At least I’m not pregnant

Q: What does a pregnant daughter have in common with her mother who is getting a hip replacement?
A: Physical limitations, lack of sleep,  pathetic body image, and an overwhelming desire to go through torturous pain in order to be done with this!

Monday morning, bright and early, I head to the hospital to get a new hip.  Sunday, I stopped by Pregnant Daughter #1’s house to hoist the two year old grandson up in my arms for a big hug.  After surgery I’ll be on weight restrictions and will have to limit my hoisting to grandson’s baby sister.  Ah, but when Baby comes, Daughter #1 will be able to resume lifting the two year old because her belly won’t be in the way.  Trade-off.

Saturday I visited Pregnant Daughter #3 for the same reason.  She and I have been grunting our way to the finish line of the school year together.  Both of us have been tackling to-do lists with Time as our enemy.  I felt a little bad sitting around her new house on Saturday while boxes still needed unpacking, but it’s not like I could do much to help.  Still, maybe I was keeping her from doing things.  “It’s ok,” she said. “I can only work for 15 minutes before needing to sit down.”  Just like me, she’s trying to get things done in short spurts followed by longer bouts of recovery time.

Friday I tried to visit Pregnant Daughter #2, but she needed a nap. I was certainly not going to keep her from a nap.  I’ve been into serious napping myself lately.  By the end of the school year, I was needing an hour nap just to generate energy to cook dinner.  That’s when Long-Suffering Hubby took over the cooking chores.  (He was too hungry to wait  for me to wake up!) Fortunately for me, he’s good in the kitchen.

Last month the family went to Cape May for a celebratory weekend.  I was afraid that I was going to be the wet blanket in the group,  but when all three daughters announced that they needed naps before dinner, I didn’t feel so bad.  And my hobbling on a cane wasn’t much different than Daughter #3 moaning about groin pain from walking too much.  I knew exactly how she felt.  The pain of a bad hip feels just like the pain of walking too much in your third trimester.

Last week Pregnant Daughters 1 and 3 were complaining about difficulty sleeping.  I was right there with them.  Rolling over?  Oh my gosh.  It’s hardly worth the effort.  Daughter #1 decided one night that it wasn’t, so she didn’t.  But sleeping on one side all night left her with a pain in her shoulder that did not  want to go away.

Friday, as part of my get-ready for surgery, I had a massage.  The masseuse asked me to roll over.  Groan.  “It’s ok,” she said, “Take your time.”   She was really nice, but there is just no way that “take your time rolling from your back to your tummy” doesn’t make one sound like a totally pathetic loser.  This is a skill that I mastered when I was about four months old.  The only other time in my life when I couldn’t roll over was…when I was pregnant.

Pregnancy is one of those times when catching a glance at one’s reflection can be demoralizing.  Watching oneself do the old lady hobble toward the reflection in a store window is just as hideous as watching oneself do the pregnant waddle toward the window.  Of course, my daughters all look really good when they are pregnant.  Daughter #1 is still really tiny except for the huge basketball she’s carrying in front.  However, watching her from behind last week while she sat in a swing with her little guy, well…she still sat like a pregnant woman.

So Monday, after months and months and months of waiting for the school year to end, I look forward to the surgeon taking  a power saw to my hip.  Yank this thing out and let’s be done with it.  It’s bad when you would rather do that than pretty much anything else you’re doing.  It’s not unlike reaching the end of a pregnancy.  Why would anyone look forward to going into labor?  It’s because it’s a lot better than staying pregnant.

Q: So what’s the difference between having hip replacement and having a baby?

A: When it ‘s over my life will be easier than it was before.  And I will get to sleep through the night.

Sorry, girls.  ; )

Bionic hip mom-mom: Week 1

Just 20 feet to the bathroom

I’m now one week bionic.  With a one-week old titanium/plastic hip, I’m not quite leaping after butterflies in the meadows (although I do have narcotic-induced dreams that get a little bizarre); I shuffle around the house with a walker.  I strategize my day to coordinate my one effort to get downstairs with my actual need to be down there.

