You are about to read an honest account of how it all went down.
In January of this year, I went to Rothman Institute because my lower back and lower extremities had been paining me for quite some time (so much so, that I was seriously contemplating retiring; didn’t feel as though I could go on in that way until 2017 – had sent away for my estimate and everything). After taking x-rays, I met with the doctor and the consultation went a lil’ something like this:
The doc pulled the x-rays up on the computer screen for both of us to see: left hip, right hip, pelvic area.
“Did she almost fall off the chair?” I asked myself. “Is this lady drunk?”
“You need to be on the table now!” she blurted out.
With eyebrows frowned and confusion in my head, I asked with attitude, “For what?”
Before I knew it, “What the fuck!” had escaped my lips!
My mind was racing with the following thoughts:
Don’t you have to be old for that? I’m too young! I got a 15 yr. old kid – we got things to do! My mom and dad didn’t even have hip replacement! For real though, Jesus?!
And then the real truth; I am in a lot of pain….
“I want it done,” I said.
And that is how it went down. The doctor explained that I had no cartilage in either hip and I was walking bone on bone – no cushion whatsoever, which explained everything. Bone had begun to grow on top of bone, causing bone spurs to form when cartilage is completely gone. When that happens, you can develop a limp when you walk – I did. I was really messed up with excruciating pain. Bones grinding together with no shock absorption – unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my entire life; however, I had been dealing with it. I continued on with my daily life: work, church, soccer mom for the kid, shopping and whatever else needed to be done until I could do it no longer.
February 2014, my husband and I met with the surgeon. He walked in the room and said, “Okay, where’s the 51 year old woman with the 80 year old hips!”
Doink! A comedian! That broke the ice and put us at ease. During the interview, we asked a host of questions (every time we thought of something, I wrote it down, including the lawsuits commercials). The surgeon was very thorough in his explanation of procedure, tools, and all things related. He asked how did I get to such a bad state. I told him I didn’t know; I needed him to tell me. He asked if I played sports or if I was ever injured. “Nope, was just a regular ole tomboy growing up – that’s about it.”
I asked if I could have both done at the same time. He said he would suggest it because he’s never seen so much arthritis in someone my age. He also explained that the pain I was experiencing then would be gone but replaced with surgery pain. I told him I could endure that because it would be temporary. That alone should give you an indication of how much pain I was actually living with. If he could’ve scheduled me for surgery the next day – I would’ve agreed to it.
During pre-op when you meet with several doctors, they all asked the same question, “How did this happen to you? You’re not old or overweight.” Well, maybe I am by five pounds or so, but I realize each one had to repeat the same questions for background information – but my answer remained the same, “I do not know! I need you all to tell me!” They couldn’t be sure whether it was hereditary or just the way God made me.
But there is something Wayne and I realized throughout the entire process; and I’m switching course here, but just stay with me. There was plenty of paperwork to complete and interviews to be had. And the one thing that we were so proud of was that we were there as husband and wife. I felt like I was signing my life away and when asked if I had an advanced directive, I said, “No. Now what?” They asked if I was married. “Yes, that’s my husband sitting right there.” If anything happened he would be the one to give a directive on my life! I looked at him and said, “You literally hold my life in your hands.” And it was the truth. If we weren’t married, the man I have been with for years, the father of my child, would not be able to make a decision for me if I couldn’t. He would be skipped as my next of kin- my siblings would have more say than he, and mind you, I come from a large family. Now what kind of funky sense would that make? Here I am with this man for over two decades and he can’t make a medical decision about my life when we make household decisions together and decisions involving our child? The man who would be, and is currently, my caregiver would be silenced in the eyes of medical services. To the naysayers about marriage, go through something like this and see just how important marriage is and how little you will matter by not being Mr. & Mrs. He’s my husband and I’m his wife. We are a team. Those words changed the entire tone of the room.
My sister mentioned that we are in love all over again. I might agree. I’ve never been the type to tell a man, “I love you,” but I have said it every dang day since my surgery – that and “thank you.” No matter what we’ve been through in our marriage, we’re at this stage now. The first day home from the hospital, I cried because it was beyond difficult for me to climb the steps. Once I got to the bathroom, I cried again being too afraid to get off the toilet without the lift. But right there with me, literally giving me his shoulder, saying, “I got you, babe. C’mon, I got you,” I knew I was okay. And when I had to shower using the chair he was right there washing my lower legs and feet (I could reach everything else), and afterward he cocoa buttered the same. I could not do this without him and I’ve thanked him every single day since, which is something coming from a woman who used to adamantly say, “I don’t need you!” Circumstances obviously changes and God has a way of shutting up the stupid from your mouth!
At this point, my loving husband has gone from being empathetic to a drill sargent. “Get up! Gotta keep those hips moving and that blood circulating! Did you exercise yet? Get up!” Needless to say I can’t wait for him to leave for work.
When my co-workers gave me a sendoff, they told me they had no idea of what I was going through. That’s because I didn’t tell anyone. I put up a brave front. It wasn’t for them to know. I was there to do a job; not complain about my health, but when I shut my door, no one knew what I went through behind that closed door. And when asked about me wearing heels. That was my preference. It would’ve been no more comfortable if I walked barefoot on cotton balls.
So, bring on all the jokes you can think of – heck, I’ve gotten a few good ones already and even some of my own. I’ll tell you something else too – I have a new appreciation for Steve Austin, Jaime Sommers, and Wolverine!
Hopefully, this has been helpful to you all because trust and believe, you or someone close to you could go through this same thing.
I can’t possibly continue this journey without God who gave me my husband. Make sure the person you’re with is the person you trust with your life.