I've had a problem with my hip for the past year. I tried everything alternative to surgery that I could think of: physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and deep tissue massage. While all of this was wonderful and may have delayed surgery for a while, it came to the point this past summer where the pain and lack of mobility was getting to be too much. The pain increasingly got worse and I finally gave in and decided to get hip replacement surgery - something I was terrified of.
I never had major surgery in a hospital in my life. I had three children but I did so as natural as I could - never even had an epidural - even though I had them in the hospital. I had to surrender and trust this doctor and hospital basically with my life. I had to trust that this would be the best decision I could make for myself and that was really hard for me. The world would tell me every horror story possible about why this could possibly not be a good choice - and I had to stay focused and not be swayed by what I heard or read or saw. Time passed and the time for surgery came - I had to surrender and trust.
I woke up from the surgery feeling amazing - my experience in the hospital was amazing. Everyone was kind, efficient, and really cared about helping me get better. I was up walking that night with hardly any pain - certainly much less than I had before the surgery. I learned to go up stairs, get in and out of my car, and go from a walker to a cane within a day. I was home the day after surgery. There was recovery of course, learning my limitations, and learning to let my body heal and just slow down. I had to let others take care of me (boy was that hard!!!!). Many times I had to look at things and tell myself - "not yet". I also had to take things much slower and give myself extra time and figure out how to support myself through difficult movements. Physical Therapy was so hard and painful, but my body was responding, and I was able to SLOWLY move easier.
This whole experience made me a better teacher at Celebrate the Children. I looked at my student's through different eyes. I knew how it felt when my body wouldn't work the way I wanted it to. I now understood what it was like to have to look at a location and figure out how I could get there and how long it would take or if my body could do that yet. I understood how hard physical therapy was and making my body move the way it didn't want to move and the processing time involved. I understood the frustration, the fear, and foreboding of certain situations and movements. My body heals and gets stronger every day and many movements are much easier than even before the surgery. I am thankful and grateful for the whole experience and feel so much more connected to our students and how they often feel. Now I can let them know I understand.
Paula Paglione, Teacher, Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.