Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thinking Beautiful Thoughts

Thinking Beautiful Thoughts

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was fascinated by the story of Peter Pan.  She particularly adored the old production of the play that still aired on television annually and every year she would watch, eyes wide, as Mary Martin, in the role of Peter himself, would line up the Darling children on their wide windowsill, instruct them to “think beautiful thoughts” and jump out into the night air.  Every year the little girl stared as they flew, (THEY FLEW) out over London, taking a left at the north star and going straight on till morning. Straight on to Never Never Land and all the unfathomable wonders it held. 

One hot summer afternoon, this little girl stood atop a stone wall roughly as tall as her house.  She looked out past the rolling hill beneath her to the tops of the trees beyond.  She thought, quite clearly,  
“I’ll never know if I don’t try”
 and then, she jumped.
No, she... or rather I... did not fly.  I broke my left leg in three places.

This past April, many years later, I went for a run on a South Carolina beach with Edward.  We ran, not like marathoners, but like kids...  jumping sea walls and splashing through tidal pools.  I felt like a million bucks.  Thirty minutes later, I swung my leg over a bicycle and...ow, Ow, OW!  Thinking  I had sustained a pulled muscle, I tried to ignore the pain for several months, limping my way through dog walks and shopping trips in April, limping along the streets of London in May, finally going to the doctor in June.  He declared me to be “too young” for the problem to possibly be related to my hip, but did x-rays and a MRI anyway, the results of which were revelatory, and sobering.  My right hip looked like Vitruvian man, it was so perfect.  It practically glowed.  Whereas, my left hip?  Well the curvature of my left hip resembled a serrated knife.  It was an utter mess.  It is remarkable that I knew nothing of this before April, but I’m happy I didn’t.  The cause?   Sad to say, that innocent, though ill-fated, attempt at flight when I was six.  

So when The Songwriter and I returned from our overly dramatic trip to Scotland, with his ankle in a cast, we visited an orthopaedic surgeon recommended by our stateside doctor who added when he referred us, “Now, this is the fellow I’d want to do Pamela’s hip when she decides she’s had enough.” Little did he realize, I had already had enough and would honestly have gone ahead right then with the surgery, had The Songwriter been his usual bipedal self.  But as he was to be, in the immortal words of Peter Cook, a unidexter, for the next six weeks, I was sentenced to wait awhile.  For the past few weeks we have presented quite a humorous display - him on crutches, me limping like a pirate - as the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the orthopedic floor.  As our surgeon said, “You know how some couples who’ve been married a long while start to look alike?  Well, you two are taking it one step further.”  Sigh. 

I am happy to report that The Songwriter is healed and perfectly ambulatory now.  He can drive; he can shop for groceries; he can take out the trash... (yippee!). Which is why.... believe it or not....I am writing this from a fairly comfortable hospital bed with a fairly unoffensive view of the city.  In my tartan nightshirt and green pashmina, I can happily report that I am the proud owner of a shiny new titanium hip.  I KNOW!  Crazy, right?

Fortunately for me, I was deemed an excellent candidate for a fairly new procedure called “anterior” hip replacement.  Unlike traditional hip surgery, no muscles are cut during the anterior and this enables the recovery to be relatively painless and much, much faster.  Seriously, the first thing I noticed upon waking up from surgery was that the excruciating pain I’d been experiencing for seven months was gone.  Marvelous! (An interesting side note:  Martha Stewart had this exact same procedure several years ago.  She’s quite a bit older than me and she was back to work in five days!  So I have no excuses. )

One thing I have noticed over the past several months is how devilishly distracting pain can be.  Deadlines have whizzed past my head, uncatchable.  Emails have languished in my inbox, unnoticed.  My writings here on the blog have been much sparser than I like and I’m grateful you all have stuck with me, graciously commenting and writing each time I posted something new, even though those postings were few and far between.  Well, things are looking up now and I promise to be much more available.

I am due to go home tomorrow and will give myself over, quite willingly, to the kind care and attention of The Songwriter and Edward.  Apple, who has had her own joint surgery this year and who taught me how to be a good patient, will come in from squirrel patrol to check on me as often as she can, I’m sure.  Edward will not leave my side.  I plan to do some light reading, some gentle walking (huzzah!), and some deep sleeping, all the way till Thanksgiving.
I have much to be thankful for.
As do we all.
See you soon!


  1. Dear Pamela: I am so glad to read that you are not feeling pain anymore. The hip replacement that my Mother had was extremely successful. She is now able to walk around without a problem or care in the world.
    Here's wishing you,your Songwriter, Edward and Apple a most Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Oh goodness me, this is quite a revelation dear Pamela! Had no idea you were living with such pain all those months. Must have been so hard on you, especially when traveling, and then dealing with the craziness of The Songwriter's accident in Scotland.

    Anyway, visions of you in the hospital, dressed stylishly of course, are not so bad if they mean you are now sporting a brand new hip and the pain will soon be just a memory. My SIL in France had same thing done this Summer and has made a great recovery - rides a bike around her village and through the vineyards daily!

