My father backed the car into the hospital patient receiving area and then my heart started pacing. A few meters away, I see my main surgeon getting out of his car walking peacefully and calmly towards the hospital; “he’s done a million of these – he is used now” my mind raced possibly to calm my nerves.
The next 30 minutes were about getting checked in, running final blood vitals and being ushered into the preparation room.
My Mother was by my side every step of the way. She saw the freight on my face and quickly took her phone out of her bag and played me beautiful relaxing and spirit lifting music.
My Doctor, the nurses, the anaesthesiologists, the caretakers – they were super amazing to me. They saw it on me – that I needed them to reassure me – and they did it amazingly.
They wheeled me into the theatre waiting room; (a mother had gone into labour earlier than before and so I had to wait another hour as my Doctor had to work on her) BUT in the meantime, the medical team working on me kept me chatted up and telling me it was going to be alright. My Doctor was the usual calm and non-chatty but smiling self. He was very confident as he quietly moved about arranging his tools and telling them how to get me prepared. He called me his little girl; it made me smile amidst the fear. I remember asking God to come and be by my side and hold me still.
They injected the anaesthesia drug on my back/spine. It felt like a small pinch and then they lay me on the operating table and then a muzzle was placed over my mouth and nose and then I went into a long deep sleep. I have no recollection of what happened thereon until the afternoon of Monday 7th September, 2020 as I was super drowsy and slipping in and out of long deep slumbers. I woke up to a handful of family and a few friends as the hospital is very strict on who and how many people they let in. My operation was from 11 am to about 3pm and this time included recovery time.
The last couple of days have been rather slow – for a person that is super active. I sleep, eat, take pain meds, get sponge-bathed, sleep some more, walk to stretch, take more pain meds, PRAY and then my mind goes places – very distant places but I am getting stronger by the day.
I lay in bed, with the pain doing a number on me BUT I am reminded about life generally and these nuggets so far are swimming in my cranium:
1. Scars are ugly but beautiful reminders
I wear a scar; permanently. To some its a sign that I have failed in some aspects of life (as I have been constantly told) but I will carry this scar with pride because it reminds me of a hurdle I leaped forth and overcame. It reminds me that all of the painful stuff is over and that I am conqueror.
2. I am not defined by these moments
This isn’t even an inch of who I am and what defines me. Yes, I will carry the memories of the entire process, yes – I have faced pain and fear but I overcame and got done with it and will continue with the journey of my life. Infact, this is only a pitstop on the journey.
3. Take things 1 minute at a time
As I type this, I am not my usual, fast, speedy, efficient and hopper-arounder self. I love to get things done quick and fast but this short predicament has caused standing up, walking, picking an object from the floor quite the hard task. I am back to taking things one minute at a time. I am back to crawling instead of flying off the ground and it’s ok because even that is good for the soul.
4. It’s ok to let others do stuff for you
I am back to having everything done for me. My mother – bless her heart – is my main caretaker. She dropped everything she was doing to come take care of me. She fed me right after the operation when I couldn’t lift myself even to hold a cup of tea; she bathes me every morning, she makes me breakfast, lunch and dinner; she tucks me into bed…. Imagine a grown woman having to have the basic things done for her. Honestly, it’s severely frustrating BUT imagine the joy she takes in taking care of me; in pouring all this love and care on me. My sister told me it means the world to her to run my errands. My people get to do the things I love to do for them. As I sit and watch them do it with joy; it teaches me that many times, we need to let people do the small things for us. It’s their opportunity to give to us, to show us they care, to show us they love us.
5. Do what you can in the moment
The recovery road may not be a short one, I may not be able to quickly bounce back immediately to the person I was, I may not be able to handle cumbersome tasks like I used to BUT I am ready to manage what I can do for the moment. This is a lesson for even when I am 100 % tops “I cannot do it all but I can do what I can in that moment”.
6. A break in the usual routine works wonders
I am the routine typer person. This has put the full stop in my usual routine and caused me to re-program to another and much slower one. I am considering it a break in the usual routine. I am managing pain but also doing all the best that I can do to get better and get back up to 100%. That too in itself is a routine.
7. Pain is a great Teacher
The pain is excruciating; bowel movements when I eat are like sharp little jabs on my gut; certain sitting and sleeping postures cause me to writhe in pain; my bladder housed a catheter for a few days and the effects are still felt even when it was taken out; my legs get numb, my back hurts – it’s pain this pain that BUT each time I feel pain, I am reminded that it is part of the healing process and one day – this pain will not be there at all. One thing is for sure that feeling this pain has made me look forward to the moments when my body does not feel pain at all – and the need to appreciate these moments, savour them and never take a pain-free body for granted. It gives you every reason to be grateful.
8. The Silver lining around Trying times
My silver lining in this case is that whatever has been giving me pain, causing me grief month in month out, causing me to ponder hard, causing me to regularly visit the doctor – its gone now. No more of that! I am free!!!!
9. Time to re-generate:
I am calling this a mini-holiday. I am sleeping, laying down, watching TV, listening to music, taking a break off social media, doing my work in small bouts, petting the pets, walking in circles around the compound, having friends and family visit me, smelling the flowers, watching the sun rays gather and grow into a beautiful sunrise and then watching them fade away during sunsets. Little things I have not been doing thanks to the helter-skelter way of life.
Also, my body is regenerating!
10. God is making it all Beautiful
In all this, God is seated right here with me doing what God does best; Loving on me, teaching me his ways, reassuring me of the best laid plans for me, healing me – body mind and soul; hugging me, wiping away any tears, allowing me to grow grow and grow more. I am blessed, I have seen the best, I have seen pain, I have seen the worst and God has never left my side.
These nuggets and more and my little take-aways from this medical operation. I know all this is for the better. 🙂