Wednesday, April 8, 2009


April 8, 2009 Hip
"You'll know...believe me, you'll know!" Dr. Pepper Murray, mom's orthopedic surgeon winked at her as she sat on the table in his office. She would eventually need a hip replacement, and she was just wondering when that might be. They don't have a definitive test for such things. The little internal bell rings at some un-premeditated moment, some morning when it was no longer possible to roll over in bed, or some afternoon when the walk up the stairs was just too much and half way up a little sprite on the shoulder squealed, "NOW! NOW!" The straw that breaks the camel's back. The point of no return.
One day Mom knew, and she called Dr. Pepper and set an appointment and in she went.
The morning of the surgery we fasted, we kids, and we kissed mom goodbye before they wheeled her into surgery. Because of Mom's propensity to bleed and to clot, they did not fully anesthetize her. They put her under just enough to be unaware of what was really happening, but not so much that she was out of it. When Pepper came out to tell us how it went, he said she did just fine, but said she tried to tell him how to do the surgery through he whole procedure. He also mentioned that her language was rather colorful. I imagine it was.
The surgery lasted a couple hours. Lib waited. George and I went up the street to Universal Floral Supply and purchased seven dozen roses. Seven rose varieties, a different strain and color for each of her children. We bought a large wicker basket and lined it, then trimmed and wired all seven dozen roses into that one large basket so that when she was fully awake she could see it right next to her bed. See it and smell it and feel her kids, even those who were hundreds of miles away, right there with her.
The reality was that when she got to her room she threw up, the medication having caused severe nausea, and the heaving, with a brand new hip, was not he most pleasant of human experiences. It took a while for her to return to herself. But when she did she loved the roses. And she loved the company of hospital staff and even other patients who had heard about the basket of roses and had to come see it. They opened with fragrant grace as she began to heal.
Soon Mom was moved to a rehab floor at Lakeview Hospital. They made her get up and walk. They forced her into the rec room to play old peoples' games and eat old peoples' food and smell old people smells and it did not make her happy! She hated it! "Get me out of here" she insisted, to us and to Pepper. As soon as you do this and that, whatever this and that was. So she determined to get it done. Sooner than anyone had ever imagine we brought her home, with the flowers, and she bit by bit incorporated that metal hip into our lives. We sometimes forget now, all these years later, that her hip can get cold in the winter.
Months later, country music artist Chris LeDoux called and asked to sing my song, Get Back On That Pony. He put the song on his album Under This Old Hat, as well as on his box set retrospective. He sang it with real heart, like he lived it and believed it. We sat in the Delta Center and listened to him introduce the song as his favorite song. I watched the ring of fans rising up from the stage sway back and forth with their Bic Lighters fluttering to the beat. His daughter named her horse Blaze. just the same as the horse in my tune. Sweet things for a songwriter. I opened my own music publishing company for his recording of that song. I had to come up with a company name that no one else was using, registered with ASCAP. Now a rainbow variety of CDs sit in a stack in my cupboard, with the names of various artists scrawled over the front covers. Some are good. Some not. All those recordings have a bit of my mom in them: Seven Roses Music. Thanks, Mom.

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