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ELDER MUSIC: Try To Remember

First Post-Surgery Outing

JOURNAL ENTRY
The doctor removed my 20-odd surgical staples on Wednesday. For those of you who asked, it was no big deal, feeling something like a minor pin prick for each one.

Although I consider it a milestone, this, of course, does not end my recovery. The doctors and I discussed the eight or ten questions I'd brought with me, adjusted some medications and when I expressed my frustration with the slow return of energy and simple capabilities, the surgeon reminded me that this will take, overall, about six months before full normal activity resumes.

Not that there won't be noticeable progress toward that goal as the weeks go by.

If you don't count my ride home from the hospital on 29 June, until Wednesday I hadn't been outside since I checked in at the hospital on the morning of 20 June – more than three weeks ago.

That doesn't mean as much to me as it does to many people who like to be out and about every day. I like being home. Even so, I saw the trip to the doctor on Wednesday as my debut outing after this gigantic assault on my body, mind and spirit.

Among the extraordinarily kind friends and neighbors who are helping me out these days is Cathi Lutz who had volunteered to drive me to the doctor appointment on Wednesday.

She kept by my side as we walked to her car and was there in case I faltered as we navigated from the parking garage to the elevator and through halls to the doctor's office. I've been walking and balancing well at home so I did this without the walker and it went quite well. But I was happy to have Cathi for backup.

The doctor's office had phoned in a couple of new prescriptions so on our way home, Cathi offered to stop at the pharmacy to get them and I realized I was pleased to further extend the outing – excited to be out of the house and/or medical situation after so long.

When I said this to Cathi, we both laughed that the destination of choice (or, necessity for the medication) was – wait for it: Safeway. Go ahead, you can laugh too.

As always in these weeks since the surgery, I am paying for the change in routine today (Thursday) with a near complete collapse of energy. It happens this way every time.

According to the doctors, I am doing well but this is the way it is for awhile. I wish I could buy patience at the pharmacy as easily as a pill.

Comments

Someone said "patience is a virtue!" Does that help? Probably not, but it's all I can think of when I consider what you have been thru. From my perspective you are making beyond remarkable progress. Sending more good energy.....Dee:):)

Thank you for sharing all this, including your painful experience with your only relative. You've done your very best to keep family ties alive, but sometimes they are toxic. Thankfully you are surrounded by your REAL family--those who are happy to walk this road and laugh with you along the way. I'm sure they feel they are receiving more than they are giving. Blessings to you.

I agree with Dee. I can identify with everything you are saying, Ronni. You may as well accept the pace of recovery and go with the flow. It just takes a lot of time to heal and the older you are the longer it takes. sorry to say.

baby steps .... baby steps that feel like giant steps ... or, at times, impossible steps or backwards steps. But each one keeps keep you going.
Thank you, Cathi, from Team Ronni. We're very grateful. Thank you, Ronni, for keeping us posted.

I'm the same way about waiting for improvements without much patience. But there's something good about it cause it helps me exercise and read. Eventually I gain the wisdom to know when I am overdoing it.

Staple free and moving ahead! Hope your doc was very pleased with your progress.

Staples out and an outing to Safeway sound like excellent progress! Wish I were closer, to take you up the Historic Columbia River Highway and back when you feel ready for a bigger outing! I find that area such a treat!

It's a grand start.
BTW, the American Cancer Society offers all sorts of services. One of them is offering rides. There's lots of other services too.

Dear Ronni, your postings on all you are going through in your life right now have touched me deeply. I think of you each day as you slowly recuperate. I read all of them, but comment only once a week because that's when getting to the blogs works for me.

Your posting on the tools and equipment that are helping you was fascinating. And I so appreciate your posting today on getting out and about when you feel sort of as if you have become a recluse.

Be gracious to yourself in all this. Peace.

I recall the small pleasure of an "outing" while I recouped! Any change of scene was welcomed. Continued blessings as you keep moving forward Ronnie....;-)

Your doctor's estimate of 6 months recovery time sounds a lot like my experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I saw virtually no change for the first 2-3 months and it felt depressing, but after 4 months I realized there was indeed positive change and by 6 months it felt like a miracle cure. My doctor was warning me not to get too excited and overdo it for fear of relapse. Good advice by the way.

Slow and steady is the pace! You do have a caring Village all around you. Judy seems to be the PIC, so we are all awaiting word from her and how we can help you.

Fatigue is probably going to be the thing that bothers you the most ... and the longest. You are doing GREAT considering the hours you were under!

Keep up the good work and the steady progress!

