Solace In A Crowd – Rochester Riverwalk

When something stressful is in my future it is difficult to calm down, and the pending total hip replacement qualifies as stressful. My mind likes to race, keeping me awake at night. Being my third hip rodeo, I am well aware of the long and difficult road to recovery is ahead of me. With this type of stress, I normally find it hard to be friendly. I cope by hanging on to my belief about how I want to be treated. It helps me work extra hard to smile, tell a joke, or give someone some encouragement. I make a conscious effort to give at least one person a compliment every day to help keep my thoughts positive.

I do this because it seems to be that the easiest form of happiness is to vicariously enjoy the happiness of other people. Even though they are not my personal experiences they still bring me joy – if I allow it. For example, genuinely complimenting someone on whatever it is that is going on with them, will cause their smile to become yours. A smile is the best medicine, and it’s only side effect is to strengthen your personal relationships; not some sort of horrible, slow and painful death like the side effects advertised on TV.

I know you are thinking, it would be nice if it were that simple. Trying to de-stress in the middle of something that is ongoing in your life is a bit like trying to be alone at the mall on the Saturday before Christmas while in worn out pajamas. You can hope no one will notice, but we all know someone close to us – probably our boss – will spot us. In short; your co-workers, friends, and family know you are stressed. Don’t burden them, but don’t hide it either.

There are many ways to de-stress, from life, work, or the daily things we have to deal with. By know, you know that I go for a walk. Rochester Riverwalk is a downtown utopian trail that is perfectly landscaped to give its explorers beautiful, yet natural surroundings.

If you want to rest on the banks of Paint Creek, little mini paths off the main walk will take you to the water’s edge. I like the mini paths. They remind me that I don’t have to stay on the main (expected) path to enjoy things. I can take a break, refuel, and start with a new vigor; hopefully.

Walking is difficult today, but not painful. The muscles are rebelling against the defective joint. The biggest obstacle today is the crowd. It is very crowded here, but surprisingly quiet for the amount of traffic. I am walking with my daughter today. We begin with the section by the bridge where Rochester Road crosses over Paint Creek (The place where the mosquito chased her away last time as if an angry lion was waiting there.) There are bikers, joggers, picnickers, bench sitters, people with strollers, and groups of walkers. It’s as busy as a crowded theme park.

We head down one of the little paths and watch the water roll over rocks.

“Look, Mom, The waves are consistent, but they roll over the rocks in a different pattern every time. That means the waves are never the same twice. Even the light glistens differently off the waves as the water rolls downstream.” {There is video of this on my YouTube channel.}

I smile, amazed how much smarter my daughter is than I am. “It gives new meaning to ‘you never step into the same river twice.’” Maybe she is on to something. So far, each hip surgery has been different, perhaps the sun will glisten different on the waves of this recovery.

On the way back to the car I notice the creek is clear down its rocky bed. There is a tiny waterfall that flows under the main road’s overpass. A group of mallard males are swimming near the teeny falls. A female flies up and lands in the creek on a rock that is just under the surface. Two mallards begin a terrible fight. One begins to get a leg up (or a wing up) on the other. I find myself fearing for the life of the one duck. The strong one is quite literally stomping his nemesis into the bottom of the creek. This goes on for what seems like several minutes. I try to reach them with my cane but they are too far out, and the creek is too rocky for me to help the drowning duck. Finally, thankfully he breaks free and flies away, only to land on the edge of tiny falls, and fall over them, tumbling in the little turbulence of the water. He flies away and is gone.

My situation with my hip is exactly like the defeated duck’s, except I am the one being pushed to the creek bed by my arthritis. The injection treatment did not work; I landed too close to the ‘falls’ and rolled over the edge. Acceptance that surgery is the right thing to do moves up on the creditability list that I keep in my head. Of course, I knew I had the disability, but it didn’t really hit me as real until I couldn’t separate the ducks. Prior to that, I had joked about not being able to run, unless the building was on fire. I am no longer sure that is a joke.

Not only is the locking and cracking causing me a quality of life issue, it is now causing a safety hazard. It is no longer prudent to delay surgery or invent excuses to not to have it.

I immediately console myself by remembering that I had been in worse situations and been swept over bigger falls only to emerge and fly away to safety. But being the third time around with surgery I do find it to be quite an inner battle with myself as self-pity tries to pin me to the bottom of the creek just as firmly as my arthritis.

Time for a nice sugary coffee, one that I don’t drink often. We head out back to the car to get our candy coffees and let the stress, of nearly watching the duck be killed before our eyes, melt away while we go over our photos from the walk.

I keep the photo of the duck pinned to the bottom of the creek bed as a reminder that I must somehow free myself and fly out of this.


2 thoughts on “Solace In A Crowd – Rochester Riverwalk

  1. You are wise to stay positive. Results in any corrective procedure turn out better if the mindset going in is positive. In the big scheme of life, this will likely be a small irrelevant blip on the radar. The living experiences that lie ahead are significantly more exciting! Wishing you the best life has to offer!

    Liked by 1 person

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