Spirit is willing flesh is weak

By: Pat Bryson
By: Pat Bryson

The words, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," have a new meaning to me these days as there are fewer and fewer things that I am able to do with speed and without pain.

The words, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," have a new meaning to me these days as there are fewer and fewer things that I am able to do with speed and without pain. I have known and have felt for some time that my arthritis was getting worse, but it still was a shock to me to hear the dreaded words, "hip replacement." My body has arthritis, but my mind and planner and "want to" do not, so that is where the willing" and "weakness" come into play. Dr. Ahmad said those awful words first, and when I talked to my surgeon (being sure to tell him all that I could do and how I didn't need surgery), he looked at Jerry, laughed and said, "This woman is in denial." He proceeded with his conversation, believing the X-rays rather than the woman. I do not understand arthritis and do not know of anybody in my large family who has had to have hip replacement, so that adds to the shock. I am not complaining, just surprised.

My relatives were long-lived and physically active way up into their 80s and 90s, for the most part. My parents were quick of step until their deaths. Pictures of my great-grandmother and memories of my grandmother working in their large flower gardens past the age of 80 are very real to me. None of the men were bent or unsteady of gait. My cousins all seem very able to do what needs to be done.

To say that this news requires some re-adjustment to my life is an understatement. I am allowed some months to get some needed things at work done and to proceed with several winter appointments required by Jerry's treatment plans, so I will have time to prepare (and to dread if I'm not careful). People like to tell you horror stories, so I try not to listen when people talk about infection, having to re-do the surgery, bad hospital experiences, etc. Statistics show that hip replacement has one of the best track records of success, so I'll concentrate on that.

The hardest part of this news, so far, is the realization that I cannot take the chance of keeping my Toby Mac; that is even hard to write, and I can't talk about it. He is constant action and motion, and the truth of the matter is that I cannot keep up with him.

Also, the doctor says that I have an important bone needed to hold my new hip socket that could be easily broken if I should fall. I cannot take that chance. I can know that the decision is right and still suffer at the thought. I pray that there is the perfect home out there for my much loved 4 month-old pup. He hardly does anything right, in spite of my full-fledged attempts. It will take a determined sort of person, one with lots of energy and a fenced-in yard.

Anesthesia, surgery, post-op demands and hospital stays are so difficult for me to face that I cannot believe that there are those who seek surgery. That people actually elect to have unnecessary cosmetic surgery is almost impossible for me to believe. My heart goes out to the people who have to have multiple surgical procedures, especially children. I realize that part of my feelings come from two surgeries in my childhood when ether was used to anesthetize me. The whirling, scary minutes before entering the sleep state, as a 6-yearold child, were like a snake-pit experience for me, one not easily forgotten or overcome. I had anesthesia in the 90s, and I am now aware of the miracle of instant oblivion and am grateful for that. I truly am thankful that my painful, arthritic hip can be replaced, not just repaired. I'm ready to face the price and pain for the promised freedom of movement.

I, too, am well aware that there are hundreds of people who would trade places with me, those who are facing heart and cancer surgery and treatment. I am just sharing with you, my readers, this part of my life in as honest a way as I can.

One of the most comforting books that I have ever read is, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. In this book, Philip Keller, a real shepherd for many years, reminds us that Jesus refers to His followers as sheep many times. He gives us a clear picture of the sheep's dependence on the shepherd because sheep are really dumb.

Sheep will eat the wrong things (sometimes poisonous) right down to the roots, walk over a cliff, lie down in the wrong places, and starve for water right next to a still stream, left on their own. When I see the meticulous care that the shepherd takes of the sheep, it brings me real comfort. That he goes before the sheep to weed out destructive things, goes with the sheep to give the comforting presence that they need not to panic, and follows behind to protect, I realize that I am in Good Hands.

(You can reach Pat Bryson at patriciawbryson@gmail.com).

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