The beginning of the next phase....Patience is key. Energy will return, but slowly. Friends will be most helpful and your best "medicine". Manufacture errands and get our every day!
ellie

Hi Ronni - I was thinking about you and I think you are doing FANTASTIC! Just rest and let go of even thinking about things you "should" be doing or "used to" be able to do. You are putting yourself under emotional stress...yes, there is no pill for patience - if there were, I'd be taking a double dose! I beat myself up constantly about not being energetic or productive as I'd like. Meditation helps ground us in the present moment! Next outing - hit the library for some books on meditation - I highly recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living. Keep up the great healing work Ronni and go easy on yourself. All good!

Good news indeed!

Keep fighting!

Love

Beatriz

One step at a time....now that is a phrase I could do without. :-)

You must change your life--Rilke. It takes time to adjust. You are doing fine, no matter how you feel about it now.

You made it this far, you can do it, Ronni.

It's not about how long it takes, it's about taking it steady, straight and boom you are there.

Woo hoo!! Out at last! I've only had orthopedic surgeries (bilateral knee replacement, fusion plus insertion of hardware from spinal C2-T2), so I probably can't appreciate the, literally, visceral reaction of the body to a surgery like yours. But even I had to be gradual in the recovery. And hooray that you do like to be home!

You're doing great!

a small suggestion, make sure the walker is not set too low, so that you are leaning over. You should be able to stand up straight and use it. Common error, leads to backache. xoxo

As an OLD nurse, I can assure you that all the nurses on the floors knew, and had
GREAT sympathy, and nursing empathy, for any patient undergoing "a Whipple".
Patients stayed in the hospital longer, received true nursing care while they were with us. I/we, I'm sure are all equally astonished at the recovery times allotted to patients today.
Please be patient with yourself. Such an insult to an elderly body -mine is slightly younger than yours - but it is still an insult. We really require a much longer time to recover any thing like the stamina we had before ANY surgery.
Thought I never knew you, I love you.

Hi Ronni -- I am once again raising Monarch caterpillars that I've found on milkweed in my yard. The eggs are so tiny that I have to use a magnifying glass to find them. And then, once the caterpillar hatches, at first I think that they have not survived -- that they were eaten by something, or that I was mistaken about seeing an egg in the first place, because the caterpillars are so tiny I cannot see them. Then they get big enough to see with the naked eye. It's a slow process, and I cannot find and save all that may be on the plants in my yard; birds and other insects will get some to keep themselves and their babies alive.

I do what I can because Monarchs are having such a hard time these days.
It is an exercise in patience, but if they start out healthy and I take proper care of them, they will eventually become beautiful big caterpillars, make a gorgeous chrysalis and undergo a metamorphosis that's rather miraculous, and a butterfly will emerge, fly off and keep the cycle going.

It strikes me that you are going through something rather miraculous yourself. You were made unconscious, opened up and parts removed, closed back up, recovered consciousness, slowly regained the abilities you have so far, and every day you are getting stronger and healthier. Different from a Monarch's, but a metamorphosis just the same. You are going through remarkable changes that will leave you very different than when you went into the hospital. Maybe you will be a butterfly before long.

Recovery requires a lot of patience, which is certainly not easy. However, IMHO, you are doing stunningly (in a good sense ;-)) well! I'm inspired and happy for you. Bravissima! :-)

I love Janes idea of the library but if it's too early they will probably deliver some books to you. Our library does that. A great service.
I'm happy for you passing this (stitches out )milestone. Please take it easy.
Light and love

What a lovely Butterfly analogy from Cathy Johnson.

I could never improve on that one, so I won't try...I will just say I continue to think of you
and expect continued valuable progress.

I too cannot improve on the butterfly metamorphosis comment. Only add that a traditional Japanese symbol for old age, often beautifully embroidered on satin kimonos, is the butterfly.

Speaking of deliveries - some pharmacies offer delivery service . You might call ( or ask a friend to call) around to ask if any in your area offer delivery when / if you need refills.
Your progress is amazing, Ronni
Way to go !!

Ronnie, read your entries and comments
Slow and accept
Proud of you
Praying for continual healing for you
You have helped me with issues I am facing.
Be gentle with yourself....

Damn -- we're all pulling for you!

Yet more progress. What a star you are. I also need patience pills but am finding yoga and meditation very helpful. While it is too soon to do the former you could try meditation as mentioned by another commenter above.

I'm so happy every time I hear from you. Your body will tell you when it's time to rest or if you have enough energy to get up and do.

"Patience in a Pill"! I can think of some additional virtues I'd like to have available in pill form -- cheerfulness, happiness, industry, etc. Unfortunately the pills that DO provide those things currently all have terrible side effects. Glad you're up and about, even though it tires you so. You are a model to us of a strong, intelligent woman. Best wishes from Classof65 to you and to your helpers and readers...

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