Although it has been a while since I've posted on my recovery, the rest of the world has been quite involved in my progress. As we approach the anniversary of the shootings, the opportunities for comparison, condolences and consideration of consequences have multiplied exponentially, My calendar is filled with meetings about event planning and my in-box is filled with inquiries. Each and every one of these situations includes a reference to healing.... specifically, my healing.... more pointedly, my hip.
It's very odd when others take a proprietary interest in your getting well. The cashier in the grocery store is as proud of me as I am of myself when she sees me bending over and lifting the heavier items out of my cart. Another perforated attendee and I compare our problems remembering to utilize our ankles and our toes as we walk. It's hard to escape, hard not to focus on the fact of getting shot.
A costumed young man wore a bandolier of bullets around his neck at a fundraiser TBG and I attended last Saturday night. Granted, it was M*A*S*H themed, and most of the costumed guests were in scrubs or fatigues, but my body began to quake the moment I saw his outfit. It wasn't physical pain; my heart was aching and my whole self was responding.
Bullet wounds (mine at least) don't hurt very much in the long term. The startling shock of seeing an exit wound scar on my shoulder blade as I'm doing lat pull-downs will always hurt, I'm sure of that. But the physical pain was never an issue for me. Had I not shattered my hip, I imagine that days could pass without my remembering that bullets had penetrated my body.
Sigh. It's a nice fantasy, isn't it? I go there sometimes when I need a break.
Unfortunately for me, the hip is an integral part of the human skeleton. It's recruited in every position I've found. I know this because it tells me so, sometimes quietly, sometimes quite loudly. Sometimes it's a little bit of warmth that creeps up and around my glute, curving down to the top of my femur, settling almost comfortably in the acetabulum Dr. Boaz so excellently repaired. Sometimes it's a sharp stabbing nothingness that leaves me stumbling as femur and socket dance around a bit before settling back into place.
I've been told that nothing I can do short of being drawn-and-quartered will separate my femur from my socket. There are times when I truly don't believe that is true.
Every once in a while there's a tingling in the numbness that decides to transform itself into sharp-toed ants walking on pointed stilts across my lower thigh. Last week the outside of my kneecap was throbbing for no reason that I could determine. As I try to balance my hips and approximate symmetry in my gait, my inner and outer thighs alternate verses. The chorus is always the same This too shall pass.
As in child-rearing, every stage is terrible until the next one comes along. Every stage seems to last forever and then, just when it seems impossible to bear for a moment longer, it's been replaced by something which, while not really better is, at least, different. Change is good, even when it hurts.
I try not to complain. I try not to make my physical self the center of attention. But after class, when I stand slowly and then don't move until I settle into myself, as I am static while others are mobile, it's hard not to notice.
And then I remind myself that I am here to feel the pain, that I can articulate my emotions and write them here for you to read, that I will heal. I look back on my first three months on Douglas, quietly allowing the world to go by, as my one and only job was to heal. Now, in the last three months of my first year afterwards, I smile at the memory of the applause I demanded when I was able to lift my kneecap 2 inches off the pillow on which it was resting.
Progress is measured in small doses. Two steps forward and half-a-step back isn't really all that bad. The changes are interesting if uncomfortable. And, I am getting better. Really, I am.
Thanks for asking.