    Great news that TS is also healed and can do everything necessary while you lounge about for a while, LOL! Know Edward has missed you, Apple too.

    So dear, no more jumping off walls........flying requires wings as I'm sure you now know! We did do silly things when we were little girls.

    Love and hugs - be well very soon.
    Mary XOXOXO

  3. Gosh, you kept that jolly quiet Pamela - but glad that all went well and that you by this time will be hope. Have a lovely thanksgiving.

  4. Here's to a very quick recovery, Pamela, and that you will be ready for the up-coming jolly holidays. Those early injuries, it seems, can come back to haunt us later. My daughter is a victim of a form of this as well. I'm eagerly looking forward to your Christmas Book List. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Still have one knee and a hip to go. It isn't fun, but neither is the pain. Makes you appreciate feeling well so much. Everything changes afterward. Have a wonderful holiday and speedy recovery.

  6. Oh Pamela,
    Poor you but, a worthwhile procedure to get you 100 % again.
    Wishing you a very speedy recovery …. I'm sure that with The Songwriter, Edward and Apple looking after you, it won't be long before you are as right as rain. Much love. XXXX

  7. So wonderful that pesky hip is gone and you're on the mend. You certainly have a good crew keeping their eye on you! Take care - Be well.

  8. You've been very quiet about this. Glad you're feeling better already. Wishing you a speedy recovery and many long languorous walks. But no jumping off walls. Hope you're at full speed for the holidays.

  9. So happy to hear that both of you are on the mend! I know you must be feeling so much better now and I am thankful for that!

    Much love,

  10. You take good care and let that SONGWRITER wait on YOU!

  11. Pamela~ my husband and I are at our dreamy cottage on the shores of the Chesapeake when I opened my I-Pad to find the magical email from "The House of Edward"!!!!!!!! My heart skipped a beat as your blog is one of my very very favorite blogs!!!!!!!
    I just missed your package with the gorgeous pillows when I left to come down to the cottage. So, I have been so excited knowing that I will have a big magical package to open when I arrive home Monday!!!!! It is in safe-keeping with a dear neighbor. Thank you for sending it out even amidst your major happenings right now!!
    I send my warm thoughts and dreams of recovery to you!!!! May you and the Songwriter and Edward and Apple enjoy the most splendid Thanksgiving!!!!!!!
    With lots of warm wishes from Barbara Powell.

  12. So happy your surgery went well and that you have a good caretaker. Have a restful Thanksgiving.

  13. Pamela,
    I'm so happy to hear the song writer is week
    Ll and that you will soon be on the mend. What a tale, I glad you are free of the pain that plaged you for months. Enjoy your holiday, you'll be in good hands.

  14. Yikes! I thought here was something going on, you blogged so seldom. Get well, blog more..regards

  15. Dear Pamela,
    How brave you are.
    Sending you warmest wishes for a speedy recovery.
    So glad you can continue writing lucidly and beautifully in spite of difficulties.
    So glad the Songwriter is doing well.
    Such a good plan to catch up on peaceful reading.

    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Warmest wishes

  16. Please rest and feel better soon! I with you a restful holiday, Pamela!

  17. I noticed the change in your posts and attributed it to grand projects and enviable trips; thought you might be conserving your resources for writing books or going on safari. So glad to know that you and your unbreakable titanium hip will soon be fit for those grand projects and enviable trips and maybe a little dancing.

  18. Good Grief! I can only imagine what you have been living with!
    I remember seeing that play "in person" with Mary Martin flying around on the stage throwing teeny silver stars into the audience in Los Angeles! (I was little!!!)

    I'm going to look for that film!

    By the way, my husband had that exact surgery a year and a half ago; and he was playing tennis in 6 weeks!!

    And he still is 3 times a week and he is 74!!!

    Good luck!!!

  19. my goodness, what a year ya'll have had! i'm so glad you are both on the mend! best wishes for a peaceful and short :) recovery !! jademichele

  20. Getting caught up here on your blog after long months of moving and all that entails...and back to some writing. I just wonder if I am the only one who could not watch Mary Martin as Peter Pan? She is wonderful but I had a crush on Peter the boy and could never get over the fact that she was a woman acting the part, so something was lost for me. I know many roles can be done that way...but it was just my childish reaction. I am glad you are well on the mend now and free from pain. It will be so much better to travel and run on the beach again. I look forward to reading your Christmas lists and holiday musings. Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Yowzers! Yet again! I was about 9 (just guessing.....but close!) Mary Martin was a "sprite"! She weighed about 100 pounds......(max) and had the first "pixie cut" of her hair......and she was flying all around on invisible strands of wire.....(I was in the middle of the front row......I could not see anything that was holding her......I totally thought she was flying all by herself!!!) (who knows what it was! It was invisible to me.....and this was about 1955 or so!
    But I saw the live play......I think the other is talking about the film! I hope I an find the film of the play! I still remember getting little star-shaped sequins in my lap......; and hearing her crowing!! (well....I cannot write that wonderful crow she did when flying! "caw, caw, cah-CHAW!"

    something like that! Close to 60 years! It still rings in my ears!!

