Essentially I am just a girl waiting for a boy to call. Except this boy is a surgeon and rather than a chance at a second date I am awaiting my walking fate.
This morning Dr Webber tells me he has spoken to Dr Nario and he is not too concerned about the gap between the bone and my implant but we still need to wait for Dr Al Muderis to decide what it all means and if it is ok.
Until then it means no leg.
I feel like I am wasting yet another day. It has now been four days without the leg. I am frustrated. I have limited time here and I don’t want to be wasting a second of it.
Chris reassures me I am not wasting time nor have the days been wasted.
“You needed the rest,” he tells me consolingly.
“If you weren’t here what would you have done? You would have worn the leg anyway and just put up with the pain and it would have made things worse. And then you might have caused a fracture.
“At least here we have been able to monitor it and limit the pain.”
While it is a frustrating situation, he is right. And the silver lining is since I am going to be here longer than expected I can make these days up once I am allowed to reunite with my leg. I just have to be patient. Patience again? Universe are you trying to tell me something? Clearly this is a key lesson for me to learn.
I anxiously peer at my phone every few minutes constantly checking the time zones in Chicago like it might have sneakily changed in the minutes between when I last looked.
I can’t handle the waiting. Isn’t the saying life doesn’t come to those who wait, but rather those that go out and get it? So I take matters into my own hands and call Dr Al Muderis myself.
It goes straight to voicemail.
I resist the urge to go all stalker-girl and call again. At least not for now.
If he doesn’t call by lunchtime then it will be too late his time and I won’t hear anything until tomorrow morning.
I desperately want to be wearing the leg and doing some walking this afternoon but as the minutes trickle by and turn into hours it looks like there will be no walking today and the fate of my bone is still unknown.
All morning I swing between being incredibly frustrated and desperate to know what is going on, to feeling calm, at peace and accepting whatever will be will be.
A million possibilities of what might happen, what this pain could mean, what this x-ray says all dance before me but I can’t entertain them. Not yet, not till I know for sure. There is no point worrying about the unknown. Like Mum always says, “worry does not solve your tomorrow, it just takes away today’s strength.”
There is nothing to do but just wait.
Between sessions Dan and I are outside having a chat about various leg related business and the different parts, knees and feet we are hoping to get once we master the standard model.
A lady pipes up in the background.
“Sorry to eavesdrop but you guys are just beautiful,” she says.
“The way you are talking you could be talking about cars or boats or anything.”
“Yep we’re just having a discussion about accessories.”
Not many people can accessories their leg after all.
Back in the gym, I watch enviously as Dan walks up and down the parallel bars. Oh how I wish I could be doing the same.
My phone is still silent.
I can’t resist, I try Dr Al Muderis again.
Straight to voicemail.
Damn. I feel like a jilted lover. Please just answer the phone or call me back. Please.
To distract myself from the waiting I work my body as hard as I can with what I have. Weights, exercise bike, sit-ups anything to keep my body active and my mind busy. Plus it helps to distract me from the fire pit of pain burning in my hip.
As the afternoon draws to a close there is no call. It is now midnight in Chicago so there will be no word today.
Chris has spoke to Dr Webber and he comes over to deliver the verdict.
I can feel my heart pounding.
“Dr Webber said you can wear the leg tomorrow and we can do a light session.”
I grin. This is what I want to hear.
“But if the pain is too much you will have to take it off. You won’t like it but I will make you take it off. I have to be tough.”
“And you have to be honest with me with how you are feeling and your pain level. I know you will say you’re fine and just grit your teeth and do it anyway but I will know. I can read you like a book and if I think you are in too much pain then we will stop.”
It’s not what I want to hear but I will be good. I can’t have my leg confiscated again.
He has his serious look on.
“I am imagining tomorrow it will be quite painful. Considering the pain you have been having without the leg on, I know there will be pain. But we’ll just have to wait and see how much and how it goes and take it from there.”
Oh uncertainty you and I are becoming fast friends.
If I am in too much pain to walk what will this mean? Is that normal after this time? How will this affect my progress? Will I be able to leave? How much pain should I be putting up with?
