a real mother

8 Days and Counting


Surprisingly, I’m more than a little embarrassed to start a blog. It’s particularly surprising since I write a monthly column where I recount in detail the goofy things that seem to happen to me and my family.

But with hip resurfacing surgery coming up in one short week, I thought it might be helpful to share my experience leading up to surgery with anyone who might be contemplating the procedure. It seems like a long time getting to this point. I have to face the fact – I’m going to be a hippy.

My most recent column gives the details of finally coming to the conclusion that surgery was a necessary evil:

A Very Hip Valentine’s Day

It’s almost that time of year again – Valentine’s Day – the day set aside for remembering that special someone with a romantic dinners and a $75 bouquet of roses. On this extraordinary day of love, we can momentarily forget the fact that our adorable man who now belches the alphabet with the gusto of a third grader and remember why we fell in love with him in the first place. For those fellas who spend most of their time in the doghouse, Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to suck up for ignoring your sweetie the other 364 days of the year. Most women I know would always welcome sparkly adornments like diamond studs, gold bracelets or a silver BMW convertible on Valentine’s Day. Although lacking the glitz of such accoutrements, most men have the good common sense to show up bearing a love offering of flowers or chocolates for their beloved.

This year, my husband and I will celebrate our twentieth Valentine’s Day together and he knows exactly what I want. It’s sparkly to be sure but it’s far from the ordinary, which is exactly what I would expect to celebrate the longevity of our love. And I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty special because I don’t know a single soul who will be celebrating the same way I’ll be. No, it’s not a dazzling Forever Ring that he plans to give to me on the steps of some photogenic European plaza with family and 37 of my closest friends present to share in my joy. It won’t involve a delightful night out with a bottle of wine, flowers and a tear inducing Hallmark moment. And sadly, I won’t even be able to show it off. But this Valentine’s Day he’s giving me some hip bling – literally. A high carbide cobalt chrome resurfaced hip. He’s such a sentimental fool.

This year, I will celebrate the day of love in the most non-traditional way I can possibly imagine: surgery. But after three years of limping around in complete denial while eating ibuprofen by the handful like they were Junior Mints, I acknowledged that it was indeed time to seek medical intervention. It came on slowly, limping a bit after my daily run or a little morning stiffness. I chalked it up to middle-age and years of having the misguided view that stretching was for sissies. But the post-run limp morphed into one that was all the time. Friends would inquire about my distinctive Quasimodo Shuffle. “I’m fine,” I’d reply emphatically as I dragged my right leg along behind me. I somehow assumed my state of denial would result in a miraculous, spontaneous cure. When my kids starting calling me Hitch and my right shoe began to wear out first, I started to think that perhaps they were right.

This summer, however, was the tipping point in facing the fact that my limp had evolved into a public freak show on par with the bearded lady of carnival sideshow fame. While attempting to take a walk, I heard a vehicle slow as it drove up behind me. A young man pulled up beside me and stuck his head out the window. I assumed incorrectly that he was going to ask for directions. Instead, he inquired helpfully, “Ma’am, are you hurt?” “No, just my pride,” I mumbled under my breath as I hobbled away from his car. I shuffled back home and promptly scheduled a doctor’s appointment. During my visit, it didn’t require a radiologist to see that my right hip was bone-on-bone and far beyond WD40 and duct tape. My doctor announced the sad news: my right hip had reached its expiration date.

Now I have to admit, in the 1970s, I imagined how cool it would be to have the superpowers of the Bionic Woman, Jaime Sommers, but I never imagined that I’d have my chance. Thanks to surgical intervention, the Bionic Woman was able to leap to the top of a 12 story building, run 60 mph and bend steel with her bare hands. While I can’t fathom that leaping tall buildings or running will be in my post-surgery future, I’m looking forward to the day that I can take a pain-free walk with my husband, my kids and my dog. And that will be a gift that’s more extraordinary than superpowers, diamonds or gold.