Last Thursday I underwent a total hip replacement, and since then any sense of modesty I might have had has disappeared. Doctors and RNs and LPNs and nurses aides and physicians assistants and personal care assistants and physical therapists and occupational therapists and … all looking at me in my most naked and vulnerable state. Poking and prodding, asking intimate questions about my bodily functions, and helping me accomplish them.
Except that the one thing I would gladly have let any of these wonderful health professionals do — injecting blood thinners into my body – was up to me. Every morning for a month, I am expected to stick a needle into myself. In the past week I have designed a nice half-moon of red-turning-purple bruises around my navel, but just today I began to wonder if I should work at transforming them into a work of art, a kind of dichromatic tattoo. A bouquet of roses, perhaps? A cascade of wisteria?
But it was yesterday’s visit by the OT that made me realize just how weak and exposed I have become. Marna was a perfectly lovely young professional who, I know, only had the best of intentions as she asked her list of questions and suggested a number of tricks and tools that would help me with such tasks as picking up stuff from the floor (did I always drop so much?) and putting on my socks.
Then she handed me a roll of shelf paper. Shelf paper? Now, I know that the purpose of occupational therapy is to help me negotiate the daily activities of life, but did she also expect me to line the kitchen shelves and drawers in my weakened condition? Was spring cleaning among the exercises for the newly cut?
No. What Marna wanted me to do was to place shelf paper on the shower chair every time I bathe — to ensure that my ample rear end doesn’t slide off the seat as might a sweating glass of lemonade on a patio table. What a practical idea, if embarrassing.
On the other hand, if I get better fast, maybe I can use the remaining paper on the roll to finish up my spring cleaning.
Cute post. I know about the self-injecting thing. After the first ‘ew’ of it all, I got used to it. I never got artistic about the bruises, but I did have to ponder a bit each time about how to space them out!
Zina Greene says
Having undergone the same, twice, I enjoyed the humor of the description. I stood in the shower, so never had the lesson on shelf paper. One trick I found to retain modesty was to wear a pair of short grey, elastic shorts like men wear for the gym. They are not in the way of anyone treating you, but do not expose you like a hospital gown.
Hope it is a quick recovery so you’ll have lots of shelf paper left!
Anita Levy says
Carol, I hope you are soon up and about and no longer need any shelf paper. The gadgets they have for picking up items from the floor and putting on your socks are great. I have both of them waiting for the day I’ll need them.
Lorrin Krouss says
Oy vey! How did you have the strength and brain cells active enough to share your medical news with all of your fans? Sticking yourself with needles and sliding off shower chairs is all too much after what you have gone through. There should be a team of sweet old ladies that all look like Betty White and that have her sense of humor surrounding your bedside. Bravo to your courage and yes —- to wrapping Chanukkah presents in the leftover shelf paper. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.
Adorable ! Adorable! Adorable ! Thanks for making me smile. Hope to visit you soon!
Edria Ragosin says
Painting pictures with your marvelous command of our sometimes limited language is talent personified. I see, I understand, and I love your strength and sense of joy.
G-d bless, my friend, and here’s to a perfect healing!
Love your post — it’s always best to keep a sense of humor! Glad you’re over the worst and on your way to being pain free. Enjoying my new knee…