While the thought of the potential pain walking tomorrow makes me uneasy it is the constant pain that has been my companion for the past few days that is concerning me. I haven’t worn the leg for four days, there has been no weight baring nor pressure on the muscles, so why is the pain still there? Last time when I overdid things and was forced to rest it felt infinitely better the next day. But this time the rest has done nothing. The pain has remained and if anything it has gotten worse.
After my session in the gym this afternoon, it is the worst it has been. I have done nothing to aggravate the hip nor the leg so there is no reason why it should be aching, throbbing and burning so much. After speaking to Ali and Dan who are not experiencing any pain I know this isn’t normal.
Chris admits he is worried and concerned too. But there is nothing we can do about it for the minute. It is a wait and see kind of game.
Despite him not wanting to, I convince him to let me do a trial couple of laps with the leg on. I just want to see if it is excruciatingly painful when I walk. If the hip feels as bad as it did on Saturday when I attempted to walk and just how much worse the pain is when I put weight through it.
I tentatively put it on and take a few steps. God it feels good to be reunited and upright again. Oh I have missed you little fella! Without the leg, crutching about I have felt unnatural and like I am missing something so it feels good to be whole again.
There is more pain than I have had previously walking but no shooting, stabbing or shocking pain that makes me wince each step. This is a good sign.
I do a couple of laps before Chris instructs me to head back to my room. That is all I am allowed for today.
It was only a small effort but I feel strangely triumphant. Sure it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable experience but it was nowhere near as painful as I had expected. Chris is also pleased and pleasantly surprised by this.
Tomorrow might not be so bad after all. Or at least while I am walking that is. I am still in substantial pain without the leg on so I’m not sure what this means. All along Dr Al Muderis warned me I would suffer hip pain. Perhaps that hip replacement might need to happen sooner than we expected. What that will means in terms of my recovery, in terms of work, in terms of the next few months I don’t know. Life is holding its cards close to its chest at the moment and not letting me have any sneak peeks.
A few frightening possibilities run through my mind but I dare not let them stick around and chat to me. There is no use worrying about anything until I know for sure what is going on. There are no prizes for the best worrier.
Mum calls to see what the update from the doctor is.
She sounds more frustrated than me by the lack of response.
“What is getting you through? Helping you be so calm and ok with everything, with the uncertainty,” she asks.
Her question catches me off guard.
But she is right, despite my frustration at the situation, at being forced to stay another week and take yet one more week off work, I am surprisingly calm in the face of uncertainly.
Throughout this whole journey, with each set-back, delay or roadblock I have had to simply surrender and accept what will be will be. I can’t change the outcome; I just have to accept it. Breathe and know it will all be ok, it will all work out.
I also feel calm in my trust that everything happens for a reason. This has constantly been the case throughout this whole thing. Like I have said before, if that first delay hadn’t of happened then I wouldn’t have ended up in Norwest Hospital or here and I wouldn’t have met Chris. And if my rehab stay hadn’t of been delayed I wouldn’t have been in here with Ali and Dan. It has all worked out the way it was supposed to each time and I trust completely it will again this time. I may not know what the future holds and it might seem scary at the time but I have faith it is all happening exactly as it should be and to get me where I need to be. At the time I might not feel it is where I want to be but that is the thing about life, it’s not always about what you want but rather what you need.
Plus Plan A might not have worked out and if the new Plan B fails then well, the alphabet has 25 other letters. I just have to roll with the punches.
Mum raises the scary possibility of what it will mean if I need to have a hip replacement or if this pain is more sinister.
“You might have to quit your job. How would you feel about that?”
I gulp. Truth be told I am terrified to the core of this possibility. Of giving up the job I love, my friends, my whole life really.
But if that is what life has planned for me I guess I will need to accept and be ok with that. At the very beginning when I was weighing up this surgery I was prepared to quit my job if I had to. This chance at a new life was too important and it still is. Jobs may come and go but this cyborg business, this is for life. And despite the setbacks, roadblocks and uncertainties it is shaping up to be a pretty good one.
Caterpillars into butterflies,
Sand into pearls,
Coal into diamonds,
& with time and pressure,
You are being worked into something just as magnificent. – Lorna Jane