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Secondly, I got back into the pool, no, not the hot tub therapy pool, the really big pool where all the big kids are… LOL it felt sooo good to be in deep water again! I hope Dr. Crovetti and Dr. Smith don’t read this line…. I even “jumped” in! Yeah, you heard me, I jumped into that water and came up exhilarated to be in cool water without having back spasms in my muscles. Dr. Crovetti did say I was good to do whatever I wanted after my total hip replacement, so I’m taking him at his word. HOWEVER, there always seems a price to pay. As it turns out, I guess I’m not as strong as I thought I was yet. After all it has only been just a smidge over three months for my ACDF 3- level fusion procedure on my neck and tomorrow it will be only six weeks since my total hip replacement. At my last visit with Dr. Smith two weeks ago, he said that my ACDF was completely fused and he was pleased at how it looked from the x-rays.
My goal was to just get into the big girl pool and wiggle around a bit. Ha! That takes more muscle than I thought! For every two steps forward I take, it’s like two leaps backwards for my healing. I don’t know how to get this right. I mean, I’m trying to do everything I can for my body to heal, I’m eating better than ever before, I’m exercising, doing all the moves I’ve been taught even when no one is looking, and I’m trying to break some really strong ties to bad habits; those unhealthy kind that seem to keep pulling you back into the abyss. BUT, I’m still not strong enough to do what, in my mind, I want to do…. like dive off the edge of the pool into the water and have complete control of my muscles in such a way that it doesn’t hurt my new body. Hell, at this point, I’ll settle for just being able to float without getting a cramp in my neck muscles! Though I didn’t get that this time, I did wake up with a really stiff neck this morning from just floating on my back. I did a few laps of back stroke, and I did some other stuff on my back but WOW, my muscles still aren’t very strong. That’s the kind of stuff I did to get ready for surgery a little over a year ago that was no big whoop to do then. Hmmm, what a difference a year makes.
One of the things I’ve discovered as I’m doing some of my singing warmups has been that the higher I go with the notes, the more muscles in the back of my neck I need to use. Which gives you a gauge as to how successful my warmups have been so far! SO, here’s my plan…. I’m gonna be floating on my back a lot in the coming days… I figure that’s gonna be the best way to strengthen those muscles to get em back in shape. Plus, I don’t think that when I was doing all that stuff before my surgery I was using the RIGHT muscles in the RIGHT way because everything was so screwed up! I have a LOT to learn yet! No wonder everyone says this getting old thing isn’t for sissies!! ACTUALLY, I feel like I’m 28 again, or at least my body does, and what’s cool is that I have the experience of a $%^&* something year old!!! ( you didn’t really think I was gonna tell you I’m really 57 now did you?) ROTFL
Well, I really DO have some good news for ya! I’m becoming a productive member of society again… something I though was beyond my grasp ever again. I know it’s only volunteer work, no money involved, but, very satisfying nonetheless… I started working in my doctors’ office as a patient advocate. I’ll define this for you. After the doctor determines a patient is right for a particular surgery like one I’ve gone through, he asks if they’re wanting to talk further with someone who has experience with the procedure. ME! Since I’m on the premise, it’s just a walk away for them to get any further questions answered or have fears dismissed by real information, not some hearsay from the neighbor’s, brother’s, sister’s, uncle who had back surgery 15 years ago, got butchered, and is still in excruciating pain and swears his surgery was the biggest mistake of his life. BACK PAIN NO LONGER HAS TO BE ENDURED!!!! Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox and just explain…. LOL
So Dr. Smith is allowing me to use his office to see his patients which has the biggest comfiest office chair I think I’ve ever seen! I haven’t sat in it yet but I’ll let you know how it is in a later post. I’m sure it will feel fabulous! I’ll be surrounded by dark cherry or mahogany wood (I didn’t get close enough to discern which one) bookshelves and the desk I get to use is massive, made out of the same wood. I’m struggling with the idea of making a sign for the door designating me with my name and the words “Patient Advocate” on it. But then, do I put it on the other side of the door, opposite Dr. Smith’s name plate or do I not do it at all? Hmmm, I think I’ll make one, use removable tape and put it up and see what he thinks. He seems to enjoy my creativity, almost to the point of amusement, so I’ll see how he reacts.
In my down-time between patients, I’m going to be able to do some serious thinking and writing, finally getting the book down in words on paper. I know, I know, I keep saying I’m writing a book but you have no idea how difficult it is to relive all the stuff we went through a second time. I know I need to get it down so others can benefit, but damn, it’s tuff! A lot of the feelings and emotions I thought would mellow with time are still very raw for me. And those that say writing is cathartic, that it brings you to another place??? I don’t know what they’re smokin, cause this has not been cathartic at all, more like really, really hard. At least for the first book… the second book isn’t so bad. I’m living it in real time and it seems to be easy enough to write about it. But then again, compared to what we endured in my first book compared to what I’ve endured in my second one… the second one is a cake walk! Not really, but comparatively speaking!
