The Other Side


Greetings from the other side! All the things went, and are going, very well. I took this silly hair picture to make Maddie laugh, and to feel connected. It’s a big ol’ dose of reality. I’m sharing it here to illustrate the relief I feel, but also because I look like a vampire. Between the old reconstruction surgery scar on one side of my dangerous smile, and the mildly different set of the recent tooth implant on the other, there could totally be fangs in there. I am also taking a lot of prescribed medications, as one might expect after getting all of one’s hips replaced. And the reflections in my glasses is very 2001. May I come in, Hal? <Ed. note: check were there vampires in 2001>

The photo order is going backwards in time, and there will be NO medically graphic images or details. There may be no order in the photos at all, because it doesn’t even really matter. Everyone skims. And I only spent two nights in the hospital anyway.


Downstairs in the Surgery Waiting Lounge (Pre- PreOp) — one of the circles of heck. The first bracelet and assimilation codes. And a hair tie to fiddle with endlessly.

PreOp_curtain _100118

The curtains of Bay 32 in PreOp. There were very many conversations going on in all directions and dimensions. I had a good long while to study these curtains, trying not to hear the very many conversations and the carting of things covered in sheets.


I got a soft new gown in a muted foulard, and more bracelets. Then came the long procedural afternoon. Everyone on the surgery team was witty, attractive and kind. Some of the best moments came toward the end, waking from the anesthesia (a spinal epidural) in an ecstatic dream. Brian and I were in our house, only there were no floors, just expanses of bright clouds and blue skies. Because of the no floors, we had to fly everywhere. And we did, flitting and soaring like birds, holding hands, and you know how great it is to fly in your dreams! The feeling has stayed with me.

The hospital is on a hill in already hilly San Francisco; I had a private corner room with lots of windows and views of the Bay and a eucalyptus grove. There was also this pole — a cross between a mechanical droid and a bird feeder — that held mobile machines, miles (kilometers) of tubes, and bags and canisters of fluids and secret spices, to which I was kept very attached.


Comfortable and accommodating as it was, I was so stoked to qualify for early release from the hospital. I had to pass a series of suitability tests, including fitness, stamina, answering odd questions, and spelling “world” backwards. Everyone was proud and congratulatory. And then Brian got me the hell out of there.


I set up my well-stocked MedBay in and around the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set — and this is not all of it — mostly because it is amusing. I should put googly eyes on them :)


First breakfast at home with my new hips.


Of course because all pets are strictly and for very good reasons forbidden from being on or near the Recuperator’s bed, the cats are constantly skulking up here.


You can probably guess who the most egregious is.


But she is also far lighter in weight than Albie, so…  …all I really know is that I’m very happy be home, with a clear path and help for recovery. The road has risen with me :)=


28 thoughts on “The Other Side

  1. Shelleybweb says:

    Love the vampire photo, the eyebrow certainly adds to the look. I laughed. It is amazing how lots of medication can relax our hold on reality and let us fly. So glad everything went well and that you are home. Wishing you a speedy recovery filled with lots of fun and love.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hey wait, those are just my regular eyebrows… Must be a trick of the light.
      I’m all in for a speedy recovery. The timelines for those just seem so unknowable; it feels like traveling through a foreign land, and you’ve lost your glasses. Or forgot to pack pants. I’m hoping my latent vampire is good at it.

  2. Christina says:

    ‘muted foulard’ — gold star for even being complimentary to hospital wear!
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      We are totally giving out and accepting gold stars here, thank you Christina! I’ve always been fond of foulard patterns, and was pleased to see that UCSF had chosen one. Thanks too for the speedy recovery wishes.

  3. Sheila says:

    I think the reflection in the glasses is my favorite. Though the pretty curtains are also nice. Of course the cats are going where they’re not supposed to. I think that’s what they do, part of the definition of being feline.

    Glad you’re feeling good enough to leave the hospital! Hope your recovery continues on that path.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Both cats are exceptionally militant on this one. “Oh yes we so very *will* sleep on this bed near and touching you, OR DIE TRYING.” Albie is the most problematic, being very dense and heavy. I had to use my pickup stick to shoo him away from crushing my legs, and the astonished glare he gave me of outrage and injury was award-winning.

  4. Luci garvin says:

    My dear Nancy
    Love the pics, especially the glasses and the furry friends (children). They are as happy to see you as you are to be home.
    I am a very new miniature friend and happy to be part of the recovery. But I have to tell you, your dream about flying is the best. Everything will be perfect for your recovery, and probably everything else too. Flying dreams are the best dream you can have. Were you clothed? 😳 Mine were ’in the ‘flesh’. I’ve not had one for many years, and never with anyone I can remember. You were very lucky to have special company! Blessings to you and yours, including critters.
    I am not very reliable as to Facebook, so thank you for being a writer. 🤗

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hello Luci, and welcome! This is an odd time in nancyland, but life events influence our creativity, and writing has always helped me figure stuff out.
      I have to agree with you about flying dreams, It was so joyful. I don’t remember being sky clad; it was more the light, the colors, the sensations of flying, and wondering where the floors were. Thank you for your blessing.

  5. Jodi Hippler says:

    The best part of flying dreams is having such perfect control doing it, as if that is what’s real and comfortable, and being here is actually the dream.
    The best part of this post is knowing for all the fear and trepidation, you are home, well and on your way to better living. And your beautiful face, carrying hints from some of life’s souvenirs, looks happy and hopeful! I have a feeling you’ll be the poster person for hip replacement!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Jodi, yes! Perfect and effortless, but fleeting. But posting a self portrait… that took some doing. My poor fat swollen toes curl in shame at the brazen bravery, but I also stand by the honesty :)

  6. BD0 says:

    Glad to see the recovery is going well – the new hip replacements are pretty impressive. I’ve been spending more time recently looking at these things for w*rk reasons, and those look like good ones :-)
    Old friends with new parts
    Changing seasons, new things grow
    Time changes us all

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hiya BD0! So nice to see you here. I only got to hold models of the pieces — I guess they don’t bring titanium to hospital show and tell.
      Yes, we have new parts
      Some, but not all of something
      Keeping up with Borgs

  7. azteclady says:

    I am so glad you are feeling well enough to joke (we don’t skim your posts, woman!). I love the description of the IV stand thing—a cross between a robot and a bird feeder, so apt!

    I hope you weren’t too cold while waiting in preop; that’s always the part I hate the most. Being nervous and freezing is truly cruel. Which is yet another reason why being back at home is so necessary for a good, smooth recovery.

    I’m sending all sorts of good wishes for as painless a recovery as possible. (Also sending pets to the cats–they always know when we need to have them near, don’t they?)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah! Joking is a primary coping strategy, and I’ve been a fan of altered states of awareness since childhood, spinning in circles until you were so dizzy you couldn’t stand up without pitching over. I’ve been feeling anxious, distracted and nervous for months, and now that “it” was/is actually transpiring I feel so much better, despite the pain and discomforts.There are plans and systems in place for those that seem easier to work through waiting/wondering.
      The cats always assume I *need* to have them near :)

  8. Bennie says:

    I’m so glad the surgery went well and you are recuperating in comfort. I hope your rehab goes well and swiftly.

  9. Carrie says:

    Anesthesia dreams are the BOMB! (A middle age woman using the term ‘da bomb’ might be a little embarrassing to my kids.) Sending healing prayers and mojo your way. So glad you made it through… hoping your physical therapy goes just as smooth.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah, Carrie, in my experience it’s not too hard to inspire embarrassment — or merriment — in our kids. And yes, the mind unfettered is a terrible thing to waste on pain :) Many thanks for the healing and mojo.

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