If one more person asks me how I am doing I think that I will scream.
Loudly. For a prolonged period of time. With gusto.
There won't be any rage attached to my shrieking. The questioner always has love in her heart and compassion in his tone. There's a sense of trying to bridge the gap between us, between those who wonder and those to whom it was done. Whatever it is. Establishing the connection helps to explain the inexplicable, I think. If I can tell you how it feels, then you'll know and you won't have to worry because the social conventions dictate that I tell you that I am doing fine.
Little Cuter calls this the teflon answer.
When it was only my physical condition which aroused curiosity I had a set piece to pull out when the question was raised. Healing took time. My pain was lessening. I looked forward to a complete recovery.
I was delusional. There is no doubt about it. Despite having no evidence to substantiate my conclusion, I convinced myself that I would be fully ambulatory soon after I was able to put weight on my shattered hip. I was fit going into this and I would be fit coming out of it. The awful, excruciating, unrelenting pain of the hospital and the first month or so of being at home was long in the past. I was able to get by without medication. I would be fine.
Somehow, I forgot how easy it is to lose strength and flexibility. I used to notice it after a week away from the gym. It never dawned on me that 4 months away from anything resembling exercise would have a much more potent effect. It's probably a good thing that was the case. Lying still would have been unbearable had i given real thought to the consequences.
I was happy in my delusional state and no one seemed to notice that I was digging myself into a hole from which extrication would be necessary.
Dr. Boaz said walk and I walked - one weak step and two hands grasping for the walker. There was no there there. My femur was stuck in one position and it rebelled - quite actively- at being moved. I talked such a good game that the doctor said I didn't need physical therapy. That lasted two weeks until my knee and my ankle and my back told me that what I was doing might be locomoting but certainly could not be called walking. Hence, Marcus the Master Manipulator.
I've been using my hip flexors and my quads instead of my glutes. The exercises require strengthening those deep, big muscles while relaxing the hamstrings and quadriceps. Clenching my glutes requires stability in the back and abs and a conscious decision on my part to use my tush and leave my leg at rest.
Want to try it? Sit up straight and tighten a butt cheek. Either one. Don't clench your jaw or your thigh - neither the front nor the back. Use that squeeze to raise your thigh off the seat. Don't incorporate your leg muscles. Don't lean back and use momentum. Just lift your foot off the floor by clenching your glutes.
Feel that sensation in the front of your groin? That's your soaz telling you that it is displeased with you. Very very displeased with you. Now, imagine that underneath that soaz you have gazillions of staples and wires and plates creating the socket into which that leg resides. Those are new staples and there are a lot of them and they are still swollen and sensitive even 5 months after they were installed.
Believe me, everything is talking to me as I do what I've just described to you. Sitting here typing and clenching and aching. I dangled in the pool. I had a massage. I'm going to PT this afternoon. I've taken Aleve. I have a hydrocodone waiting for later.
How am I doing? I'm making myself hurt and I have to do it and I don't want to but I am so tired of being slow and bent and an object of pity that I don't know how I am doing any more. The pain is a limiting factor and I feel justified in giving in to it but I know that if I do I will just be limping and aching for longer.
So, I am doing my exercises. I am doing my blog. I am doing a book. I am doing good deeds.
Would you like to know how I am feeling? Sorry.... saying it out loud just reminds me that there is still work to be done, that this will not go away because I will it to be gone, that my recovery depends on inner strength and fortitude and that I am not doing as well as my fantasies had predicted but from the outside I'm doing.
That there is new and more interesting pain attached to my doing is an unpleasant surprise, a limiting factor, and totally irrelevant if I want my old self back. Pain is my companion, my reminder, my annoyer. I consider it before I move and if I don't it announces its presence with authority. Will it disappear? Will it reach a steady state and ask me to adjust? I wish I knew.
For now, though, pain and I will be together, getting this old carcass back in fighting trim. I'm digging deep inside and finding that there is a growing kernel of discontent pushing at my soul, encouraging me to ignore the tingling nerve endings and to get going.
I think it's time to listen.