Road to Recovery – a diary of personal experience 8

Before I had my operation and subsequent “adventure” I was leading an active life. I played tennis twice a week and walked a brisk half hour other days. If you have read my “Restoration 101” blog you will know that I have spent many hours restoring our home -painting and assisting my builder-hubby in many and varied tasks. I keep my mind occupied by writing, playing cards, reading and doing word and number puzzles. I have always eaten a healthy diet and rarely get more than a common cold. I visit my GP maybe three times a year and any time I have spent in hospital has been visiting others. I lead an enjoyable social life with family and friends but am also content in my own company.  In other words, I believe I am a balanced person with a healthy attitude to life and a deep faith in God and His goodness. So I am not a person who should suffer from a 1 in 400 congenital heart valve defect!

However, the fact remains – I am! It is not an uncommon defect and there are many folk out there who have conditions many times more serious. And I am so thankful for our health system and the  wonders of modern science. Above all I am thankful to a God who cares and answers prayer. Why I went through such a traumatic time I cannot confirm, but I do believe that it was a mighty God responding to the prayers of many saints who brought me out of the dark hole into which my body plunged.

But let’s return to Ward 10 at Christchurch Public Hospital… I could now take myself to the toilet without the aid of a walking frame; I was receiving visitors, some of whom walked “the loop” with me (without a frame); I still needed assistance to shower; I had a couple of “accidents” until I realised I had little control over my bladder (friends and nursing staff were very generous with their help and understanding!). A novel sat beside my bed along with patience playing cards and a magazine opened at the puzzle page. Why couldn’t I pick up the book to read? Why did I deal out the cards and forget how to play the game? Why could I only fill in one word at a time in a crossword puzzle?

It took me a while to realise that my mind was going to take some time to recover from the cocktail of drugs.  Someone suggested that I might be discharged from hospital on Friday morning – Good Friday. This day came closer and closer every hour and by Wednesday I was ready to believe it was actually Friday. I was not able to sleep at night or during the compulsory rest time from 1 to 3pm each day. I’m sure this didn’t help my recovery so on Wednesday morning I almost pleaded with my surgeon’s registrar to let me go home so I could at least get some sleep… “How can I begin the healing process if I can’t sleep?” (My mind was sorting some logic!) Her response was, “Yes, well, my boss would actually agree with you. I’ll see what I can do.”

My major challenge was to be able to climb a flight of 11 stairs unassisted. I called on prayer support and by sheer determination achieved this goal – one slow step at a a time.  And by mid-afternoon I was released for “overnight leave.” In other words, I wasn’t discharged and needed to report back to my bed at 7.30 the next morning. But, oh the joy of a home-cooked meal (well, a small portion of it!), a comfy bed and a warm and welcoming hubby!

It took many hours to finally receive my discharge the following day but eventually I could begin the third stage of my journey – full recovery at my pace in my home.  This is another chapter which is continuing today.  I have many friends and family members to thank for their support but because I have already exceeded my self-imposed 600-word limit today I will add one further blog tomorrow as I am sure there is more …