Monthly Archives: October 2016

Better Shape up!

It’s 5:45 in the morning and the radio starts playing.  John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John singing their famous duet…”You’re the One that I want!”  hoo hoo hoo baby…

I pulled my back adjusting my sitting position in the couch last night.  Is that even possible?  Obviously it is.  My constant use of crutches, bad posture (due to crutches) and favoring one leg due to broken hip (and crutches) has slowed my progress.  I am sitting in a hard-backed chair, and it feels good!  How do I improve my standing posture if I can’t put weight on my left foot though?  I have to shift my center of gravity over my right foot and that curves the spine out of shape.  It tightens the muscles in my back as they adjust to the new posture, and they scream obscenities at me as some have to stretch to accommodate this temporary stance.

What am I thinking while this agony twists my brain?  A COMEDY!  Grease re-visited.  We catch up with Danny and Sandy at age 68.  They do all their dancing with walkers in the style of The Producers.    Change the words from “You’re the one that I want” to “You’re the one that I got…”  Summer Nights would become Summer Afternoon, once a month, whether we need it or not…  Rizzo would spend the whole movie coughing.  The fair scene where they sing “We go together like…” would be very funny.  They could list all the medications they’re taking.  “We go together like Levotal, Plendil, and Phenoxybenzamine…” Oh, and Travolta would be wearing an ill fitting toupee…

I confess, I have been doing PT for my hip even though my doctor is of the opinion that those evil PT guys will break my titanium appliance.  I’ve been told not to go to PT, though I might even though my doctor won’t clear me for it.  I may find a way anyway.  I think my recovery is being stunted.  My trips to the gym are not limited by my PT however, and I am including some upper body work as well…chest presses, dips, ab work, shoulder, triceps extensions.  The pain in my shoulders replaces the pain in my hip.  The main thing I’m trying to do, since my activity is severely curtailed is watch my food intake.  I watch it leave my plate into my mouth.  But since I’m a lousy shot, I still get a great deal of it on my shirt.  What lands on the shirt is not counted in the calories, so I’m eating less…I think…

With the level of hardware in my leg I was joking about not being able to go into the St. Louis Arch without setting 15 armed guards off demanding how I could carry an Uzi in my leg.  Ha ha ha.  Well, I went to the Barnes and Nobel and found myself setting off alarms on my way IN to the store.  Since I obviously wasn’t carrying a book, it was curious.  I dread the possibility of being strip-searched every time I go to a department store…

What does it take?

I went to the gym for my training session.  I was on crutches and very sore.  Here’s the thing:  When you can’t put any weight on your leg, all the weight goes on your hands.  That’s “hands” plural.  How do people on crutches carry things?  I got a back pack and a fanny pack so I can carry my books and notebooks and wallet and pens and stuff.  But how do you carry your hot dog to the table?  How do you carry your soda?  How do you carry your groceries into the house?  If you put them in a bag, it must have handles.  So you grab the handles, grab your crutches and go…but the bag hits the crutches every step.  Good bye eggs!  How do you open the door and maintain your balance with your grocery bag in one hand and the crutch in the other?  Remember it’s a spring loaded screen door…This means that UNLESS SOMEONE FEEDS ME OR BRINGS ME FOOD, I DON’T EAT.  My trainer was ecstatic!  I was down to 206!  “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,” she said.  “You’re down 7 pounds in 2 weeks!”

I am extremely hungry, so, being me, I found a work-around.  Compensating behavior. This is the behavior that makes it appear that you are doing the right things, but you’re doing them in a different way.  Before the broken hip, my left leg was weaker than my right.  To do step-ups with weights, I simply stepped up with my right leg, but with my left, I swung the weights to give me the momentum to get up on the platform.  Now when I go to the gym, it’s shoulders, arms, back and abdominals.  How am I gaining weight then?  Oh…people bring me food.  I can drive now.  (That’s right, connect the dots.)  *sobs*  I’m eating out!  And when I’m home and hubby makes dinner, I ask for SECONDS and he gives them to me.  He’s a very good cook, and the stuff he makes is so delicious.  I should thank him, eat ONE portion and stop.  I don’t.

So though it’s measurable progress, it’s moving in the wrong direction.


