Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I could get used to this Resting lark

Hi everyone

I have been at home taking it easy - the day has passed remarkably fast.  It is differentiated for me from yesterday only by the fact that I got dressed today, and have spent more time out of bed than in it.  My feet are not hurting much at all, but that is probably because I am keeping well topped up with the paracetamol and ibuprofen.  And I am enjoying relaxing more than I thought I would - indeed, by the time I am back to full health I will probably have become so lazy that I fail to motivate myself to do anything at all, ever again...I hope not.

So I thought I'd better get on and write a blog post.  I didn't even feel like writing today, which is a really bad sign, and must be overcome at once.  Trouble is, I am too tired to think very coherently, so apologies in advance.

I am going to write a little here about my recent experience in hospital having an operation on both my feet.  I am not going to try to put down all the thoughts which were running round my head when I was in there, intending to blog about them as soon as I got home (luckily I noted them down) but just to make a start.

The biggest fear I had about the operation (apart from the one about not waking up from the anaesthetic, which I had more or less come to terms with) was that I would go doo-lally, from the anaesthetic or the painkilling drugs afterwards, or just the general stress.

So what I did, was, I shared this fear with the medical staff.  When I had gone for my pre-op assessment and so on, I had not made an issue of my mental health, because I wanted to be treated like any other patient.  But in the meantime (while waiting to have the op) I had published the book, gone public with the blog, and so on, so all that was at the forefront of my mind.

I found myself, therefore, over-sharing my fears with the doctors before the op.  And of course, they were understanding.  They were really nice, in fact, really inspired my trust.  Unfortunately when I woke up from the operation, I was indeed a bit out of it - but I didn't allow myself to get carried away.  I felt a bit hysterical, a bit close to the edge as though I could start crying and screaming.  But I stayed strong, and I told the nurses how I was feeling, attributed it to the effect of the drugs and just kind of waited it out. 

In fact, I am very impressed with myself about this, because I do tend to panic just from being in hospital, even when I am just there to give birth.  But this time I totally relaxed, was good and patient, and very passive (I really had no choice, my legs were numb for two days so I had to be good.  I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry).

And it all went pretty well.  I was a bit too insistent on being independent perhaps - I sorted myself out with the bedpan and commode by sheer force of will, which was probably a bit daft, looking back  (too much information?  I will not go into further detail then).

My low point came on my second night in, having had very little sleep the first night.  My feet began to hurt quite badly, so I rang the bell and asked the nurse for pain relief.  I was brought morphine, which I didn't want to take - I have a fear of strong drugs - but I didn't want to seem rude or 'non-compliant' so I swallowed the stuff.  It tasted foul - but I knew it would because my mother had a lot of it after her cancer op, and she always complained about the taste.

But then the nurse left, and I started to feel tightness around my neck and shoulders, and a pain in my chest.  I waited a bit, my palms got clammy, the discomfort wasn't wearing off, and I started to worry.  I rang the bell again, and told the nurse how I felt.  She was great, did all the 'obs' (observations) - temperature, blood pressure and so on.  It was all normal, so we decided I had just had a panic attack because I was frightened of taking the morphine.  Then I cried, mostly because she had been so kind (anybody else want to cry when people are nice to them?) and she brought me tissues, and I drifted off to sleep for a few hours. 

I felt a lot better the next day, although when I spoke to my sister on the phone later she recalled that she had also had an adverse reaction to morphine she took at home once: it caused her such bad breathing difficulties that she had to call an ambulance.  So, who knows, maybe it wasn't just a panic attack?

But the great thing was that through all this I didn't get paranoid.  Or if I did, I reasoned it out.  I controlled any tendency to overthink.  I relaxed.  I told the nurse how I was feeling, and why.  And it passed, and I didn't go mad!  Hurrah! 

I went home later that day, and have been gradually catching up on sleep ever since.  And eating really well - lots of fruit and veg, not too much of anything else.  I am not that hungry, but I am consuming the best food I can to improve my health.  I am reading a book on the Alexander technique, and trying to keep up my practice of it, as much as I can with two bad feet (I am hobbling around on my heels with the aid of a Zimmer frame, but the Alexander information on best use of the body is still helpful.)

Now, funnily enough, this bit - the sitting at home taking it easy, which I thought I would struggle with, is actually a bit of a doddle so far.  I am in danger of getting used to it.

I am really tired now though.  Amazing how doing nothing whatsoever can take it out of you...

More soon. Louise. x.

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