  22. Hooray for excellent health care!!! We don't know what a difference it makes until we need it. I'm so glad you have it, you and the the Songwriter, and that he is well and you are on the mend! It sounds like your Thanksgiving holiday will be quite lovely, I hope you continue to mend well and are soon jumping about (but not from heights) with the Songwriter, Apple (they do teach us how to be good, if we will let them, don't they?), and the inimitable Edward. Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. Hello Pamela

    The good times are all ahead of you, as you get strong with each passing day.
    Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.


  24. Pamela, I hope that you are feeling better than you thought you would after your procedure.

    Please take your time coming back and be sure to take care of yourself.

    Missed you!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Songwriter as well as Apple and Edward.


  25. oh my gosh. you can't know how inspiring this post is.
    first. i'm so glad you're feeling no pain. or not the pain you did!
    since my thyroidectomy in september i have had the most excruciating debilitating pain in my left hip bone on the side. i keep thinking it will leave.
    i haven't had xrays or an mri. but now if i have to have surgery i'll know what to ask for! thank you so much! you're an inspiration in more ways than i can count here. xoxo

  26. Oh, what a story you tell, Pamela, from childhood to today. I'm sure you will heal well and, in your classic and classy way, will make the best out of this Thanksgiving. Speedy recovery.

  27. The Songwriter and you have been through too much! I'm relieved to hear that he is well and your pain has abated but don't overdo it. Let him take care of you and give your body time to heal. Surgery is still surgery and Martha Stewart never struck me as a typical person. I'm thankful that you are on the mend. Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. We were just thinking about you, the Songwriter and the overly eventful trip to Scotland. Now this. Here's Thanksgiving wishes for a speedy recovery and a return to the comfort of your own home and the tender, restorative attention of Edward and Apple.

  29. Here's to being fighting fit again! All good wishes.

  30. So glad your surgery was successful and that you are out of pain and on the mend. Pain does wear you down or as they say in my neck of the woods, wears you out I am sure you will be well taken care of by the gang. Hope you are out and about soon.

  31. Pamela, So relieved your surgery went well. You are very brave! While jumping off the roof resulted in some physical issues, I suspect your adventurous spirit that prompted that jump has served you well. (I jumped off the roof of my one-story childhood home without injury but it hurt landing, so I avoided such activities from then on!)

  32. Oh my goodness, Pamela! What an experience you have been through! But it sounds as if this had to be done and you will soon be feeling so much better. Many walks and runs on the beach in your future, though no more attempts at flying I think. Kudos to you for writing a blogpost in the hospital! Leave it to you to look fabulous sitting in a hospital bed. Warmest wishes for a speedy recovery!
    xx Sunday

  33. Dear Pamela, feel better fast, as you make all of us feel WONDERFUL.
    XOX jean

  34. I am so very sorry to hear that you have been is such pain. You certainly are in very good company :) My best friend just had the same procedure and is very happy with the results. Take care and I wish you a quick recovery!
    Miranda St John

  35. Pamela, so happy to hear you are doing so well with your new hip! My mom had both done, over the past two years, the anterior way just like you, and she is now working out 7 days a week and throwing diner parties left and's absolutely amazing considering that prior to the surgeries she looked like a crooked tree and could barely walk for the pain of it all.
    I hope your recovery goes perfectly...I'm sure once you get home, Edward and Apple will be the perfect nurses...not to mention the Songwriter.
    All the best to you...
    xo J~

  36. 24 corners has it just right! My husband (like you....was in constant pain.......(he never breathed a word); and woke up already feeling so much better!!

    He; (as I know you will be) has been the "perfect patient"! Those doctors are telling you how to heal swiftly......and they know!

    Follow directions!!

    and our dogs helped Adam heal; immensely!

    Brava you wonderful woman!

  37. Oh dear...I have been way out of touch. I am sorry for your pain but am relieved that 'pain free' days are near. What a time you have all had these past months. I am sure you are eagerly looking forward to 2014. You must be feeling better...given the last two posts. So glad the spark is coming back....

    On another note...had to laugh at your Peter Pan antics. For me it was Mary Poppins, with carpet bag (the original) from atop my brothers tree house. I did not fly either...but fortunately, my legs survived. The only result has been a long lasting fear of heights.

    Oh...the things we do for adventure!

    Heal well my friend...xx

  38. Oh you poor thing! I have had my own problems that cut deeply into my blogging time so have not visited for a while. Unfortunately so many of our youthful, exuberant chickens from our early years come back to haunt us when we least expect them. Constant pain is debilitating in the extreme and I am so glad to hear you are now relieved of it. What a saga of misfortunes you both have had to endure lately!
    I sincerely hope they have been banished to Neverland for good and that your years ahead will only be happy ones.


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