By Lisabet Sarai
By the time you read this, I'll be in the hospital, coming out of anaesthesia after hip replacement surgery. My younger days as a dancer apparently took their toll on my joints. I've had problems for more than a decade but in the past two years the pain has become sufficiently bad that it's seriously interfering with my ability to walk.
Needless to say, right now, a few days before the operation, I'm a bit anxious. I've been blessed with amazing health for most of my life. As a result, this will be the first time I've been hospitalized since I was a teenager, and certainly the most serious medical intervention I've ever had: at least a week as an inpatient and then a minimum of six weeks on crutches.
I start imagining what it will be like, lying awake at night, alone and in pain. I fret about being catheterized. I remember horror stories about vicious staph infections resistant to antibiotics, about flawed medical devices kept on the market even though the company knows they are defective. I haven't been sleeping as well as usual. I'll wake at three in the morning and start visualizing what it will be like in the hospital, making myself too tense to fall back into refreshing dreams.
I believe that one's thoughts determine one's reality, to a very large extent. Thus, I've been working to readjust my mental position regarding the upcoming operation. Instead of looking at it as scary, I'm trying to view the whole process as "interesting". After all, the doctor is going to replace a significant part of my anatomy with a mechanism: a ball of titanium in a socket of polyethelene, and a rod of porous metal extending down into my leg. From now on, I'll be setting off metal detectors everywhere I go. I'm going to be bionic!
It's pretty amazing, actually. I know many people who've had the same surgery. They all agree that it made a huge positive difference in their quality of life. Half a century ago, I would have been destined to be a cripple for the rest of my days. Now, with the assistance of modern medicine, I'll hopefully end up almost as good as new.
I want to make this experience a positive one. I want to observe and to learn from it. I also see it as a chance for spiritual growth, to build my faith, increase my patience and reduce my fear. I'm going to try and write during as much of the process as I can--certainly, I'm going to bring my netbook. After all, it's a great opportunity to come up with blog material!
And who knows? Maybe I'll meet someone in the hospital who'd make a great hero or heroine for some future book.