Walk On By

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Unless you’ve had children, it may be impossible to understand the feeling of abject fear and anxiety that will inevitably accompany any terror event with kids involved. There is, of course, only so much you can (and should) protect your children from. Life is about danger, taking risks and understanding that inevitably, circumstances move from your control. That can be particularly hard to grasp on days like today, when rationale and motive are like smoke. The sad fact remains that, whenever a group of people come together to enjoy themselves, someone else will see an opportunity to destroy that as their own sick and demented form of entertainment. It doesn’t matter how you justify the action. If you gain pleasure from the abuse or torture of others, you don’t understand humanity to begin with.

Today is tough. It isn’t just because I have kids who go to stuff unaccompanied. It isn’t because you can’t keep them safe. Mostly today hurts because it will stop people from enjoying themselves. It will damage those in most need of nurturing and protecting. It will make the vital process of relaxation harder, rather than easier. Above all, it is the very real understanding that there for the grace of deities go us. One day, everyone will lose the people they care about, but most will be given the dignity to at least do this in their own way. To have lives snatched away like this, with such a horrific and public display of arrogance, beggars belief.

I’ll be using Social media today to talk about things that make me happy. Every time a message flashes past I want to respond to, this is the mantra I’m repeating. There’s nothing I can add, or want to contribute that will make any difference anyway. I can play my game, and write my posts pretending that nothing has happened, but eventually you have to accept that life is different from yesterday. That’s the way it should be. Sure, it would be fantastic if we could not have the slaughter of millions or the destruction of the planet as part of that change but this is the World, as it is now, and we all have to learn to live with it.

The trick, going forward, is how you become stronger and not cower under other people’s stupidity and ignorance. You use grief as fuel, to drive you forward. It is an inevitable part of life to accept death, but if you can keep it a small part, so much the better. Living well isn’t just being sympathetic to others, it is being angry and frustrated too. Find your own way to deal with these difficult times, but NEVER allow these monsters to control your lives. That way, they win.

Never give the bad guys that kind of power.

Wish You Were Here

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Okay, I can positively attest that personal clarity and focus has returned to my brain after yesterday. The focal point came at about 4.30pm yesterday afternoon when I sat on the sofa and could feel an anaesthetic ‘fuzz’ almost pulling me to unconsciousness. There was an incorrect assumption that after three days I was shot of the worst of it, and that is was increasingly apparent what was needed was a return to ‘normal’ working hours as a matter of priority. This morning I could have gotten up and stayed up at 7am, but made the choice to go back for another 90 minutes. The benefits are already obvious, but I am still having to concentrate on focus. I can but hope that with the application of caffeine and enough time, this too will heal.

I can feel that happening now, rather bizarrely. My left wrist, belly button, upper chest are all tingling. The entry for instruments on my lower right hand side is no more now than a scar, not even bruised: it’s not counted as an injury. I’m still getting occasional tinnitus on waking and going to sleep, which says to me that maybe it’s not just ears but neck that could do with a poke, which I will bring up on Thursday when I see the surgeon. Half term starts Friday which is totally perfect timing, and the plan is to be back to ‘normal’ (as much as that is possible) for the first week of June. I’ve learnt an amazing amount about myself in the last six days, and I suspect there’s still a lot more to factor in.

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However, this morning my legs are really keen to do something. I can’t lift yet for another eight days, but nothing is stopping me being outside. Therefore, I’m already planning to go and eat lunch at the Gym today, and at least walk there for a drink every day this week. It’s a perfect short hop with two breaks in between, allows me to judge my levels of stamina, and stops me from going insane by being stuck inside. Plus, if I believe the weather forecast, I really don’t want to be stuck inside anyway. It will be glorious all week, and considering that I’ve been stuck in my own head for nearly a month now, getting outside needs to be a factor in the recovery process.

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In fact, let’s get organised so I can get out and enjoy the day. Be warned, there will be Instagramming.

