A week ago, my mom got discharged from the hospital after hip replacement surgery. Since then, I’ve been living with her as she recovers. I thought I knew what to expect after Camp Cardiac a few years ago. The freezer was stocked with numerous decadent pints, a secret stash of bread, and, with work closed for the holiday, I thought I was prepared for another round of recovery.
I really didn’t expect to look back on Camp Cardiac with any sort fondness.
And yet, compared with Camp Hip Replacement, Camp Cardiac was a restful, calm, nature stroll.
All of the same basic challenges of Camp Cardiac were in play. Camp Hip Replacement added a few more wrinkles to the giant rehab elephant. First, mobility is a bigger issue, which sure, is a smack on the forehead with the “duh” stick. I thought I had a proper appreciation for how large that truck of “duh” was, since I spent months writing about orthopedic surgeries for grants from the federal government. Turns out that my theoretical knowledge did not really translate into the practical appreciation of what all that actually means for humans who’ve undergone joint replacement. Book learnin’ loses yet another battle against reality.
Second, Camp Cardiac turns out to have been free from any of the possible complications of surgery, and Camp Hip Replacement tossed in a chapter on post-operative infection, AND an unhelpful section on the excitement of adverse drug interactions! It has been seldom a dull moment on the shores of Lake Whatsagoingtohappennextasauki.
And then the worst wrinkle, the one which has sent me to the freezer more than once, is that it’s the holiday season and my mom is addicted to the Hallmark channel.
Mom’s addiction was present in the weeks of Camp Cardiac, to be sure, but, it was not that most wonderful time of the year, and it was easily ignored. This time of year, the channel’s programming is at dialed up to maximum schmaltz. And not in the original Yiddish sense.
The Hallmark holiday recipe calls for an attractive white person to have lost a loved one/source of income/sense of purpose who then meets another attractive white person of the opposite sex who happens to have the exact solution for whatever the other person has lost. There’s usually some sort of “Christmas Magic” or “Convenient Miracle,” in which all Scrooges are reformed, the money to save the beloved and benevolent church/school/business/main character magically appears, and the attractive white people fall in love, remember the true meaning of the holiday, have all of their dreams come true and everyone has the Best. Christmas. Ever.
At the risk of being cast as the Scrooge, bah humbug.
I am tired of hearing the message that one day, someone will magically appear in your life and have the perfect solution to all your problems *and* be your own personal soul mate *and* make all your dreams come true. Nothing turns me into a cynic faster than fantasies filled with pat answers and magical solutions. And there is not enough insulin in the world to successfully metabolize the toxic levels of glucose in my system from a week’s 24-hour a day diet of these confections.
I feel like Camp Hip Replacement is about the perfect set-up for a Hallmark movie – Long-suffering single lady comes to take care of her mom during the holidays while mom recovers from surgery. Soon she meets the guy who recognizes her hidden talents and not only gives her some time away from Camp Hip Replacement, but he has need of a talented writer to head-up a new fiction division in his large, successful publishing house. Not only does he really think she’s hilarious and enchanting and worth knowing, but, he’s brilliant and kind and he gets along with her whole family, including everyone’s dogs, so, naturally, within a few days, they’re in love and all of their problems are solved and the two of them live happily ever after. nbsp;
That this never happened, nor is it likely to ever happen, well, that might give you some insight into my less than charitable feelings toward the Hallmark Channel. It might be time for another trip to the freezer.