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Serenity Hill Homestead isn’t seeing much progress at the property right now due to a variety of factors. First is the weather – cold and rain have left the build site a muddy mess. Even more significant is the loss of my help due to surgery. Four years ago this month Deb had hip replacement surgery on her left hip. That surgery took her from not being able to walk to the mailbox to her walking 3 miles a day helping me drag brush and logs on Serenity Hill.
January 2017 saw her having pain and grinding in her right hip. Her surgeon told her back in 2015 that, based on x-rays, he figured her right hip would be going in 4-5 years. She started physical therapy and shots in hopes that would put surgery off a while. By October 2018 she was having enough trouble that she wasn’t able to navigate uneven ground well, and certainly wasn’t able to do much physical work. A visit to the orthopedist in November 2018 resulted in scheduling surgery to replace the right hip.
On Jan 2 this year, she went under the knife to have her right hip replaced. I am still amazed that it only takes 1 hour to do a hip replacement surgery! Due to her “young” age, she now has new ceramic ball hips that are supposed to last 30 years. Well, the first one is a 30 year hip. Her surgeon said this one is a 26 year hip so they will go bad at the same time. You’ve got to love a smartass doctor.
The surgery was on a Wednesday, and she was sent home after lunch on Friday. She does exercises at home 3 times a day and physical therapy 3 times a week. I admire her dedication and tenacity. Not that I’m surprised, because she works her tail off anyway. Her determination to regain mobility and get back in the game is inspirational.
I had an interesting conversation with the Joint Replacement Coordinator before we left the hospital. I told her how grateful I was for the miracles of modern medicine. Deb was 56 when she had her first surgery, 60 when she had the second. If it weren’t for those hip replacements, she would not be mobile. We would not be clearing land and building Serenity Hill Homestead together. Amy, the Coordinator, told me that she thinks part of the reason for so many early deaths previous to joint replacements was due to loss of mobility. When you take a person who has been physically active and render them chair or bed ridden due to worn out and unusable joints, a lot of bad things happen with their body.
She has a very good point. Since Deb’s first surgery, she went from not being able to go check the mail to being physically active again. We have gone canoeing, hiking, and she was able to resume riding the Harley with me. She has been a trooper on Serenity Hill. When her right hip began bothering her, there was no wondering what to do. Her recovery is going well, and by the time the weather warms up and dries out some she will be back to full strength.
As you may know from reading other posts, Serenity Hill Homestead started out as a quest for a place of our own heading into retirement. Our discussions led us on a quest to live a simpler, more purposeful life. Even as we seek to simplify, we appreciate the difference modern medicine has made for us. I had 2 herniated discs and arthritis in my neck. Along with that came pain in both shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Pressure on nerves caused numbness and loss of grip strength in my hands. The pain would be so bad by lunchtime that I could barely stand to walk. My neurosurgeon was able to remove “arthritic modification”, replace herniated disc, and fuse 3 vertebrae. The numbness is resolved except for the outside of my pinky fingers, and my grip strength has returned. Without that miracle of modern medicine, I would not be on this adventure.
As we embrace the time tested and simpler ways of living, we must also pay homage to the miracles of modern medicine. The gifts of mobility and freedom from chronic pain are priceless. Without them, we would be stuck in a house in town, wistful for what we wanted but couldn’t do. The best of the old, the best of the new, blended together to give us the life we want.
Today marks 10 weeks since Deb’s hip replacement surgery. She is back to work and gaining more strength and flexibility by the day. Her determination and work ethic are something to behold. She is looking forward to getting back to dragging brush and raking leaves in a few weeks.