My greatest battle is in my own mind
The third time the insurance company called asking me if I had thoughts of harming myself or others, offering me information about my behavioral health benefits and requesting permission to send me more information, I couldn't help but wonder, "What's up with these people?"

At the time, the recovery from my hip infection was going well. I was still in pain, but hadn't needed any sort of pain medication since leaving the hospital and was seeing improvement every day. I was optimistic and upbeat. I still remembered the intense pain that throbbed and shifted and spread as more and more muscles spasmed around my hip. I still remembered the shot that ran from my hip down my leg that blurred my vision every time someone tapped up against the couch.

I was worlds away from that kind of pain when my case was finally closed out, but still close enough to appreciate each and every day and every small step in the recovery process. But still I had a lingering thought. "Maybe they should call me back in six months."

After all, I figured the recovery process would slow down eventually and that is when the depression might set in. Pain changes you. It affects the way you think, the way you go about your day, your priorities. As you plan out how you are going to take a shower, you think how nice it is to take some things for granted. To just be able to get up, step over something, trip without falling, sprint after your child.

As the days stretched on to weeks and then on to months, the improvement has slowed. I find myself increasingly making the choice to be joyful and upbeat. It isn't so natural. But it has been three months since I left the hospital and no one is asking about my hip anymore. Not that I'd really want them to. But I wish I could just sort of slowly forget about the whole thing, too.

Instead, I wonder what the future holds. My big question for the orthopedic surgeon yesterday was exactly what "recovery" meant. His answer was not exactly what I wanted to hear.
"As to the likelihood of returning to a baseline of no pain, like before the infection? It's difficult to say. I will say that you can continue to experience improvement for up to a year after a surgery like this.
And the fears that remained largely unspoken, that were scarcely allowed to surface even in my own thoughts, were simultaneously let out in the open and confirmed.

This may be my new baseline.

It isn't so bad. I can walk. I can keep up with the children. I can bend and lift and hold them. I can't twist. I can't sit with my legs criss crossed. I have a hard time sitting on the floor, and getting up off the floor. It hurts when the children run into me. I can't swing them through the air. I can't sit on the floor to play with them. When I'm thrown off balance, I can't recover before falling.

And now in the back of my mind is the fear of arthritis. It is difficult to tell how much damage was done to the joint by the infection, and no one really seems to know how likely arthritis is to set into that damage. But it is what I'm checked for at each appointment, and what the doctor warns me may occur later, as I get older.

I am only 35 and already I am looking at elderly people with their canes and walkers with a new sense of respect. The fight for mobility is like a battle you can win or lose with every step. But I don't want to join that battle until I am in my nineties, at least.

Every morning I wake up and decide how I'm going to meet the challenges of the day. Then I think of the various "theories" about how this whole thing got started. Pregnancy, bacteria introduced during labor, post partum, weakened immune system during post partum, mastitis.

And I look at my little Mudpuppy, nursing so contentedly while I type. If the two are related, he was worth every moment of it.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. --2 Corinthians 12:9