Good morning, from a cold, snowy Ireland…… in March, I know its mental but c’est la vie. Nothing should surprise you about the weather in Ireland. Come prepared for all seasons……. In the one day!!
I hope everyone has been keeping well and getting up to mischief (I know that should say keeping out of it but where’s the fun in that!). Not much has been happening to report so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I’ve been thinking lately of more useful things I’ve learned that your surgeon/ consultant probably didn’t share with you about that goings on post open heart surgery. So, being the honest person I am I thought I would let you in on a few insights I have learned over the past 10 months. Some of these might bore you back into never never land but hopefully they might give you some ah-ha moments and maybe even a giggle or two (if we’re lucky!!).
So Firstly, in the early days life is not going to be easy (I know I said you would get a laugh but bear with me!!!). Its going to be a struggle to sit up in bed, to turn over and get comfortable but work with it. If you need sleeping tablets take them, but don’t depend on them. I found having a shower exhausted me, but have no fear, due to the fact you’ll have lots of free time that means lots of time for cat naps during the day…… (or dog naps if you’re so inclined!!). Take the help. If you’re lucky enough like I was you will have people on your team, in your family that want to help, so let them. We al know about my mammy and her help, from putting on my socks to washing my hair. Take it and go with it, and hey, enjoy it because God knows the novelty will wear off when you’re back on your feet again!!
Speaking of free time this brings me to my second point, get a hobby!!! And if you can’t find a hobby that suits you then at least get into a routine when you can. I tried to do this a week or two post op, the first few days at home are exhausting but that’s ok, and that’s how it should be. When I felt able enough each morning I got up (which took a while to get out of bed because of the pain in the morning time!) I got into a routine of going for my small walks, showering and then, and here’s the funny part, my hobby (before writing this blog for you lovely people) was making a jigsaw, no, Shauna didn’t just want to make a baby jigsaw I went for the 1,000 pieces!!!! Ill tell you how that went later. Anyway, the reason this routine became so important is because it kept your mind busy. It got me out of the house. There was interaction with other people every day and you knew you were still alive. Initially, and for a time after I started I was exhausted most of the time, which is where the cat naps came in but that was still ok. Take your time, don’t overdo things. Two weeks after I got home I decided to go with mam to get my hair done. I’ve had stupid ideas in my lifetime but this one was up there!!!!! I thought I was going to fall off the chair with tiredness, but hey my hair looked good in the end. Oh Yeah, the jigsaw………. Well, let’s just say its back in the box in a press, still not complete. My patience didn’t stretch that far!
Thirdly, and technically I have said this in my first point but TAKE THE HELP. If you’re stubborn like I am then this is difficult, but I said this was about lessons and this was a hard learned one for me. I thought I was going to be fine, I would come home and be able to do things for myself. Not a chance, when you can’t even lift your hands above you’re head to wash your hair you know you need to take the help. It’s times like this that people who really matter are there, and those that don’t disappear into the background. So, when those people are there and want to help you let them, because not only will you benefit so will they. They want to help, they want to be there for you and that is such a lovely feeling to have. We have lost that in today’s world, in a place full of people who are out for themselves and pass someone by who needs help because they’re busy on their phone looking at life through a screen. When you have genuine people who are there, never lose that. The neighbours who kept me fed with homemade brown bread and delicious lemon meringue pie. My best friend Louise who was on the phone checking in with me everyday and brought me endless amounts of chocolate. All my other genuinely good and loyal friends who came to visit and made me laugh and kept me sane. And of course, my family who were a constant, and without them nothing would have been possible. So when, and if, and I hope you are lucky enough to have this on your own journey hold onto it with both hands. Within this you will also find out who says they’re there but won’t be. This lesson was huge for me. The ones who pop their head up every now and then and disappear when times get tough. Events like this one open doors to new friends and sadly close them to others. Harsh but true I’m afraid, but that’s one you have to learn for yourself.
Finally, take your time. This process isn’t a race. Yeah, I had an ok time of it but there were days only recently I was still crying with pain when I pushed things too far. When I thought I could do things I cant do. And yes, it’s frustrating when your body won’t do what you want it to do, but it knows best in this case so leave it alone!!! Give it a break every now and then. No, don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself every day (maybe just every now and then with a nice bit of chocolate!!) but, and I’ve said this on previous posts listen to your body. Be nice to yourself because you’re still here!!! You have climbed a huge mountain to get where you are so be proud of that. We have the war wounds to prove it if anyone asks!!
So, there we have it, ah, I knew I would leave one out…… TAKE THE PILLS!!!!! Calm down people, I mean painkillers. Don’t do what I did and come home and not take any on your first day home from hospital……that was stupid, and I paid for it!!! Don’t depend on them but know they’re there if you need them. So, there it is ‘Leamy’s Lessons’ I thought was a good title for this, but you’re going to learn your own too. I just thought I might give you a heads up. You might not see these lessons right away but be aware of them when they do happen and let them change your mind set about things.
Its ok not to be ok but its even better to learn from it.
Keep on Keeping on, happy learning!!