On another note, I guess I’ve known for a long time that a person’s own life is of most importance to themselves. No lawyer, car mechanic, financial planner, or doctor is going to care more about my life than me. So I suppose that the dream I had last night with Andrea Bocelli falls into this category. It’s MY dream, because it’s most important to me. LOL
So I’m on stage at a conference talking about my experiences of the past year. I start talking about my different operations and healing and how I wasn’t able to sing, I share that the number one thing on my bucket list may never be achieved. I am mid-sentence when I hear his voice…. his unmistakably rich, baritone voice. I turn around and there he is in the flesh, Andrea Bocelli, singing his song Because We Believe acapella…. I start to cry and the audience stands up and goes wild with applauds…. Alex, the founder of the company comes over to speak to me standing next to Andrea and I am so taken with what is going on, I can hardly breath. Leaning into me, I think I hear Alex say something over the applause about a recording session with Andrea….I need a box of tissues by this point…. and I woke up…. I wanna go back to sleep so I can finish my dream!!!! I don’t dream in my sleep, haven’t since I was a teen. A few dreams over the years now and then that I can wake up and remember but, otherwise, nada… So it was surprising to me to have such a vivid dream. Even when I was recovering and formulating such an encounter, it was during my waking hours and not planted in my subconscious mind. I wonder what this means?
Well, I’ll tell you what it means. First I probably ate something I shouldn’t have before I went to bed, and secondly, it means that no one will ever hold your dreams as close to them as you do, not your children, not even your spouse. I tried to do that with my husband but that’s a whole ‘nother story. The only time I can ever remember doing something like that for another person is for my son. Brian’s dreams are my dreams for him…a mother’s love is so unconditional that no matter what his dream is, that’s what I want for him.
Look, I’m a realist, I know this is NEVER gonna happen. But I am holding this in my heart, knowing that I can go to my grave with hope. To give up hope is something that leaves a person just a shell of themselves, not whole. I haven’t come this far, gone through this much agony, suffered all the indignations I have, to give up hope. Not that others haven’t either, but, this, is my journey. And, when it’s my time, I want to end my journey with hope in my heart…..
It’s ok that others have their own dreams, that’s what makes them do what they do, so they can fulfill their own dreams. I’m not saying that everyone should drop what they’re doing and help me fulfill my dream. What I mean is, no one will work as hard for your dream as you do. So, even though I know I may never get to sing with Andrea Bocelli, I’ll work as hard as I can to be prepared if by some fluke of fate he and I are on the same stage together, I’ll be ready and know what’s happening. I’m sure I would be so tongue tied that I couldn’t sing with him even if I got the chance anyway… ‘com on…. it’s Andrea Bocelli… who wouldn’t be tongue tied?!! Like my mom said, “Your days are made better by your daydreams.” But, this mom, was a nighttime dream…. you never told me what to do about them! Geesh! Now what do I do? Oh, yeah, I keep trying to sing again!
I liken this experience to Dr. Smith. At some point in his life he had a dream, a vision to make his mark in a positive way in this world; to leave a legacy way beyond his years. In order to achieve that he had to make certain decisions about what was acceptable along his path and what he recognized would not be conducive to his goal. It amazes me that he and people like him can have such clarity and focus. I say this as I am now admitting I discovered a few years ago that I am ADHD.
They didn’t have a test for that when I was in school. My parents were told I was incorrigible, I had too much spunk. I needed more discipline. Through the years, without a diagnosis and drugs, I’ve been able to harness a lot of those thoughts that fire off constantly in my head. Only occasionally now do I sound off the wall, at least not as much as I used to. I was gifted with an artistic eye, and a zeal to be curious about many things. And sometimes that’s gotten me into real trouble. But one thing it has given me is the ability to observe; things that most people let pass by without so much as a glance. I like details. Those are the things that put the finishing touches on something, whether it’s a writing project, a party, or a friendship. It’s in the details that completes a task. Dr. Smith is, I imagine all about details. He’d have to be.
I often, throughout my life, have looked to people to find something positive I can gain from them and blend it into my world. Mike, the pharmacist, who was caring and pleasant no matter what day of the week or time of day I saw him. Niza, my friend, my professor of sociology, who gave me perspective about other cultures, Joe, my physics professor, who gave me a way to view science with a hungry curiosity for things unknown and not fear them. If you look at what Dr. Smith has accomplished, you see how focused he’s had to be. That, has benefited everyone around him. If there’s one thing I can learn from him as a person, it’s his focus and drive; relentless in the pursuit of his dream to help those with his talents to become a better human being. To be better than they ever thought they could be.
It’s that drive and focus I want to apply to my singing to make sure I’ve done everything in my power to once again sing. I once read a quote, “The heart that has lost the will to sing, is like a butterfly with a broken wing.” I was broken, but my wings are growing back. My heart really does want to sing again. And even if it’s only in church, what better place to sing. My daydreams, and for that matter even my night-dreams, may only stay just dreams but they’re MY dreams to hang on to, to give me hope. And isn’t that really what life is all about? HOPE. Hope that one day you can realize your dreams like Dr. Smith has, living his dream, or hope that if you work hard enough your dreams will come true too. I want to someday live my dream, but in the meantime, I’ll keep working hard and staying as focused as any ADHD person can… LOL Who knows, maybe one day I really will see Andrea Bocelli on the same stage as me! A GIRL CAN DREAM!!!
So for now, I’ll keep swimming, keep practicing, keep on doing my exercises and maybe, just MAYBE one day, I’ll be able to scratch a few things off my bucket list!
In the meantime, remember to take care of you and yours,