SARAH CAME OVER on Sunday with a basket spilling over with hydrangeas, glittered sticks of curly willow and sprigs of fern—a gift from our brilliant writers’ group.
“The fern’s real,” she said, perched at the foot of the bed where I am in dramatic recovery from a hip replacement.
Cue up, I am Titanium.
The next morning My Prince found a six-foot ficus of the fake variety lying on the sidewalk outside an office building on Pennsylvania Avenue in view of the Capitol—just to give it some street cred—and hauled it home. It just needs the right pot.
Perfect gifts for the partially fake person I am now.
These will be installed in my little greenhouse, an eye roll from my desk, and just beyond the Victorian screen door that serves no purpose but to delight my eye. There are already bits of fake here, mingled among the flourish of flowering and fruiting and simply green plants, all too fragile to winter outdoors.
There’s the black-and-white floor, which I painted on plywood boards cut to fit the space, and the sequined birds with extravagantly glittered tails that perch here and there. There’s a purple one on the bird feeder that Baby bought me for Christmas, a copper pole topped with copper curlicues that form a nest for an antique silver creamer that will be the water dish when it goes out with the plants when the weather warms.
Clearly, I’ve lived through surgery, an event that no one took seriously but me. Even the doctors were joking around in the operating room, nattering on about their exotic vacations as I pleaded with them to spare my bikini line—I was later assured that this was done, though it’s under a rather large Band-aid so I really can’t tell yet.
I had but one night of hospital care before they tossed me to the street, after having walked a total of 40 feet that morning and demonstrated that I could climb three steps. There are 13 steps from the sidewalk to our front door, 17 steps from our hallway to the second floor. Getting me home was . . . comical.
The Prince has been a prince, fluttering about with pillows and prune juice and various adjustments, sometimes fixing a cover or a pillow in the middle of the night, which can be irritating, if lovable. Putting my socks on, hosing me down in the shower.
A physical therapist visits twice a week. Yesterday we discovered that my left leg—the one with the new socket—is nearly an inch longer than the right. This is extremely cool. If I stand on my left leg the next time I’m officially measured I’ll be an inch taller—and maybe the doc can even me out when the right hip goes.
Meanwhile I feel fantastic. Although there’s a list of things I’m not allowed to do for six weeks, lest I knock my joint out of joint, I get about the house with no cane and no walker and go up and down stairs easily. The biggest danger is rushing things.
Hip replacement is just what people say: miraculous. Do feel free to contact me if you are wary, as I was— or want to share your experience.
Next week: back to plants.
LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” writes, sometimes, about gardening in the city.