On My Heart (A Series) … The Good People in My Corner


I saw my surgeon yesterday. He seems to think I am right where I need to be. My healing is on schedule. I told him all my woes and while he didn’t look bored or roll his eyes, I could see he had heard all this before. There were a couple of concerns I had. There is some numbness and throbbing in my left foot that started in the hospital. I had assumed it would go away when I got more active – it hasn’t. My chest feels watery, not really even my chest, more like the lower part of my throat. I can hear gurgling in there. He said my heart sounded good, but ordered a chest x-ray and ultrasound on my foot, just to be safe.

He gave me permission to drive, short distances, within reason, and as long as I had not been taking any pain medications. He would not clear me for work, says I’m not ready and should not rush it. He ordered cardiac rehab. I had previously poo-poo’d away the idea of cardiac rehab. I mean, why would I drive across town three times a week to walk on a treadmill when I could walk around Sugarberry anytime I wanted? He pointed out that with cardiac rehab, my progress is tracked and that helps him and ME see the improvements I am making. I start Tuesday.

He consented to my request for baths, as long as the water wasn’t too hot, and I didn’t stay in too long. He thought a nice bath might be good for me and help ease some tension. This is all I had really hoped for.

Yesterday afternoon, I spoke to my “friendapist” (she started out as my therapist years ago and now is the friend who has kept me sane). She is the smartest person I know. I told her about my sad day in my daughter’s bathroom over the weekend. Her dad had this same surgery, so she gets what I’m going through in as much as Charles does. They cannot be in my skin, but close. She is the perfect combination of empathy and “what the hell are you thinking?” After listening to my story, she said, “Your body has a finite amount of energy. You only get so much. You have been through a trauma so your energy reserves aren’t very high. Right now, all of your body’s energy is going toward healing that giant trauma in your chest. So, I would suggest that you please give your body a little grace if she just doesn’t have the energy to send collagen to your face. She will get back in balance eventually, but for now sewing your chest back together takes priority; don’t ya think?”

She also said, “There is also a little confirmation bias going on here. You are tired, you are broken, and you FEEL 80 years old. Part of you expected to see an 80 year old looking back at you, even if the other part of you was surprised. Nobody looks good when they feel awful. It is just not possible.”

I told you she was smart.

This morning, my old bestie from first grade (the one my nurse thought was my daughter) texted me. She’s a pediatric cardiac nurse. She reminded me that I started out in a much better place than most of the patients who have this surgery – I was otherwise healthy. I WILL heal but it will take some time. She said no one would ever believe how hard the recovery is, so it is hard to explain. She’s right. I thought there would be pain, lots of pain. I expected pain. I was prepared for pain. I could deal with pain. The rest – the mood swings, the loss of appetite, the despair, the lack of interest in things, the body changes, the rage – I was not made aware of. How could I have prepared had I known?

She told me that this is my season. It is now fall and we are moving into winter, and I should give my body a chance to experience the seasons as well. This is my fall and winter and by the time the spring unfolds in the real sense, my body will have its own renewal. I should rest and let myself restore. She spoke my language, of course. She’s a nurse, she knows how to do that. She also knows me very well.

The clouds parted in the late morning and I was able to get back outside and sit on the porch for a bit. It is a beautiful day. There are still a few stranglers from the monarch migration hanging around. I was able to get some pictures. The wind has shaken many of the yellow leaves from the trees. The rain has brought mushrooms and everything smells sweet.

Hardships aren’t linear. They normally don’t get better every day. Usually, they get better, then worse, then a little better, then a lot worse, and then better again. I still expect some bad days, but today was a good one. So, I will be grateful for that.

02 comments on “On My Heart (A Series) … The Good People in My Corner

  • Glyndell , Direct link to comment

    Praying Psalm 103 over you in love. So grateful for your continued progress! God’s grace is sufficient even in this and you will overcome. Excited about upcoming December graduation summa cum laude!! Great news.

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