Hershberger Hippies

I never intended to form the “Hershberger Hippies Cub.” However, with three Hershberger family members involved in falls resulting in a broken hips, the club is here for good.

In January, I slipped in mud, did a sideways split, fell and did not get up. My folks always said, “You’re tough. It doesn’t hurt that much.” The EMT said “Take the pain killer – at least before the x-ray. You will need it.” I took the medicine.

In the ER I visited with my husband and friends and ignored the television. The surgeon came, “I’ll do surgery in the morning.”

The staff put my leg in traction. Such a relief.

A day after surgery, my feet hesitated to step forward. My daughter came and cheered me on. We talked about rehab. By the third day, the nurses thought I could manage home and out patient physical therapy. It only took six weeks for my injured leg to respond when the physical therapist (PT) said, “leg lifts while laying on your back.” Six weeks I grimaced, gritted my teeth and tried to lift it. The PT lifted the leg. My husband lifted the leg. I made a long strip of cloth and lifted the leg. Finally, the leg slowly, shakily moved on its own. It took more energy that I would ever have imagined and exhausted me.

About that time, my 74 year-old brother-in-law David called from his hospital bed in Wisconsin, “I had an emergency total hip replacement.”

“Why?” my husband asked.

David said he pushed back his office desk chair to stand. Somehow he tangled with an open drawer, the chair and the floor. He knew that something would break, and it would not be the floor in his home office on the second floor.

The emergency medical technicians had a high rising cart that hoisted him out and down the stairs with little jarring of his broken body. Of course, he fell during the COVID-19 shut-down so his only contact with family and friends came through the phone.

I knew he had to hurt. He said nothing about the pain. He assured us his regular exercise and bike riding routine would speed his healing and have him back on his feet quickly. He spent a week or so in rehab, learned how to use the equipment, move around safely and went home to heal.

That was in March. A couple weeks into April we received a phone call from 52 year-old son Timothy. He was miserable, laying on the stretcher in the emergency room waiting for a reading of his hip x-ray. He had missed all five steps attached to the patio before hitting the concrete slab.

Remembering the long wait in the ER room after my x-rays, I said, “it might take a while for them to be read and decide what to do.” Since he also, was in the hospital during the COVID-19 shut-down, his daughter dropped him off at the ER door and left.

A couple days after surgery that put his bones back together, he took his first shuffling steps with a walker. A week later he went alone to rehab to learn to cope with his situation and begin exercises to renew the use of the injured leg and hip. “It hurts. I have a lot of pain,” he said many times.

“I know. Take your medication. Do your exercises. It will get better.” As the founding member of the Hershberger Hippies Club, I speak from experience. I like clubs, but I am closing membership in this one. I think we need a Hershberger Coordination Club to teach graceful, safe movements to avoid falls.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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