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.

Fear :: Thirteen

I took the day off yesterday, effectively. No writing, a fair wodge of gaming, and finally accepted that there are some toxic people in my life I don’t get the opportunity to fully remove, so it is probably best I put as much distance between them and me as possible. As a result, I’ve now arranged various parts of my life in a different order, so I can carry on doing what I enjoy without the need to come into contact with them unless absolutely necessary. I’ve also stopped stressing that I’m losing time on developing audiences or building engagement. Next week is about recovering fast, solidly and with as little stress as possible.

Once that’s done, then it’s time to consider starting everything again from scratch.

Tomorrow will be a full day of work, because I need to keep going right until bedtime.

Fear :: Twelve

Last night, my husband did more to allay my fears in ten minutes than I’ve managed in four days. It’s amazing, when you really care about someone, how much their words can help make a bad day good or a rough situation so much smoother. However, all this week has been like that: people popping up in my mentions, sliding into my DM’s in a purely platonic fashion, realising that the girl who thinks too much needs to be rationalised. As I say to my husband, when it all comes down to the wire, if you provide me with tea, cake and emotional support, I really don’t need anything else to function.

Sleep however really has helped, I won’t lie. Nine hours last night, waking only when my body got desperate to pee, sleeping through my normal 5.30am wakeup because I know, today and tomorrow, nobody needs me to be responsible. The clarity of the dreams too is odd, I saw everything as if it were VR, wrapped around my brain with a projected oddness. Colours were overly bright, as if I’d had to turn up gamma, and I can remember a Yellow Cab turn in virtual New York that had the g force accompaniment, pushing me back into the seat.

I dream about New York a lot, I always have. I know that’s because I wish I lived there.

Today, so far, has been no stress at all: don’t have to worry about anyone or anything, don’t need to be anywhere, and my husband is outside in the garden playing guitar as an accompaniment. Frankly, this is exactly what is needed. I think I might even go play some vidya gaems in a bit…

Fear :: Eleven

Seven minutes before my pie is cooked. 15 minutes to eat it before I leave for the Gym. I’ve sent a text message to my daughter to remind her I’ll be late for School pickup by about 20 minutes. I remembered to reschedule the dental Hygienist I had booked for Wednesday but made a mortality joke in the process. That’s a first. My husband’s cracked about five a day since all this started, which I suspect is the only indicator I’m going to get that he’s as nervous as I am. When in doubt, defer to humour whenever possible, because HEY YOU NEVER KNOW, RIGHT?

How could you function if you didn’t let go of all this baggage? There’s been a lot of questions in my head like this in the last few days, as it registers that this is something that other people just deal with in their stride. I’ve never really had a true medical emergency before. My pneumonia when it happened in 2004 was pretty much by accident. I just ended up in Hospital before I really registered what was going on and by the time the reality sunk in I was sitting in an isolation ward with an Oxygen tube up my nose they were already considering a discharge.

I like to try and invent drama sometimes. Never doing that EVER AGAIN, like fuck no not EVER. I would like a quiet life and the minimum amount of fuss. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Fear :: Eleven

Last night, my husband referred to me as hypersensitive. I know that’s pretty bad in purely medical terms, but a cursory glance around the Internet shows that sensitivity to visual, audio and sensory stimulus is something that I can quite strongly identify with. I have a trapped nerve in my lower back, for instance, that I could now trace back to its point of origin, and could indicate to you EXACTLY where the reaction happens: which movements exacerbate it, how it is healing. In fact, I can feel it healing right now. Noise variance at present is causing me issues, more than it has done at any point in the recent past, and that includes my own blood rushing in ears when I wake up.

More importantly, I can feel a caffeine buzz on the first cup of  daily tea.

Last night, lying alone in bed, I thought about how religious faith must work in situations like this, and I begin to understand why having a God to rationalise the chaos of the Universe must be reassuring for some people. In fact, being able to cover uncertainty without any need for dealing with the truth must be quite useful. Sadly, being able to feel and hear just about everything right now, whether I like it or not, makes it hard to try and accept that faith is the answer. What is a lot simpler, and for me is working with increasing frequency, is to tune into the energy around me. Effectively, I’m asking the Universe itself to help me out.

If situations become too overwhelming, I am bringing myself back to my body, and focussing on what I know are atoms and energy around me, a constant flow of air and molecules. I am using science as my ally, and blocking out the stimulus that is causing me issue. It worked to a point yesterday, but I’m also tapping into the Mindfulness training I’ve managed to get my way halfway through. In fact, if I were a believer in fate, I’d say starting that course when I did was probably the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Without it, I would have been a total mess this week.

I have PT today. I’m really looking forward to an hour with my trainer. She allows me the opportunity to be myself, and to push for better things. There is a small chance that if circumstances change in my OP walking in a couple of days could become a six to eight week lay-off. At the start of the week that would have been heartbreaking but right now I’m completely prepared and capable of coping if that happens. In fact, I am ready for anything. I’ve got the point now, why all those pamphlets they sent me say ‘people get quite anxious before operations.’ I’m not people, however. I am coming out of this stronger.

Writing the truth that flows from within myself is becoming progressively simpler, too.