"Just this minute the surgery scheduler called. Art’s surgery will be Friday, June 11, and the surgical consultation for my hip will be June 22. Life is good!"
That's the email message I sent to a friend who asked how we're doing. We've had a challenging couple of months. My husband has half a dozen pinched nerves in his 78-year-old back. One of them controls strength and movement in his right leg. Others appear to initiate sciatica. He's been pretty miserable. In Tucson, we live in a park model (trailer) and the doorways are too narrow for a walker or a wheelchair. So he had a few falls while transferring from the walker to the toilet, or from the walker to the bed. We have four stairs which he could descend with difficulty, but impossible to climb back up, even with several helpers. So we were looking forward to being back in Washington, with wider doorways and no stairs in our remodeled-last-summer apartment.
I decided to talk to our doctor once we got back to Washington. I said, "I know my left knee needs to be replaced. My back hurts, and my right hip aches. I think they're all related. Can we figure out how, and do something about it?" So the doc ordered x-rays. And sure enough. My left knee has severe arthritis (which I knew) and so does my right hip (which I didn't know). I have struggled with that hip for a couple of years now, with no improvement. A front-view x-ray taken a year ago of my pelvis and hips showed mild arthritis. The new ones, taken from different angles last week, reveal the severity. I am so relieved! That's the reason for the consult on June 22.
My friend said she thought I'd be lunching with friends now that I'm back in Washington. But I don’t have a village up here like I do in Tucson. I’ve got a few friends I meet up with. I’ve seen two of them already, and am having coffee with another on Friday. It is much quieter here. I’m considering volunteering to mediate in small claims court, but I sent a letter of inquiry a few weeks ago and haven’t heard back. I suspect that agency is shuttered for now and that my records of certification and competence are locked inside the physical building, so the current assigners of work - if there is any - don’t know I’m qualified.
My friend wondered if I could go out and leave Art alone or whether I am a full-time caregiver. Yes, Art can be left alone. He is fairly self-sufficient except for things like shopping, cooking and driving. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking. I run errands. I get massages. I bought a new pair of Birkenstocks last week. I bought a Lazy Boy recliner. I’m the only driver, so I’m out and about. On Friday we went to IHOP for breakfast where I encountered people Not Like Me and observed unconcerned sexism. I gave our server an extra-sized tip and a few moments of commiseration. Last night we ordered pizza and shared it with our upstairs kids. I ordered peppermint oil spray to keep the spiders out. Next week we’re having a couple of dead trees cut down, and half a dozen cedar trees trimmed to let the sunlight in upstairs. After that we’ll have the windows washed.