The main advantage of being downstairs is the ample expanse of hardwood floor.  Secondary advantages to being downstairs  are the television and being being with family.  The sofas, however, are not so comfortable for me right now.  And the Ravens presented their own variety of pain on Sunday.  Movies are hard to follow while loopy on oxycodone, and pain leaves me a tad impatient with some of the lame conversations that go on around here.  So I mainly go downstairs for the floor.

Hardwood floor is a much easier surface for walker-laps than carpet.  I can really cruise on hardwood.  Forty feet from the kitchen to the front door, another loop of 10 to turn around in the music room and head back to the kitchen–there’s an easy 100 ft. lap right there.  Do that three to five times and I’ve met my walking goal for the day.  But I dare not overextend myself.  Getting back upstairs is a killer.  I’m surely  testing the limits of the railing.  Standing sideways facing the railing, I lift my good right leg first and then join the gimpy left one to it on step one.  Slowly I go, step by step, hanging onto the railing for dear life.  This is one time when I allow John to hover nearby.

All in all it’s better upstairs.  I can lounge in bed or retire to my easy chair with my books and my Nook.  The computer is upstairs, along with a house phone and my cell phone.  I can putter from room to room and do a little tidying, if I choose.  I have a nifty little grabber that I got from the hospital.  With it I’ve been able to retrieve a pill-bottle cap that  I dropped on the floor as well as the charger cable for my Nook.  I can even use it to sort laundry into piles without bending over.

The hospital also gave me a weird little hoojy-bobber to get my socks on and off.  Two hoojy-bobbers, actually.  The one looks like a part of a mini-water slide.  Insert the sock on the end of the plastic tube and stick your foot in it.  Presto!  Sock on foot.  Maybe.  The other is a pole with a hook on it.  Yeah, ok, maybe.  But I can get to my right foot just fine.  And well, to be honest, John just looks so cute down on bended knee putting my sock on the left foot.  He’s like my own Prince Charming.  And I feel like Cinderella.  Why would I deny us that little scenario?  Ok, so he has a little trouble getting up from that position and sometimes the walker gets in the way…but hey, that’s the joy of getting old (er) together.  I laugh at him and he laughs at me.  All right, mostly I just laugh at him.

If John were mean (which he is not, unless you are any employee of the Keurig company who screwed up his Christmas present for me and are giving him the run-around about returning the money for an item never sent)..IF John were mean, he would video my efforts to get into bed.  Getting into bed is  best done with two legs.  You may think you tumble into bed on one knee, but it’s not true.  You need two legs OR two very strong arms OR an odd combination of weak flabby arms, one good leg and satin sheets.

Here’s how to get into bed:  First, the covers must be pulled all the way back.  Flat surface is essential.  Next, back up to the bed with your butt at the midway point on the mattress.  Using your good leg, push yourself straight back onto the mattress as far as you can.  Use your pathetically flabby but increasingly stronger arms to drag yourself further onto the mattress.  You want to be aiming toward the middle of the mattress to ensure that you  actually get to the middle of your share of the mattress.    Slippery satin sheets  are an absolute must if you anticipate  success with this.  The manual from the hospital says you can substitute a plastic trash bag, but that sounds like a Three Stooges episode waiting to happen–with you playing all three Stooges.

Now comes the tricky part.  You can’t just lift your left leg onto the mattress.  Ain’t happenin’.  This is where you hook your good right foot under your gimpy left ankle, gently lift and slide the good leg onto the mattress.  The gimpy leg comes along for the ride.  At first, you need  Prince Charming’s help with this.  But by the end of Week One, it is a mastered skill.

So do I feel better after a week?   I was feeling really decrepit today until I got a phone call.

I answered the phone and  an old lady voice asked, “Is your grandmother home?”  Since I  am the resident grandmother here, I asked, “Who are you trying to reach?”

“Mrs. Harp.”

“This is Mrs. Harp.  Which Mrs. Harp are you trying to reach–Kathy or Christine?”  (My mother-in-law lives next door.)


“Oh, you have the wrong number.”

Wow.  That was a first.  I’ve had my pastor call me and ask if my mommy were home, but grandmother?  I thought I’d pop the staples in my hip trying not to laugh.  Whoever you were, dear lady, you made my day!