Embracing Change Part 1 “My Own Two Feet”

Posted: June 2, 2014 in General Interest

Embracing change can feel like trying to hug a porcupine. It’s scary, can seem impossible to accomplish, and it’s pretty uncomfortable.

So we consciously choose misery, and cuddle up to it instead. Pulling it close like our favorite lover, settling in and getting comfy.

“Hey Shannyn do you wanna shake things up, choose change, and improve your situation? “Nope I’m gonna stay right over here with my Boo misery cuz we got a good relationship going on.

Change is scary. Really scary, and the main obstacle that makes us run away from change, instead of toward it, is fear of the unknown. Resisting change is normal, but refusing to change is detrimental.

True story:
I was diagnosed with severe arthritis of the hip in 2009. I’d had pain all summer and tried denial, hoping it was a muscle pull. By fall I had a rheumatologist and a prescription and I mentally pulled the covers over the reality that I had “old people” problems.

Fast forward one year later. Now I had an orthopedic surgeon and I wanted to try one last remedy. A shot straight in my groin with a needle so long that I was sedated. YIKES! It worked!!!! For only two weeks. The surgeon gently informed me that within the next few months, I would be a candidate for total hip replacement surgery.

My misguided mantra was “as long as I could walk, I could work.” I’m a Sales rep, and we eat persistence and rejection for breakfast, so I just thought I could press forward.

I hid my problem from EVERYONE on my job and I hid it well. Until I couldn’t. My fear was that as an older worker, in a profession where the median age was early to middle 30’s, I didn’t want to appear as if I couldn’t keep up. So I loaded up on meds and tried not to limp. And I continued to choose misery. Knowing that the situation was getting progressively worse. I was right on the border of accepting the need for surgery, when my impatient hip made the decision for me.

For my ten months of denial, and delaying surgery, I was cruelly rewarded with a hip that rebelled and started to dislocate in the middle of the day. I have a job that’s super mobile, I’m literally driving around hopping in and out of the car all day. So I went in to see a customer and when I came out, suddenly I could barely walk. Fear slapped misery around and I got double teamed. The kindness of my customers got me through the rest of the day because oddly I still tried to work, shuffling painfully from place to place until one of my customers ORDERED ME to go back to his private office and call my surgeon IMMEDIATELY, Bellowing “don’t come out until you talk to someone”.

I headed home early, stopping at the grocery store knowing I was in trouble. I actually had to lean on the cart to get around the store, but I irrationally thought I better go shopping before I went home.

I called my sister (who’s part angel) and asked her to please bring me the walker my mom had used for back issues the year before. By 6 that evening reality was creeping in. Me, the lady who had been working since she was sixteen years old, was suddenly not in control, and was dependent on others for almost everything. I couldn’t even drive.

One of the hardest calls I’ve ever made was the one admitting to my manager that I couldn’t walk, and would be off work possibly for the rest of the year. He was so understanding, reminding me that we’re close in age and making me stop apologizing for hiding my problem. My secret was out and now everyone knew it.

A trip to ER and X-rays showed a hip that was dangerously close to coming out of the socket. The covers of reality were finally pulled off, and my surgery was scheduled for the following month. Thirty days, that I anxiously crossed off the calendar like a kid waiting for Christmas.

My friends and family circled around me like a wreath. The biggest reason I’d delayed my surgery was because I couldn’t imagine not being able to take care of myself. I was touched daily by people’s kindness and willingness to help.

My life became a series of MD appointments and pre op preparations. I’d see elderly patients going in doctor’s offices using walkers and they’d give me the nod, these were my people now lol.

I never missed an appointment, friends or family drove me everywhere, calling often to see,what I needed, or coming to get me so I wasn’t stuck in the house. I’d sit and fantasize about standing on my own two feet and simply walking across the room.

I finally had my surgery and had four long hard months of recovery, with physical therapy so grueling I would cry like an angry baby. I finally graduated from a walker to a cane. I took the picture in this post after my first real walk on just my own power. It was only about 3 blocks, and it took me 45 really long minutes. I was elated and exhausted.

If I’d just chosen fear and change instead of misery the scenario would have been different. I could have planned my surgery almost a year before, and would have lived with much less pain. It was a lesson learned the hard way. I also learned that being completely independent is highly over-rated.

Change is constant, and it’s normal to fear it, but it’s rarely the enemy we think it’ll be.

  1. puccdetroit says:

    Thank you for this post about change. You are a very good writer! Can’t wait until “Part 2” arrives!


  2. resurgee says:

    Sigh … I guess I’m where you were at the beginning of your adventure. I keep telling myself that it ain’t so bad and trying to figure out how to develop a sexy limp …


  3. resurgee says:

    Merci beaucoup for telling your story.


  4. zoerabbit says:

    Change is inevitable. Thanks for sharing.


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