Tag Archives: shoulder surgery

Confessions of an Older Woman

I have a confession to make.

No, not the naughty kind.  This confession has to do with getting old.  I have written about growing old before but this is different.  This is about expectations not met.

I thought growing old would be okay.  Sure my body would be “lightly padded” and gently overworked.  But people would call me “spry” and remark on how much energy I had.

Confession:  I was wrong.

That’s big for me.  “Wrong” is not a word I utter very often in the same sentence with “I”.

It seems that being the spry old lady who is a ball of energy is not in the cards for me.   I have chronic pain.

Oh, I’m still active.  I still ride my horse, do yoga and Qi Gong and garden but every activity comes with a price these days.  Pain.

The real downside is I know that all of my aches and pains are the result of self-inflicted injuries I incurred in my youth and middle years:

  1. A knee that blew playing tennis just a bit too hard.
  2. The wrist I ripped the tendon off while lifting a very large piece of furniture (a granite-topped Hoosier cabinet) against my husband’s wishes.
  3. The foot I accidentally rolled over with a cabinet filled with dinner plates.
  4. The concussions (5 to date) I have had from everything from a roller skating accident to being thrown from my horse.
  5. The separated shoulder from hitting the racquet ball wall a bit too hard.
  6. The broken ribs (6) from riding, horse-play and just plain clumsiness.
  7. The sprained ankles (4 times) from tripping over a dog, running to tell a news crew to get going and cover the earthquake (a whole nother story) and falling down steps and up a hill.

Those are just a few of the ways I have insulted various body parts over my 60+ years.  What’s funny is that I had my shoulder operated on in February and right now, it’s the best joint in my body.

Still, I will get up every morning – albeit a little slower – and put one step in front of the other all day long, despite the pain.  Why?

Because I am still here, still able to get up, still able to gripe about pain while some of the people I love the best are not.  And I am lucky enough to still be taking this ride we call life with the man I married 28 years ago…


Filed under Death & Dying, Healthcare, Life & Death

What’s So Special About A Horse?

I went for a ride on my horse, today.   It was my first ride since shoulder surgery on February 7th.

In the scheme of all the things that have happened in my life in the last few years, few months and few weeks, taking a spin on your horse doesn’t seem to be all that important especially when you consider that:

  1. I’ve been unemployed since January of 2010.
  2. My husband is waging an ongoing battle with infections arising from his cancer surgery that have landed him in the hospital 37 times in 10 years.
  3. I lost my younger brother and my best friend to a brain tumor in May of 2010 and still, I miss him.
  4. In February of this year, my husband had malignant melanoma misdiagnosed by a dermatologist (who will remain nameless) as “…an age spot.”  Three surgeries down and three to go – that’s the status of this battle.
  5. Last week, he has learned he is being laid off, too.

The weight of all of these blows has seemed almost insurmountable.  I try hard not to feel stressed, anxious and sometimes angry but I failed my Mahatma Ghandi test a long time ago.  So life, our lives, have been hard to handle.

But today, I took a ride on my horse, Buzz.  Grooming him, talking to him as I tacked him up, slipping into the saddle and taking the first walk around the riding ring filled me with so much joy and love that I sit here, 6 hours later and I’m still filled with both.

Buzz and I don’t do anything special in the ring, no cantering, no jumps.  But we do so enjoy the early morning sun, the soft breeze across the fields of the farms that surround our barn and those moments when the rest of the world narrows to just the two of us and the feeling of knowing each other, understanding each other, enjoying each other.

Buzz is 20 years old.  He was an $850 rescue who I brought home 7 years ago, sad, lonely, neglected.  Some people might look at him and say, “What’s so special?”   But people who know horses, my farrier, the equine dentist, the nutritionist I work with at Stoltzfus, other riders in the barn know.  To a person they have said, “What a kind eye he has.”

And a kind and gentle heart that reminds me of just how wonderful this world is no matter what else is happening, no matter what is breaking, moving, changing, leaving.  As long is Buzz is along for the ride, I know I will be able to face anything.

Thank you, Buzz.


Filed under Life & Death, Love and Marriage