Teaching After Surgery.

At the end of July, I had hip surgery. Nothing about this event or the condition that caused it were life-threatening — I had a tumor in my femur that we already knew was benign, but it still had to go. However, I am new to the recovery game.

Many people have already experienced their own personalized version of this game. (If you haven’t yet, here’s a spoiler: it’s not linear.) My version of the recovery game involves a cane, a boatload of physical therapy, and a joint that will occasionally ping me just to announce its continued existence.

On our first day of school, despite a great day overall, the recovery game meant that I spent a good portion of my prep period cuddling with an ice pack, face down on a couch in the counselor’s office.

My principal casually poked his head in and asked how I was feeling.

“I’m awake!” I replied.

“It wouldn’t be a problem if you were asleep,” he said.

This may sound like one educational Kodak moment, but variations on this scene played out several times (right down to my advisees checking out the x-ray of my newly installed hardware, or one of my senior student assistant teachers telling me to stop walking around already.)

For some of you in caring school environments, your reaction may be something along the lines of “yeah, duh.” But at the end of today, I am acutely aware of why this stuff matters. In my analytical moments, I might say to myself “well, I’m just getting back what I have put in,” but that’s applying a very corporate approach to a culture that is anything but. Banking your sick days is one thing. Having the safety net of actual human care is something else entirely.

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