My Husband’s Keeper

I’ve been given the task of caring for my husband after his hip replacement surgery. I took a Hip Class offered by his surgeon’s practice to learn about what his recovery would involve and what I’d need to do for him. During that class, I became very afraid for my husband.

1970 - 12 -00 Brad and Julie - Christmas 1970 crop
“I hope it comes with dolls that bend.”

I first questioned my ability to care for people with mobility issues when I was a young child. (I am aware of how bad that sounds, especially since I have had my own mobility issues in the past.) I was given a doll to use with my little dollhouse. She was made of hard molded plastic and nothing about her moved. She was mostly all one color – beige – with a smudge of red paint to represent her dress. She had a chronically disinterested look on her face. I hated everything about her. I especially despised her because she was always in a sitting position. All I could do with her was perch her on the end of the couch where she was sure to tip off if I bumped the dollhouse, or lay her down on the bed and pretend she was bent up with appendicitis. I hated her so much that I didn’t even bother naming her, unless calling her “useless” right before throwing her across the room counts.

My Barbie dolls, whose arms and legs wouldn’t bend, also frustrated me. When I was young, I was a fan of sitting in a way that my politically incorrect 1970s elementary teachers called “Indian-style.” I also enjoyed wrapping my ankles around the back of my neck and rolling around like a ball during recess. Flexibility struck me as a very valuable thing to have and I thought everyone should use it every day. After my inflexible Barbies tipped over several times while trying to get them to have a conversation with each other as they sat on their inflatable furniture with their arms and legs straight out, they would also get thrown across my bedroom. I think that’s how my Ken doll got decapitated. I never found his head but I continued playing with him. You can probably imagine how I treated my headless doll when he completely failed at communicating with the Barbies.

My husband has come home from his surgery pretty stiff-legged, with a desire to sit a lot. Thanks to pain meds he looks a little beige and disinterested, too. With me as his caretaker, I think that either my husband will be “motivated” to return to full mobility at record speed or I’ll so severely injure him by throwing him across the room that he’ll become paralyzed – requiring a lifetime of my “care.” Maybe you should pray for my husband during his recovery.


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© 2016 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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