Thursday, December 5, 2013

One week left: It's been about families, shopping, and unexpected inspiration.

Happy eighth night of Chanukah!!! Shifra just turned 11!!!

So much christmas around here, and I know all the words to all the carols. I grew up with them piped into me from all directions. It's just that in 18 years, I wasn't in the US at this time of the year, and hardly even noticed anything about it, because I live in Israel. It's interesting to see my different kid's reactions. Mostly that the carols, which are in every store, are annoying, but the house christmas lights and fancy trees are nice. They have had lots of questions about this all.

We have exactly one week left. Ten days gone... and it goes so fast! I want to see like 12 more friends and relatives, and there just won't be time. I am really happy, though, that we are getting to spend some real quality time with my parents. They are really getting to know the kids, and vise-verse, and it is so, so good. I saw both my brothers, and sister-in-law and nephew & niece (all together in my parent's house! I don't know when that happened last). We have also been spending time with Robert's elderly aunt in Queens (a borough of NY), and Shabbatot (both Shabbats) with Robert's brothers. And another week to go. I am also glad to have the opportunity to see my elderly (96!) aunt and my two cousins who are her children, which, if all goes well, will be on this Sunday evening.

We also have gotten some sight-seeing in, and have some hopefully wonderful plans still waiting for our wonder and amazement. (we are making Igloos tomorrow at a cool place that teaches about the American Indians of Long Island!)

Oh, and did I tell you we've been shopping till we drop? It's kinda insane, actually. I have never shopped so much in my life, and I like to shop. Apparently, my children also like to shop, and are getting a bit carried away.

There is certainly tension withing the family (our family). It's hard to figure out why. Dynamics are so different on vacation. You'd think it'd be more relaxed and laid-back, right? We are pretty busy, though, and that produces it's own tensions. Oh well, we all do our best, and we know that God puts families together for a reason.

We ate dinner this evening with the real-estate broker who found this house for us to rent. She is originally Iranian, and is a very interesting person. They are a very animated and interesting family. We had a great time together.

One thing that happened to come up (happened to come up) was the subject of... of all things... bum hips. Why? Well, they had invited us this past Shabbat for a meal, and we accepted, without realizing how far it would be to walk to their house. So, when Robert spoke with the Rabbi of the shul (Greatneck synagogue), he said it was quite far away to that family, and he can give us a wheelchair for me. So, Robert brought home a wheel chair (yuk!). So, OK, we could go. But, not only was it ***Freezing*** cold outside, but my kids were sprawled out tired and we couldn't see dragging them in the cold for two 35-40 minute walks. So, we chose to stay home. Being that it was Shabbat, we couldn't notify them. OK, it happens. It's happened to us in Israel on a few occasions that guests don't come, and we don't find out until Saturday night.

Anyway, when we came tonight for dinner (getting there by car, of course), we apologized  [again] that we couldn't join them on Shabbat. The husband of our real-estate broker and myself got into a conversation about painful hip problems because he has a hip replacement. His reasons are very different than mine (*nobody* has my exact reasons, those being PVNS after NF... the odds of those two diseases are about a trillionbillionfiftybazillion to none), but he had some useful advice.

The strongest part of his advice is: his life changed after his hip replacement, he has had the same prosthetic hip for 25 years. I had learned (from my orthopedist) that a prosthetic hip only lasts about 12 years. Possibly less on a younger person, because they are busier and more active than an older person. This man this evening is 58, and his hip has been in him for 25 years. So, he got it when he was 33. I am 45.

I would do almost anything to get off the narcotic medication. I could possibly go to work again... play horn again, help mommies have their babies in the strongest and healthiest way possible.

My doctors have given me strong medicines, and sent me on my way with no other choices. Well, I have a choice: to get another opinion. I have heard of an excellent orthopedic surgeon, who is the mentor of the orthopedist who I am with presently. That is the one I want a consult with. I hope to have this momentum to go ahead with that when I get home.

Of course, the man this evening had a very certain set of circumstances quite different than my own to get a hip replacement. My circumstance surrounding the issue of the hip itself can cause the post-op healing to be slower, or even unsuccessful. There are many factors, but I won't go on and on about them. Suffice it to say that I can't really just decide myself without a top-notch orthopedic surgeon knowing all these details.

It also is noteworthy that a few people who I have spoken to about prosthetic hips and such (one woman particularly in Mitzpe Alumot where I spent that week last summer on the health retreat) have brought it to my attention that the longer you wait, the harder the surgery (and recovery) is, because as the hip joint gets worse, the surgery gets more involved and complicated. Oh, and that woman is where I first heard of this orthopedist who is the mentor if my orthopedist. Apparently he's the best in Israel.

But this man this evening totally inspired me to get my life back. Get off medicine. Give my children my all (which I do now, but my all is way less than I know it would be if I wasn't on narcotics all the time and in pain anyway.) BTW- another thing about this guy?... he had the hip replacement surgery under LOCAL anesthesia. Just an epidural with extra juice in it to do a lower body long-term numbing. He was listening to classical music, feeling and hearing sawing and drilling and such, and was very calm about being awake. I don't know if I am that brave, but sometimes, after the surgeries I've had, I do wonder what was talked about while I was on the table, was it respectable, and was everything conducted in a respectable fashion. It is a disturbing thought, and believe me, I don't entertain those questions, but they have popped into my head after my surgeries, you know? Hmmm... local anesthetic hip replacement? Interesting concept.

We know that people don't stumble into other people's lives by coincidence. I am inspired by the health and vitality of this man. He's not a particularly sports-oriented person, in fact he carries a bit more weight than it would seem after all I've said about him. I am 13 years younger than him, and he skis, hikes, bicycles, and doesn't have to opt out of anything because of pain. I want that. Doesn't everybody?

Going to sleep... it's around 2:30 am here in NY. It happened to be a good night for connectivity to the net (it's been very spotty and unavailable), and we got home so late this evening. But, I had that old familiar yearn to write about the good, the bad, and the dreams.

It can be possible. I have to keep an optimistic outlook. You guys have to keep reminding me about that. Push me, also, to make the appointment with the other orthopedist. I actually have to remember, and find, his name again. No biggie. I know where to look, and I know who to ask.

Good night, and thanks for joining me on all my journeys, near and far, inner and outer.
I love you guys. :)

May the light and strength from Chanukah continue to inspire us through all the challenges we face, now and in the future.


  1. Sarah, altogether an upbeat, forward-looking post. Enjoy the rest of your visit, especially the last few minutes of Chanukkah there, and then have a wonderful Shabbat. Then, when you come back, explore those options. sending you lots of hugs and love from RAINY Beersheva. Shabbat Shalom.

  2. SO good to hear all the good news. Now you understand the expression "Shop 'til you drop!" See you soon! Love, Miriam

  3. Very inspiring indeed. Enjoy the few hours you still have left of Chanuka and the week you still have there. And Please send my very warmest regards to your family.

  4. Keep that inspiration with you when you come home. Glad you're having a good (though tiring) trip.

  5. Enjoy every moment. We can't wait to see you when you get home.

  6. Happy birthday Shifra! I like the new-look blog page! Is it pink in honour of the new 11 year old? Thanks for brightening our days with your news and thoughts - looking forward to seeing you soon back here - it's been raining and turning colder (for Beersheva).