When you are sitting in a hospital bed waiting for major surgery, surrounded by your family and closest friends, feeling very vulnerable, the blessings in your life are as crystal clear as they perhaps ever will be.
You are thankful for your faith and the solace and confidence it gives you.
You are thankful for your loved ones, whose warm embraces and words of comfort and reassurance give you strength.
You are thankful for nurses, who, even though strangers, are indeed angels of mercy. You are, to be sure, thankful for the fine medical training our country affords, which produces the calm and confident doctors in whose hands you literally place your life.
And you are thankful knowing that many people outside that little pre-op room are praying very hard for you — that all will go well, that you won’t experience pain, that the operation, whatever it might be, will be a success.
All these things I experienced recently when, after months of discomfort, I decided to go ahead and have my left hip replaced. As with any medical condition, you quickly learn more about the particular issue than you ever thought you might. I know a lot about my hip now — and one thing I have learned is that I am far from alone in this.
Today, according to the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Web site, more than 193,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States, not to mention similar surgical procedures performed on other joints, including the knee, shoulder and elbow. Happily, I was not the first one and my own case has gained much from all this experience!
So, as I write this, I have successfully undergone the actual surgery in May, the post-operative stay at Highland Hospital in Rochester and a week of excellent rehabilitative therapy — learning to better manipulate and use my new hip — at our marvelous St. Ann’s Community.
Now I am resting at home in Sacred Heart Cathedral rectory, getting stronger every day and already feeling the strong itch to get back to work. Of course, I must wait until my doctor says the time is right and I will dutifully follow his advice, but I must admit I have sneaked in a few prayers that his decision is sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, I am wandering about more and more, armed with my temporary cane, getting used to this new device that will be part of me for years to come. So far, I can pronounce the operation a wonderful success. The pain that nagged at me is gone. Other than the post-operative tiredness I think is fairly common, I feel very well indeed.
I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who sent me cards and notes of encouragement. You have been so very kind to me, and I appreciate it very much. Your prayers, too, have lifted me up. They gave me strength and great encouragement when I needed it most.
As I said, it is as comforting as a warm blanket on a chilly spring night to know people out there are rooting for you. I am so very thankful to be part of such a caring, compassionate and thoughtful community of believers.
Thank you, and see you soon!
Peace to all.