Friday, 18 September 2015

Seven Quick Takes: the Post-Op, Bedrest Edition


I had my gallbladder removed last week and in the subsequent days not being able to do much physically or mentally I had the opportunity to explore to the full what to do when boredom hits. Feeling redundant having withdrawn from my domestic and ministerial roles temporarily, I had no choice but to patiently wait until things returned to the new normal. And yes, I have the opportunity to move on from this stage, but I think the things I learned may apply to a longer period out of action.


The thing I am mostly thankful for is the radio. In the UK we are privilege to be able to access political, historical, arts and faith programmes via BBC Radio 4 but as I understand it there is a lot of talk radio around that can help pull a person out of a post-Netflix quagmire. Not that there aren't documentaries on Netflix, but I found looking at a TV screen helped maintain my jellified brain, whatever the programming. Quality radio engages the brain and helps you feel included in a community and/or society even when you can't get out of bed.


Food! I blogged about part of this yesterday, because just thinking about preparing food enlivens me even though it can be disheartening not to be able to leap up and fix a snack myself. But I realised early on in my recovery that I needed to shove as many nutrients in my body as possible to raise it out of its post-op lethargy. And I wasn't afraid to task my husband with this, rather waiting for him to feed me when he was hungry. Chopped apple and raisins took me back to preschool days. There was a fruit salad. My evening meals were a thousand times better than hospital food, prepared with love and brought up on a tray by one or two family members. I even ate banana, which I don't enjoy much, because someone prepared me a banana snack. And it helped my recovery.


Prayer. On the one hand, this is a no-brainer, but on the other hand I have found it difficult to concentrate mentally and spiritually. Spending time in contemplative prayer or even following a short service in a book eluded me. Luckily I have the Northumbria Community's CD (check out their new prayer books!) on my iPhone and praying offices regularly during the day, however short, re-established some routine to both regular and prayer life. And can I just say that lying here, thinking of all the people I know, individually, in my family, congregation and wider community, asking God to hold them in his care at this time, was a darn sight easier than when I have my other commitments to attend to!


People. I shared news of my operation with quite a few people, which is a step up for me, used to keeping it private. And while I was sat here, fatigued, unable to deal with visitors but feeling isolated and lonely, it was a pleasure to receive cards, flowers and other messages from people who cared. Despite my tiredness, I could still text or message on Facebook. I didn't feel completely alone.

Playdoh fun


The Domestic Arena. Prior to my operation, I was organised. I rearranged the girls' wardrobes and walked my husband through where the clean clothes lived for each child. I reminded him of the laundry schedule (including bedsheets and towels) and planned dinners and ingredients for the first week, and then the next two weeks once I felt a little better. I mentioned things like playdoh craft as a good activity they hadn't done  for a while. I even drew up a plan of what the girls needed in their packed lunches as what is a relatively straightforward task can actually rely on a lot of variables! By the time I was able to, I could listen to music practice and encourage homework. I couldn't do much, but I did what I could to ensure things went smoothly.


Finally, I consciously and unconsciously practised an attitude of gratitude. It is easy to always want more and different when you are lying there incapable. At times I needed socks on, wanted my laptop and couldn't make it out of bed for fresh water. But I had to be patient and tolerant and lower my expectations as I knew my husband had 4 children, a house and a business to look after at the same time. I'm sure I was at least a little snappish but I tried to show how thankful I was for the small things. My other half has been a complete hero and attended to so many of my needs. Which means I am going to put up with extremely overgrown leg hair for the moment as I think asking him to shave them would be just a step too far!

Join Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes to find out more about the lives, Catholic and otherwise, that inspire me to blog, parent, learn and live life well.

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