You’re Not Alone

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This is the worst things have been since surgery. It isn’t the pain, or the stuff going on with my body (of which there is a lot, it must be said) but my simple inability to cope with the way life has irreversibly changed. It doesn’t help that my inner ears are still not 100% functioning as they should, that I can’t sleep in more than four hour blocks, or that I’m tired in a way that has never been experienced before. All these are surmountable with the support I have. What isn’t happening is recovery at the speed I’d hoped. However, with that said, I feel confident I can walk to and from the Gym tomorrow. That’s the next step in rehabilitation.

This is a day I just have to push through.

I didn’t wake up on Tuesday and suddenly feel better. This surgery has not instantly lifted a weight from my mind either. I’m still afraid of what I eat, but for different reasons. A previously healthy body is in a fair amount of turmoil that I didn’t want and now have to deal with. Mostly I am as miserable as fuck with tons of pain where none existed before, and that’s the most depressing part of everything. Fortunately, I remember this happening before, and the consequences of those three months on the whole of my life, and I will NOT allow the hovering dark cloud to consume me. I’ve come too far for that. It won’t happen. I am stronger than that, and this will pass.

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The most important task today is to get my sleep pattern back to something approximating normal. If it means pushing through, then I will. I am putting a lot of effort into focussing on tasks and not allowing mind to wander.

Today will not beat me.

Post :: Two

The anaesthetic has gone. That’s 72 hours to have it clear my system, but ears and throat are still a bit gummy. Dressings have all come off and the largest wound looks a bit fierce, but that has mostly to do with the bruising than any issue with ingress. Most importantly I’m now simply on paracetamol (if needed) and both appetite and digestive function are normal. This is where I wanted to be Tuesday morning, and doing 250 steps per hour to start rehabilitation is not nearly as taxing as it was yesterday.

My stomach area remains swollen, but it is not nearly as uncomfortable as it has been. I’m alert far more than at any point since probably before Sunday, if I’m honest too: sleep still needs some work, but I could at least roll to my side rather than stick to being on my back. Most importantly of all however getting up and down becomes increasingly simple with each passing hour. I’m still not totally back to ‘normal’ communication but managed a couple of hours on social media last night without the world coming to an unscheduled end.

Gonna take the weekend off, and reassess where I am on Monday. Thank you for your understanding during this time.

Post : One

It occurs to me that I should now make a mark in the sand and begin writing after the Op and not still continue to live ‘before’ and so here I am, having forced myself into a lie in. Pain is doable on the lower tier of painkillers provided, I’m more aware than I was last night, but there are still issues with blood rushing in my ears and occasional balance, and if that continues for another 24 hours I will talk to someone medically about treatment. Considering how dehydrated I still am (which is now being dealt with) plus the fact its still not 48 hours since it all happened, I need to get myself back to feeling normal as quickly as possible. Sensitivity has always been a problem, after all.

However, the ability to self-edit and need to make sense in a blog post is a good indicator that awareness has improved. There’s been a bit of shock in the last few days, processing everything that happened before, and on reflection a lot of that was needed to understand issues with my ability to cope under pressure that I’ve never really considered. I also grasp a lot more about how my mind reacts to situations than I ever did previously: there’s lots of notes to be made, but right now the biggest concern is my attention wandering, mostly because the drugs don’t seem to sit well in my body.

I’ve also got some genuine issues with the hospital care that I want to bring up with someone, and I suspect that will probably be done in a letter. I was given a ‘care quality’ survey on arrival and told how important it was to fill in: well, there were shortfalls in the process, and having asked for extra help because I was anxious, none was offered at any point. This concerns me considerably, and needs further thought going forward. For now however I will simply continue to take it slow and steady. I can have a shower after lunch and the dressings can come off, and then we will see where things stand from there.

Fear :: Fourteen

I’m number four on the board. I managed that in hours sleep, which under the circumstances is a fucking miracle, considering the massive wibble I had last night. This morning I am determined to be positive because if I have to wait here for surgery that’s what has to happen. I’m now indebted to Mindfulness training and the fact that I can breathe my way out of panic. I’m also really, really focused on not allowing my own irrational fears to get the better of me. When I close my eyes I can visualize all the good wishes and positive vibes that have been handed to me by other people: whether they be via early morning DM’s or in mails or simply the card sitting in my bag from my PT, which she told me I’m not allowed to open until surgery is complete.

