By Susan Wroble
Photo: “Cocoon” by Dawn Huczek is licensed under CC BY 2.0
I was born with a hip that didn’t fit quite right, so I always knew I was going to be a candidate for an early hip replacement. The past few years gave a steady decrease in the things I was able to do. When I stopped being able to ride my bike around the neighborhood, I knew it was time to talk to an orthopedic surgeon.
The surgery was scheduled for early January. Our neighbors graciously loaned us every conceivable type of device I might need, from a cane to a shower stool to an amazing walker. Our daughter set up a Meal Train account, and emailed the link to friends, so we had meals delivered a couple times a week for a month.
Surgery was easy, with no complications. But recovery was a fascinating period. For the first few weeks, I was simply exhausted. I couldn’t wait to go to bed. Each night, I’d throw the covers over my head and think: “Cocoon!” Yet even as I thought it, I had no idea why.
The surprise to me was that it was indeed a cocooning period. The me that emerged was different. With all my normal activities on hold, my attention was increasingly focused on writing. It was the one thing I could still do.
A month after surgery, we went to a party, and someone asked the standard “What do you do?” question. For years, my typical reply has been that I volunteer too much. This time, however, what came out was completely unexpected. “I’m a writer,” I said, surprising myself with the answer.
For years, I’ve wanted to make that switch to writing. I just never expected hip replacement surgery to be the precipitating piece. My nighttime cocooning was indeed transformational, and I emerged feeling incredibly blessed.