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 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.