Unbecoming a ‘healthy’ habit

It’s been almost three weeks since my hip replacement and there has been one  surprisingly unexpected outcome.

“Less is more in the first six weeks,” said my surgeon. Hmmm, that might be a challenge I thought… the adjustment period was a challenge indeed. I’m a pretty on-the-go person, I’m efficient and I get shit done. I have trouble binge-watching TV, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than two episodes of something in a row. Why would I? There’s so many more exciting things in life to do rather than watch life go by. This ad came out the year I was born…

Instead of TV, I became a lover of exercise. It was productive, healthy and could distract my mind – much the same as binge-watching Netflix can for some people. Problem was, I probably did a bit too much of it between 2007-2009. Don’t want to feel something? EXERCISE!!! Don’t want to think about something? EXERCISE!!!

But something happened when I had a hip replacement. The pain that would occur from sitting down for long periods (even 20 minutes) disappeared. The stiffness, the irritation. Gone.

About a month before the THR, Ken and I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the cinema. It ran for 2hrs 32 minutes and I was fidgeting around in my seat like crazy; not only was the sitting causing inflammation but the IMAX sound heightened my pain (pretty common with chronic pain). It was not an enjoyable experience, the movie was quite ok though (but not amazing).

Fast forward to 11 days post-THR and we’re in a cinema again, watching latest The Avengers movie. All 2hr 40 minutes of it. I’d hobbled into the cinema on crutches, more through precaution rather than necessity, and sat through the whole movie without pain. No fidgeting, no discomfort. I just sat still. Quite happily. Again, the movie was quite ok (but not amazing).

Being still has never been my thing, despite cultivating a meditation practice – the regularity of which waxes and wanes with life events. Moving always felt better than being still – though perhaps I now know why. Inflammation.

I had always used movement to alleviate pain, even when the joint pain worsened over recent years I turned to yoga and gentle exercise over pills. As a result, I was rarely still even if the movement was very gentle.

Perhaps now I’ll slow down but not because I have any less energy. If anything, I have more disposable energy because my energy stores aren’t contaminated by pain. No, perhaps I’ll slow down because it feels good to be still. And that’s probably a very good thing.


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