Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Bionic Sister

Andy's first tennis racket, a gift
 from our father.  I got one too.
My sister Andy, in Tallahassee, just had hip replacement surgery.  Her old arthritic hip got so bad she couldn't walk on it, let alone play tennis, one of her favorite things to do.  When she learned she had to have her hip replaced, she got out her old tennis rackets, wrapped ribbons around them, and hung them around her house.  It's her reminder of what she wants to do. So are her brand new Saucony tennis shoes.

The orthopedic doctor is highly regarded, young but experienced. He's done tons of these kinds of surgeries.  I must say the surgery sounds more like a construction site than anything medical, the main tools being  hammers, saws, and pliers. A big incision, too, about 10 inches. Lots of sawing and pounding. Lots of fitting metal and plastic into place.   Lots of clearing out and cleaning up. And since it's the human body taking this beating, it's not a pretty sight, or site. Lots of bruising.

But Andy is a trooper.  She wants to be up and about.  She wants to get back on the tennis court.  So she is already on her feet, testing the human-made parts in her hip, walking with a walker. Her first day home from the hospital was a challenge, for her and for me.  It's amazing all the muscles you have to use to get in and out of bed, for example; not easy when one side is immovable and painful.  It took us several hours to figure it out, trying this approach then that. By 1:00 am we got her settled, with a pillow under her knees.  The simplest things are hard to do.   

It really helps to have a physical therapist come to the house.  No way Andy wanted to go to a rehab place.  The doctor agreed, because "Andy has a positive attitude.  I wish all my patients had that."  

"Geez, sis, sorry you have to lift my leg and tuck me in and do this stuff."
"No problem.  I hope you never have to do this for me.  I mean I hope to God I never need hip or knee or any other kind of joint surgery."

It may take some time to get back on a tennis court.  But one day, maybe in a few months, my bionic sister will take the ribbons off her rackets and put them to good use.  You can't keep a good woman down.

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