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Looking out my Backdoor: Sondra's House of Ill Repute


January 9, 2020

Surgery successful — Hooray! Hooray! I have a repaired hip. My legs are both the same length again. I promise not to show you the scars.

The news on the other end of that spectrum is that I will be immobilized for two weeks.

My expectation, courtesy of previous experience, was that I would be up and walking the day following surgery. Shattered expectations had my emotions running wildly about unclothed and unfiltered for a couple days.

And what is this strange motormouth reaction? Emotions circling the globe and I cannot keep my lips closed. Normally, I am a listener, the quietest person on the Rancho.

Because of bone damage from the slipped post into my leg bone, now repaired, D. Francisco ordered me to have full-time care for an unspecified period of time, to allow my leg to bear absolutely no weight, and to do nothing. That is not as fun as one might think.

In Mexico, when Mama needs help, family moves in and takes care of all necessities. Week One went like this — my Rancho Family became a care-giving unit.

Bonnie slept in my room the night I was in the hospital. For the following seven days my door was never locked and a stream of friends slipped in and out all day. Ana and Michelle, friends from Oconahua, took night duty and bandage changes. (Ana is a retired nurse.)

In and out, in and out, in and out my door, friends with food, comfort, friends to plump pillows, sweep floor, change dressings, shop, buy medicines; you get the picture. Everyone I know came. Could not have survived without my friends, my Mexican family.

That also meant I had 10 people bossing me and making my decisions. I learned a lot about myself. Just think about it. Enough said.

Meanwhile, Dee Dee in Montana and Ben in Washington were figuring out logistics, what, when and how to be here.

Dee said, “Ben, I will make money and do the organizing, bill paying and such for you while you go take care of Mom with your past nursing experience. I can best be with Mom helping from here.”

Ben’s boss said, “Family comes first. You take the time necessary.”

I could hear audible sighs of relief from my Rancho caretakers when Ben arrived to take over my full-time care.

As a bonus to me, in the first two days here Ben cleaned and updated my desktop, brought me a new tablet so I can email friends from my chair and repaired my printer which was emitting scary smells. That is the least of his help. I know Ben’s presence is speeding my recovery exponentionally.

One of the harder aspects of this experience for me has been not being able to communicate with you. I have friends who were quite worried as day after day went by with no word.

If you ever wonder if the love you send me, in whatever form, makes a difference, let me assure you, I feel it.

Saturday, I go to the hospital for X-rays and check up. I have been in touch with Dr. Francisco via this magical hand-held device of Leo’s (I think you can also use it as a telephone?) with frequent questions and concerns. Everything is going swimmingly.

I hope to be allowed to begin walking and therapy Saturday. Ben, who worked in the health industry when a young man, assures me he is a physical therapy tyrant. You will hear my whines and screams of pain as they circle the globe and arrive via north winds.

Meanwhile, Jim from Missouri has arrived at the Rancho, also a retired RN. He and Ben are driving me bonkers. They have their opinions contrary to Dr. F’s orders. Yeah, I too was surprised to not be walking right away. I am following doctor’s orders. We have interesting discussions, borderline arguments. I tell them, just call Dr. F and ask! They would rather torment me.

I would invite them along Saturday, to see the X-Rays, to ask their own questions. But, do you think we three earballs might “hear” three contrary orders?

For the past five years I have been supporting my weight leaning on a cane. If those bullies give me too much grief, I figure I can take them out with a powerful right hook.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com/. Email [email protected]


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