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The "Wu Word" Blog

The Simple Things

I survived my first full week at work after over a three month abscence due to my hip replacement surgery and especially the post-op rough rehab! 
I must confess that I did not think I would survive this work week. 
I returned back to work when my right side had made the stubborn and untimely decision to rebel against my left side and leg and truly my entire body that has managed to recover after my surgery.  Long story short is that the pain had manifested into aches and soreness that were firmly and unwavering planted in my right shoulder and right side of my neck. 
I returned back to work with trepidation if my body could handle a full-time work schedule, which was a drastic change from relaxing when I could at home and the juggling of doctor and physical therapy appointments. 
Yet, I also returned back to work with a sense of great gratefulness that I had my golden and beautiful times of seeing and experiencing the kindness and sweetness of so many of my friends and family members rallying around me and helping me out as well as the beauty of discovering my body's capabilities to walk, move, and even swim  again after twenty years of over-compensation and incorrect body maneuvering and mechanics. 
Returning back to work was my CLEAN SLATE.  I saw this golden opportunity to change my own overzealous and turbo speed behaviors at work to pacing myself, asking for help, and going to my managers for matters that were simply above my pay scale.  I made the conscientious decision that I had to change my work habits in order to PRESERVE this precious gift of a new hip and my health.
It is very difficult to change.  It take a conscientious and forceful effort to change bad behaviors and trends that have become you.  It does not help that I am mentally and physically anti-change.  My body reacted in the worst of ways of an emergency room visit on the second day of work because I felt like I could no longer move my right arm. X-rays were done and a muscle relaxant and narcotic were prescribed, which led to a drug-induced sleep last weekend.  The drugged up and mask of pain feeling was even worse than the traveling pain that I was experiencing. 
My osteopath who has known my body since the beginning of time of me seeing her was away on vacation.  My general practitioner and I had a horrific run in that has forced a search for a new general practitioner.  I turned to my nephrologist who could only tell me what pain relieving and over the counter medications I could take that would not adversely affect my kidneys.  As the pain persisted, my exercise became limited and helplessness and lonesomeness began to settle in.  Was this a new health condition or was this related to my surgery, as my osteopath was convinced it was?  It took everything in me not to cry early this week at work and to soldier on with my head held as high as I could and to not give in to the right side of my body's achiness and soreness as I worked.  Suffice to say, I inadvertantly was in an unfamiliar hermit mode at work by not really talking to my co-workers and only focusing on my job at the pace I could handle for my first week.  Bless the people I work with and for who welcomed me with open arms, smiles, and warmth when I walked into the office to try to reignite routine and the life I had known in a better way going forward.
None of the doctors can figure out what is going on with my right side.  A lyme's disease test was conducted, which came out negative.  The x-rays in the emergency room came out negative, except for a nerve compression in the spine, but this is nothing new.  Some speculations are stress, body readjustment post-op as well as to work, and then there was the worst scenario of Morton's Neuroma and needing surgery.  In meantime, I was told to experiment with Tylenol, the Voltaren gel, and hot and cold packs.  I came up with my very own recipe:
-Moist heat packs on back and shoulder for 20 minutes before stretching in the morning to go to work
-Voltaren gel on the right side before going to work
-Three Tylenol in the afternoon 
-After work, operated leg, back, and right shoulder and neck for 10 minutes
-Break 20-30 minutes
-Before going to bed, moist heat packs on back and shoulder for 20 minutes
I am proud to say that my little pain relieving recipe has worked!  :-)
But, I am very aware of the fact that I am an enigma.  I am a complicated case.  I do not know what is worse- being diagnosed or NOT being diagnosed. I made the conscientious decision to let go along with trying to change my overzealous work habits in order to preserve my health that I had to hold on to.  Oh, yes, did I also mention that my left operated side that had been numb since surgery was now giving me electric shocks from the nerves coming back?  Decision and action was made: Be aware of my stubborn body, but not be my body and whatever it was deciding to do. 
And, then, something happened.
The right side of my body began to slightly heal.  There were still aches and soreness, but nothing as bad as my second day of work when I had to go to the emergency room.  Wary and cautious, I am easing back into my exercise of walking a bit and even some light swimming.  I am taking my time.  I am pacing mysef.  But, most of all, I am treasuring and savoring the simple things that I have missed out on these past three months and that I have taken for granted.
Simple things like driving my car with my overly expensive bright purple prescription Ray Bans on my face while I bop to music and the bright and bold sun warms my body.
Simple things like when I went to my favorite tea restaurant yesterday afternoon to nibble on a fresh and warm cranberry scone from the oven, drink tea, and write a long and much delayed letter to my penpal in Italy. 
Simple things like actually being able to go to the library and walk up and down the book aisles with the scent of book pages overpowering me with happy intoxication and without the intense and pressing pain of my previous left hip forcing me to sit down and catch my breath.
Simple things of a much delayed swim in the swimming pool, chopping colorful and delicious vegetables late at night to music, and just the feel of the pavement or ground beneath my feet that I can walk and move again in a new and better way. 
The simpliest and most special moments with my childhood buddy who I met with last night to eat frigid and delicious ice cream sundaes and chat until our mouths ran dry.  The simpliest and most special moments with my Dad and Stepmom who I had dinner with last night: fresh crab, fried tofu, and plump dumplings infused with tangy vinegar.  The prescence of the people I love most make me smile and savor the fleeting moments I have with them.
Now that I am feeling somewhat healthy again, though, I also feel a sense of loss.  All I've known is one unforeseen and bad health situation happening after another.  Time and time again, I remind myself that what I've known does not make me who I am.  But, sometimes, my health experiences are a tornado and whirlwind that wrap me up so tight that I lose sight of who I am and all these simple things and moments that I have to and need to truly enjoy and take in with every breath and morsal in me. 
The thing about simple things is that they are fleeting.  Just as fast as they happen, they are even faster to leave.  Like a shooting star.  Like a tight embrace from someone who truly cares.  Like a joke that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts.  The faster these simple things leave, the more you want to hold on to them.  But, I see now, that it is not a matter of holding on to simple things.  It is a matter of savoring and being with those simple things when they happen and the profound effect that they have on you and the rest of your life.
Here is my cheers to simple things and the beauty, love, hope, and joy they have provide in the midst of mayhem.  I know I could never do without these simple things.
Have you stopped for a moment to recognize and savor
the simple things in your life? 

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