To be honest, the first two weeks after surgery, even though it was an incredibly painful and inconvenient time, it was also wonderful to have a rock solid excuse to not do anything. I actually remarked to Hubby and a few of my friends that this guilt-free vacation was amazing. I was so happy! Truly, I thought about that a lot. I thought about how unburdened and happy I was in those first weeks.
As I started to feel better and could walk pretty well, I thought that I had better get back to life. I had responsibilities and that voice started up again in my head. “Enough is enough… Better get back to it.”
Today, 4 weeks post op, I went for my first checkup. I figured my surgeon would give me the green light to go back to work… or at least tell me when I should be ready to go back to work.
In a way, I fully expected to be graded, or something, as to how I was progressing compared to other hip replacement patients. I wanted to know how I was doing… was I on track? Was I doing everything I was supposed to do? When should I go back to work?
Then came the life lesson – again – the same one.
Here’s how it went down…
My cheery DR came in. He looked at my incision and gave me the synopsis from his perspective. No infection, some swelling still, numbness, but good mobility.
I asked, “How am I doing? When can I go back to work?”
He said, “You tell me.”
In that moment, once again, I got myself handed to me on a platter.
He said, “You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. This is your body, your experience. Your healing. So, you tell me. How are you doing?
Me (stuck – still looking for a grade or a measurement compared to others): “Well, how do you think I am doing?”
DR: “You aren’t infected. You look good.”
Me: “Yeah, but I’m tired all the time, sometimes there is so much pain, I walk with a limp, I still use the cane, I’m tired, I nap, my muscles are weak…”
DR: “That’s totally fine. Nothing unusual. Give yourself the time you need. You’ve just had major, Major, MAJOR surgery. Stop reading the internet. Use this time wisely. Don’t watch the clock and stop pushing yourself. Just listen to your body. REALLY LISTEN, and you’ll know what to do for yourself. As far as work, you tell me when you are ready. When you feel you are ready, just tell Sonja (his nurse) and I’ll send the letter you need to resume work.”
Me (still stuck): “What about the pain?”
DR: “Yes, there is pain. But here is the issue. YOU are the exact type of patient that I won’t renew any narcotics. Because when YOU have narcotics, you get more things DONE. You say to yourself, I need to take the pill so I can get all this stuff done. When in reality, you should NOT be getting all that stuff done. You should rest and heal. People like you take twice as long to heal because they don’t honor the healing process. They try to overcome it or push through it… and that scenario never, ever works. Stop doing.”
Me: “That is exactly me.”
DR: “I know.”
Sometimes angels come in varying forms. They even whisper what to say into your Doctor’s ear. Now I just need to figure out how to apply that into my journey.