I've gone outside for a bit of a walk uphill in my neighborhood.  Rehab isn't dramatic or exciting.  It's a kind of serious plodding along patiently.  

I've gotten some notes from friends who are concerned that I am "putting up a brave face" that everything is fine, when it would be better to share the difficulty.  Well, in truth, there is difficulty but it all seems part of the journey.  I don't expect to feel "normal" for a long time.  And, I don't need to.  What I'm feeling and doing is fine just as it is.  The new slower pace of living provides an opportunity to focus on the details of life.  There is a kind of pleasure in this.

No need to rush around and do anything.  I have enjoyed being able to cook and prepare food standing in my nice kitchen.  Life is good. And, I'm glad I had this surgery done when I did.  Each part of the experience is interesting in its own way.  Thank you to everyone sending good wishes.