Seventeen days ago, I laid back in my hospital bed, wrapped tightly in my elastic girdle, swathed in bandages, hooked up to a catheter, IV and more.... and the first thought to cross my mind was: I didn't die. My second thought was: holy shit, this hurts!
Seventeen days have passed now since I first woke up from the surgery. The first seven days were spent in the hospital, basically passing time in a drugged haze as I moved from the state of pain, into less pain, and back to pain again. Sleep was broken up into smallish segments of usually less than two hours. I knew when the nurses liked me, because then they let me sleep. Vitals be damned!
In the ten days that I have been home, I have been restricted in quite a few ways:
- I am not allowed to drive until next Monday
- I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds until mid-August
- I am only allowed to consume low fiber, low residue foods... ie., no whole grains, no raw veg, no nuts
It has been remarkable having friends helping out with getting me to and from appointments, helping us with grocery runs, things that we normally would take for granted. Today our friends made sure that Aurora was able to get to and from her job down at the lakeside. This outpouring of help and compassion never ceases to boggle my mind. I am the last person to ever consider asking for help. The one thing that has been bludgeoned into my head over the past forty four months since the surgical debacle: It is okay to ask for help.
Part of me is in a huge, anxious rush to resume my autonomy. Being able to get around on one's own is no small issue. Having to work around everyone else's schedule really makes me reassess how important my needs are. Can it wait? Do I have to do it or can someone else do it for me? Just how important is it?
Another part of me is looking at the historical failure on my part, to understand the nature of my needs. Having this opportunity to have others caring for me has helped me to see needs that I had no idea existed. To be fully vulnerable, to need others so wholly, is a remarkable experience. As a perpetual care-giver, to be on the other side of the relationship makes me much more aware of how that reciprocity works. Learning how to ask for help is hard. Learning how to be okay with needing help is harder.