By Jillian McWhirter:
Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . Two years back I was running around, working out, enjoying life and then there was the business trip. It wasn’t my normal fly in and fly out. I flew into Memphis from Los Angles, which was a four-hour direct flight. I was picked up, and we drove to the coast for a convention. I worked, standing on a cold concrete floor while I enjoyed visiting with our clients, and then my business partner and I drove the six-hour trip back to Memphis when the convention was over. He dropped me off at my parents' home, where I fell onto the floor.
I couldn’t move.
My mom was helping me walk like she did when I was a baby. I thought to myself, This isn’t right. I’m not a baby. I’m almost 60 years old. I should be walking on my own!
I flew back to Los Angeles the next day and limped back into my home. I thought I had just pulled a ligament. I’d get over it. But a year later, I was still limping and crying while attempting to workout. My daughter strongly suggested I see a doctor. Being the worst patient a doctor would ever want, I finally broke down and went to a specialist a year later. You see, I’m very budget conscious, and I really tried to make it until I got on Medicare, but that was a no-go.
I sat in the corner chair and listened to what my specialist had to say about the pain in my hip. My questions were muted by my mask and keeping 6 feet apart. But, I could see my x-ray and hear the doctor tell me, and I quote, “You must be one tough lady, because you are bone on bone.” Was that a complement he was giving me or was it his subtle way of telling me, “Lady, why in the hell did you wait so long?” He went on to inform me that my hip was so far gone that there was nothing he could do for me, no cortisone shot, no shaving off the hip, just replace the whole kit and caboodle. I thought to myself, Goody, I just saved another deductible by skipping all those other steps.
Which brings me to one of my favorite movies, Miracle on 34th Street, but in my case it’s Miracle on Mulholland Drive.
My husband, Jeff, parked his car in the garage. I noticed he was struggling with the grocery bags and, being the woman I am and always wanting to help, I wobbled to his car to get a bag of groceries. Then I stopped myself because I could see a visual from the corner of my eye: a cane was leaning against our luggage. A beautiful old wooden cane, one that I would have bought myself if my ego would have let me. I picked it up and turned to my husband.
“Jeff, this isn’t funny.”
Jeff looked at me and asked, “Did you buy that?”
We looked at each other and then I thought about our neighbors who knew I was in pain. They must have left a cane to help me walk. I texted our neighbors, and they told me that they didn’t leave it for me.
I limped inside our home with the help of my newly gifted cane. It was a warm, caring cane, and love was etched into the handle. My hand wrapped around it perfectly. I held the cane as I called my mother. I told her the story about the cane.
“You know both your grandmothers had hip replacements,” she said.
I stopped speaking and looked at the cane. I realized my grandmothers were still looking over me and left me the walking cane. Tears welled in my eyes. We do have angels around us. We really do—during the hard times and the times that we just need a little help. Thanks for the cane, Momma May and Grand-momma. I’ll be able to heal with your help.
Raised in Mississippi, Jillian McWhirter moved to Paris and New York to pursue modeling before moving to Los Angeles to start her film and television career. She has written numerous feature film scripts and has published over thirty educational books that are used by health and safety organizations all over the United States.
Read Elizabeth Gracen's interview with Jillian McWhirter here.