Boy, having a life dogged by pesky Hip Dysplasia really does have its shortcomings… one being devoting a lot of your time as an in-patient. Now nobody is fond of spending what feels like confinement under guard.
(Okay, possibly a smidgen of an over-reaction there, I know – but seriously, they lock you in! I set off an alarm on a door, all I was doing was getting some fresh air. Three nurses came belting down the corridor out of nowhere, practically skidding at my bedside, erratically looking from right to left and back again, like a dog I’d just thrown a ‘pretend’ ball for! Then a casual and disinterested demeanour instantly washed over them and replaced their previously combat-ready stance… scared the living daylights out of me! A teasing giggle from one of them followed and what seemed to be an explanation of their behaviour in the form of… “You’re not trying to escape like the others, are you?” I suddenly had visions of Kathy Bates in the film Misery. She was joking. Thank goodness. Or that could have been another reason for loss of sleep that night – fear of dodgy ankles, as well as my hips! As it turned out, a few of the elderly and more vulnerable residents had taken to midnight strolls around the grounds, using this exact door as an escape route. Hence, the reaction… phew! ).
But after years of pain and many a surgery, this unfortunately for me has led to some muscle atrophy (by way of an explanation for the term ‘muscle atrophy’ – I have what can only be described as bingo-wings where my hamstrings should be!)… which unluckily for me, means REHAB!! Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, to give it it’s ‘proper’ title. Sounds fun, right?!! Well, it’s like boot-camp… for the disabled! Now being admitted to hospital for this is different to being admitted for surgery (however one of the similar features, is there is definitely no escape!). The way I’ve come to look at it; there are no distractions of the fear of surgery itself (…it doesn’t matter how many I’ve had, those nerves still creep in at the last minute. I lie there, trying to feign coolness and I think it’s working but then I get “…you’ve been through this before Alexandra, this’ll be a breeze for you…” And then as they link me up to the machines, the damned heartrate monitor sells me out… ‘bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep…’ at 110 beats per minute. Then come the knowing looks and nods between the staff, as I lay there, as per usual, exposed in more ways than one! Busted.). Or the pain that follows for that matter. It’s like I’m retreating to a state of childhood and being mothered for the stint. I fight it to begin with as they strip me of my independence and identity; you’re just another patient with a wristband.
So I conceded defeat. I decided the best thing to do was to see it as a week of being waited on hand and foot! Haha… someone bringing my meals (granted, it is hospital food… and sometimes it even reminds me of school dinners – my mash potato having been plonked on the plate using an ice cream scoop! Remember that?!). And cups of tea every few hours. It’s actually a shock when I get home, my body clock is expecting my cuppa and the disbelief that Himself is not assuming the role of Tea Master and placing the cup in my hand (You mean I have to do it MYSELF now?? Just kidding. Thankfully. I don’t know whether it’s BECAUSE of the Hip Dysplasia and the issues with my mobility, but I am fiercely independent. I think this is why I find it so difficult to adapt when in hospital. My independence is confiscated. I am now a hospital number. As gracious and pleasant as the nurses are, they still need to keep tabs on patients somehow I guess. Especially me… someone who’s likely to go AWOL). It’s like I have to then undertake a whole different kind of rehab when I return home from a stretch ‘inside’… the ‘stop-being-a-lazy-cow-and-do-it-yourself’ plan. It’s also so very disappointing when I get out of the shower in the morning to find the nurse hasn’t been in and made my bed… 😉