One of the most essential elements of healing a body that has been injured, damaged or ill is to soothe and comfort the psyche, the soul of the person whose corporeal armor has, in a significant way, (even in the aid of better health), been pierced.
But it’s the piece that is consistently left out. When you leave hospital after a major surgery, you’re handed a thick sheaf of instructions, some in boldface type, all of which are — of necessity — focused on the physical.
Who addresses the needs of the soul?
Which is why, when I met a fellow hip patient in the hallway, a former dancer, a woman my age, we couldn’t stop talking to one another about how we felt.
Not our bones or muscles, but our hearts and minds.
A sense of shame and failure that years of diligent activity and careful eating and attention to posture…led us into an operating suite. The feeling of isolation, of being cut from the herd of your tribe, the lithe and limber, the fleet of foot. The fragility of suddenly relying very heavily on a husband whose innate nature may, or may not be, to nurture.
And a husband who knows all too well that physical intimacy is almost impossible, sometimes for years, when your loved one is sighing not with desire but in deep pain. When your hips simply can’t move as you wish they would, and once did. It is a private, personal loss with no place to discuss it.
I’m deeply grateful to know a few women like me: feisty, active, super-independent and all recovering, now or a while ago, from hip replacement. Every tribe has a scar, a mark, a tattoo.
Ours is a vertical six inches.
Time to wear it proudly.