“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
Veronica Roth, Allegiant

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Mary Tyler Moore

I’m tired of being brave.  I don’t want to be brave anymore.  I want to crawl into my room, turn off the lights and cry.  I don’t want the ‘poor baby’s and the ‘it will be alright’s.  I don’t want to put on the mask of ‘I’ll be fine.’ I don’t want to just get up and face tomorrow like nothing’s wrong.  My broken hip hurts.  My muscles in my legs cramp.  My shoulders hurt and my hands have 2″ wide callouses on the heels.  I can sleep in 2 positions.  It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lie down.  It hurts to move my leg and it hurts not to move my leg.

I finally got in to see the orthopedic doctor.  I was escorted into the x-ray room, and the tech took the pictures.  This was MUCH better than the last time I had x-rays done.  I then waited in the little room.  I heard the doctor outside my door.  “Well, let’s see how Rebecca is…OH MY GOD!  Do you see all the appliances she has in there?  And she WALKED in here?”  Then he walked into the room.  “So?  How are you feeling?”  I hurt.  I was expecting that.  “I have your x-rays here.  Were all those done on this recent operation?!!!”  No.  The replacement was done at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN about 1993.  The joint material had a chemical reaction and weakened the bone and it broke along the spike, so I had Kevin Garvin operate on it here in Omaha in 1999.  Luckily, he didn’t have to replace the appliance, just replace the joint material.  That was the 2nd operation on this hip.  Then I fell in Orlando and that’s when they added the web clamp you see here.  (We were comparing before and after pictures on my phone.)

“Are you taking any pain meds?”  No, those ran out weeks ago and were not refillable.  On a scale of 1-10, it’s an annoying 2, and depending on the activity, it spikes to a 4.  “Who drove you here?”  I drove myself. (A look of disbelief crosses his face.)  “How much weight can you put on your leg?”  Let me show you.  I stood up and with help balancing on my crutches, I put about 60% of my weight on it.  “Ok, just continue to just put touch pressure on it.  I worry about breaking that complicated machine that is in your leg now.”  It’s not complicated, it’s a metal web clamp secured by screws.  “This is way beyond my expertise.  I’m going to refer you to a hip trauma doctor for you to see next month.

A nurse came in and told me which doctors they were referring me to for my follow-up follow-up.  (Yes, I used the word twice.)  Then she said, “You’re the one–the one with the hardware store in your leg.”  Yes.  “The whole office is talking about you.”  Good to know.  Why do I keep hearing this in my head? Why do they have the automatic door buttons on the opposite side of the door they open?  There are times I can’t hit the button and get to the door before it closes!

So my orthopedic doc is having a heart attack after looking at my x-rays, telling me that he’s amazed that I can walk, let alone drive.  And yet, I am to continue my life as if this condition with my hip is just an inconvenience.   Well it’s a heck of an inconvenience.  Getting out of bed in the morning requires balance and timing now.  Getting into and out of the shower is a major accomplishment.  Stairs are much slower.  Opening doors and keeping them open long enough to enter takes coordination:  Pull open the door quickly so it continues to open after you put your hand back on the crutch.  Move the crutch into a position on the ground so the rubber end catches the door before it closes. Shoulder the door so you can move the crutch to a new blocking position, while edging further into the doorway with the other crutch.  Shoulder the door again moving both crutches in, and block the door from smacking you in the back side by placing the heel of your good leg just outside the door frame.  Clear the door way. Getting in and out of the car is always a series of steps, and hoping the crutches don’t fall down onto the pavement before you need them.  I fear wet floors in bathrooms.  I can’t cook because I cannot move food to and from the refridge to the counter or the stove.  If I microwave something, I can’t move the plate to the table.  I can’t carry a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee.  I can wash dishes, but I can’t put them away.  I can’t do laundry.  I can’t vacuum.  Looks like I’m confined to crutches for at least another month.

But I have lessons to give, a conference over the weekend where I help with one activity, and then am in charge of another.  So I do these things, and do “work-arounds” to compensate for my crutches and the pain.  Thank God I have an amazing husband that picks up the slack when he’s home.  He cooks for me, does laundry, and helps keep me organized and (fairly) sane.  But most people assume that because I put on a good face and make light of things that I have no pain, that I’m OK.  This is me being brave.  I don’t want to be, but I have to be.