One Woman’s Journey: A Hip Replacement Saga

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I’m mid-week of my second week back on the job after having a total hip replacement. It’s hump day! But, I wanted to tell you guys about the amazing day I had on yesterday (Tuesday, October 11).

I was scheduled to interview Kathleen Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile, at their headquarters in Virginia Beach. And, what a headquarters! I don’t know who designed that building or who provided the interior design, but it’s one of the best utilization of office spaces I’ve ever seen. The building seems perfect for the work that these people do. You’ll be able to read about the Operation Smile mission and Ms. Magee in the 2017 spring issue of Norfolk State University’s BEHOLD Magazine. Plug, plug . . .

This post, as are all the other ones in the series, is about yours truly and how I handled a really grueling day. After a restless night, I get up at 5 a.m. and prepare for physical therapy. How does one prepare for physical therapy? You take a pain pill and get ready to move. After completing the workout in record time, I head to work, arriving with just enough time to get a really strong cup of coffee. That should help me get through this day . . . or at least, the next few hours.

The 30-minute drive to the Operation Smile headquarters was easier than I thought it would be, but 30 minutes of driving puts a stain on my joints. Still able to use “handicap” parking designated spaces, we park quite a walk from the building. In my old lady, orthopedic-looking shoes, I am able to keep pace with my colleague who is in heels . . . boots no less. I accuse her of trying to show off. Inside the building, we walk around the expansive lobby taking in exhibits, awards, motivational quotes, and dozens of pictures of children and the families that have been served by Operation Smile.

When their PR director meets us, she takes us up two flights of stairs . . . and I don’t bat an eyelash . . . I take the stairs keeping pace with them. I have now been on my feet for at least 15 minutes. The walk to the conference room is cool and once there I’m glad I can sit a spell. I have noticed that I have no pain in the hips or in my back. So far so good. The interview goes longer than I realized. Magee is such an inspiring woman. We talk for nearly an hour.

Next, my colleague and I hook up with the photographer, his assistant and our art director. We travel around the building to the sites they have identified for their shots. A huge classroom, Magee’s office, that stair case and the lobby . . . I hang with the crew . . . walking, standing, talking, meeting and greeting employees. Magee introduced us to her daughter — another short trek to the back of the immense lobby. We stand and talk some more.

I stand and watch the photographer work his magic. He directs his subjects and takes dozens and dozens of photos. Keith Cephus is a genius with the camera. I take selfies and other shots around the building. We leave the Operation Smile headquarters at 1:20 p.m. In essence, I have been on my feet, in my old-lady shoes, for more than an hour — and no pain. Even the walk back to the car was cool.

Next, I head to the radio station to do an interview with two of Norfolk State’s most notable political scientists. And, still I’m moving and I am not in any pain!

Yesterday was better than a good day; it was a fantastical day!