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!