Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shock and Awe!

I finally got the reaction I was hoping for. My physical therapist came by today (the first visit Saturday was just an assessment - this was the first meeting with my real therapist). Geez - I didn't realize until now that I'm in therapy. Guess it's about time. Anyway, I digress.

I went to the door and when I opened it, her eyes got wide. She said, "No crutches?" I just grinned and did the double fist pump. Same thing I did four days after surgery while taunting my poor destroyed mailman. She headed off toward my office on the first floor (my townhouse is three stories) and I said - I think it's easier if we do this upstairs and I took off (a relative term, but in this case, it's fast for a woman with a new hip.) As I climbed up, her mouth fell open. She said, "I've worked with Dr. Kelley's patients before, but I've never seen anything like this." Woohoo - score one for the home team!

So after a few questions, she basically said I've already mastered everything they can do for me and did I want to go outside and walk? Oh yeah!!! We took off and walked up the sloping hill next to my house - I dunno - maybe two or three city blocks? And came back. And the best part? The whole time the physical therapist was asking me how to get in such good shape. She even joked about it! She said, "I'm supposed to be helping you and you're motivating me to get back in shape!"

How cool is that? My goal was to get back to work on January 19th. Now my goal is to get back to walking 5 miles 5 times a week by January 19th. Hip replacement? What hip replacement?

Okay, time for some lessons:

1.) Listen to all the advice, but realize that everyone is different. If I had listened to some people (and these were hospital employees!), I would have hired home nursing care and converted my first floor office into a bedroom. As it was, I spent $200 on a pair of crutches I don't even need. The Internet has great information, but at the end of the day, we are all different and we make our own destiny. Be smart, but don't let them scare you.

2.) Luck is a mighty fine thing. I was lucky to find Dr. Kelley (my surgeon). I asked my super fit friend who recovered quickly from knee surgery for her physical therapist's name. When I saw him, he referred me to Dr. Kelley. Dr. K is the only one in the Raleigh area doing the surgery this way. Learning from those who have had amazing results is a mighty smart thing. How can you apply this lesson?

3.) Always be in training. I worked out a lot - the total investment of time was over ten hours a week for many, many years. When my weight was getting a little scary, I started counting calories. And you all know from this blog I LOVE to eat! This is what's making me a superhuman right now. (I mean let's be honest - they sawed my hip bone in half! This was a major deal! Most of my counterparts are still on bed rest. My postman's wife had to take two weeks off work to care for him.) And my incision is small - 4 inches vs. 10 or more because I'm relatively thin. THANK GOD! Who knew?

Why is this important? What if something happens to you? What if you are in a car accident? How well are you going to recover? It's not like you can say, "Hey - don't sew me up - give me a few weeks to lose 20 lbs." This is why some people/businesses got slammed by the recession - they weren't in financial training. They let their debt (fat) get way out of control. And when the wreck occurred, they couldn't even drag themselves off the highway.

Is there some area in your life you might need to get into training now?

4.) Bring your optimism and your determination. There were some scary moments in this process, but I never thought I wouldn't get through it. Even when something bad would happen, I would tell my Sorbet Sistahs, "This is gonna be a good story!" (My customer service training now has some great new material.) I did everything my caregivers told me to do and always tried to push it a little farther - one less pain pill, one more set of exercises. At the end of the day, my recovery will be what I make it.

5.) Be grateful for your friends. Tracy and Beth (my Sorbet Sistahs) came by everyday. Tracy spent her week off sitting in the hospital or at my house with me. It just doesn't get any kinder than that. She made me laugh when I wanted to cry and let me know I wasn't alone. What kinder act could there be?

Also my friend David smuggled in a bag full of every type of Reese's Cup he could get his hands on. Kristina brought Lindt and had her friends who worked at the hospital check in on me. And Pete brought flowers and Ghirardelli. How could I NOT recover with buddies like these?

I've had to ask for help with everything from taking out my garbage (thanks, Chris!) to washing my underwear (Tracy - you are a saint in the Church of Chocolate). And my friends never even hesitated. Why have I wasted so much time trying to find someone to love me, when I had all this love all the time? (And let's face it, those jerks I've dated wouldn't have hung around for any of this.)

And then there were all of you! Just the fact that you check in to read this crazy thing is a huge gift. And those of you who sent me a note or called - that stuff is huge!! I never truly realized how much those little acts of kindness meant until now. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We're starting the Christmas chocolate tomorrow!!


d j / s p l i t said...

Denise, you're a rock star.

Screw motivational speaking and blogging- fly your butt out to Cali and start training me!

Denise Ryan said...

Bwah, ha, ha! I'm in!! Of course, with the new hip I might not be able to get through airport security! : )

Sera said...

You are amazing!! Best of luck with the rest of your recovery! I always learn something form your advice. :)

Kris, in New England said...

Sah-weet success in every way. So very happy for you! Yes part of this is a brilliant surgeon. However the biggest part is your own attitude and general outlook. That's about 90% of it.

So...pain free living is an awesome thing isn't it.

Mia said...

Wow Denise, you leave me speechless and even teary eyed. I am very inspired by you. Makes me feel empowered and ill with myself for the days I start to feel sorry for myself! I should go for a run this morning - I get three mornings a week free to run (kids at school) but today I am sluggish! You have inspired me! I am happy for you, proud of you and hnored to be your friend! AND I am SO IMPRESSED! Thanks DeniseSan, my teacher.... :)

KiddoKare1 said...

Denise, I've been thinking about you. I'm so glad your surgery went well and super impressed with you being not only up and around but doing so well! Take care!

Denise Ryan said...

Sera - thanks so much!! And thanks for reading - it means a lot to me!!

Denise Ryan said...

Kris - you are so right!! I'm not savoring the pain free part yet - mostly becuase I still have some pain from the incision and the deep throbbing that comes with being a crazy person and doing too much! : ) But I know I'll be able to really savor it in a few weeks. : )

Denise Ryan said...

Mia - ha, ha, ha!!! Grasshopper, it is YOU who have taught me much over the years!! And if you couldn't run, you'd be raring to go! : ) You know how we crazy humans are! And I am honored to be your friend! I just want you to get back here!!! : )