This past summer we took a family vacation to a high-falootin’ resort in Pennsylvania with the Tapper cousins (17 total). My son Eli managed to spend many hours and quarters at a variety of arcade games. His favorite, though, also the most frustrating, was “The Claw.” There were some tears the first night, where Leland had to explain to him that, “the person who invented this machine hates children and wants to make you cry.” By the third night and many missed chances (and many dollars), he finally was able to “grab” a one dollar bill. He was ecstatic. He came running up to us and proudly displayed the one dollar bill and said, “I’m proud of me!”
Well, today I can make the same announcement.
Eleven days post-op and I’m noticing a substantial improvement in how I feel, sleep, move, etc. The improvement was such that I thought I should start to catch up on work and other areas that have been obviously neglected. But, instead, I heeded the advice of some friends, doctors, and family (Thanks Harriet!) and continued to rest.
After a long morning walk, I parked myself on the couch and watched 4 hours of TIVO-ed shows. Yes, I could have gone upstairs and started to chip away at the mountain of items on my to-do list, but that seemed short-sighted. It takes time to heal and I don’t need to set any speedy recovery records. That’s not the point. At the risk of picking too obvious a metaphor for me, my recovery truly is a marathon and not a sprint. I can still sense the limits my body has, the moments when my energy level is still low and I need to be able to listen to my body.
I also received an interesting piece of advice. My friend Bunny suggested I stop writing that I’m going for long walks every day. She jokingly said that I might risk pissing people off. How bad off can I be if I’m walking 3-4 miles, right? Why is she making a big deal of her recovery if she is already clocking that kind of distance? I know she’s joking, but I did think about what she said for a bit. My goal is to walk every day, rain or shine, not for the cardiovascular benefit, but the mental health one. After several days of being restricted to a hospital bed or “laps” around the hospital floor, I appreciate being able to move freely. It feels good to be outside in the fresh air. My walks give me a good measure on how I’m doing.
On Sunday, November 6th, I took a 20-minute walk with Leland and had to stop and sit multiple times. Moving cautiously and, at times, painfully. To be able to walk, comfortably a week later gives me a tangible sense of progress. And, it’s a great opportunity for me to socialize. My mother and I walked around the lake. My friend Marji joined me and it’s a relaxed way to catch up. If you are in the neighborhood, give me a call.