“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,
“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? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i47Hz4vvQ2I 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.