It would be easy to sing a long sad story about how bad my week has been after surgery. I’d like to avoid the whole conversation, pretend it didn’t happen and move on with life.
Wish I could, but I sit here looking at the title of this blog, “Andrew’s View of the Week” realizing that my view of this week has been colored by my recovery and despite all wishes to the contrary, healing and getting back to normal are utmost on my mind.
There are a few factors that help heal: good medical care, rest, eating heathy, appropriate exercise, a positive attitude, hope, time and support of those who love you. I suspect there are other factors and I am sure some will argue with my list but I only have 800 words to explore the question so let me just address the big ones.
Support – I’ve got the best support in the world, my wife Heather. She’s been great – no other way to say it. If I need it, she takes care of it. I owe her a big debt. This is one of those times in my life that I have no idea how I’d manage without her.
I had a great surgeon and a good medical team. The only real complaint I could make is that at one point on the day of surgery they left Heather waiting for far too long in the waiting room before I went into surgery. That and they had to try twice to find a vein for the IV.
Other than those little niggly points the procedure went well. Their after care was good too. It was outpatient, but they had a nurse call the afternoon after surgery to check up and the doctor called a week later to make sure recovery is going well. If I need anything, I’ve got their phone number and could even send an email if I wanted.
Turns out I haven’t needed to call them.
On the other points I try my best. Heather makes me healthy meals, I sleep a lot, spend much time just siting doing nothing and as the pain allows I walk.
Pain. The surgery is painful and it eases very slowly. It’s been the one factor that is so hard to control. Sure there are pills but the side effects of those are as bad as the surgery.
and this is where my song of woe could get really bad so I’ll won’t go there.
A positive attitude and hope are big factors in healing. Each is easy to say and easy pontificate on. “Just have a positive attitude,” I can hear my father saying that. Well, I try. I my head I know that things are going to get better but when the pill wears off and the pain builds being positive can be very challenging. In my case there is plenty of hope that in time all will be healed and I’ll be able to move on with a normal life. Millions of men have had this surgery and moved on to active healthy lives.
No reason I can’t. Just a bit of time to recover and all will be well with the world. Right? Sure, easy to say and in my mind I know it to be true. However, in the dark hours of the night when my conscious control fails and the shadows move across my heart, fear takes hold – did I chose right? What if this fails? What if I get an infection? What if…
Such thoughts rob me of my sleep, my needed rest and chips away at my hope.
But still each morning dawns and the new day is slightly better than the last. Today I walked further than I did yesterday. Friday I took less pain medication than I did on Thursday. As time moves on so does the healing.
Sweet time. As time moves forward so does healing. Time is the key and the frustration. While I wait for my body to heal, I can do very little. I move between bed, chair and computer looking for comfort, rest and to distract my mind from the darkness of pain and depression. I try to find hope. I try to look towards the future and see the things that are coming – that will come.
While I wait I plan, I think, I research and try to be positive. Being positive is the hardest for me – I am not a man given to sudden outbreaks of joy or laughing. I do have dreams, desires and things I’d like to do. On the table next to my chair, I keep a few woodworking magazines, drawing paper with a pencil and my laptop. I look for project ideas in the magazines, draw a few sketches on the pad and listen to podcasts on the computer. I fill my mind with thoughts of what I will do in the shop, around the house and with wife when time allows me to move freely.
I try to keep my mind and soul focused on that day in the next week, or two, when I’ll realize, “Hey, it doesn’t hurt.”
That will happen, in time.