‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe’

Muriel Hip surgery in hospital, 2017

After surgery, in my lovely springtime robe

My oh-so-clever friend Sandy once said: ‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.’ I like it. I know it by heart. However, if I have any talent, it is my great ability to worry — a lot. Worry is what I do best of all!

So, told I would have to go home just three days after hip-replacement surgery, I panicked — what else? — and worried! How would I manage? My leg muscles, after months of severe pain, were in miserable shape, more like wet noodles than muscles. How could I NOT worry?

I’m 80. My children live in the U.S. They care. They came. Susan was here for my surgery. She was terrific. Rafi came after I got home to help. He cooks such scrumptious food, I gained two pounds while he was here. Still, they need to go back to their own lives.

Another worry? I have a vestibular disorder, which causes imbalance and unpredictable dizziness, often brought on by stress. Surgery IS stressful and I had a terrible siege of dizziness after my knee surgery in 2011. It was a disaster.

Whadaya know. As Sandy’s wise saying indicates, my worrying WAS a waste of time and energy. After surgery at UBC Hospital, I learned about the Transitional Care Unit (TCU)  right at the Koerner Pavilion, and was able to go there for rehab and care until I was ready to go home.

How come I’d never known about this possibility? I wrote about things like this as a columnist, yet had no idea the unit existed. It was a perfect fit. True, my first night there I had a roommate with dementia who cried out all night in a language I didn’t recognize. The very next night, however, I was blessed with a well-read, clever and interesting roommate, Howard Greaves, who, thankfully, also has a great sense of humor. (A necessary trait to survive the couple of weeks he spent with me).

Howard Greaves.

With Howard Greaves, who survived two weeks as my roommate. Howard deserves a special award for putting up with me.

Another blessing with having my surgery and staying  at UBC was that my dear ‘daughter’ Amy works there.

IMG_0231

My beautiful Chinese ‘daughter’ Amy

Amy visited and checked on me whenever she arrived to work, at her lunch break, and on her way home. Bless her, she also helped me survive the hospital food by cooking my favorite Chinese dish and bringing it in for me. She also would buy and bring me tastier food from outside. Hospital food, after all, is hospital food.

At the TCU, I had much needed, supervised physio five days a week, was helped with my ability to walk, and taught how to get my operated leg up onto my bed — no small feat. The nurses and I were given clear instructions about what I could or could not do so my vestibular disorder wouldn’t cause a fall and create a disaster.

There was a reasonable fee, (I understand it can be discussed if it is a problem). Dr. Reinhold Bernat, in charge of my case, was present and accessible when I needed to talk to him, patient with my concerns, and obviously caring — I know I was lucky.

Yes, the TCU was a good match for me, but, you ask, was there anything I felt was not up to par? Yes! We were allowed only one shower a week. I wasn’t thrilled with that, but survived.

Should you or loved ones live in the area and require it one day, I want you to know about the UBC Transitional Care Unit. Or, if there is such a service where you live, try to inquire about it. I am truly grateful it was there for me. And yes, I’m doing well.

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7 thoughts on “‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe’

  1. “All is well that ends well”…..so if taking a shower once a week was the only problem….and you survived ….we are all thankful that you are on the road to recovery. How fortunate you were to have a pleasant roommate to share the “fun”. And how wonderful of Amy, your “daughter” to visit you so often. The worst is over. Now you just have to be careful at home about improving a little each day. Do not feed your anxiety with fear….feed your sense of humor with comical friends and laughter. Listen to relaxing music. And above all….take a shower every day….to make up for the days you missed. Cheers. Joe

  2. I did, but lost it completely. Maybe it was better. Will try again another day.
    Glad you are better, and that your kids all came to help you get better. Why didn’t you
    ask, or why didn’t your “other daughter”, ask you if you knew what to expect? One friend copes by
    only living for today, one day at a time. I tend to live in the past, and don’t do enough in the present,
    to get rid of the past. love, Leonor

  3. Yes, Muriel! So glad things worked out for you. For all the holes in our medical system, there are many, many strong parts that work well and help people tremendously…

    🙂

  4. Wow!Muriel you are such a good writer!At your age you really beat a lot of us who are younger by writing such informative materials including your experience with UBC Transitional Care Center . Hope all is well with you.I miss your bedside stories at the UBC Hospital while we were on post- op recovery. -Grace

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