Apologies that this post is so late, but I’ve been having too much fun and it’s been dragging, so there it is... but rest assured that I love each and everyone one of you immensely!
Today I’d like to talk about recovery both in and out of hospital. If these posts don’t apply or appeal to you then I apologise, but this is the last in the series and hopefully you’ll enjoy the recipes and craft posts to come, or you can check back in a few weeks for posts on writing.
Anyway, so I’m back in my room in the ward. I’ve lost more weight than a celebrity on a fad diet, and yes, I’m in quite a bit of pain. But I’ve got a little button to press in my hand for morphine. Generally, I am the sort of person who waits about three hours into a headache to see if it’s worth taking half a Panadol. I don’t like drugs, even the legal kind one sometimes needs, though that may sound silly. It just goes against all my instincts to take something artificial that’s supposed to change the way I feel. I suppose that’s why I’ve never been that interested in drinking—I think I get it from my dad.
However, medicine is developed for a reason, and when a nurse presents you with a cup of pills which will ease the burning and the aching in your back... you swallow them up like a good little patient and don’t ask questions, regardless of the lump it leaves in your throat. It was the same with morphine—something I had to make an effort to remember was that no doctor is going to let you have something harmful if they can help it. I was on a drip which gave me a dose and then I could click my button if I felt the need for more—but only every fifteen minutes if memory serves.
So I guess two things I learned to do in the days after my surgery were to trust those around me—the doctors and nurses—as well as trusting my own body. I hadn’t realised this, but while our minds are pretty awesome, our bodies can get along just fine without them, thank you very much. They know how to survive. Been doing it for millennia. My body knew that it needed to heal itself, so for the next couple of weeks I just had to pay attention while Body told Mind: “We need to rest.” “We need to walk.” “We need to stretch.” Etc. For a semi- control freak such as myself, it was a strange experience, made even stranger by the fact that I began to hallucinate. Of course, I’d been warned it might happen, but it’s not really something you can prepare for. I never expected my ears to deceive me...
“What was that, dad?”
“What did you say?”
“Yes you did.”
“No I didn’t.”
“COME OVER HERE AND SAY IT TO MY FACE OLD MAN.”
...OK, so the last bit might have been created for your entertainment, but you get the idea.
Then there was Asian Doctor. Basically, my brain kind of mixed up present and past. My eyes must have fixed at some point on this lovely gentleman in his scrubs, and suddenly his image would pop up on whatever background I was looking at at the time.
Perhaps the most unnerving hallucination was, for one second and one second only, Flying Baby. The wall in front of me went completely red and liquid, like it was blood, and a baby appeared floating in front of my eyes, just for a second. I screamed aloud. I still have no idea where it might have come from... suggestions are welcome.
Apart from hallucinations, there were a few other scary experiences. My back was stapled rather than stitched, in what’s been described to me as looking like a “zip” (I chose not to see for myself), and there was one stage where I went to itch my back and the dressing had moved, so I felt the staples. Reflexively, I recoiled and tensed up. Mistake. My whole back locked in a spasm and it was intensely painful. There were several moments like that, particularly as my nerves were so sensitive. There was also the fact that as some nerves had been cut, I had no feeling whatsoever in a few places. That’s still coming back, a year later.
Slowly but surely, though, I got better. I still remember the first time I completed a “lap” round the ward, the first time I walked up a flight of stairs. I began to feel less fragile. I could soon take a shower by myself and even pick up a jug of water, both of which I’d felt too weak to do before. Ourteen days after my operation, I was home. And home had never looked so perfect.
I’d just like to say a special thank you to everyone who supported me throughout. I genuinely hadn’t realised how much people cared about me. You all know who you are, so just, thanks.
*BBC voice* If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in “The Scoliosis Story”, then don’t hesitate to contact me. Perhaps you’re about to go through surgery and have some questions? Or maybe you’ve had a different experience to me. If so, I’d love to hear about it!
My scoliosis isn’t something I’m shy about, so if you know me and are curious about my scar, my x-rays or anything like that, don’t hesitate to ask. If you don’t know me...
...don’t come up to me and demand to see my scar. Don’t make it weird. Introduce yourself first is all I ask.
As a side note, if you happen to have scoliosis, go on a first date and decide to show your special someone how your ribs are two different shapes... results may vary.