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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Depending on the kindness of others

Just over a week on from back surgery, I am getting through each day by depending on the kindness of others. I am going to write about the recovery experience, largely as a record for myself of how blooming lucky I am to have decent people around me. I think it highlights a more general point though which is that the vast majority of human beings are kind and compassionate. Typing this as I am with the evening news on in the background, I think it is something worth remembering. So, excuse the distinct lack of photos and crafty talk - this is going to be all about how something that could have been a major pain in the rear (quite literally) turned out happily after all.

The surgeon spoke to me shortly after the op and explained that he had cut a hole in the vertebrae, removed the large disc that had slipped out of place and been causing me so much pain, and hooked the nerves back into the right place (is it just me, or does that last bit sounds a bit like crochet?). Returning home the same day, all I had to show for a morning of surgery was a small sticking plaster and some pen marks on my back. Remarkable. 

Because the nerves are no longer being squished, the sensation that my leg is about to explode and my toes have had all circulation cut off has gone. Having already said before how the pain was on a scale to child birth, it doesn't take a genius to work out how truly brilliant the surgery is in my eyes. That surgeon has certainly made it onto my (super special deserves a home made) Christmas card list.

Now, it is a slow and patient road to recovery while the back repairs itself - but I am already feeling stronger than a week ago. The biggest challenge is the enormous logistical implication of following the strict instructions not to lift baby Charlotte for six weeks.

Thanks to the fortunate timing of the operation happening half way through the school holidays, most of week one of recovery happened with the hubby around. He basically had to be me and do all the things I normally do - and I had to keep my mouth shut and resist the temptation to dispense endless `advice' from the sofa. I had promised myself at the start of the process to let go and let him get on with it, and be a gracious patient. I think he must have done the something similar from his end, as he completely stepped up and did everything that needed to be done without being asked or any hint of being put out. Letting go of everything, giving up the role of nagging, snappy wife who thinks she is best at everything resulted in a very happy household! Maybe the back operation has helped in multiple ways. 

With the start of term, this week the theme has switched from self control over not interfering when your other half does things differently, to over coming the embarrassment of asking for and accepting help from friends. You just have to be non-British about it and go ahead and ask people to help you, was the advice from a (wise American) friend.

As the reality of not being able to lift my own baby started to sink in, along came a sense of panic about how on earth I was going to manage once the hubby returned to work. I didn't want to put pressure on him and flap and panic about it, as he knew exactly what was involved, having been doing to role for me and was already committed to being around as much as possible. So, time for a role change for me - of shifting my mindset from being super woman who is able to help other people out, to actually being on the receiving of favours from friends. And lots of them. 

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