I’ve bought the Internet of Words inaugural Book of the Month to make notes from. It’s already proving incredibly useful as a means of grounding myself to the moment. I am going to make notes, play some phone games, and lose myself in minutiae until I am called.

Then I think I might have the basis for my opening short story for the Patreon sorted.


I wrote that yesterday morning. At about 11.30 a lovely Scotsman appeared and took my bed with help down to Theatre. On the way, we discussed ways of helping people alleviate stress before operations. There ought to be TV channels with pictures of cats and dogs, pages of motivational pictures and landscapes accompanied by Classical music. We decided to patent the idea and split the proceeds 60:40: I’m not interested in making the cash, I’d rather help people from feeling stressed.

The anaesthetist was a sci-fi fan, and I was in the middle of talking about John Wyndham when the oxygen mask appeared and there was coldness up my arm. Then, I’m awake in recovery, and trying to get up, which was really not how I’d expected the entire experience to pan out. No dreaming, no sense of unconsciousness at all, just there one moment and BANG back the next. I feel somewhat lied to by other people’s descriptions of this process.

I don’t recall going back to the room either, and the first real sense of time I have is when my daughter and husband arrived. Before then there was a fairly unnerving disconnect between brain and body which also manifested in a loss of balance. I’ve had issues with ear canal sensitivity in the past: rollercoasters are unpleasant experiences, and mostly avoided. When I got up to pee for the first time and nearly fell over, the decision was made to stay the night in Hospital.

The surgeon came to visit me once it became apparent I was staying. He explained that my gallbladder was in a bad way, inflamed and ‘full’ of stones, and that it would have only been a matter of time before I would have encountered another (potentially) life threatening issue. This made me feel considerably better about the entire experience, plus the level of pain. However, I’d left it too late for an evening meal but instead ended up with toast and Marmite which took me close to two hours to eat.

My throat was beyond dry, even saliva glands failing to help provide any moisture. I managed to work through two jugs of water before finally being too tired to think. When I woke after my first sleep post-procedure, I could not get to the bathroom fast enough. After that, it was probably the best night I’ve had for a while, even with pain. On that front, as this is being typed, the level of discomfort is considerably less than I’d been warned for. That might change going forward, but right now left wrist pain from where the cannula was set is causing more irritation than three wound sites combined.

This morning’s breakfast (simple porridge) tasted better than anything I’ve eaten for quite some time. Once I got the discharge papers it became apparent I’ll have at least two weeks before I can lift anything heavy, but the walking won’t suffer. In fact, the first ‘walk 250 steps in an hour’ plan has gone off without a hitch. That’s my basic rehabilitation goal: keep moving and up the exertion goal as time goes on. This way, it’s effectively like the upper half of my body went on holiday for two weeks, and when I return to my PT a week on Monday, we can start from there.

At home now, I’m still not right in the brain department. It is an effort to concentrate, and I know with rest and enough water flushed through my system, that will improve. I’m now wondering why I allowed myself to get worked up about all of this but am aware enough to grasp that this was a necessary part of the overall process. I’ve never had surgery like this before, and now that’s changed, the experiences and understanding make me a better person as a result.

Like everything else, it is simply a part of the journey.

True Faith

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This time tomorrow I’ll be under general anaesthetic. Hopefully it’ll all be over by lunchtime, and I’ll be recovered enough to make it home on Tuesday night, though there is a chance they’ll want to keep me in if the proposed keyhole surgery doesn’t go to plan. Whatever happens, this is my last full day of writing work for a week. I had planned to try and schedule some content, but to be honest I would rather be concentrating on relaxation instead, and so with the exception of my poetry for the Internet of Words, this post marks the end of Normal Service until at least the 22nd.

If you’ve been following my off-grid posts, they will (hopefully) continue regardless.

I’ll see you on the other side.