So, my appendix ruptured in the middle of last week and I’ve been in the hospital for 5 days now and counting recovering from post-surgery complications and issues.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience. Type A Go-Getters like myself don’t do well recovering at a snail’s pace, with one step forward and three back every damn day. I want to see results. I want to be the BEST at recovering, not the worst.
But what we cannot control, we must learn to accept. Kicking and screaming, maybe, but fighting what we can’t alter is a fool’s errand. To that end, these are some key things I’ve learned in my five days of recovery so far from appendicitis:
Our Bodies are Equally Strong and Frail
My mom reminded me that recovering from surgery is like labour: it helps to get out of the way and let your body do what it knows how to do. When you are tired, rest. When you need to get your bowels moving, walk. When you are puking into a tin in the middle of the night, totally lost, wasted and alone, trust that your body is doing the best that it can to heal.
In this way, I have newfound respect for my body and I feel more ready than ever to let go of my stupid issues about wishing my stomach was flatter or my arms sleeker. My body is a machine, like yours, and it’s healthy to respect what it can do.
The frail part is harder to come to terms with. In the hospital, on my many daily walks around the ward, you see all manners of human frailty in each room. Someone passed away this morning in my ward and family members were clinging to each other and sobbing in the hallways outside of my room. Life does not last forever. It is only here, given to each of us, for a limited, precious, important, undetermined amount of time. We’d best not waste it.
Patience is a Virtue
I spend way too much time rushing through life. Achieving, accomplishing, worrying, Netflix-binging, trying to prove I’m valuable and worthy. What is it all for? In the hospital, you have a lot of time to stare at the wall, cursing your 4-day NG tube and dreaming about the food and drink you aren’t allowed to have because of your lazy bowels and debilitating nausea from bile build-up.
The things that really matter; those you love who love you with their whole-heart in return come to the forefront. The friends you can call and you know they will pick up your kids and love on them. The offers of support, love and encouragement from all over the place. That’s the important stuff right there. Not the to-do list and the being superwoman. Slowing things down was what I needed to see what really matters.
Receiving is as Crucial as Giving
I’m a giver. Always have been. Receiving feels uncomfortable and even selfish to me. So to be this ill, with my supportive and fabulous husband a province away when my surgery was happening meant that I had to receive from a variety of people. I had to let myself need others and it was an eye-opening, beautiful experience.
I told Jason not to fly back, but he was too worried and ignored me. So he came, to bring the kids to see me each day over the long weekend, and this was wonderful. But I also reached out to my mom and many friends for help and they gave it, with such abundance it was like a blooming flower garden in my own heart, where I could stop and smell and get lost in love and inspiration.
There are many more lessons, but I’ve wiped myself out typing this to hit my blog deadline for tomorrow so I shall stop. Plus I just saw a prisoner shuffle past my room in his flappy, vulnerable hospital gown and IV stand, two burly guards walking slowly beside him, the prisoner in leg chains. We are all humbled by the hospital, by our own weakness and frailty. We are levelled, brought out of our disguises and into our true selves. We are revealed to be both more than we thought and less. We are real, humble, true, honest. We are beautiful.