Reflections After the Knife: Five Lessons
Many of you know that I had a total hip replacement mid-August. Well, what a learning experience surgery and recovery has been! I’d like to share what this experience is teaching me.
- I didn’t know the unbelievable value of company before and after surgery. I’ll never forget my dear friend that was scheduled to drop me off–and who stayed until I went into surgery! She was an enormous comfort. As was another good friend who met me after recovery and stayed to visit. And then more surprise visits that evening. It’s such a fragile period–one never ever forgets the kindness of those who take the time to stop by.
- I didn’t know how very important to my comfort and healing were the cards and e-mails and phone calls from friends far and near–before and after surgery. And I had no idea how nurturing to body, mind and spirit were the flowers, food, and conversation brought to me when I returned home. No wonder that we are told to “visit the sick.” I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the kindness and generosity of those visits. And for the offers of transportation. And for my neighbor who daily walks my dog.
- I didn’t know how patient I needed to be and how important it was to honor my healing process. “Stasis is the basis of all complications and movement means improvement,” as a nurse friend shared, but I’m also learning to listen to my body because when I overdo–as I’m given to doing–then I pay the price in more pain and slower healing.
- I didn’t know what it feels like to be, even temporarily, disabled. There’s a loss of freedom, loneliness, vulnerability. Emotions get either buried deep or are all too close to the surface.
- I didn’t know “not to take it personally.” I’m accepting that it’s really not about me. People’s being there for me–or not–is far less a reflection of me than of them: their compassion, generosity and kindness. As a wise older friend told me very long ago, “Your foster mother loves you as well as she can.” Isn’t it always that way? People do the best they can. I think the ticket is striving for realistic expectations–especially when it comes to those closest to us.
Oh, and I didn’t know that our animals get it! My normally rambunctious and demanding dog returned from her “vacation” much calmer, quieter and more protective. I am grateful. Even Luli is my teacher.
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