Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hip Restrictions? What Hip Restrictions?

I am a little over two months post surgery. According to the handy "So, You're Having a Hip Replacement" guide book, this means I should have to follow hip restrictions (no bending, no lifting, no twisting, no crossing) for another month. Want to know what activity involves all of those in soul-crushing, back-spasming quantities? Moving.

Moving is, of course, its own hell, and moving after a hip replacement adds its own extra layer of suckery.: the extra sauce on the stress burger. Since I was relying on the good nature of my friends to do the bulk of the grunt work, I figured that moving wouldn't be that bad, seeing as how I thought that I'd packed up nearly everything I owned before I left. All I would have to do, I figured, was throw a few loose pots and pans in a bin, then direct traffic while my poor friends pulled muscles in their backs carting my bright-yellow dresser down the stairs.

A few hours before moving was to commence, I arrived at my old house to find my room piled to the lees with all of my worldly goods, most of which I'd forgotten to pack, since I thought that I would be back with time to spare before moving. A half-empty bottle of apple-cider vinegar. 3.5 million crocheted blankets (my mom has a habit). Enough pots, pans and bowls to outfit a small restaurant. Boxes of student papers with tiny spiders crawling on the pages. I felt like I was walking into one of those ridiculous TLC documentaries about people with hoarding addictions. Considering that I arrived in Champaign-Urbana only three years ago with two suitcases, how in the world did I accumulate all this on a grad-student's budget?

I was confronted with a problem: everything was on the ground. I cannot reach the ground. Another problem: to make my way into the room, I would have to lift some stuff out of the way. I can't lift. I was, however, unable to make that phone call to A. to say, "So, I know that you've already lent me your car, since mine's battery has taken a little power nap, and I know that you spent two hours searching for your keys after I lost them within 5 minutes of you giving them to me, and I know you've already agreed to move my stuff, arranged for a truck and for your friends to come help, and that your boss has found me a kick-ass apartment for cheap, but...can you come over and help me put a lifetime's worth of cake pans into boxes, since I failed to anticipate how truly gimped-up I would be after the surgery?"

I couldn't do it. Instead, gave my chest a thump, took a swig of Diet Coke, hummed the first few bars of "Eye of the Tiger" and got down to business. Four bags of garbage (after awhile, the line between 'garbage' and 'stuff I need to function' became a little blurry), countless boxes, a few recycling bins and one seriously strained back later, I'd managed to break every hip restriction multiple times over. Lifting heavy garbage bags while walking without my cane? Check. Bending down to pick up heavy boxes so that I had enough room to move? Check. Twisting while bending to pick up a flip-flop that had found its way to the back of my closet? Check.

Happily, my hip did not quit me and move to Mexico. A., his two friends, and S.C. all pitched in to carry my stuff to safety. E.C. showed up to carry a broom. (She was teaching, not lazy). Thankfully, A. did not hesitate to remind me that kneeling inside my car while twisting a heavy bag into place might not be the most hip-friendly move (thanks, A.). After the last box was stored away, we retreated to A's house where we celebrated with beer, pizza and cake (since I refuse to let A. celebrate his birthday without cake, mostly because I will take any opportunity to eat cake).

Still, it wasn't my smartest moment. My suggestion to people planning to move shortly after a hip replacement: don't. Hole yourself up in your apartment and cling to the drapery when the landlord comes to take you kicking and screaming (well, screaming, maybe not so much with the kicking). Do not move. Hopefully I will be slightly more bendy when I return to Champaign on Sept. 21st to unpack all my crap. If not, I'm glad to know that I have good friends who will do hard labour for beer and pizza. Thanks, guys!

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