broadsideblog

Life – Pain = Euphoria!

In aging, behavior, domestic life, family, Health, life, Medicine, women on March 23, 2012 at 12:07 am
Example of an American grocery store aisle.

Scary no more!! Image via Wikipedia

So many people are telling me how different I look since I had my hip replaced Feb. 6.

Not only that I can now walk standing upright without lurching scarily from side to side.

But I smile more. I look people in the eye. I’m once more able — after two years — to focus on details beyond howgoddamnfarisittogettowhereIhavetogo?

It could have been the agonizing journey the entire length of a grocery store aisle for a forgotten (cursed) gallon of milk. Or the hotel entrance closed on one Manhattan block forcing me to round the corner, sweating and resentful from the additional exertion.

I feel like a new person, someone back in the world.

For the first few weeks, I felt I was rebounding off a trampoline, so high was I flying — emotional energy, physical stamina, intellectual curiosity restored.

(A doctor friend explained this was a neurochemical high as my endorphins were in overdrive for years.They did eventually subside.)

Chronic pain drains your battery, and leaches color from everyday life in so many ways. When every step hurts, you dread…everything: grocery-shopping, visiting a museum, exploring a new city, buying clothes or shoes or anything in a store.

It also drains you mentally — something I hadn’t considered, so automatic had it become — as you constantly calculate how much is this going to hurt before doing even the simplest things.

I chose the anterior method, a less common procedure, which from the day of surgery has made my life better. Since my three days in the hospital, I’ve needed only one dose of major painkiller and a dozen Tylenol.

I’ve gone from being Eeeyore to Tigger, both Winnie the Pooh characters; “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best!”

I’ve even (yayyyyyy!) started to lose weight. I’ve realized, to my chagrin, that my nightly cocktail had become, essentially, liquid painkiller — I’d been self-medicating in a pretty high-calorie way. Add to that the double whammy of a slowed metabolism due to my age and my body’s growing inability to handle truly vigorous cardio workouts…

I fly to San Francisco next week to report a story, which is so fun — being able to travel without dreading every step; exploring one of my favorites cities again for the first time since 1998; seeing three friends out there; having an editor sufficiently confident to send me.

But more than anything, I now have the energy and enthusiasm for all of it.

My husband is a bit overwhelmed, although thrilled, by the new ebullient me.  “You’re happy!” he said the other day.

Why, yes I am.

  1. I’m so happy for you! It is nice to hear when modern medicine goes right. I know it does more often than not, but we usually hear about the horror stories and not the good ones. Have a great time in SF.

  2. Thanks! I certainly worried hard for a while about infection/complication/clots — and my tummy is screwed up from the antibiotics (pretty typical.) But it’s nothing in comparison.

  3. YAY! This is truly awesome news. I’ve passed your links along to a sibling, who is facing hip replacement surgery in the future. Hope your trip goes well and welcome back to the fray!

  4. Thanks! Feel free to have him/her email me privately…happy to help. The only thing that got me through was having helpful advice from others as well.

  5. It is sure good for you to be able to get around without the ever present chronic pain and get your life back. I hope the best for you. :)

  6. I’m so happy for you! Coincidently, I just landed after spending day in SF. Fantastic weather for a great walking city. Enjoy!

  7. Glad to hear it! Both my parents had knee replacements a couple of years back (and while slightly comical to watch the two of them hobbling along together both with bung knees, one with a left one and the other a right one) it was such a relief to have them back to their old selves again, especially my mother who’s an avid gardner and kneeling down wrists deep in the soil was a bit of an ordeal, not to mention the getting up again :) I hope you continue to enjoy your renewed vitality.

  8. Thanks for sharing this post. It feels good to see someone else’s situation improve, you remind me of how easy it is for us to fall into frustration and how resilient one can be.

    • By the time I finally gave in and agreed to surgery, I was totally worn out. I had no quality of life worth the name. So I’m not sure I am resilient, but I sure did go through a lot of pain to get to the other side.

      • When I chose the word resilient, I was running by the definition of “Being able to withstand difficult conditions”. You are here, You have endured in the face of pain, suffering and surgery.

        I believe you are due this credit :) But you’re right. It is my opinion only :)

      • Thanks…I didn’t mean to dismiss your kind words. I think people like Andi, who face more frightening diagnoses, are much stronger than I had to be. But I’ll agree that it’s been quite an ordeal.

  9. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful new you..
    Enjoy your trip and so pleased you are feeling “brand new”
    lynne

  10. Eeyore to Tigger! Love the Winnie-the-Pooh reference.

    New leases on life are wonderful. Happy spring, and springing!

    ~ Lily

  11. Good for you!

    Don’t forget to update your gravatar to reflect the new you!

  12. I know…not sure how to do that. But you’re right!

  13. Wonderful! I am so thrilled for you. I can’t even begin to imagine what your life was like with all that pain all the time.

    I have never experienced chronic pain, but I had chronic exhaustion for many years — and I know how overwhelming the simplest tasks can feel when it takes all the energy you have to move around. Even though I have had good energy levels for years now, I still do not take it for granted! I am grateful every day.

  14. Go bounce, Tigger, as high and as often as you like :-) Congratulations, a pain-free life after years of chronic pain is a definite mood-enhancing drug!

  15. I’m so glad you’re feeling so good!

  16. Fine story. Chronic pain does take your life away. When I was 51, after 5 years of agony, I realized that I wasn’t going to get the next years back, and to use them the best as possible for my family, the hip had to go. I have not regretted it.

    I now ride my bicycle about 2,500 miles per year.

    I do remember telling my boss one day for my long term goals, ” My goal is to be alive the day after my surgery”.

    PS — thanks for checking out my blog

  17. I’m so glad to hear this. It sounds like the pre-surgery days were horrible. You must have been feeling “old before your time” as it were. Raising my glass to new beginnings!

  18. Thanks! It did seem impossible that even going for a walk was too difficult — while my 83 yr old Dad is out biking and horseback riding. Now, soon, I will too!

  19. And so you should be! I don’t know you personally, but having shared a little bit of your world through this blog, I have to say, 12 or 13 hours away on the opposite side of the planet, I am smiling as I read this. Bounce on sista!

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