Doctors and Nurses Just Don’t Get It

Journal Entry – September 20, 2021, Monday 6:18am

It’s day 12 after major surgery and I’m feeling so much better. I’ve been doing well all along, just didn’t want to post anything until I was closer to my normal self than not. Today’s that day.

For those that don’t know, I had an old wound finally taken care of in more ways than one. It was quite the traumatic event now that I’m able to look back on it, but I’m so glad it’s over.

As a young performer, dancer, I was always in pain. As a kid, I performed all the time – I was a natural. I loved dancing, marching in parades, being part of winter guard and I even participated in Drum Corp one year – but dancing was the thing that made my heart soar. It still does even if I haven’t done it professionally for so many years…

I was good at it too. I’d even say brilliant.  But more important than the natural skill, was my addiction to it. In so many ways, wanting to perform was my saving grace. With all that happened to me as a child, the only thing I had to hold onto was being able to jump on stage and perform…  the threat of that being taken away from me was unfathomable and adults around me used it to keep me on track.  It worked.

And then, one day, I collapsed around my teammates. I was in so much pain I couldn’t get back up. One of the guys, picked me up and carried me up a hill – that’s the last thing I truly remember vividly from back in the day… it was the end of whatever career I thought I’d have…

Rehearsing – always trying to get it right.

If losing my mom at a young age, never knowing my dad and ending up on the streets didn’t break me, losing the ability to continue dancing and performing because of a hip injury/deformity I was born with, was the death of my spirit no one saw coming.

I was just a kid, but I hated the world. My dreams of being on Broadway and then choreographing some fantastic shows, music videos (they were a thing then) were all diminished. I had plans dammit! And whatever slight belief in God I had left back then, had been completely wiped out.

As I sit here writing this, I don’t know how I did it. I can say, without hesitation, of all the things that could have broken my spirit as a young kid, that should have been it – having a hip injury that ended dancing for me – should have been the final blow to an already seemingly horrible childhood. There was nothing left for me and if I’m being honest, I should not have made it after that.  If that had been the final straw that broke me, everyone would have understood it…

But it didn’t. Not being able to dance, did not break me.  I finished high school and went to college instead and somehow, remarkably went on to run and complete three marathons, several 10 and 5K’s, kayaked, mountain biked, hiked, even completed a Tough Mudder once (mud-run) – I’ve stayed pretty active all these years, even if I was real slow, and always aware of my bum hip… 

Marathoning with Friends!

It wasn’t until Covid 2020 that things dramatically changed for me. For whatever reason my hip’s normal on-going annoyance that I’d clearly gotten used to, was unbearable. I stopped running outside, bought a spin bike and thought that might help, but somehow it made it worse. The now noticeable limp was extreme and the pain throbbing even when I wasn’t moving, was new. Bursitis, inflammation… I was crying in pain throughout the day. And I just knew, it was time.

So, yeah, that’s when I finally went to a doctor to get things checked out. Six months after that initial consultation with Dr. Kenton H., I’m now sitting here 12 days after surgery, with a slight smile on my face…. and so much relief.

We always say we want to thank Doctors and Nurses for the work they do, but I wonder if they even realize to what extent they’ve changed people’s lives? I wonder because to them, it’s their every day, right? The work they do is the same, but for the individual, for me – it’s monumental! It’s life changing.

I was explaining to my niece the other day what the difference was I was feeling four days after a total hip replacement surgery – for as long as I can remember it has always felt like I had half of a basketball attached to my right hip. No one else could see it, but I knew it was there. And if I moved the wrong way, or went too fast, or rubbed up against something, I felt it. Most times, a dull throbbing-like pain, but it was always there.  My right arm was always aware of my “side hip basketball”. Always semi-protecting it, always concerned with it.  Even when I wore heels or dressed up, there was a way in which I adjusted for its consistent pain…

Today, without my cane – 12 days after Surgery. I’m shook.

The “side-basketball” is completely gone now. A part of me that I’ve known my entire adult life is just completely NOT there. No appendage, no side obstruction, no pain in that area to be aware of. It is the strangest feeling I’ve ever known because I’m glad it’s gone, but it was a part of me all this time… does that make any sense?

The pain I’m feeling now, is what I’m calling a “healing pain” and it’s from the incision that my surgeon made –  he specializes in the Anterior approach – which in my non-medical training simply means, he comes to the problem from the front of the leg, thigh-groin area, doesn’t cut any muscles at all, but pushes them aside and then replaces that hip and socket that way. So, the slight to moderate pain I’m feeling now, is that front area healing. It’s remarkable. In so many ways, it just feels so good…

Something has changed in me. I wish I could explain it to the doctors, nurses and staff so they’d fully understand their own work.  It’s so monumental that it’s hard to fully describe. I’m not sure they quite understand how life changing the work is they do. I mean, maybe they get it – but I’m not so sure. I really believe I’m a very different person today, than I was twelve days ago before I went under the knife.

I sent the nurses, staff and of course, my anesthesiologist hand-written thank you notes last week. My cousin, Cynthia, who works in a hospital in Boston said it was rare to get thank you notes from a patient.  Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to that… I’m still working with my Surgeon and my Physical Therapy folk and will have to send them something once we’re done with our follow-ups, but jeez…the idea that I wouldn’t, at the very least, send them some sort of thank you… I mean, if this works out the way I think it might, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say “Thank you” enough.

I really don’t think Doctors and Nurses and their entire staff, understand fully what it is they truly do…

I’m so grateful today…. life changing for sure.

With so much joy,

Carmen

14 thoughts on “Doctors and Nurses Just Don’t Get It

  1. I am so happy for you, Carmen. Thinking back, all my dance teachers walked with a limp and had a stick (with which they threatened us…) When my surgeon in Scotland repaired my tendon and allowed me to walk again, I brought him wine, candies to show my deep appreciation. A note is even more personal. Good luck on your recovery!

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    • Thank you so much Kerry! I’m so glad you got taken care of — I don’t remember dance coaches/teachers with canes/sticks or limps, but surely always threatening… I guess that’s pretty universal. Goodness! And what a lovely gesture to give your surgeon – Wine and Candies! I may steal that from you. Thanks gain! Sending you a big hug.

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  2. I kindly on one knee and would not rise until the doctor that performed the surgery to remove cancer from my colon had extended her hand and I kissed it in a hallway of the VA Hospital of Philadelphia. I’ve been cancer feee for some seven years now.

    I have know idea what I would have done with a basketball on my side. I just wouldn’t dribble that much.

    I too enjoyed dancing and could actually do a split on the dance floor while doing the old Mashed Potatoes. I was only one of a few guys who fast-danced and it was a lot of fun.

    Glad to hear you’re doing better but I am not going to say “break a leg” for your next athletic achievement!

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      • Well, that is quite something Michael. I don’t think I’ll be getting on one knee to thank my surgeon anytime soon — but I completely understand the sentiment on several levels! Maybe in a few months, once I’m back running? I don’t know. I think “cancer free” is definitely worthy of such a gesture I suppose, but I will keep you posted if I ever do that (I don’t know my surgeon that well at all, but my guess is he’d freak out a bit…Hahahaha! It might be worth it just to see that. Hahahaha!).

        I’m so glad you’re cancer free. And thank you. I’m glad I’m better too. I don’t have upcoming plans for new athletic achievements, but I can’t imagine not getting back to it in some way shape or form soon enough. Hugs! (and thanks for cracking me up. I needed a good giggle!).

        Liked by 1 person

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